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The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Article #141 • Written by Alan Bellows

You may have heard about Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon before. In fact, you probably learned about it for the first time very recently. If not, then you just might hear about it again very soon. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information--often an unfamiliar word or name--and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Anytime the phrase "That's so weird, I just heard about that the other day" would be appropriate, the utterer is hip-deep in Baader-Meinhof.

Most people seem to have experienced the phenomenon at least a few times in their lives, and many people encounter it with such regularity that they anticipate it upon the introduction of new information. But what is the underlying cause? Is there some hidden meaning behind Baader-Meinhof events?

The phenomenon bears some similarity to synchronicity, which is the experience of having a highly meaningful coincidence, such as having someone telephone you while you are thinking about them. Both phenomena invoke a feeling of mild surprise, and cause one to ponder the odds of such an intersection. Both smack of destiny, as though the events were supposed to occur in just that arrangement... as though we're witnessing yet another domino tip over in a chain of dominoes beyond our reckoning.

Despite science's cries that a world as complex as ours invites frequent coincidences, observation tells us that such an explanation is inadequate. Observation shows us that Baader-Meinhof strikes with blurring accuracy, and too frequently to be explained away so easily. But over the centuries, observation has also shown us that observation itself is highly flawed, and not to be trusted.

The reason for this is our brains' prejudice towards patterns. Our brains are fantastic pattern recognition engines, a characteristic which is highly useful for learning, but it does cause the brain to lend excessive importance to unremarkable events. Considering how many words, names, and ideas a person is exposed to in any given day, it is unsurprising that we sometimes encounter the same information again within a short time. When that occasional intersection occurs, the brain promotes the information because the two instances make up the beginnings of a sequence. What we fail to notice is the hundreds or thousands of pieces of information which aren't repeated, because they do not conform to an interesting pattern. This tendency to ignore the "uninteresting" data is an example of selective attention.

In point of fact, coincidences themselves are usually just an artifact of perception. We humans tend to underestimate the probability of coinciding events, so our expectations are at odds with reality. And non-coincidental events do not grab our attention with anywhere near the same intensity, because coincidences are patterns, and the brain actually stimulates us for successfully detecting patterns, hence their inflated value. In short, patterns are habit-forming.

But when we hear a word or name which we just learned the previous day, it often feels like more than a mere coincidence. This is because Baader-Meinhof is amplified by the recency effect, a cognitive bias that inflates the importance of recent stimuli or observations. This increases the chances of being more aware of the subject when we encounter it again in the near future.

How the phenomenon came to be known as "Baader-Meinhof" is uncertain. It seems likely that some individual learned of the existence of the historic German urban guerrilla group which went by that name, and then heard the name again soon afterwards. This plucky wordsmith may then have named the phenomenon after the very subject which triggered it. But it is certainly a mouthful; a shorter name might have more hope of penetrating the lexicon.

However it came to be known by such a name, it is clear that Baader-Meinhof is yet another charming fantasy whose magic is diluted by stick-in-the-mud science and its sinister cohort: facts. But if you've never heard of the phenomenon before, be sure to watch for it in the next few days... brain stimulation is nice.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 19 March 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

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138 Comments
rp2
Posted 19 March 2006 at 11:00 pm

whoa.. I just knew you were going to put up an article about this.. happens to me about every other day


bug
Posted 19 March 2006 at 11:07 pm

I was just thinking about how recently this had been occurring more and more to me and then i stumble upon this article... Baader indeed.


Prince
Posted 19 March 2006 at 11:43 pm

I get that "hey i just heard that the other day feeling" all the time


Ralesk
Posted 20 March 2006 at 12:31 am

Reminds me of the time I played with Beneath A Steel Sky (good old Amiga game :D), and a week later everyone used the word ‘vigilant’ a lot.


Eclipse
Posted 20 March 2006 at 01:04 am

This phenomenon also commonly known as a "plate of shrimp", after the RepoMan quote from the character Miller:

"A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness."


Alan Bellows
Posted 20 March 2006 at 01:33 am

Eclipse said: "This phenomenon also commonly known as a "plate of shrimp", after the RepoMan quote from the character Miller"

I've heard that mentioned before... but the scene in the movie is describing synchronicity, not Baader-Meinhof. The two are similar but distinct.


Mark
Posted 20 March 2006 at 03:57 am

My favourite bit was when paragraph 4 disagreed with itself. Plus that image, of course. That image is hilarious.


another viewpoint
Posted 20 March 2006 at 06:41 am

So I see, said the blind man, leaning up against the lamppost talking to the deaf mute...


Cynthia Wood
Posted 20 March 2006 at 06:46 am

Paragraph four doesn't disagree with itself. It says that science disagrees with observation, and then goes on to explain why science is right.

I run into this phenomenon a lot. What I always find funny is when I learn a new word, and then it pops up everywhere - including in books I've read before, where I had never noticed it. My brain looking for connections, absolutely.


tershania
Posted 20 March 2006 at 08:39 am

This is a great article Alan. This happens to me from time to time. It's happened more than just a few times in my life. I didn't know there was a name to the "condition." It's truly damn interesting. BTW, great site...been a "troller" for a while now.


AKALucifer
Posted 20 March 2006 at 09:48 am

Mark said: "My favourite bit was when paragraph 4 disagreed with itself. Plus that image, of course. That image is hilarious."

Yes the image is strange I've had this kinda thing happen to me but I've never made that face. This doesn't happen to me often but whever I go on holiday when I come back there's always a TV show about where I've just been. Sometimes the show even goes to places where I went on my holiday.


shanachie
Posted 20 March 2006 at 10:34 am

Seems to me it's a lot like the deja-vu, jamais-vu, and presque-vu phenomena: minor-league brain farts. Synapses fire, seeing connections that aren't there. Another design flaw in the human race. Hope there won't be a factory recall.


another viewpoint
Posted 20 March 2006 at 10:53 am

...there comes a point in time, in the life of every breathing soul, that they must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.

And as Tom Leherer once put it so eloquently..."Life, is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."


Dr.Grimgravy
Posted 20 March 2006 at 11:06 am

I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time.


karphi
Posted 20 March 2006 at 11:40 am

I drink a single shot of highland hooch like every night after dinner. I bet you a hundred bucks I'll have some tonight. Weeeiiiirrd. Just kidding (although I will drink some scotch to be sure), VERY interesting article and that does explain a lot. I'm sure I'll be hearing about it again soon!:)


another viewpoint
Posted 20 March 2006 at 12:43 pm

If it doesn't appear that the clock is moving...perhaps it's time to change the battery.


theinnerstation
Posted 20 March 2006 at 01:51 pm

You are, of course, refering to my comment of March 11, on the "Worlds toughest bus", where I make the connection between the Baader Meinhoff Gang and BMW 2002's. Of course.


Mark
Posted 20 March 2006 at 04:11 pm

Cynthia Wood said: "Paragraph four doesn't disagree with itself. It says that science disagrees with observation, and then goes on to explain why science is right."

I guess it disagrees in tone, if not in content: firstly seeming to dismiss science then reaffirming it.


Stuart
Posted 21 March 2006 at 02:12 am

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

It could be that 9:11 initially stood out as an important time because it reminded you of the American emergency telephone number or it reminded you of 11th September. You probably look at the clock at loads of different times but none of them seem to mean anything to you. If the time was 1:23 you'd probably notice it aswell.


Erin1988
Posted 21 March 2006 at 06:43 pm

I was just reading about 'synchronicity' today. I'm not joking. Haha. I was reading in some Reader's Digest book about how Carl Jung coined the term.

I'm not reading too much into that though. I have heard it before.


chromakode
Posted 21 March 2006 at 10:41 pm

And now, of course, I'll be seeing something about this phenomenon again sometime in the near future...

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

That happens to me too! Haha, I think we have a case of a synchronous Baader-Meinhof effect. Weird! Cool! :D


n1cknam3
Posted 22 March 2006 at 04:57 am

I had this kind of thing when encountering some new words in English. I found and understood their meaning and then it suddenly started to appear everywhere.. Literally everywhere.. songs on the radio, books, newspapers.. weird but goddamninteresting(.com) :)


orc_jr
Posted 22 March 2006 at 12:52 pm

the only thing interesting about this "phenomenon" is that somebody thought it deserved a name.. so the more recently you experience something the more you notice it.. duh!


davida
Posted 22 March 2006 at 05:30 pm

I find that we do recognize the coincicence versus the lack of it. It is the reason when we see someone we didn't expect to see...we say "It's a small world"...but we never walk up to strangers and say "It's a big world"...well, almost never.


Adam
Posted 22 March 2006 at 10:50 pm

Try this on for size. This happened to me a few years ago, but it all happened within about a week’s time. True story:

Friday: I got to a young adults worship thing called Faith Focus at one church, and the pastor was talking about anger based in Matthew 12 where Jesus says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Sunday, in my Sunday school class, the teacher is teaching about something generally unrelated, the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. We’ve been going through them one by one, and that Sunday we were either on “Blessed are the peacemakers,” or “Blessed are the meek.” At any rate, the teacher used the week’s Beatitude to teach about how we shouldn’t let our temper get the best of us. This was at a different church than Faith Focus, and the teacher had no knowledge of the topic from Faith Focus’ lesson.

Thursday: I went to a Bible study where it was just me and several guys, and we had previously chosen to start studying Romans. Romans 1 talked about the wrath of God, and the study book we were using compared the just wrath of God to the usually selfish anger of men.

Three unrelated Christian things that all had to do with anger, but each of them approached it from a different angle. I was going through anger issues at the times, I had more than a hunch that the Lord was trying to tell me something, and I had some repenting to do. This was more than just coincidence. I’ve known a number of people who have had God make a point to them through a similar series of unrelated events, and that's not the only time something like this happened to me, either.


Stuart
Posted 23 March 2006 at 03:35 am

So God uses Baader-Meinhof to tell us things? I've not really read the bible but as far as I know it (like all holy books) is a guide on how to live well and treat others well which would include not losing your temper. I reckon you could pick nearly any passage in the bible and it could be interpreted as a message about anger management so I (sceptically) think your story could just be a series of coincidences. Still, if it helped you cope with problems you were having then good luck to you.


Nytemare3701
Posted 24 March 2006 at 01:14 am

well thats just a fine how-do-you-do...
that happens to me more than once a week!


c_s_1987
Posted 25 March 2006 at 07:49 am

This phenomenon occurs to me most often with words, where I hear a word for the first time ever, then I hear or read it several more times in the same month. Also with the clock thing, it seems to be exactly 12:00:00 on my watch when I look at it much more often than it should be (no, I assure you it hasn't stopped).


rlehmann
Posted 27 March 2006 at 04:10 pm

The title of the article caught my attention. Where does the name Baader-Meinhof come from? My own brain's pattern recognition circuitry made me thing of the leftist terrorist gang that operated in Germany in the seventies. And indeed, when I googled for Baader-Meinhof, that was (except for this damninteresting article) the only meaning in at least the first several pages of results.
Any pointers Alan?


Alan Bellows
Posted 27 March 2006 at 04:36 pm

rlehmann said: "The title of the article caught my attention. Where does the name Baader-Meinhof come from? My own brain's pattern recognition circuitry made me thing of the leftist terrorist gang that operated in Germany in the seventies. And indeed, when I googled for Baader-Meinhof, that was (except for this damninteresting article) the only meaning in at least the first several pages of results."

Hey Ralf... nice to see you here. I am unsure how exactly it came to be known as "Baader-Mainhof," but see the second-to-last paragraph in the article for my best guess.


mennehaha
Posted 28 March 2006 at 09:20 pm

Talk about serendipity! I was listening to NPR a few months ago, and an interview with Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) was on, and he was describing how he was in this play called "Sweeny Todd". The play was about a homicidal barber (which comes back into play later in my story). I get home and take out my newspaper crossword puzzle for the day, and what do you think is a clue? None other than a reference to Sweeny Todd! I've never heard about this play before, and I have suddenly received two references to it in the same day. What's really crazy is that about a week later, I'm watching Miss Congeniality and the scene where she is getting all made up for the first time, Sandra Bullock tells the aggressive hairstylist "Take it easy, Sweeny Todd!"

Crazy...


SilenceOfTheClams
Posted 19 April 2006 at 09:31 pm

Just a case of "memmeroids" I'd say.....


KJK::Hyperion
Posted 08 June 2006 at 02:25 pm

Darn, it's true! just the other day I finished reading [url=http://www.johndiesattheend.com/]John Dies at the End[/url] (a great demential/comic/post-modern horror novel), and right there, chapter 9, page 26 a "batshit insane" character starts a bizarre conversation that degenerates in a "Didya notice" trivia monologue:

North stared off into the passing night and said, "they harvest insects here, do they not? For their honey? Do the bees know they make the honey for you? Or do they work tirelessly because they think it is their own choice? [b]Have you never noticed that, after hearing a new word for the first time in your life, you'll hear it again within 24 hours?[/b] Do you ever wonder why sometimes you'll see a single shoe lying along the road?"

A single tear rolled down his cheek. It occurred to me that the man was batshit insane.

More like 48 hours, but yeah! The phenomenon even recursively applies to itself!


Vivendi
Posted 13 June 2006 at 08:12 pm

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

THAT IS WIERD. That same time, I swear I see 9:11 ppm at least once a week. Always freaks me out. OMG 9:11 on my computer right now. FREAKY!!


OmniNegro
Posted 16 June 2006 at 01:39 am

That's strange, I was just thinking about every single word, phrase, idea, opinion and concept on this page...

I think it's all a coincidence, and I think that this is mostly just people's overactive imagination looking for something paranormal to explain whatever they are unable to explain logically.

If you add another unknown phenomenon then you invite speculation, and that in turn invites assumption.

A few turns of this and you have people starting "the church of the holy lampost-of-tunafish-and-gravy-ballons" because they are insane.

Science can explain that these things are all possible, but most are very unlikly.

Try not to speculate too much or you'll have to join a crazy cult like the one I'm trying to dream up.

It's still Damn Interesting though.


pincamel
Posted 19 July 2006 at 08:19 pm

I just discovered this site today and have spent an hour or so being thoroughly entertained. This article was more than entertaining, eerie would be a better term. For over a year now I always seem to notice a clock when it is 11 minutes past the hour, only digital clocks. Not one particular hour of the day, just 11 past the hour. This happens in different locations with different clocks at least two or three times a day, sometimes 7 or 8. A few months ago I was with a friend I had not seen in some months, in his office, and we were planning on going to lunch. I asked him what time it was and he showed me his watch, 11:11 AM. He then commented that his digital watch had constantly displayed 11:11 AM for the previous several days yet the date kept changing and otherwise the watch seemed to be functioning fine. We checked his open laptop computer on the desk for the correct time, 11:11 AM. I explained my experience with clocks displaying 11 minutes past the hour and we both thought what a strange coincidence it was. Since then the experience has continued daily, three times today so far.

After reading several articles on the site I come accross this one and as I am reading it this odd recurrence comes to mind and I wondered if it would be considered a good example of this phenomenon. When I read Dr. Grimgravy's account of always seeing a clock at 9:11 I had that strange feeling described as the hair on the back of one's neck standing on end and I am still very freaked out about this very very strange coincidence. This Friday I am calling my friend for another lunch date and will relate this story. I certainly can't explain it but it is odd enough that I was compelled to register on this site and write this post. If Dr. Grimgravy is out there and you can email me I would like to know what you think. Maybe now that this has happened the phenomenon will disappear. Tomorrow will tell.


trillian
Posted 19 September 2006 at 01:09 pm

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

I am so glad this happens to other people. I've been noticing this for years - well, only really since 9/11, and it bugged me because I wasn't personally affected by the event and didn't feel like I had a right to have this weird effect. It happens with my clocks, other people's clocks, clocks which I know (or don't know) to be fast or slow. I first assumed, of course, that it was just that I never notice when it's 9:12 or 9:10, but after five years of being curious about this, I notice those times too, on the rare occasion when I catch them.

I wouldn't be surprised, though, if after the first few coincidental glimpses of 9:11 on the clock, my mind learned to look for it, or to look at the clock at the right time (in order to reward that pattern-finding center). We humans have pretty decent internal clocks, so maybe my unconscious just wants to weird me out.


dark_wolf197
Posted 07 October 2006 at 08:15 pm

Normally I wouldn't respond to these articles as I find them, well "Damn Intersting". However I feel that I should state the obvious. The reason the The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon works is because we have opened our minds to something we for whatever reason have found interesting. We then inadvertantly listen for that "interesting" word, subject,etc. People come on, is it really that hard to understand or does mankind just need something that badly to speculate. With that said I bid you farewell. P.S. I did not read all the comments so should someone have stated the same thing I just did, then I apologize for the redundant comment.


Tink
Posted 07 October 2006 at 11:28 pm

AKALucifer said: "...This doesn't happen to me often but whever I go on holiday when I come back there's always a TV show about where I've just been. Sometimes the show even goes to places where I went on my holiday."

Yes, I have had this happen too, I suppose the pictures just clearer after you have experianced the real thing and so when your holiday destination comes up on TV you tend to notice it more than you would have the month before.
My odd time to notice the clock is 11:11 PM, been doing this for most of my adult life.
Now the weirdest experiance I've had through out my life with Bad.M. has been the multiple groupings of folks with the same name all popping into my life within a few days or months of each other.
For instance this past 7 months has been filled with women and girls named Laura,or Lauren,no less than 6 of them, 4 in the past 60 days. I have also found myself surrounded with Christinas & Christines. Now the realy weirdest part? They are all (the Christinas,Christines, Lauras & Laurels) are in some fashion related to or best friends with one another. Had this same anomaly occur about 7 years ago with a winter season filled with guys named Joe & Tom. Go figgure. *


Solid
Posted 08 October 2006 at 08:31 am

Actually, I think a lot of this is probably not a coincidence at all. Cultural knowledge moves in cycles. For instance, if I read about Baader-Meinhof a few days from now, or hear about it from a friend, it's probably because either
a) He read the article too
b) He learned about it from a friend who read the article
c) The author of the article learned about the subject from a tv show or some other common source that my friend also saw and decided to write the article on that subject, etc... People will talk about the subject a lot, then the topic will die off, then someone later on will learn about the topic again and reintroduce it into the culture as interesting new trivia.

I'm reminded of an election a few years ago. The news media everywhere began describing one of the candidates, I think a vice president or something, as having "gravitas". That was a word I'd never heard of before, but suddenly it was everywhere. I don't think it was a coincidence - someone (maybe a PR machine) first described the candidate as having "gravitas", everyone thought it was a good word and started using it. Haven't heard the word since. Had I just learned the word, I probably might've thought it was a quite a coincidence, but in fact, it was new for everyone, reintroduced into culture for a brief period of time.

Of course, none of this explains the deal with looking up at the clock every day at the same time. :)


mvogensen
Posted 08 October 2006 at 10:28 am

So I went to bed last night trying to remember the word for synchronicity, usually it pops into my head after a minute or two like normal, but last night I just couldn't remember it. This morning I wake up and get on the internet like always, pull up this web site like always, and here's an article on sychronicity. This kind of thing does happen to me often. For example, I'll suddenly think of someone I haven't seen in a couple years and rarely think about and wonder how they're doing. The next day I'll bump into them in the super market or something because they're in town for a wedding or something.


Floj
Posted 08 October 2006 at 12:19 pm

A while ago I was looking for the longest words in a dictionary, and I stumbled across "Floccinaucinihilipilification" (A real word). Then within a week Geiko made a new commercial with a kid taking a spelling be and having to spell the same word. I was pretty sure that it was a new commercial. What I really thought was weird was that I had recently read this article when I was looking through Damn interesting to see what I had missed. Then I saw Munich (I hope that's spelled right) and they mentioned Baader-Meinhof. I had an overdose of Baader-Meinhof at that point, so I went to go eat some pumpkin pie.


Jeremy
Posted 08 October 2006 at 03:02 pm

shanachie said: "Seems to me it's a lot like the deja-vu, jamais-vu, and presque-vu phenomena: minor-league brain farts. Synapses fire, seeing connections that aren't there. Another design flaw in the human race. Hope there won't be a factory recall."

It's not that the connections aren't there, it's just that they don't mean anything. Which I suppose is really more a matter of semantics than anything else.

Let me ask if anyone else finds this odd: back when I was in college, I had an experience where three times in a single week I went into a store to buy something, and just as I got to the cashier the register receipt tape ran out. As far as I could recall, that had never happened to me before, then wham, 3 in one week.

Since then (it's been about 10 years), I've counted the number of times it has happened to me. 21 times, most recently two days ago. Coincidence, or proof of a cosmic vendetta against me? I'm hoping for a massive research grant to study this.


cornerpocket
Posted 08 October 2006 at 05:39 pm

I appreciate the comment that such phenomena certainly exist and at the same time have no particular meaning. One of my favorite professors, speaking of statistical meaningfulness, said, " A difference, in order to be a difference, has to make a difference." He was pointing out that lots of research depends upon probability factors with two elements being significantly different from one another at the .01 or perhaps the .05 level of confidence (i.e. the two could not represent the same sample but once in 100 trials or once in 20 trials). However, the difference could reach significance and still be about something so trivial and unimportant that the statistical finding is of no particular meaning in a REAL world. The existence of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is curious and even facinating but, all-in-all, pretty unsubstantial. But... DamnInteresting!!!


matthew
Posted 08 October 2006 at 08:58 pm

I am psych. student and I can tell you that people suffering from some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, can take such similar coincidences, and obsess over them to the point they must find an answer. But the answer will definitely not be the one identified in the article; it will be something parinoid, and, through the whole process the individuals' mind becomes so revved up that thinking about what the answer is leads to other questions, and further answers, and so on, untill the person is so exhausted, they enter psychosis.


LawOfEffect
Posted 08 October 2006 at 11:00 pm

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is indeed quite interesting. There are likely multiple conditions that cause people to report such things. One likely explanation is something called conditioned reinforcement.

Reinforcement is a process by which an organism's behavior is selected by environmental events occuring as consequences. When reinforcement occurs an organism's behavior and its physiology are changed in such a way that the context in which reinforcement has a history of occuring will often begin to acquire its own reinforcing properties.

Please note the following passage taken from the article above,

"Most people seem to have experienced the phenomenon at least a few times in their lives, and many people encounter it with such regularity that they anticipate it upon the introduction of new information."

In the example above the comment at the end of the sentence;"upon the introduction of new information." is most telling. This statement implies that learning (i.e. reinforcement) has occurred. Because this information is "new", or...newly conditioned, the "information" becomes more sailient to the individual which increases the likelihood that this person will report what they have seen or heard to others.

Lovelace, 2006


adastra
Posted 09 October 2006 at 08:05 am

Here's a good one - synchronicityI suppose. When I was in the ninth grade (many years ago in Miami) toward the end of the school year I had my first real date (double dated with my older sister). I dated the girl a few more times but I don't remember either of us being particularly fascinated with the other. Just before summer vacation I asked her what her plans were for the summer. She said her she and her family were going to visit her uncle. She didn't say where. I said that's funny, my family is going to visit my uncle, too. I didn't say where. We had a good laugh. (Wait for it: it gets better)

My uncle lived in Denver. He had just finished putting a hydraulic winch on his jeep which meant he could go damn near anywhere with it. He, my Dad, and I decided to go camping/fishing the Rockies and see how far from civilization we could get. We got damn far. On the third day we were running low on fishing tackle (trees and brush were getting a lot of it) so we got the maps out and tried to figure the closest place we could replenish. The nearest civilization of any kind was a tiny little mountain village about 50 rough miles away. In that part of the country, if the village had a country store or even a gas station, they would be selling fishing tackle. Sure enough there was a little country store. My "date" was working be hind the counter and her uncle owned the store.

We were both so freaked and I don't think we made a big deal out of it. It was just too weird.


rhonleea
Posted 09 October 2006 at 11:22 am

It is interesting that everyone is noting the 9:11 time. I seem to always look at the clock at 12:21 (which I know is because of a special birthday) and at 2:22 (have no idea why).


Xoebe
Posted 09 October 2006 at 11:44 am

Every time I look at the clock, it says something different. Damn.


Tink
Posted 09 October 2006 at 03:25 pm

Xoebe said: "Every time I look at the clock, it says something different. Damn."

LOL


tcarta
Posted 09 October 2006 at 06:19 pm

Here's an idea to get around all those obsolete technology issues... how about if someone creates a language based on pictures and then carves what they want to say in stone (metal rusts) - maybe underground in a cave or something to make it hard to find - and then you just pile a whole bunch of stones on top of it all (to protect it) and of course, the pile of stones should be in a really cool shape or something so no one knocks them down. Nah, never mind... too much work.


kwiksand
Posted 09 October 2006 at 10:44 pm

tcarta said: "Here's an idea to get around all those obsolete technology issues… how about if someone creates a language based on pictures and then carves what they want to say in stone (metal rusts) - maybe underground in a cave or something to make it hard to find - and then you just pile a whole bunch of stones on top of it all (to protect it) and of course, the pile of stones should be in a really cool shape or something so no one knocks them down. Nah, never mind… too much work."

You almost had me.. I'd just re-read the time capsule peice, and went on to read about baader-meinhof again. When I got to your post, it didn't click that it had nothing to do with the topic, just that I'd seen it before and knew exactly what the passage was before I actually read it. argh!


BrianTung
Posted 10 October 2006 at 04:27 pm

DI article. My intuition is that there are a few different phenomena at work here, conspiring to yield Baader-Meinhof. The article mentions coincidence--OK, yes, that's quite right, and I think the role of coincidence is underestimated by most "sufferers" of Baader-Meinhof. For instance, a student I was tutoring once in statistics had a homework problem in which four of seven airplane disasters were from the same airline, out of five different major airlines. From a naive treatment of that scenario, the odds of a given airline out of five suffering a disaster (at least) four out of seven times is mildly statistically significant; it's something like 1 in 30. In fact, that was the teacher's interpretation of the situation.

But that's misleading, because they calculated the odds of Airline A, alone, suffering four disasters out of seven. It's natural to do so, since Airline A was indeed the airline that suffered them, but it's misleading all the same; if it had been Airline B that suffered them, we'd be calculating the odds for Airline B. The right calculation to make is the probability that any of the five airlines would suffer four disasters out of seven, and in that case, the odds rise by a factor of five (as you'd expect, since there are five airlines and you can't have more than one airline suffering four disasters out of seven), to 1 in 6. Uncommon, but hardly statistically significant.

So this sort of thing is dramatically underappreciated by most people. It's simply not part of our intuition or training. We don't pay any attention to the vast majority of terms we don't hear about in any bursty kind of way. But, like Solid, I think there's more to it than that. I agree with Solid that there's sort of a critical mass effect, where a cultural meme that's been endemic for a while suddenly becomes an epidemic. At least it seems sudden at the time, but in reality, it's probably been "superheated," and then when the right seed comes along, the whole thing blows up. Even without such a boiling over, it may be that certain concepts pass by different communities almost like waves.

There may still be even more to it than that. I know that when I read certain materials, there are terms that I come across that I'm not already familiar with (such as "Baader-Meinhof"). What does my mind do with them? It depends on how obvious the term's use is from context, and how extensively it's discussed, and maybe a few other temporary things like how pressed I am for time, what kind of mindset I have, and so forth. Depending on all those things, my mind may attach the new term to some other concept I'm already familiar with (such as "synchronicity"), or it might just drift along by itself just long enough for me to understand the sentence I'm reading.

All of this happens without my conscious attention, mind you. If the new term never gets attached to anything, it probably fades away in relatively short order, and the next time I read the term, I may not even notice it. By the time I notice it again, the old image is gone, and once again my mind figures out where to put the darned thing, independent (more or less) of what happened the last time.

But if it does get attached--if I do find some context for the term--then the bottom line is that I now have a new place to attach future references to it, and it makes it much more likely that I'll notice it. The term will more likely jump to my eye when it's in something I read, even if I wouldn't have read that passage otherwise. I'm pretty sure I'd notice "Baader-Meinhof" now, even if in an entirely different connection. And although I'm not guaranteed to do so, I'm probably more likely to talk about, and thereby pass on, this concept as well. So the vagaries of reinforcement make the meme both more noticeable, and more contagious as well.

Again, DI. It's always fascinating to think about side effects of the way our brains work.


Dottie1985
Posted 10 October 2006 at 07:35 pm

Wow I was just talking to someone about something almost like this earlier today...I was saying how weird it is that everytime I think of someone I happen to run into them within to next couple weeks...no matter how long it's been since I've seen them...can that be considered the same thing?


the system
Posted 10 October 2006 at 09:53 pm

I'm experiencing the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon over the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.


susieQ
Posted 11 October 2006 at 03:29 pm

i seem to look at the clock when it is 11:11...and this started happening after my friend told me it was the time when you were supposed to make a wish, and she told me this like 2 years ago. So idk, i guess like to make wishes?


naughtyhorse
Posted 13 October 2006 at 07:12 am

I think the name 'Baader Meinhoff phenomenon' relates to the incredible coincidence that 3 members of the group 'committed suicide' while in the most secure prison in germany, on the same night. Which must have been a coincidence because I believe that state sanctioned murder is called the 'Guantanamo phenomenon'


Stephanie Benson
Posted 14 October 2006 at 03:41 pm

This happens to me all the time...


openside
Posted 17 October 2006 at 07:15 pm

davida said: "I find that we do recognize the coincicence versus the lack of it. It is the reason when we see someone we didn't expect to see…we say "It's a small world"…but we never walk up to strangers and say "It's a big world"…well, almost never."

Literally laugh out loud funny - and a fantastic analogy for our convenient oversight of non-coincidental events.

I wrote a rudimentary statistics essay once that reminds me of this 'phenomenon'. Basically asking people what was more likely from a lotto draw (6 numbers 'randomly' drawn from 40):
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
or
4, 13, 18, 23, 31, 37 (or any arbitrary non-sequential set)

Invariably they went for the second option (unless they already understood the concept or were second guessing their 'answer')
A summation of the reasoning was along the lines of "I'd remember if those numbers came out, but they never have"
A difficult concept to explain it would seem.

Here's a simple example - how often do you see the same car as yours on the road? You always notice it.


Alan Bellows
Posted 18 October 2006 at 03:20 am

Very recently I recieved the following e-mail:

Dear Mr. Bellows,

I coined the term "Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon" 20 years ago, or so. As you correctly surmised in your article, I named it after the 'trigger' word or phrase that led me to think about the phenomenon of coincidence. And by the way, I wasn't trying to penetrate the lexicon; I was trying to amuse my friends.

I have since developed many corrolaries to the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, including the 'comics page' phenomenon. This is when two comics in the same newspaper treat the same subject on the same day
-- not including obvious topical references such as fall leaves, holidays, or mismanaged foreign policy. Pay attention -- when you experience it, it will take your breath away.

I alerted the 'public' to the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon through a series of letters I submitted to the "Bulletin Board" in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I submitted them under the pen name "Gigetto on
Lincoln," a reference to my wheaten terrier named Einstein, nicknamed Gigetto.

And for what it's worth, I am in total agreement with your argument debunking the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. As a friend of mine says, 'reason and rationality are not the human default position.'

It was fun to see the reference, though.

Sincerely,

Terry Mullen
St. Paul, Minnesota

Of course, Mr. Mullen is now burdened with the task of naming the phenomenon where one stumbles across a reference to one's coined phrase twenty years after the coining.


Fantomas
Posted 21 October 2006 at 06:44 am

I have been seeing 'All the ones' for perhaps 8 years now. Since hanging out at a mates house back in 1997 we both always began to comment on 11.11am or pm. It happens ALL the time.

If thought about logically though, the explanation is pretty obvious.
It's the same as 'Wow....it's 14:43 right now....what are the chances!!??!!'. It's only of significance if you allow it to be so.

BTW this my first post here....Woo and YAY.....I've been a lurker for ages so thought I'd join in...


i_love_nukes
Posted 07 November 2006 at 04:24 pm

This happened to me. The case was Donny Whalberg. I saw him on Vh1. Then Band of Brothers, Then Saw 2. All within a week.


ThinksTooMuch
Posted 28 November 2006 at 12:12 pm

Openside said: "Here's a simple example - how often do you see the same car as yours on the road? You always notice it."

I agree and add an additional piece to it. Several years back I was doing research (daydreaming) for the purchase of a new car. I spent most of my time on the Firebird. This took me months because it was almost out of my price range anyway. It wasn't until after I actually purchased the car that I started to see Firebirds everywhere. You would think that even doing the research would make me see all of the Firebirds out there.


grimmy
Posted 30 November 2006 at 11:00 am

I wouldn't say it happens all the time, but the coincidences are striking enough to warrant asking "Who ordered that?" Apart from seeing the same actress in all the movies I just rented, there are some which are harder to "explain", such as getting two unrelated books with the same weird name for a character. Or ...

Once I was sitting behind a woman I had never met. The song "Sara" suddenly came to mind. Guess what her name was?

Nuclei decay without any cause whatsoever in this universe. Hmmmm.


Erados
Posted 30 November 2006 at 04:52 pm

And here I thought the universe revolved around me, and that someone was logging what I was learning, in some freak sci-fi futuristic world where they study the brains of an artificially recreated primitive in a controlled environment!

This article made me get an account. :)


Codog
Posted 10 December 2006 at 07:46 am

I always have these strange coincidences where I do something, then something else totally unrelated happens that has nothing at all to do with the original event. And the coincidence is that it happens all the time! These things happen to you too, you probably just don't notice it as much.


muhoboika
Posted 11 December 2006 at 07:33 pm

sweet, always wondered about this


Amalthea
Posted 13 December 2006 at 08:34 am

Very interesting. Not quite in the same vein as this but reminds me of a film I have seen called 'Waking Life' by Richard Linklater. Anyone seen it? It's basically a documentary on psychology/philosophy, with 3 minute scenes relating to different phenomena. Amazing - you should all check it out. There's a scene in the film relating to collective consciousness. It is discussed that there was an experiment carried out, where a number of people were given a newly constructed crossword - just out that very morning kind of thing, and were told to fill it in. They completed to a 'normal' degree. There was then another group of people who were given a crossword that had been published a number of days previously, but that the subjects had not seen. These people actually filled in more correct answers in a much faster time. The theory was that, because this crossword had been seen and completed nationally over a number of days; the answers were 'floating' about in our human collective consciousness, ready to be 'plucked' from the ether. I n the same way that rats were put in a maze. In certain dead ends, there were traps that killed the rats (not nice i know but..). After this, they selected a different 'nationality' of rats, put them in the same maze - and many more rats escaped without hitting a trap. They repeated the experiment with a completely different selection of unrelated rats and over a number of experiments, the rats eventually knew exactly how to get from one end of the maze to the other safely. What were they tapping into? Is this where instinct and/or intuition comes from? Ooh I do love this stuff.
P.s over the past few weeks, the 'clock' malarkey has been happening with me about five times a day. Makes me laugh out loud now. A healer friend of mine says it's the universe showing me it is aware, and is ever present. X


Entropy462
Posted 11 January 2007 at 03:52 pm

all of this reminds me of the movie pi (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0138704) ... or rather a specific quote from the movie

Sol Robeson: "Hold on. You have to slow down. You're losing it. You have to take a breath. Listen to yourself. You're connecting a computer bug I had with a computer bug you might have had and some religious hogwash. You want to find the number 216 in the world, you will be able to find it everywhere. 216 steps from a mere street corner to your front door. 216 seconds you spend riding on the elevator. When your mind becomes obsessed with anything, you will filter everything else out and find that thing everywhere".

Coincidentally ... every morning ... i open my eyes and the clock says the same thing ... 8:00 am ... the horrible part is that ... i then have to get out of bed and shut the alarm off.


huerndy
Posted 31 January 2007 at 04:03 pm

Should call it vuja de.


lalalala
Posted 01 February 2007 at 12:19 pm

This is so weird. Just yesterday I read this article. I thought it interesting, and, like most people I’ve had many similar experiences, but didn't know there was a name for it. I was browsing through some of the comments, and on March 28th, mennehaha tells a story of hearing about the play “Sweeny Todd” for the first time, and then having it appear as a crossword puzzle clue the next day. I had never heard of “Sweeny Todd” either. I didn’t think much of it other than that I normally know the names of movie references, and at first I thought he was talking about a movie.

So this morning, I go thorough my daily routine of looking at the “Collegehumor.com” pictures. One of today’s pictures is of a sign in front of a barbershop that says, “We are making enemies faster than we can kill them.” (not sure the humor, or the college connection, but whatever)

I read some of the comments and one guy says it reminds him of a play he saw in school about a murderous barber, but he can’t remember the name. Another reader informs him the name of the play is “Sweeny Todd”.

I swear, before yesterday I had never heard of Sweeny Todd. Neither had my wife.

So I had one of these “Baader-Meinhof” moments, triggered by comments about an article on “Baader-Meinof” moments.


iq_two
Posted 09 February 2007 at 08:03 am

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

me too!!!


bugdog
Posted 18 February 2007 at 01:17 pm

iq_two said: "me too!!!"

Yet another me too. After the events of 9/11 it seemed like the only time I ever looked at the clock on the cable box (or microwave, or any digital clock for that matter), it said 9:11. While I *know* that's not the case because obviously I look at the time frequently, it doesn't make a difference in the uncomfortable feeling I get. It's not as bad now, but I still notice that it's frequently 11 after the hour when I look at a digital clock (I specify digital because I don't notice the same thing with a "regular" clock).

When I was a kid and I noticed that 11:34 spelled hell on a digital clock, it seemed like it was always 11:34 when I looked at a clock. That still happens, but I got over the dreaded feeling that something horrible was going to happen when the clock struck hell.


Stephen
Posted 22 February 2007 at 01:40 pm

Whenever I look at the digital clock beside my bed it almost always registers within the last few seconds of that minute. 57-58-59-00. When calculating the possibility of this happening it should happen about only 5 percent of the time. However this is happening about 90 percent of the time. Even when walking into the room from downstairs I seem to be arriving in the room within the last few seconds of the minute, and this is happening time after time. This may happen several times an hour, at which time I become more conscious of it happening. If I think about it to much, it doesn’t seem to work. I have to be completely unaware of the phenomenon for it to happen. I first noticed this phenomenon about fifteen years ago when I bought a digital watch. Whenever I glimpsing down at my watch the minute was within the last few seconds of the hour. I had no idea that this kind of thing happens to other people.

This is not the only strange phenomenon that I am aware of.


JoshPSU
Posted 27 February 2007 at 07:50 am

Wow Everyone! This is so fascinating! For over 10 years now, I have seen the numbers 9:11 on the digital clock (AM and PM). I am really starting to get freaked out but I'm glad that I'm not alone out there! I don't think it has anything to do with 9/11 (terrorist attacks) since I've seen this time on the clock well before that happened. I have become so freaked out that I'm wondering if something bad is going to happen in the month of September, 2011 (9/11)? Maybe I'm just going crazy and it is a learned behavior? But with so many different times on a digital clock - so many hours with so many minutes...I always happen to look at a clock when it's 9:11 on the dot. I don't look at 9:10 and then look again at 9:11....it's usually sporadically when I haven't looked at a clock in an hour or so.

Universities need to start studying why this happens because apparently, I'm not alone : )

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

Dr. Grimgravy, this is very weird. There are about 5 or 6 people above that also see these numbers....unexplainable! Others don't understand; but I always tell my mom about it and she's seen firsthand how long I've been noticing that time during the AM and PM!!!!


ifeelya
Posted 06 March 2007 at 03:37 am

It's not the pattern. It's the frequency. Some people can only recognize a plate of shrimp. Some people are impervious to identical vehicles on the road because it's freakin' irrelevant given the number manufactured. Some notice that God wears paisley socks and then suddenly Karl Lagerfeld is all into it for fall. Some people are like your mom, who remembers that she knows somebody who knew somebody who used to live just a block or so from your ex's aunt that she just met at the laundry-mat and then she's all OMG about it like it was the rosetta stone or something.

Other people just dig on quantum physics. And Bucky Fuller, because he was a true Baader-Meinhof Jedi and knew just what to do with a little synchronicity. Or maybe it's just me, practicing a more self-deceptive level of self-deception than the average bear. I do hope there's a plate of shrimp in my future, though! Yummay.


bgarrett
Posted 02 April 2007 at 10:12 pm

When I was first introduced to this idea 30 years ago, it was called the echo theory.


ChristianBest
Posted 09 April 2007 at 06:30 pm

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

I have had this happening to me for over the past month. Occassionally I take a look at the clock and it's 9:11, either a.m. or p.m. Not too sure what could it be, mostly an internal clock or maybe a warning? The latter always seems to call my attention mostly.


binx
Posted 09 May 2007 at 05:09 pm

I have experienced the same type of phenomenom of checking the clock at the same time every day. It has happened to me almost daily for much of my adult life and it use to bother me for various reasons, which I am sure you can imagine. Until one day (This is true) I was having a talk with my mother, don't remember how we got on the subject, but she told me that I use to take my nap as a child that same time every day, so she could watch a show that she enjoyed. She suggested that perhaps I built a "time memory" and anticipate my nap as I did when I was a child. Needless to say she is Mom so I believe her, The occurances mostly stoped, and when I do happen to catch the clock I chuckle and announce nap time. This has also happened to me for other things as well, like lunch time. Perhaps the same "schedule/time memory" happens to more than just me?


Emmy
Posted 22 June 2007 at 12:38 pm

This happened to me when I was younger with the word "maim" XD


peach
Posted 24 November 2007 at 06:30 am

Isn't this simply coincidence or Jung's synchronicity? Once your mind thinks about something you start to pay more attention to it you start to see it everywhere.


peach
Posted 24 November 2007 at 06:34 am

It is weird how the SAME numbers keep reappearing on the clock every 12 hours or so.


Kit Snicket
Posted 24 November 2007 at 08:17 pm

Now, Peach. Don't you think it's an interesting coincidence that no one has commented on this article since June, but you and I have both read it and commented on it today? I wonder if that is coincidence, or whether we share a correspondent (the fellow who sent me the link).


Six2
Posted 10 February 2008 at 09:36 am

I first learned about the Love Canal incident viewing a TV show in the History Channel going on its first test broadcast in our cable subscription. Then the day after, I stumbled on DI's article about the Love Canal but was not realy searching for this particulat subject. These kind of occurence kept on bugging me but I dont know if there are any basis or even a name to this phenomenon. Then scolling down a few articles from the Love Canal I stumbled upon this "Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon". Astounding or what?


superslicedog
Posted 08 April 2008 at 09:36 pm

maybe baader mienhof happens because time isn't actually chronological our minds just arrange it that way and everything actually happens all at once ...... man this IS good stuff hehe


DontPanic
Posted 11 June 2008 at 04:08 am

this happens with me all the time. if i think about someone who i work with who i havent seen for a few days, i will see them the next day without fail. it has happened atleast 20 times. i think 'gee i havent seen bob in a couple of weeks' and the very next day bob will be there. scary weird stuff


mesila
Posted 02 August 2008 at 12:29 am

Here's a real corker. I came and found this page because I kept hearing about Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof - first in an old VAGUE mag, from 1988, which did a fantastic spread on these guys - sort of like Germany's answer to the SLA, but more competent. Next day I saw reference to a movie to be released next month about them. And that started even more noticing going on.

Talk about a meta-recursion...

It is all about how we come to notice things. Sometimes pattern recognition is merely apophenia...


a1c
Posted 07 August 2008 at 12:12 am

People who spend enough *consisent* time around each other, and especially those people in a state of deep infatuation with each other tend to easily influence each other and often come up with the same thoughts / words at the same time.


Loumanac
Posted 18 August 2008 at 05:34 pm

Woah! I was just reading this article and a mate I had been thinking about and meaning to call all week - especially this morning called me just as I finished reading the last paragraph! Coincidence or should I say "Baader-Meinhof" ?!!!

Too awesome, these things happen to me everyday! hehehehe ;P (no really)


mabs239
Posted 08 November 2008 at 01:10 am

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

I have had the same experience. I happened to see the time at about exactally 2:39 PM, quite regularly. Besides I have one more feeling, some times it feels as if I have gone through the same sequence of events before. Though it is very difficult to remember when. But on the time you know what happened next last time you had same sequence (or you imagine you had) and it follows precisely. I wonder if someone else shares this phenomenon.


JonnyC
Posted 20 November 2008 at 06:20 am

Very good, Alan. That's the funniest line yet!:

"However it came to be known by such a name, it is clear that Baader-Meinhof is yet another charming fantasy whose magic is diluted by stick-in-the-mud science and its sinister cohort: facts."


sweeper
Posted 21 November 2008 at 04:03 am

I am browsing through old articles on the website as i'm bored at work. As each page seems to take a good couple of minutes to load on my ancient work computer, i tend to click previous article, then go do something else while it loads. After reading the last article i decided to have a look at what is on at the cinema and noted a film called "The Baader-Meinhof Complex". While trying to remember what Baader-Meinhof was, i clicked back on to DI, to find that this article had loaded up. I blame little green men.


ShellyMilwaukee
Posted 18 December 2008 at 12:34 pm

I have always attributed this occurrence to the human brain as well, but I figured that the reason Baader-Meinhof happens to all of us is because we tend to filter out and ignore topics and vocabulary we are unfamiliar with. Then once we become familiar with a new word or topic we then tune in when someone brings it up. Anyone agree??


ruby
Posted 05 January 2009 at 02:11 pm

Ruby. My girlfriend and I were tailgating a basketball game recently (yes at a hoops game)...and this song came on by the Kaiser Chefs, called "Ruby".

We were having a great time, loving the song, and then talked about "Ruby"...said we should name our first girl Ruby.

Then a few days later this new tv show came out called...you guessed it..."Ruby".

Then I'm playing guitar hero on Xbox, and there's the song, you can play it at home..."Ruby".

Then guess what happens? She gets pregnant!!! We look at each other and pretty much say "Ruby".

In Victoria Secrets the other night, picking out bigger bra's (lol)...I tell the saleswoman about the baby and if it's a girl...you know...well, she says "That was supposed to be MY NAME!"...

I hear a story on the radio the other day about these famous lesbians getting together in the UK..one of them is named "Ruby Rose"...how about that!?!?!

It's constant and has been going on for over a month straight~!

Ruby! Ruby! Ruby!


mossberg8
Posted 25 January 2009 at 08:27 pm

I had a good example that happened today involving two girls who look alike but when i tried to express it in detail it became much too complex so i will summarize. I dated a girl with a sister named allison who didn't look much like her, almost immidiately afterword i met a girl who was similar to the first in looks, personality, and passtimes. I thought it would be weird if she also had a sister that looked similar to the first girl's sister and as it turns out she also has a sister named allison.

A good and somewhat germane story happened to me during middle school when the song How You Remind Me by Nickelback became popular, seriously, for a week i woke up every day to that song on my clock radio. I don't know why a station would play a song at the same time every day but it did, then i tended to hear that song nearly every other time i turned on my radio. After the first two weeks i decided to tally up my results over the next week. That goddamn song was the first song i heard every time i turned on the radio about 50% of the time during that third week. I continued to hear that song at about twice a day even after i stopped listening to my own radio. I suppose if that was the most popular song of all time it would make some sense but seriously 50% of the time is unprecedented.


comamoto
Posted 19 February 2009 at 10:16 am

Along the same lines -- slightly -- there is a Straight Dope article discussing "lunar effect" and the idea that more things happen (i.e. car accidents, crimes, general negative/wacky human behavior) when the moon is full. Straight Dope dismisses the notion on the same grounds as discussed above: selective attention and pattern recognition.

"Nobody notices when there's a full moon and nothing happens -- you only notice when something does happen. In other words, heads I win, tails don't count."

Here's the link to the full article:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/552/do-things-get-crazy-when-the-moon-is-full


Cyber Rodent
Posted 08 April 2009 at 03:55 pm

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

Wanna know something odd? When I read this post, I instinctively looked up at the clock over my desk, (I read DI during my breaks at work a lot of thetime), and although it wasn't 9:11, it was 10:45, which meant that the large and small hands were resting on the 9 and 11 numerals respectively...


Erickerick
Posted 18 May 2009 at 10:03 pm

(Just watch The Number 23 =)

This is really damn interesting! One particular case i found very interesting in showing the phenomenon is this:

mennehaha said: "I've never heard about this play before, and I have suddenly received two references to it in the same day. What's really crazy is that about a week later, I'm watching Miss Congeniality and the scene where she is getting all made up for the first time, Sandra Bullock tells the aggressive hairstylist "Take it easy, Sweeny Todd! "Crazy…"

Well, as far as i understood it, you have probably heard about Sweeney Todd a dozen times before in your life (it's a really famous story), but hadn't noticed it! As ShellyMilwaukee said, we tend to forget things unfamiliar to us. Never before had you heard it twice the same day, that resulting in you forgetting about it until the next time you would hear the word, so by the day you heard it twice, you thought that was the first two times you had heard the word! Damn interesting. I experience this kind of thing all the time: when i hear a new word i've never heard before (on the internet or tv, for instance), i begin to hear it again and again, but that's just me noticing it more.. i know i have probably heard the word countless times in my life before! (Wikipedia's article on BM explains this).

For further reading on related phenomena, look up on Wikipedia for:
- Forer Effect (or Barnum Effect, the thing that makes us think random information is meaningful to us, like horoscope);
- Cold Reading (the technique used to intentionally fool people in this way);
- Confirmation Bias (the tendency of always giving a lot more credit to evidences that confirm one's beliefs and prejudices, and at the same time ignoring evidences of the contrary;
- Self Propaganda; Apophenia; Subjective Validation; and others...

- And the Number 23 Enigma of course. If you haven't seen the film based on this phenomenon, i recommend it =). On the DVD Making Of, Jim Carrey talks about how he himself had a thing with the number 23 and how he was just talking about it when the director called about hiring him for this new film - the "meaningful coincidence" just there!

- And lastly, the novel Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson (creator of cyberpunk genre and the ideas behind the Matrix movies).. it talks about all these things i guess. From Wikipedia: "The novel's central theme involves the examination of the human desire to detect patterns or meaning and the risks of finding patterns in meaningless data. Other themes include methods of interpretation of history, cultural familiarity with brand names, and tensions between art and commercialization. The September 11, 2001 attacks are used as a motif representing the transition to the new century."

It's amazing how we can fool ourselves into thinking that ordinary things have a deep significance to them.
We got to be careful.

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

And for those of you talking about the clock at 9:11 (some 9 people as far as i counted).. i think that really has to do with the infamous date of the WTC incident. In fact, the people that say that the whole thing was a hoax, an inside job by the government, would even say the date 9-11 was deliberately chosen as a way of burning the "Emergency Number" into the minds of people, in order to justify subsequent wars that had in fact other purposes. I won't talk about that, but the effetc the number had on people's minds and lifes is really ramarkable.

trillian said: "I wouldn't be surprised, though, if after the first few coincidental glimpses of 9:11 on the clock, my mind learned to look for it, or to look at the clock at the right time (in order to reward that pattern-finding center). We humans have pretty decent internal clocks, so maybe my unconscious just wants to weird me out."

I definitely go with this too! It only helps us think it's not just coincidence. And not just internal clocks, i'd say PERIPHERAL VISION too! Things we see with the corner of the eye, just subconsciously, like the 9:11 on the clock, and THAT makes us really look at the clock and consciously see the numbers... i think that by that time we have ALREADY seen the numbers unconsciously.


dirkstarkiller
Posted 12 July 2009 at 04:35 pm

this is happening to me all the time! but one particular story has really been bothering me for a long time.
last year, I was looking through my moms old cassettes and put one on - Thriller by Michael Jackson. I did recognize it, but I didn't knew it was MJ's song. I decided to go look at the computer and entered a random link - it was the video for Thriller. I remembered that I was watching that video as a kid, and that I was pretty freakin' scared of it. It really caught my attention.

Later that night I watched a tv-show where choirs are singing songs - one of them sang Thriller.

The day after that I looked up another video, which I had never noticed - the intro of the video was a parody of the Thriller video.

For over a month the whole Thriller-thing stalked me! It was on t-shirts, tv-shows, jokes on the radio - EVERYWHERE!
When I talked to my mom about it, I realized that Thriller was a pretty big cultural thing (since I am very young) but it still bothered me a lot...
and many many many more things like this has happened to me.. now I've got a name for it!


the jar
Posted 21 September 2009 at 03:38 pm

rp2 said: "whoa.. I just knew you were going to put up an article about this.. happens to me about every other day"

thanks for the info...a guy at my work thought that he discovered this phenomenon


pinkfuzzytoolbelt
Posted 06 April 2010 at 01:24 pm

On a lighter note, my kids (ages 12 and 15) are amazed at how many silver Taurus sedans are on the road - and they never saw even one - until I started driving one.


dance2bridge
Posted 08 April 2010 at 01:30 pm

This phenomenon started happening to me a few months ago, very frequently every day, sometimes a few times a day. and its frequency really started to blow me away. There were well over 100. They usually had to do with language - things or names I'd never heard of before or rarely heard of in the past appearing in one context, then appearing from seemingly out of nowhere in a complete different context within a very few hours and then never coming up again since that time. Then it suddenly stopped after two or three months and now after several months it has started again in the past few days. I asked other people if they'd experienced this and only one friend could relate to what I was saying. I named the phenomenon "synchronicity" months ago when this started, not knowing that this concept had already been identified by that name until reading about it now. One recent example was meeting a baby named "Aspen" yesterday--I had never heard anyone with that name before--and then seeing in a documentary about something called "Aspen leaf" within a few hours which I'd also never heard of. I also was working on a description of a workshop on English usage called "Between You and I" only to pass by a library shelf with book sticking out entitled "Between You and I". In a couple of cases, there have been 3 synchronistic events with the same term.


el378
Posted 23 August 2010 at 07:57 am

Whether someone else asks me the time or I look myself a large majority of the time it's either 8.08, 3.03, 9.09, 11.11. These types of incidence happen alot in my life and yes I was diagnosed as schizophrenic but surely that means your neural processing is slighty wrong and the connections are then more easily recognised. I certainly do not dwell on finding the meaning of these occurances and just accept that they happen, finding a name for it is the best thing ever, particularly as my friend recommended that I should see this film, hence why I stumbled across this site.
The 'Beyond Coincidence' book by Martin Plimmer and Brian King contains some great stories which you could attribute to synchronicity or the Baader-Meinhoff Phenomenon. Happy reading.


kularic
Posted 22 March 2011 at 09:31 pm

Stephen said: "Whenever I look at the digital clock beside my bed it almost always registers within the last few seconds of that minute. 57-58-59-00. When calculating the possibility of this happening it should happen about only 5 percent of the time. However this is happening about 90 percent of the time. Even when walking into the room from downstairs I seem to be arriving in the room within the last few seconds of the minute, and this is happening time after time. This may happen several times an hour, at which time I become more conscious of it happening. If I think about it to much, it doesn’t seem to work. I have to be completely unaware of the phenomenon for it to happen. I first noticed this phenomenon about fifteen years ago when I bought a digital watch. Whenever I glimpsing down at my watch the minute was within the last few seconds of the hour. I had no idea that this kind of thing happens to other people.

This is not the only strange phenomenon that I am aware of."

After reading your comment, i looked at my watch and it was on 58 seconds! Wow!


cog
Posted 04 March 2012 at 06:05 am

I share mine with you - I was watching the baader meinhof complex - a film about the terrorist group. I'd never heard of the group before the film.
after it finished i was reading a list of cognitive biases on wikipedia that my friend had sent me . this phenomena was in the list ..... tis what brought me here. no doubt itl come up on radio 4 soon.
I like it . how about it is exciting , means my brain is remembering some knowledge for a change, it will help me remember the name of the group rather than being tongue tied in discussion , you know rather than being scary and meaning something bad may happen. It happens all the time but this been my favorite!.


Vicora
Posted 12 March 2012 at 01:49 pm

Ohh spooky. Read this article before work this morning, first time I'd heard the term. Appeared as an answer on University Challenge (a panel quiz pitting 4 students of University A against 4 from University B, UK) this evening - I finally got a question right.


JL
Posted 23 August 2012 at 06:19 pm

I just came across this thread today. I defintely do not have the time to all read 166 comments however thought to share my part.

I get this badder-meinhoff phenomenon every single day. Averaging about three times a day however can be three times in one hour.

This phenomenon has affected my life so much that i began to keep a diary of it happening- not that this would help anything in anyway- but it is so strong in my life that i felt the need to document it.

I definately agree with the scientific explanation however one can not help but wonder if there is something more too it when it is this common.

And my experience with it isnt just basic coincidences- there are times that are so unbelievable that i literally laugh out loud in astonishment, as if someone was playing a joke on me.

I find this phenomena extremely interesting and if anyone has anything intelligent to say about it, i would enjoy hearing from you.


victor
Posted 14 September 2012 at 03:11 pm

There is also the compression of information at the limit of expansion in a holographic universe. Related information may have the same fractal source and so therefore be closer together in what we perceive as "time."


taytronskee
Posted 14 October 2012 at 10:07 am

This is so weird, I just saw this page on Facebook from a friends post and decided to read about this. It's really strange and interesting,more strange because the word "plucky" that's used above. I JUST learned about that word in my college reading class last week. Ive never heard of the word and didn't know what it ment til last week and now it's here in this thread talking about coincidences. Verry interesting.


GDSquire
Posted 31 October 2012 at 02:03 pm

Quite a long reading list above..

My story is that there is a 3 digit number I see frequently. This 3 digit number
started with a preset bike chain lock combo. I knew it so well that I used it for another customizable lock. The chain lock was for my first bike as a teen.

This same number was the time it took for me to run my first mile around a baseball field a fee times, at a military academy.

A few years later I bought my first car, which it's last 3 digits on it's VIN are the same also.

My first name is 7 digits long, but my full name is 22 digits long, so there might be some way of justifying the number around that (right Alan?).

The 3 digit combo was 723.

My 23rd birthday landed on 9/9/09.

There is a car cleaning chemical that I use that just so happens to be called
Chemical#713.

I am sure there is more, can't think of anything else.


GDSquire
Posted 31 October 2012 at 02:12 pm

GDSquire said: "Quite a long reading list above..

My story is that there is a 3 digit number I see frequently. This 3 digit number
started with a preset bike chain lock combo. I knew it so well that I used it for another customizable lock. The chain lock was for my first bike as a teen.
This same number was the time it took for me to run my first mile around a baseball field a fee times, at a military academy.
A few years later I bought my first car, which it’s last 3 digits on it’s VIN are the same also.
My first name is 7 digits long, but my full name is 22 digits long, so there might be some way of justifying the number around that (right Alan?).
The 3 digit combo was 723.
My 23rd birthday landed on 9/9/09.
There is a car cleaning chemical that I use that just so happens to be called
Chemical#713.
I am sure there is more, can’t think of anything else."

----------

Oh right, first birthday on the east coast was at 7 years old, in my first home. 7 years old was also my fathers age when his mother died mysteriously.

And, oh no, my cell phone's battery is at 17%.


GDSquire
Posted 31 October 2012 at 02:22 pm

GDSquire said: "GDSquire said: “Quite a long reading list above..
My story is that there is a 3 digit number I see frequently. This 3 digit number
started with a preset bike chain lock combo. I knew it so well that I used it for another customizable lock. The chain lock was for my first bike as a teen.
This same number was the time it took for me to run my first mile around a baseball field a fee times, at a military academy.
A few years later I bought my first car, which it’s last 3 digits on it’s VIN are the same also.
My first name is 7 digits long, but my full name is 22 digits long, so there might be some way of justifying the number around that (right Alan?).
The 3 digit combo was 723.
My 23rd birthday landed on 9/9/09.
There is a car cleaning chemical that I use that just so happens to be called
Chemical#713.
I am sure there is more, can’t think of anything else.”
———-
Oh right, first birthday on the east coast was at 7 years old, in my first home. 7 years old was also my fathers age when his mother died mysteriously.
And, oh no, my cell phone’s battery is at 17%."

---

And also!

1 day after I learned of Chile's september 11th, Alan Bellows posted
about the very same thing, and also he had messaged me on gmail
thanking me about notifying about a site error on the archives, 1 week before I saw it and replied.


Ross
Posted 12 March 2013 at 06:55 am

The concept is called "Law of attraction". One of the 4 laws of creation. Read book called "The power of now"


Bonafide
Posted 01 April 2013 at 03:26 am

I look at the clock every 10:22..which is also my birthday. So i figured this may be my lucky number (1022). Its gets very interesting to knw that everytime i use this number for eg. A lottery or draw......I LOSE! Am serious


metssy
Posted 29 August 2013 at 02:06 pm

There's also the Donofrio-Flynn phenomenon, wherein two or more people simultaneously Baader-Meinhoff and later realise they did so in parallel.


mane
Posted 25 December 2013 at 03:17 am

I've always thought it is either:

you get updates in a matrix, or at least vocabular subcategory, that manifests that way. Like new songs in iTunes shuffle. (mostly joking though)

or (which is a bit more serious and thus likely)

you just don't notice it until it really (emphasis) gets your attention. But when it does you start noticing in more frequently, because you see it in places, where you just haven't noticed it before. It is sorta like the matrix version, but as if the matrix was in you brain.. (wait... what?!)


Jessica Barrios
Posted 19 January 2014 at 05:00 pm

rp2 said: "whoa.. I just knew you were going to put up an article about this.. happens to me about every other day"

yeah it drives me in sane to be honest! Specially after turning my head to the clock at 11:11 every day Or seeing the name Scott everywhere!!!


70sghettocat
Posted 22 January 2014 at 08:49 am

What happens to me all the time is:
I'll be thinking of a song. It will be playing in my brain unendingly. And within a few hours, I'll hear it on the radio, or supermarket muzak.
Now when that happens, I'll know to go to the seafood counter and buy a plate of shrimp.


Hmmm
Posted 27 January 2014 at 05:52 pm

I catch up on my newspaper and magazine reading while I watch TV. Last night I was reading an article in the WSJ called "Kramer and the Smell of the Beach". It talked about Seinfeld's Kramer and how, 17 years ago, he found the house he lives in now. The owner said Paul Williams designed his house. At first, Kramer thought they meant Paul Williams the songwriter. (Remember, this happened 17 years ago.) I haven't heard anything about Paul Williams in years, maybe decades. I was watching the Grammy Awards last night. Cross my heart, really truly this happened, about fifteen minutes after I read about him in the article, Paul Williams walks up on stage to collect the Grammy with Daft Punk for Album of the Year! I had a stack of old newspapers and magazines to read, and I just happened to have picked up that particular section to read at that particular time. Are the angels speaking to me or am I looney?! Is this common? This happens to me all the time.


Linder
Posted 08 February 2014 at 01:52 pm

My friends and I use the term "plate of shrimp" for that experience, and here I thought we came up with it! (as derived from RepoMan, of course). Has a much better ring than Baader-Meinhof, to me anyway.

Eclipse said: "This phenomenon also commonly known as a "plate of shrimp", after the RepoMan quote from the character Miller:

"A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.""


James Rustle
Posted 03 March 2014 at 08:02 pm

Coincidentally I was recently reading about the Red Army Faction but had no idea until now that they were also known as Baader-Meinhof.


Kate H
Posted 04 March 2014 at 08:58 am

In our group of friends, we call it the Norm Crosby Effect, because of how I first noticed it. I was driving home in that near-fugue state when your brain just does whatever, and for some reason Norm Crosby popped into my head. No reason, no reference, just there in the ebb and flow of thought. Now, Norm doesn't really pop up in my day-to-day doings, this being just a few years ago and the fact that I was only in my 30s. So later that evening as I'm getting ready to start dinner my now-hubbie walks in the room. I can hear the TV in the man cave and ask what he's watching.

"Just a rerun of Roseanne. It's pretty good; Norm Crosby's in this episode."

And the Effect was born.


Allie
Posted 23 March 2014 at 10:34 am

This has been happening to me for years. I see the number 11, 1:11, 11:11 all the time, not every day. I was so amazed as to why this happens to me, if I am the only one to see this so I googled it and found out that there are more people with the same phenomenon. There is also a site dedicated to it, I am not a cult joiner but it was good to know I was not alone.

I have also noticed that when the TV plays in the background and I write something in the computer the same word I write I hear on the TV almost simultaneously.

I don't know how to explain these phenomena in my life, I just take them in as cosmic coincidences, as my connection to the universe, a sign of alignment..... I close my eyes I acknowledge the moment and give thanks.


Mr Science
Posted 02 April 2014 at 06:42 am

"How the phenomenon came to be known as "Baader-Meinhof" ... " my question is to whom is this known to? There is no mention of this syndrome in any published scientific, medical, or psychological literature. It does not appear in the list of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

Therefore my conclusion is that only the author, Mr. Bellows, knows the phenomenon by that name. All other internet references are to this article, so good job in coining the phrase.


Alan Bellows
Posted 02 April 2014 at 07:53 am

Mr Science said: "All other internet references are to this article, so good job in coining the phrase."

I cannot take coining credit, but sadly I no longer have the links to the older references. The oldest I found at the time of writing the article (2006) was a discussion thread on the St. Paul Pioneer Press from the mid 1990s where participants were discussing the sensation, and decrying the lack of a term for it. Someone there asserted naming rights and called it "Baader-Meinhof," presumably based on their own experience hearing that moniker twice in close temporal proximity.

The more scientifically accepted name nowadays is "frequency illusion," but Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky didn't coin that term until 2006, over a decade after Baader-Meinhof was coined, and around the same time this article was written. So I argue that both names are valid given the history.


Choirgirl13
Posted 24 April 2014 at 04:02 pm

It is also known as Reticular activation. Like when you buy a new 7 series BMW four door sedan and everyone else has one too!


Doms
Posted 26 May 2014 at 07:04 pm

Love love this article.


WalkingCivilWar
Posted 14 June 2014 at 03:11 am

I googled Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and was directed to this great article.
While reading it, like many other readers, I began to think about an instance of Baader-Meinhof that I had experienced. Years ago I read the word 'serendipity' somewhere and not knowing it's meaning I looked it up in the dictionary. About an hour later I bumped into an old friend and during our conversation I mentioned I had a tooth-ache. She recommended a wonderful dentist who was local and who bulk-billed, a dentist that I didn't know existed. I told her I was lucky to have run into her that day to which she replied, " yes, it is rather serendipitous." The following day I was listening to a podcast and the presenter used the word 'serendipity' bringing the number of mentions of this word to three times in 24 hours.

Fast-forward to 10 minutes ago and just as I was going to leave this website, I scanned through some of the comments. It's normally not my wont to comment on message boards that I'm unfamiliar with, but I felt I just had to after noticing a comment that was posted eight years ago. It was submitted by Mennehaha and his/her opening line was "Talk about serendipity."


GTYoungblood
Posted 21 July 2014 at 11:32 am

trillian said: "Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time........"

I know how you feel. For me it is 6:23, in the morning to be specific.

But there is more..

In grade school, 5th grade if I remember correctly, the teacher had us all stand at our seats. She said, "in a few moments I will say start, and I want you to close your eyes, and wait for one minute to pass before sitting down." She waited for several seconds to pass after the minute hand of the classrooms clock to make its unusually loud click to pass, and said "START NOW".

Months before this I was with my family at Fisherman's Wharf. I lived in San Francisco while I was a kid. While in the vicinity of the Wharf, there is a famous clock about the size of a lamp-post, maybe stop sign is closer. Its somewhat Victorian looking. Anyway.. I stood there while we waited for whatever reason, and I watched the second hand tick. That one second tick pattern it had sticks with me to this day.

So, after I counted to 60, with the rhythm of that clock in my head keeping tempo, I finally sat down. My teacher said I was the only one even close, and hit it dead on perfect.

Ever since that time I have noticed an uncanny ability to tell time. Most of the time this 'super power' reveals itself when I wake up at odd hours of the night, and correctly guess the time, to the minute before reaching for my watch, or now cell phone.

I can often feel when its 6:23 too. As far as I know, nothing special ever happened at 6:23, nothing I can remember. Maybe that was the actual time my Mother work me up for school? I dont know.

As for the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon, I see it at least once a week. Sometimes with practical effects. Let me explain that.. I do servicing work on copiers, printers, computers, etc.. I have roughly 500 machines in my territory to service, some of them i have yet to even see. The servicing is usually random. Fix a paper jam here, clean up a toner spill there, why cant I print over here, you get the idea. But several times a year, I get the same thing, over and over in one week, or sometimes all in a single day. Not something simple like a paper jam, that happens all the time, but something rare like a fuser failure. Thats a part that just doesn't fail very often, and you don't expect to get 3 to 5 in one day, from one territory. Once it starts, I can tell.

I have begun to preemptively stock up on particular parts in anticipation of this. It usually pays off. But that could be, and probably is just random hit and miss. I'd need a lot more instances of this, but its happened dozens of times.


George
Posted 23 July 2014 at 03:49 pm

I get this about every second day, but of all of the times, I think the winning experience was learning the Greek word for belly button (Omphalos) and hearing it twice again in the same week.

The Greek word for belly button.

Why.


Barney
Posted 17 August 2014 at 02:18 pm

Damn interesting en'all... but, I just wish people ( Those from the 'US' particularly ) would use the term 'frequency illusion' or pick on some other group - possibly, one closer to their own home... and drop the late 60's early 70's West German terrorist group leader moniker. It was probably picked 'ad hoc' and of course, for purely mnemonic purposes - the reason it has caught on?

'Baader Meinhof' or The Red Army Faction - means almost nothing in the US. It's an historical platitude, with no cultural meaning or significance. It's sad, that a militant group so vehemently opposed to US style capitalism, become a catch phrase for the superstitiously minded to fuss over. If it was a politically incorrect 'ethic' word, it would have been dropped immediately. A side note... Did Mr.Zwicky really coin the phrase in '06 or, was it later... when the 'German made' film 'The Baader Meinhof Complex' ( Der Baader Meinhof Komplex ) came out in '08?


Charles
Posted 02 October 2014 at 08:35 pm

I Googled this after watching the pilot episode of "A to Z" on NBC. A character learns about the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon and then hears someone else talking about it a few seconds later. Oh, you're describing the Baader Meinhoff phenomenon... wait, I just heard about that... Mind blown! Very clever writing.

Cristin Milioti's character was the Holy Grail and quest taker in my previous favorite TV series about destiny in finding love, "How I Met Your Mother" where her character also seeks and finds love in a path that we see clearly only in retrospect. A to Z is my new favorite such show. I like the balance of the skeptic.

With data gathering of our clicks, purchases, location, etc., we get individualized advertising and suggested connections on Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and Zoosk. It is useful to be self aware that our mind connects these as patterns since we did not create them but they are being orchestrated. Self awareness allows us to consider the source of the patterns inside ourselves, like seeing 9:11 on the clock more often, as well as externally generated patterns.

Is destiny the simplest explanation for finding love? Maybe calling it "destiny" is facile, but it is a good placeholder until we figure it out or in the event we don't make a legendary 10-season TV show about it (such as HIMYM). However I still see life as an amazing adventure either way. We'll see if I'm so lucky in love... We create love by giving acceptance and appreciation. All it takes to have love is to give love and expand your capacity to receive. So we can make our own luck there.

No doubt Google will bring Baader-Meinhoff back around to me in my next search... and I'll be looking for it!


Jennifer Reichart
Posted 03 October 2014 at 07:38 pm

NBC's new tv show "A to Z" mentions this term. I chuckled when the fellow "who just learned about it" hears someone else say the TERM and then starts to say "I just learned about that", and catches himself saying it.. and goes "Whoa!" And walks away. LOL


sods1234
Posted 28 October 2014 at 08:46 pm

Dr.Grimgravy said: "I have the situation of looking at the clock exactly at 9:11 pm/am. It is weird, but it seems I look at the clock at exactly 9:11 all the time."

omg haha that happened to me too! It was after I watched an Internet Vine where this guy feels nervous when he looks at the time and it says 9:11 and then for weeks following that, whenever I looked at my watch/phone etc it was 9:11 on the dot, morning or at night :')


vind
Posted 11 December 2014 at 03:53 pm

Three words: law of attraction.


biffula
Posted 18 January 2015 at 03:55 pm

I'm Brian Fellows!


RiC D
Posted 18 February 2015 at 09:16 pm

I always called this 'The Simpsons Effect' because by about 1998 here in the UK, The Simpsons was aired twice a day every day except Saturday. What would happen is you'd frequently run into something obscure and specific that was featured in an episode you'd just watched. Of course the reality is that when you're watching that many hours of a tv show with as many side jokes and references as The Simpsons, it shouldn't be surprising at all.

As a few people have mentioned accurately guessing the time, I've prided myself on being good at cancelling the alarm within seconds of its set time, usually when I've given myself another 10 minutes or so.

I was most proud about the time my power went out for..I suppose say two hours and 34 minutes, so I manually set my old timey electric non smart clock forward by that amount until my computer loaded up and connected to the internet - of course when it connected I saw that my estimate was spot on to the minute.


Puppet
Posted 21 February 2015 at 07:17 am

Strange, I thought about this when I found all my socks that had disappeared in the washing machine.


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