Good Question: Does Numerology Work?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People got excited on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11), and again on the 11th (1/11/11) much like they will in November (11/11/11).

There’s something about repeating numbers and certain numbers that captivates people. Some go so far as to name their children certain names so it corresponds to a certain numerical value. But does numerology really work?

“Every number has a frequency. And every number represents a certain category,” said numerologist Mojan, a spiritual healer and psychic who has done readings for celebrities from her home in Los Angeles.

The idea behind numerology is that your name and your birth date affects the cosmos and your life. My birthdate of Jan. 24, 1975 corresponds to a life path number of 11.

Here’s how you figure that out: take the number of the month, the digits in the date, and the digits in the year and add them up.

“So you’re going to go 1+2+4+1+9+7+5,” said Mojan, which adds up to 29. Numerologists only use 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 22.

With the number of 29, you add the digits (2+9) to get to a life path number of 11.

“It’s a good day to sign a contract, buy a house, any major decisions are great to be made on the day of your number,” said Mojan.

“We know so little about the universe … and given uncertainty, people like systems that help explain it,” said Douglas Arnold, a University of Minnesota mathematics professor and past President of an international applied mathematics society.

What does 1/11/11 mean to him?

“It means the date on the calendar has a lot of ones in a row, that happens every now and again,” laughed Arnold. “Mathematicians agree that numbers have great predictive power, but the sort of mystical way numerologists do doesn’t have any content or anything behind it.”

Some of this tracks to Pythagoras, in 500 BC. We learned his Pythagorean theorem in school: a2 + b2 = c2

“He was one of the early mathematicians, and an early mystic,” said Arnold.

But his mystical ideas have been disproven. And Arnold called the idea that arbitrary numbers have cosmic meaning “intellectually bankrupt. It’s not a rational process.”

Mojan said she understands the skeptics, and acknowledges the limitations of numerology.

“I believe in facts,” she said, but she has had incidents where the numerology works. “My experiences have led me otherwise.”

Mojan said she has predicted marriages and life paths, based on a person’s number.

According to one website with number descriptions, my life path of number 11 indicates: “Gifted with an inordinate amount of intuition” and “a sensitive and passionate lover.”

“The world is extremely complicated,” said Arnold, “so anything that makes it simpler to understand, we gravitate towards.”

Click here to find out what your number is.

WCCO-TV’s Jason DeRusha Reports

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Andrew

    So Mojan claims she has predicted marriages and life paths. Did she provide any support for her claims? No? You just let someone make unsubstantiated claims and didn’t demand evidence for them on your show. Would you let anyone else get away with wild and strange claims without challenging them?

    If Mojan can truly do what she claims, she should contact the James Randi Educational Foundation and apply for the Million Dollar Challenge.

    • Jason DeRusha

      oh come on Andrew- I think we pretty clearly explained that there’s no science to support it.

      • Andrew

        My criticism is restricted to the fact that you allowed her make claims and then did not require her to support them. She says she’s predicted marriages and “life paths”. Evidence please. Did she do a statistical analysis of her predictions? Has confirmation bias influenced her reported success rate? What is the likelihood of randomly guessing marriages? What is the likelihood of guessing marriages based on common interests? These are all questions she should be asking herself to determine whether other not she can do what she claims.

        And they are all questions you should be asking before letting her on the air. You have a responsibility to present true information. Presenting “both sides” of a story doesn’t do anyone any good when one side is demonstrably wrong.

        The next time there’s a medical topic, will you contact a homeopath? Even if you come down of the side that it doesn’t work, will you give them airtime to spout unfounded claims? How about a blood-letter? Or an acupuncturist?

        I’m not complaining because I like to be mean, or because I don’t like the Good Question segments. Most of them often have a skeptical tone, which I do like. I would suggest that for any future stories involving topics like numerology you contact a local skeptics organization. They are more likely than anyone to have resources dealing with these types of topics.

      • Jason DeRusha

        I thought the math professor calling it: “intellectually bankrupt. It’s not a rational process” pretty much covered that.

  • Greg Laden

    I often like the “good question” spot but this one missed the mark. No reasonable individuals can expect numerology to be valid. that should have been a firm conclusion of this piece. There is no “two sides” to this story.

    • Jason DeRusha

      Greg — no reasonable person would have concluded this story thinking that numerology is valid. Did you watch the video?

  • MarkH

    As Carl Sagan once quipped, “incredible claims demand incredible evidence.” I see no evidence here-merely wishful thinking and a heathy amount of credulity and superstition. Numbers, planets, spirits do not control human events or individual destinies. It may be entertaining, but we must resist the urge to invest ourselves in these childish (and ultimately dangerous) superstitions for which there is simply no good evidence for support.

    • TJ

      I think that Carl Sagan’s ‘The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark’ should be required reading for High School graduation. The world could use a little more rational thought and evidence-based arguments.

  • Jesus Cristman

    Love it…Thank you for posting Jason!

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  • Lee

    This is interesting… according to the link to find my number my husband and I are not compatible HA HA! I don’t really understand numerology and so I don’t follow it but it was fun to learn and read what it all should mean.

  • Donald

    The twin towers looked like the number 11. New York is not the 9th state of the union though…? 11, 10, 9… Nov., Oct., Sept. maybe.
    This is just sporatic on my part. I am in my 50’s and just a passing thought/observation, ‘thoughtversation’.
    Cheers, DVW

  • Donald

    In Christian “numerology”, the name of a man is/was based upon comparing the number of letters in a persons name, and the then emporerof Rome (circa AD 70) was Nero.
    Jesus was born in 3 or 4 BC. He died when He was 33.
    Keep up the good presentations!,

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    For people who are intrested i found this site that offer a free numerology read, you might want to check it out! It’s available at

  • Tom the Numerology Guy

    Numerology is using numbers to determine and predict things about your life and coming events. While not as publicly accepted as other sciences, many people believe there are recurring patterns in life that can be seen in studying numbers and then used to predict things that have not happened yet.

    You can get a numerology reading to see what numbers say about your own life.

  • nUmerology day number

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