In the 1990s, when my friend, Vladimir Temchenko, and I became seriously interested in the problem of unexplained coincidences, we called them “packets” for short. During this period, we analyzed the world around us like computers in terms of strange coincidences, and we needed a short and concise word. Why packets? Packets combine a certain number of identical items, for example, a packet of cigarettes or a packet of money. In the case of unexplained coincidences, events are easily combined based on a certain common trait and appear to be similar.

This was the start. We then began to gather and record all stories about packets. These were strange instances of the type wherein all the employees of a single organization had “bird” names, for example, Sinitsyn (chickadee), Orlov (eagle), etc. Or all the coworkers were born under the sign of Aquarius.

Or here is yet another story. It began thusly: “It’s simply some kind of mysticism,” said a friend about an event that amazed him. Within a space of a month and half, two hubcaps flew off the wheels of his Zhiguli [Lada automobile]. And this happened in the same location – near the subway station on the Garden Ring Road in Moscow. Coincidence, you say? Possibly. But why precisely there, where the road is the smoothest, without any potholes? Leonid drives up to a hundred kilometers a day (he lives outside the city), and it would be more natural for a hubcap to fall off somewhere along a country road. But that’s not the end of the story.

Soon, yet another acquaintance told us about a similar episode. Anna Petrovna returned from New Zealand. There, she had occasion to drive a car. And, one day, she had a hubcap fly off a wheel. Imagine her surprise when she stopped and discovered a wide assortment of detached hubcaps on the shoulder of the road... The one from her car was also lying among them. These similar rare events occurred almost simultaneously at different ends of the world.

But what is to be done with all these packets and why does modern science scarcely address this subject at all? The generally accepted answer was obvious. “Packets, or whatever you call them, are just a game of your filtering mind and nothing more. Everything can be explained from the standpoint of the probability theory”. However, the belief in our efforts, as well as in the power of the analytical scientific approach imparted to us at the Moscow Physical-Technical Institute, was so great that we decided to demonstrate that the existence of packets, or in other words unexplained coincidences, could not be explained, generally speaking, within the framework of the probabilistic approach.

Read more:What Do Other Scientists Think About This?

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