Synchronicity, luck and chance .




Paul Kammerer (August 17, 1880 in ViennaSeptember 23, 1926 in Puchberg am Schneeberg) was a renowned Austrian biologist who studied and advocated the discredited Lamarckian theory of inheritance – the notion that organisms may pass to their offspring characteristics they have acquired in their lifetime. He began his academic career at the Vienna Academy studying music but graduated with a degree in biology.


Like many of his generation, Kammerer undertook numerous experiments, largely involving interfering with the breeding and development of amphibians. He interested himself in the Lamarckian doctrine of acquired characteristics and eventually reported that a Midwife toad was exhibiting a black nuptial pad on its foot - an acquired characteristic brought about by adaptation to environment.

Claims arose that the result of the experiment had been falsified. The most notable of these claims was made by Dr. G. K. Noble, Curator of Reptiles at the American Museum of Natural History, in the scientific journal Nature.He reported that the black pad actually had a far more mundane explanation: it had simply been injected there with Indian ink. Six weeks later, Kammerer committed suicide.

Seriality theory

Kammerer's other passion was collecting coincidences. He published a book with the title Das Gesetz der Serie (The Law of the Series; never translated into English) in which he recounted 100 or so anecdotes of coincidences that had led him to formulate his theory of Seriality.

He postulated that all events are connected by waves of Seriality. These forces would cause what we would perceive as just the peaks, or groupings and coincidences. Kammerer was known to, for example, make notes in public parks of what numbers of people were passing by, how many carried umbrellas, etc. In reviewing the book, Albert Einstein called the idea of Seriality "Interesting, and by no means absurd."

Koestler reported that when researching his biography of the coincidence collector, Kammerer, he himself was subjected to "a meteor shower" of coincidences. It was as if Kammerer's ghost were grinning down at him saying, "I told you so!"