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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


Lost Souls (2000)

Title sequence: nice transformations of numbers into names. Starts out with number and mirror image of what the number will turn into.

Play on Kelson’s recurring Dream. He sees XES. His friend points out that this is sex written backwards, which makes it very funny. However, a medium later points out that in Greek XES means 666, the sign of the devil.

possessed math professor scribbling numbers in an insane asylum

Writes same sequence of numbers over and over again 24 13 2 13 26 19 13 20 1 23 22

Girl: deciphering message. She is trying all cyclic shifts of the simple cipher in which a=1, b=2 etc. The right variation turns out to the one below.

Therefore the right cipher most probably looks like this. Note that the x =6 a b c d e f g
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
h I j k l m n
16 17 18 19 20 21 22o p q r s t u
23 24 25 26 1 2 3
v w x y z
4 5 6 7 8
which indeed gives Peter Kelson the name of the person in the movie who is supposed to turn into the antichrist on his 33rd birthday.Also, shown a fragment of a piece of paper with some cipher info.
p e t e r k e l s o n
24 13 2 13 26 19 13 20 1 23 22

Girl: Are you familiar with the case of Henry Birdson the math professor who went home and murdered his entire family?
Kelson: Yeah, what’s that got to do with you?
Last week the catholic church certified him as genuinely possessed. You realize how rarely they make this ruling?

Medium: Does this mean anything to you? (writes the letters X E S) You do know don’t you that these are also numbers? Greek numbers 6 hundred sixty six, or the sign of the devil.