In one of the halls of the headquarters of the Society for Psychical Research in West Kensington, one of the most conspicuous debates of the celebrated Society took place. The subject of the debate was Numerology, and to elucidate it two prestigious mathematicians were invited: the English Professor H. D. Killyar and the American Daniel Sokorovitzi. In the hall only the presence of the secretary of the Society was allowed with the order to record all that was said. The senior staff of the SPR would have preferred to attend the debate, but Mr Sokolovitzi alleged that he miscounted in the presence of more than three people, so this format was decided. It would be long to transcribe the debate in its entirety, so here we will stick to its highlight.
At one point, Professor Kylliar expressed the distrust that the number 8 inspired to him. Mr Sokorovitzi laughed openly at that prejudice, “typical of individuals with the intellectual coefficient of a shrimp”, and confessed for his part that the number that inspired terror to him was 5, perhaps because years ago in a roulette he played all his heritage at that number and lost. In fact, he never used that number in his mathematical operations, always replacing it with the number 34, which seemed to him the most similar. Mr Kylliar not only laughed about this but proclaimed that “a mathematician had to be completely stupid to equate 5 with 34”. This infuriated his opponent, who got up from the chair and slapped Mr Kylliar, who fell to the ground and they both got into a fight that ended with the secretary wounded by a shot in the leg. Upon hearing the shot, the members of the SPR burst into the hall and reduced the contenders, who showed their satisfaction for such a heated debate, which they considered tremendously fruitful.