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Why is 111 an unlucky number?

The number 111 is often associated with bad luck, misfortune, and danger in many cultures around the world. But why is this simple, three-digit number seen as so sinister and unlucky? There are a few key theories and superstitions around the number 111 that help explain its unlucky reputation.


In numerology, the study of numbers and their purported mystical meanings, the number 111 is considered a ‘warning’ number signaling that a detrimental pattern or negative energy has entered your life. This is tied to the significance of the number 1 in numerology, which represents new beginnings and purity. Three 1s in a row are considered an over-amplification of the number 1’s attributes, to the extent that it reflects egoism, self-centeredness, and an over-confidence that leads to recklessness and disregard for others’ wellbeing.

This interpretation of 111 as an “out of balance” number connected to excessive traits of the number 1 is part of why it’s viewed as a sign of misfortune and ill-omen. The repetitiveness of the digit 1 is seen as amplifying both the positive and negative aspects associated with new ventures and independence. When the negatives become overbearing, 111 is thought to signal a coming period of strife or problems.

Biblical Significance

In the Bible, the number 111 is connected to the downfall of man and the rule of Satan. Specifically, 111 is linked to the book of Numbers and the story of the ejection from Eden. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they are said to have unleased 111 kinds of sin. The first sin was from Eve when she doubted God’s word, the second from Adam when he abandoned God’s word, and the rest from their descendants. Thus, 111 has biblical numerological significance related to letting evil and doubt into the world.

Beyond the 111 sins, the number 111 also factors into the story of Cain and Abel as the third descendant of Adam. Cain is said to be the oldest living symbol of the first murder, representing another early introduction of sin and evil into the world. For this biblical connection between 111 and humankind’s fall from grace, the number is seen as unholy and connected to the devil.

Disasters and Tragedies

The number 111 has become linked to major disasters and tragedies, making many people superstitious about its power to predict doom. Some key events connected to the number include:

  • The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 occurred on the 111th day of 2001.
  • The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami occurred on 12/26/2004, and 1+2+2+6+2+0+0+4 = 111.
  • The 2005 London bombings occurred on 7/7 (or 7+7 = 111).
  • Other major airline crashes like Pan Am Flight 103 and American Airlines Flight 11 also involved variations of 111.

After so many catastrophic events involving the number 111, people began to associate it with tragedy and connect it to “signs” or omens of misfortune about to come. It’s become a superstitious belief that if you’re seeing 111 patterns, danger could be looming.

111 in Astrology and the Occult

In astrology and the occult, 111 is sometimes viewed as a “warning” number signifying the spiritual and angelic realms are trying to get your attention. It is thought that if you’re suddenly noticing 111 repeatedly, your angels or spiritual protectors are attempting to communicate or send you an important message.

111 is considered an angel number, and seeing it pop up over and over again means you should closely examine where you are in life and where your thoughts are focused. The assumption is that seeing 111 is a call to raise your spiritual awareness and develop your intuitive abilities. Your angels are trying to point you toward your soul’s purpose and get you out of materialism and ego-driven thinking.

The Uncanny Nature of 111

Part of why 111 strikes people as eerie is that it seems to appear much more often than probability says it should. When glancing at the clock or noticing a bill total or address, 111 emerges constantly. This strange frequency makes people interpret it as a supernatural sign rather than mere coincidence.

Cognitive scientists explain this “frequency illusion” of seeing 111 repeatedly as simply the brain’s selective attention and confirmation bias at work. Your mind notices and remembers 111 while filtering out the many other numbers you observe throughout the day. Yet because 111 is tied to superstition, your mind ascribes meaning to its “curses” and sees contrived patterns rather than randomness.

Table of Probability of Seeing 111

Scenario Probability of 111 Appearing
Looking at a Clock 1 in 720
3-Digit Phone Number 1 in 1000
3-Digit Price 1 in 1000

As shown in the table, the actual probability of noticing 111 in daily life is quite low. Yet the number continues to stand out due to the mind’s focus on it.

111 in Other Cultures and Religions

The superstitions around 111 extend beyond just numerology and Christianity. A variety of cultures and belief systems treat the number as inauspicious and darkly symbolic, including:

Chinese Culture

In China, 111 sounds similar to the Chinese words meaning “one lifetime”. Therefore, giving a gift like a clock featuring 111 could symbolize wishing death on someone. The number is largely avoided in China as it implies impending doom.

Feng Shui

In feng shui principles, the number 111 represents a condition of extreme Yang energy. Too much Yang is seen as dangerous, so 111 is thought to signal volatile energies and foreshadow destruction.


Taoism considers 111 a number denoting a collapse between Heaven and Earth. This breakdown between yin and yang is seen as evidence of discord and disharmony.


In India, it is often considered unlucky if the sum of the digits of one’s birth date equals 111. This is tied to the belief that numbers have vibrations that can influence one’s soul and destiny.

111 in Pop Culture

111 has made its way into many works of pop culture, taking on an eerie and foreboding meaning:

  • Many movies and shows, like LOST, Psycho, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Elementary have highlighted the number 111, playing into its ominous and mystical reputation.
  • Games like BioShock, Goldeneye, and Fallout also use 111 symbolically as a number representing misfortune or evil.
  • Songs like “111” by Sleigh Bells and “Room 111” by Blink-182 treat the number 111 as uncanny and sinister.
  • The highly unlucky Apartment 111 shows up in works ranging from the novel Kafka on the Shore to the Simpsons.

Pop culture’s association between 111 and darkness, dread, and looming disaster has further solidified the number’s place as deeply unlucky and unfavorable.


In summary, 111 is viewed as an unlucky number for several key reasons:

  • In numerology, it represents an over-amplification of the egoic traits associated with the number 1 taken to an extreme.
  • The Bible connects it to the first sins of mankind and the rule of Satan.
  • It has become associated with many real-world disasters and catastrophes.
  • It appears much more often than random probability suggests it should.
  • Other spiritual traditions like Taoism see it as symbolic of a breakdown of harmony and divine order.
  • Pop culture uses it to represent foreboding doom and misfortune.

So while 111 may seem innocuous at first glance, the wide range of historical and cultural associations with the number give it an unshakably unlucky reputation. The next time you notice 111 patterns in your life, you may want to take it as a warning and avoid any risky endeavors!