No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven times.
In the Bible, Joshua’s siege upon the walls of Jericho was conducted in silence save for the blasts of seven ram’s horns. On the seventh day of the assault, Joshua’s men made seven circuits around the walls and the walls fell following mass shouting at the end of the seventh horn-blast.
When I visited the Bodies Revealed exhibition on the last day of September 2004, there was a side room displaying human foetuses, in stages between 6 and 20 weeks development – there were seven of them.
In 1990, American mathematicians Persi Diaconis and David Bayer suggested that seven shuffles are sufficient to achieve an acceptable degree of randomness in a deck of 52 cards. With six or fewer shuffles, the original order of the cards is still strongly in evidence. Beyond seven shuffles, nothing is gained in terms of increased randomness.
Planet Earth’s escape velocity (the speed necessary to escape its gravitational field) is seven miles per second.
When you divide any non-multiple-of-seven number by seven, you get an answer with the same series of recurring digits after the decimal point, but which begins at a differing point in the sequence: 142857 (repeat). Hence, the answer to ‘the amazing enigma which is pi‘, 22 divided by 7, is a number without end – 3.142857142857142857142857142857142857142857 (etc.)
I expect a mathematician will contact me to dispute this fact. If it was such a simple solution, surely people wouldn’t have been calculating pi to millions of decimal places for years . . ? or maybe they haven’t. Perhaps that’s just an urban myth.
The three primary colours may be mixed in only seven combinations: Red and Yellow to create Orange, Red and Blue to create Purple, Yellow and Blue to create Green, and Red, Yellow and Blue to create Black.
A painting of a cat-faced demoness by the artist Fay Pomerance is entitled Lilith of the Seven Tales.
The Gnostic text the Pistis Sophia states that “. . . there are seven heads, each of them having as its true face the face of a cat.”
In the film The Royal Tenenbaums there are seven candles displayed in an unusual sloping holder during the wedding scene . . . at least, I think it was the wedding scene. Or, actually, was it the tail end of the film So I Married An Axe Murderer that I caught the end of after the video of The Royal Tenenbaums had finished? . . . it was late and I was tired. I might have fallen asleep a bit. Anyway, it was a lovely, unusual candle display.
The venomous sting of some species of scorpion is potent enough to kill a dog in seven minutes.
Kurt Vonnegut tells us, in his Address to Graduating Class at Bennington College, 1970 (from his book Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons) that ”. . . About seven hundred years ago, Thomas Aquinas had some other recommendations as to what people might do with their lives . . . He praises the Seven Spiritual Works Of Mercy, which are these:
To teach the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to console the sad, to reprove the sinner, to forgive the offender, to bear with the oppressive and troublesome, and to pray for us all.
He also admires the Seven Corporal Works Of Mercy, which are these:
To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to visit the sick and prisoners, to ransom captives, and to bury the dead.
According to Cola Alberich, the fox with seven tails is the evil genius of the Chinese, among whom it is traditional that the saints and sages have seven holes in their hearts. On the seventh day of the seventh month, great popular festivals were held all over China. The Chinese also hold the lotus with seven petals to be a magical amulet similar to our four-leafed clover.
A time-honoured religious tradition of Italians is to fast for the day preceding Christmas Eve then feast on a meal of seven different sea foods. Whether the seven fish represent the seven sacraments, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the fact that seven of the Apostles were fishermen is not clearly remembered.
The Seven Wonders of the Mediaeval World were regarded as Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Catacombs of Alexandria, the Coliseum of Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Mosque of St Sophia at Constantinople, and the Porcelain Tower at Nanking.
(See also fact #3)
The Babylonian cosmology epic The Enuma Elish was unearthed at Ninevah (seven letters) near Mosul in Iraq carved upon seven tablets.
Three star constellations have always been particularly prominent in man’s view of the heavens, partly because of the brightness of their stars and partly because of their positions. They are the bright north circum-polar group, the Great Bear, the south circum-polar group, the Southern Cross, and the most prominent constellation on the celestial equator, Orion.
The first-named is used as a pointer to the north pole star; the second, together with the very bright pair, Alpha and Beta Centauris, is used to find the position of the south celestial pole, and the last is used, by the time of its rising, as a marker of the seasons. The bright stars in all three of these constellations number seven.
The aquatic larvae of Alder Flies (Family Sialidae) have seven pairs of feathery gills on their abdomen.
King Croseus of Lydia sought to test the reliability of divination by having seven Oracles simultaneously questioned as to his current activity. Only the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi answered correctly that the King was busy boiling a lamb and a tortoise in a bronze pot.
In George A. Romero’s 1968 cult film Night of the Living Dead, seven people are trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by zombies.
When six members of the Japanese Aum cult went to murder meddlesome lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his wife and child in November 1989, one of the six – Dr. Tomomasa Nakagawa – carried seven syringes full of potassium chloride.
When Shoko Asahara entered the Aum cult’s political party, the New Supreme Truth Party, in the Japanese elections of February 1990, all 25 (2+5=7) Aum candidates went down to miserable defeats. Aum had spent $7 million on the race.
(See also fact #348)
At the start of Tony Hancock’s film The Rebel, the train arriving at the platform has the number seven on the front.
William Empson (1906-84) wrote a book (which was published in 1930) titled Seven Types of Ambiguity.
Leo Tolstoy’s wife copied his manuscript of War And Peace by hand seven times.
Hippocrates said, ‘The number seven, because of its occult virtues, tends to bring all things into being; it is the dispenser of life and the source of all change – for the moon itself changes its phase every seven days. This number influences all sublime beings’.
Each phase of the moon takes seven days to complete. There is a seven-day period between neap tide and spring tide, and again between spring tide and neap tide.
We find in Japanese folklore seven gods of luck:
Benten, the goddess of love
Bishamon, the god of war
Daikoku, the god of wealth
Ebisu, the god of self-effacement
Fukurojujin, a god of longevity
Jurojin, another god of longevity
the Hstei, the god of generosity
These gods are related to the seven Buddhist Devas who are said to be responsible for the welfare of humanity.
The Japanese celebrate a birth on the seventh day; they mourn their dead on the seventh day and the seventh week after the passing.
In Chris Morris’s television series Nathan Barley, there is a TV channel called Channel Seven, the logo of which is [a] seven-digited hand.
In the Animals episode of the investigative TV journalism series Brass Eye, Chris Morris can be seen hanging upside down alongside six butchered animal carcasses to deliver his line to camera, making a total of seven animal carcasses (one of them being alive and wriggling, if not actually kicking).
In the biblical Book of Daniel, when the three Jewish exiles, Shadrach, Meshach & Abedgno refused to obey the will of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, he ordered that they be cast into a furnace raised to seven times its regular temperature.
When the island of Krakatau (earlier misnamed Krakatoa) was dismembered by a series of powerful volcanic eruptions on Monday August 27th, 1883, the airwave it produced travelled at the speed of sound around the world for seven recorded passages over the earth’s surface. (The audible sounds carried 4,600 miles – the longest distance travelled by any airborne sound in recorded history). After the explosions, the centre of Krakatau had been replaced by an undersea crater seven kilometres long and 270 metres deep.
There are seven hundred known taxonomic genera of mosses (about ten thousand individual species) and the book Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland by A. J. E. Smith is seven hundred pages long.
On 13.6.2004 Michael Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Not only was this his seventh win of the season, as well as being his seventy-seventh career victory, but it was also the first occasion that anybody had ever won the same Grand Prix seven times.
A human being has as many brain cells as seven million insects combined.
Pencils are 7″ long.
Walking from the Rural Youth Base in Kirkham, Lancashire, England to Carr Hill High School along the path leading to the back of the sports hall, there are seven stone steps leading downwards, each painted with a white line along its leading edge.
The expression ‘to be in the seventh heaven of delight’ comes from the Mohammedans, who recognise seven distinct heavens.
The first heaven is of pure silver. It is the abode of Adam and Eve and in it all the stars – each with its attendant angel – are hung on golden chains like lamps.
The second is made of pure gold and is the abode of John the Baptist and of Jesus.
The third, of pearl, is the domain of Joseph. In this heaven, Azrael, the Angel of Death, continuously writes and erases the names of human beings in a great book.
In the fourth heaven, of white gold, the domain of Enoch, the Angel of Tears never ceases to weep for the sins of men.
The fifth heaven is made of silver and is the dwelling place of Aaron and of the Avenging Angel who presides over elemental fire.
The sixth, of ruby and garnet, is the home of Moses. It is presided over by the Guardian angel of Heaven and Earth, who is half snow and half fire.
The seventh is the ‘real’ heaven of indescribable divine light. It is the domain of Abraham and it is said that here each inhabitant is bigger than the whole earth and has 70,000 heads, each with 70,000 faces, each face having 70,000 mouths, each with 70,000 tongues, each speaking 70,000 languages and all are continuously engaged in chanting the praises of the Most High.
(see also fact #234)
A Sumerian king, Lugulamnemundu, built a temple to the goddess Nintu at Adab. The Temple had seven gates and seven doors and, at its dedication, seven times seven animals were sacrificed.
To knock seven bells out of someone is an old naval term for giving someone a beating.
In Ancient Egyptian magic, the tying of seven knots in a cord was thought to relieve headaches and other minor ailments.
To subdivide a circle into equal segments, mark off successive points along the circumference using the radius. Using one point in the centre and six points along the circumference, totalling seven points, you will have created a hexagon.
In ancient Phoenician belief, Lotan was a seven-headed dragon that represented primordial chaos.
18 And there came to him the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying: 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, that if any man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no issue. 21 And the second took her, and died: and neither did he leave any issue. And the third in like manner. 22 And the seven all took her in like manner; and did not leave issue. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise again, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. 24 And Jesus answering, saith to them: Do ye not therefore err, because you know not the scriptures, nor the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven.
1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven [original Christian Churches or Kuriakon] churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks
In 1984, cosmonauts on board Soviet Space Station Salyut 7 reported seeing seven angels hovering outside the portals of their craft.
The Chippewa Medicine Wheel, as utilised by the Shaman Sun Bear, has an inner circle of seven stones surrounding the central Creator Stone. These seven stones represent (moving in sun-wise direction) – Earth Mother, Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, Turtle Clan, Frog Clan, Thunderbird Clan and Butterfly Clan.
In the short film Kevin Turvey – the Man Behind the Green Door, when Kevin Turvey asks Mick the lodger how many fish he thinks are in the lake, Mick replies ‘seven’.
The legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus concerns seven Christian Ephesians, called Constantine, Dionysius, John, Malchus, Martinian, Maximian and Seraption. During the persecution of Decius (c250) these seven hid in a cave – in which, by the order of Decius, they were then immured. They fell into a deep sleep, and didn’t wake up until, 187 years later during the reign of Theodosius II, the obstructing stones were removed from the cave-mouth. Little realizing that they had slept through the alarm, they sent one of their number into Ephesus to buy food. In no time it was generally realized that a miracle had taken place, and the locals hurried to the cave to be blessed.
The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus than all dropped down dead.
Seven things Jesus said [on] the cross:
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
“Amen I say unto thee, today with Me shalt thou be in the Paradise.”
“Behold my mother.”
“ My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
“It is finished.”
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Here is a photo of me taken with seven carved wooden cowboys at a service station near Warrington, England, on the M6 motorway (on route to Stoke), 23rd July 2004, 5:37pm.
The aquatic larvae of the Scavenger Beetle (Berosus Luridus) has seven pairs of tracheal gills.
In the Bible, when the Prophet Elisha ressurected the dead Shunammite boy, the child sneezed seven times upon revival. Elisha also cured the Syrian commander Naaman of leprosy by instructing him to bathe seven times in the River Jordan.
The pyramids could tentatively have been designed around the number seven, having a square (4) base and triangular (3) sides. Measurements have also been taken of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and the angle at which the sides slope is 51° – this is, as near as matters, the angle which is one seventh of a complete circle.
In Classical Greece:
The lyre of Orpheus had seven strings; There were seven Hesperides; Niobe had seven sons and seven daughters; Seven kings attacked Thebes and seven kings defended it.
You must be seven years old or younger to be invited to the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House.
In Indian folklore we find the tale of The Seven Fools:
Seven men were going off to see the Dalai Panaken, the Living Buddah. Along the way, one of them was lost, or so they thought – because many times they counted each other and found only six, since each counter forgot himself. When they came to the Dalai, he counted seven and was credited with bringing the missing man back to life. (He felt no need to explain just how this was accomplished, which made him the smart man he was).
“A fool can ask more questions than seven wise men can answer.”
Francesco Lentini, who died in hospital in Jackson, Tennessee on 22nd September 1966, set a bizarre world record – at the age of 77, he had become the longest-living three-legged man. He was one of thirteen children, and had seven sisters. At the age of seven, his parents took him to an institution for severely handicapped children, where he saw blind, crippled and atrociously deformed youngsters far worse off than himself. ‘From that time on,’ he cheerfully said later, ‘I never complained. I think life is beautiful and I enjoy living it.’
After the first discovery of Pluto’s moon, another seven years passed before it was observed again.
At the speed of light it would take seven hours to get to Pluto.
Seven out of ten people who become infected with necrotising fasciitis die as a result (this disease, caused by group A streptoccus penetrating the throat lining, will usually cause great disfigurement in survivors).
The element of atomic number seven is nitrogen (N), a colourless, odourless gas whose inert molecule N2 makes up 78% of the atmosphere. Nitrogen is important to life in many ways: the amino acids are characterized by the presence of the NH2 group, and without amino acids there would be no proteins.
Nitrates are important fertilizers – but the most interesting nitrate, nitroglycerin, is well known for other reasons. Aside from its use in blowing things up, it can be taken in pill form to relieve angina pectoris.
On the Seventh of September (which was originally the seventh month and is named as such, using the prefix ‘Sept’ meaning seven) 2004, I tutored the seventh arts and crafts session in a course of eight for adult learners at a venue in Blackpool.
Every seven seconds somebody is being bullied in the UK.
There are seven chakras according to the traditions of hatha yoga.
After Naofumi Ishimaru (of Japanese recording stars Yximalloo) stayed with me in June 2004, he flew from Blackpool Airport to Dublin, Ireland. When his luggage was weighed at check-in, it was seven Kg overweight, and when he reached immigration in Dublin, he was kept waiting seven minutes before his passport was stamped.
The Hindu [and] Buddhists, regard seven as a sacred number. The Prajapatis, the mind-created children of Bramah, number seven and there are seven Rishis or sages and seven Manus, or rulers of the world, each reigning for a Manvantara. (14 Manvantaras are equal to one Kalpa, which is a period of 12,000,000 divine years, each consisting of 360 ordinary years).
In Homer’s Odyssey you will read very much the same stories as in Sinbad, but one character in particular deserves special mention in the book of sevens – the Minotaur. He was a creature composed of the lower part of a man and the torso of a bull. It was his wont to eat seven little boys and seven little girls once every seven years.
One of the most popular freak show troupes in Victorian England was the Seven Sutherland Sisters, all of whom had hair which literally trailed behind them on the ground. Their trellised locks earned them fame and fortune towards the latter end of the 19th century; whether or not they actually all were sisters is uncertain. What is for sure is that their hair colourings were not the same and so, when exhibited, their flowing carpet of hair must have had something of a stunning rainbow effect.
In Hindu thought, man is conceived as existing on seven planes: those of sensation, emotion, reflective intelligence, intuition, will, spirituality, and intimations of the divine.
In the classic 1960’s film The Italian Job, during the scene where the mafia ambush the British crooks on the winding Italian country road (for either the first or second time – I can’t remember which) (but I think it’s the second) there are seven mafia goons holding machine guns lined up very photogenically in a ‘stepped down’ formation down the angle of the hill.
The verb ‘to swear’ is literally translated from the Hebrew as ‘to come under the influence of seven things’ – in the bible seven ewe lambs appear in the oath between Abraham and Abimelech (Genesis 21:28) and Herodotus mentions an Arabian oath where seven stones are smeared with blood.
The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary were: (1) the prophecy of Simeon (“You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too- so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare” – Luke ii 34-5); (2) the Flight into Egypt; (3) Christ missed; (4) the betrayal of Christ by Judas; (5) the Crucifixion; (6) the removal of Christ’s body from the cross; and (7) the Ascension.
Her Seven Joys were: (1) the Annunciation; (2) the Visitation; (3) the Nativity; (4) the adoration of the Magi; (5) the presentation of Christ in the temple; (6) the discovery of Christ among the doctors; and (7) the Assumption (her transport to Heaven at the age of 75).
According to Pythagoreans, seven was the number of opportunity. This was apparently because seven seemed to turn up so often in the process of individual human development: a boy-child could be born seven months after conception, cut his teeth seven months after birth, reach puberty 2 x 7 = 14 years after birth, grow a beard seven years later, etc.
Enola Gay, the American Bomber that dropped “the first weapon of mass destruction” (the 3-metre long atomic bomb Little Boy) on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, appears to have had a crew of seven people.