Larry Martino

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Jimmy Buffett is pictured here wearing an Hawaiian lei, Hawaiian shirt and holding his guitar in his right hand. His left hand is outstretched to the side as he takes an opening night bow during the Broadway premiere of "Escape to Margaritaville." Buffett passed away on Friday, September 1, 2023.

While we were enjoying Labor Day weekend festivities, we lost three music industry veterans. First, we got the news Friday night that Jimmy Buffett has passed away. Then on Labor Day, we heard the sad news that both Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth, and singer Gary Wright had also died. Why does it always seem like death comes in threes?

Death Comes In Threes: Superstition Or Reality?

Of course, it’s a superstition. However, it sure seems like reality, especially after the three sad death notices in the music world over the weekend. So, how did this superstition get started? A quick Google search reveals some answers. By and large, this old adage can be traced back through the Appalachian Mountain region of the United States. Basically, their European ancestors believed in the Holy Trinity of Christianity. Subsequently, that belief system influenced how they saw life in general.

However, that belief or superstition always seems to come up in conversation if three celebrities die in a short period of time. For instance, one of the most memorable examples of “death comes in threes” occurred back in 2009. Ed McMahon died on June 23rd. Actress Farah Fawcett passed away on June 25th, and then hours later, Michael Jackson died. I bet a lot of folks said something like: “They always die in threes” at that time.

The Reason Humans Tend To Group Things In Threes

Obviously, every time a celebrity passes away, two more don’t always die in the next day or two. However, when three celebrities pass away in a short time span, we bring up the old superstition. But there are reasons why we humans tend to group things in three.

Once again, a quick Google search provides some reasons behind this phenomenon. Generally, our brains are trained to seek out patterns. Likewise, three is the smallest number of items or occurrences in which you can find a pattern.

The Rule Of Three

Next time you’re listening to a public speaker, notice how often that person groups things in threes. Why do they do this? Because it makes things more interesting to the audience. Furthermore, it makes what they’re saying easier to remember. You may notice it in books and articles that you read as well.

Not sure if you’re buying into the rule of three? Here are some more examples: “Live, laugh, love.” “That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” “Friends, Romans, countrymen.” “I came, I saw, I conquered.” “Blood, sweat and tears.” I guess that’s enough for now. I just wanted to give this article a “beginning, middle, and end.”

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