Some of them make mathematical sense, some of them are a bit spooky, and some of them are downright strange. We don’t think any of these will help you believe in the power of the universe or anything like that – for every crazy coincidence, there are a thousand that don’t happen – but they’re cool nonetheless.
The Simpsons Get a Lot Right
The writers for “The Simpsons” know a whole lot about life, but even they could hardly believe it when they accurately predicted Donald Trump winning the presidency in 2016. In 2000, they put out an episode set in the future that had Trump as the president.
Sure, it could have helped inspire Trump to run, but let’s remember that it was fifteen years before he began campaigning for his eventual successful bid. On the other hand, Trump had made brief forays into vying for the country’s top spot before the episode even came out – what’s most likely is that the initial attempt by Trump inspired the episode and not the other way around.
State, Town, Street, House
During a conversation with her writing professor at the University of Rhode Island, student Amanda Birch got the shock of her life. Her professor mentioned that she lived in a small town in Vermont, and when she shared the name with Birch, Birch mentioned that her mother had grown up in the very same town.
The two dug deeper and found that not only had Birch’s mother grown up in the same town but the very same HOUSE that the professor lived in at the time! It all came out once Birch told her mother’s maiden name, which very well might have been who the professor bought the house from.
A Bullet That Never Gave Up
In 1883, a man named Harry Ziegland dumped his fiancee Maysie Tichnor, sending her spiraling so far into depression that she took her own life. Tichnor’s brother, for whom we can find no name, vowed revenge and loaded up his pistol. He shot at Ziegland on Ziegland’s property, who fell to the ground, and then turned the gun on himself, knowing he would be executed as a killer anyway.
The bullet had only grazed Ziegland before being lodged in a tree. Ziegland recovered, and twenty years later, he was cutting firewood in the forest with his son. One stubborn tree resisted the axe, so Ziegland turned to dynamite. The tree in which the bullet had lodged exploded, sending the bullet flying straight into Ziegland, killing him.
It’s Time to Take a Job on Land
There’s almost no doubt you know about the incredible story of the “Titanic,” which hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 after being touted as “unsinkable” in one of history’s greatest moments of hubris. On board that ship was a nurse and ocean liner stewardess named Violet Jessop, who would go on to earn the name “Miss Unsinkable,” and not just because of the “Titanic.”
Jessop was also on board when the Titanic’s sister ship, the “HMHS Britannic,” crashed and went down in 1916. Finally, a third boat, the “RMS Olympic,” struck a warship while on the water. However, this final example stayed afloat, meaning Jessop once again returned to dry land, where hopefully, she stayed.
Smart Guys Like to Line Up
He might have been confined to a wheelchair and had to use a computer to talk for him, but Stephen Hawking was still one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. Despite suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease for most of his life, he managed to make it to the age of seventy-six.
That's fifty years past the initial diagnoses, despite most people only living a mere five once they find out they’re sick. Thanks to this amazing longevity, Hawking has some strange coincidences. Not only was he born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, but his death would have been Albert Einstein’s 139th birthday.
Glad the War Ended
Tsutomo Yamaguchi is both incredibly lucky and incredibly unlucky. The reason for the latter is that he just so happened to be in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki when they were hit by atomic bombs dropped by the United States in an eventually successful attempt to end World War II. However, Yamaguchi was lucky enough to survive both bombings.
He fled from Hiroshima in search of safety after the initial bombing. He ended up in Nagasaki, suffering horrible burns from the second of the two bombings. He recovered and is recognized as the only person to have survived both of the events. Sadly, Yamaguchi died in 2010 of cancer, an outcome that was more or less assumed due to the onslaught of radiation that he received during his life.
Raking It In
Joan Ginther has a Ph.D. from Stanford in statistics, which means she might have done some things to tip the world in her favor, but she still won more than twenty million dollars from lottery scratch-off tickets. Sure, there’s stacking the deck in her favor but winning twenty million dollars from a mere four tickets is still incredibly lucky.
It seems a little bit like an urban legend, or maybe she was doing something illicit behind the scenes, but we don’t have any other information than this. Maybe it was all above board, and Ginther is sitting pretty on her lottery winnings.
All Because of a Sandwich
You might be aware that World War I was kicked off because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but you might not have known that it was thanks to everybody’s favorite lunch food that the assassination actually happened. The assassins originally tried to use a bomb to hit the archduke’s car, but the archduke made a quick getaway thanks to his driver.
The assassin was upset by this and stopped for a sandwich to calm himself down. The archduke’s driver took a wrong turn, going right past the cafe where the assassin had stopped. Because of this, the assassin had another chance and ended up shooting the archduke and his wife. This stop for a sandwich sent the world into a spiral that wouldn’t end until Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918.
Saving Money and Saving His Life – Twice
If you watched the news in 2014, you might be aware that a couple of planes went down that were from the airline Malaysian Air Flights. The first was shot down, while the second fell into the Indian Ocean and has yet to be found in one of the greatest mysteries of aviation ever. Amazingly, a single man, Maarten de Jonge, a Dutch cyclist, was originally going to be on both of these flights.
Both times he decided to look for cheaper options right before his flight took off, finding them and staying alive through these incredibly rare events. If you’re going to be on the same flight as this guy and he changes to a different plane, you should too.
An Experiment That Never Came to Be
In an attempt to study something that probably wouldn’t fly today for a number of ethical reasons, a trio of identical baby boys was separated early in life to see if there was something to the whole “nature vs. nurture” thing that scientists talk about. While the study was never finished and thus was never published, they might have been on to something.
Two of the brothers happened to run into each other while attending the same University, and after the media publicized the odd event, the third brother caught wind of it and got in contact with them to make things even weirder. The brothers are Robby, David, and Eddie.
The Tomb Had a Warning
Soviet Archaeologists thought they had made the find of a lifetime when they discovered the tomb of Tamerlane in current-day Uzbekistan on June 20th, 1940. Tamerlane was a Turco-Mongol conqueror who saw himself as Genghis Khan’s heir. An inscription on his tomb warned: “Whomsoever opens my tomb will unleash an invader more terrible than I.”
The Soviets decided to do it anyway and felt like right mugs when the German dictator began Operation Barbarossa three days later – the invasion of Germany into the Soviet Union. It was the largest military invasion of all time then. More than one and a half million soldiers died, and many more were wounded or captured. The human cost of the operation was astounding, but there were also fields, homes, and entire cities destroyed.
Their Lives are Lining Up
The odds of conceiving twins are pretty low at thirty-three in a thousand. Still, some sets of twins have some strange coincidences. Just take the “Jim Twins.” These two brothers were separated at birth and raised by different families in the great state of Ohio, not meeting until they were thirty-nine years old. The two found out their lives had amazing similarities – including that both sets of parents named their adopted boy James and called him “Jim” for short.
Both men had married twice – both of their first wives were named Linda, and both second wives were named Betty. Both had a son they had named James Allen. They drove the same car, vacationed in the same place, and even had similar jobs. Only similar? Come on, guys, you can do better than that.
French Poets, Plum Pudding
There are coincidences, and then there’s this next story, which is maybe one of the weirdest things on this list. In Joseph Mazur’s book “Fluke,” we learn the real story of French poet Emile Deschamps. Deschamps met an Englishman named Mr. de Fortgibu as a teen, who introduced Deschamps to plum pudding. That’s not a euphemism or anything, we’re talking about the dessert.
About a decade later, Deschamps saw plum pudding again on a menu, only to have the waiter say another man had just ordered the last one – the very same Mr. de Fortgibu. But wait – another ten years later, Deschamps was at a dinner party serving plum pudding, and he commented the party must be for Mr. de Fortgibu, likely telling the story to the other guests. Well, who should walk in at that very moment? Yes, the very same. Mr. de Fortgibu had entered the wrong door on his way to a different dinner party.
Died on the Fourth of July
The Fourth of July is an extremely important date in American history. It’s when we celebrate our independence and a great time to grill – both incredibly important things. But there’s a little more to this date than you might think. The relationship between Thomas Jefferson, our third president, and John Adams, our second president, began as allies until political differences placed them on opposite sides of the aisle.
They eventually reconciled, communicating frequently by letter in their later years after all their fellow revolutionaries had passed. Well, it turns out that both men died on July Fourth, 1826, fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Adams is believed to have said on his deathbed, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” He was unaware, however, that Jefferson had died five hours earlier.
The Incorrect Translation That Was, in Fact, Correct
Galileo Galilei liked to look at stuff through telescopes, and one of the things he spotted was the rings of Saturn. He didn’t know what they could be, so he sent letters to friends, telling them, “SMAISMRMILMEPOETALEUMIBUNENUGTTAUIRAS.” Yeah, that’s what he sent to his friends. He disguised his find with an anagram that he intended to mean “altissimum planetam tergeminum observavi,” which means “I have observed that the highest planet is threefold.”
Saturn was the highest because it was the farthest away. German astronomer Johannes Kepler received the message, which he translated into “Be greeted, double-knob, children of Mars.” He concluded that Galileo was telling him Mars had two moons. If you know a thing or two about Mars, you know that just so happens to be true.
Pay Attention to the Ads
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II changed the war. The United States entered the fray for good, helping to put a stop to the Axis of Germany, Italy, and Japan. But some people might have been able to predict the attack was coming. The “New Yorker” ran ads for a dice game on November 22nd, 1941, just a few short weeks before the attack.
After the attack, people took another look at the ads and found some interesting details. The people were playing in an air raid bunker. The dice visible showed twelve and seven – the dates of the attack – as well as more that supposedly detailed the time and location of the attack. However, it was all random – the creators of the game and the ads swore up and down, were investigated, and proved innocent.
I Would Now Like to Demonstrate
For some reason, South African astronomer Daniel du Toit was lecturing about how death can strike anyone at any time during 1981. We’re not sure why he would be giving this lesson, but maybe he was upset that his students were all so happy and cheerful. After he was done giving the lecture, he treated himself to a mint, which slid to the back of his throat and got lodged.
He died on the spot, choking to death, in what is probably the most horrifying example of “case in point” we could come up with. Du Toit discovered five comets while working as an astronomer, and the astronomy lab he worked at, the Boyden Observatory, discovered a total of thirteen.
A Train Ride With Destiny
At some point during the nineteen twenties, three Englishmen were traveling through Peru by train. Now that alone might be uncommon, but it gets better. The three men, the only ones in their train car, went around and introduced themselves, with the first naming himself Bingham. The second called himself Powell. Nothing strange so far, right? Not if you’re the third man, whose mouth probably dropped open in shock.
You see, he didn’t have one of their names...he had BOTH of their names. You can imagine the shock that went through the room when he announced that his name was, in fact, Bingham-Powell. We can only imagine there was a good amount of discussion about mothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, and distant relatives to see if there was any connection more than just the name.
Please Stop Shooting at Me
Boy, it sure is great having two of something, isn’t it? Two eyes, two ears, two hands, etc. Too bad for Adrian Carton De Wiart, who has one of the unluckiest records in war we’ve ever seen. He served in the British army during the Boer War as well as both World Wars. He got through the Boer War without being injured severely, but a bullet got him in the face during World War I, costing him an eye and part of his left ear.
After recovering, he went back incredibly and found himself in the Second Battle of Ypres. Another bullet blew off a pair of fingers, and then a doctor had to amputate his entire hand. In World War II, he served again and was taken prisoner for two years in Italy. At that point, he was done with active duty, working as a diplomat.
The Bard Worked on the Bible, Maybe
You can twist the numbers of history to support basically any coincidence you want to believe. Still, one of the greatest writers ever and the most important book in the world overlapping in the following way is going to raise the eyebrow of even the greatest cynic.
In 1611, William Shakespeare was forty-six years old. In that year, the King James Bible came out, allowing commoners to read the good book at last. People have found that the forty-sixth word in Psalm 46 in the translation is the word “shake,” while the forty-sixth from the last is the word “spear.” Certainly a fun coincidence, but is it evidence of Bard’s help? Almost certainly not – Shakespeare didn’t know much about Latin or Greek.
Hard to Stay Apart
Sisters that form a bond are hard to separate, and nothing illustrates that point better than identical twins Helen Mae Cook and Clara Mae Mitchell. They were born together on February second, 1932, and they were always close. Nothing coincidental about that, right? Well, how about the fact that when Clara died of a heart attack at the age of eighty-three, Helen ended up dying just a few hours later?
Yes, it’s a bit odd, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Here’s where it gets a little weird – Helen had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for years and could have easily died before that, but she managed to last until her beloved sister passed away before her, and then she finally let go.
The Great Baby-Catcher
Just like so many of us, Joseph Figlock was walking down the street in a busy city one day. The city happened to be Detroit, and the year happened to be during the nineteen thirties, but other than that, everything was the same. He was just minding his own business when a baby landed on him, straight on his head. The child, whose name is unknown, had fallen all the way from a fourth-story building through an open window.
Both Figlock and the baby survived the encounter, but it wouldn’t be the last. A year later, Figlock was passing underneath the same window when the same baby fell out again. Once again, the baby struck Figlock, but neither of them was badly injured. We assume he went up to the window and nailed it shut.
His Last Chance at Greatness
Getting to three thousand hits in Major League Baseball is a huge accomplishment. Despite the number of players over the lifetime of the sport, only a little more than thirty names are on the vaunted 3000-hit club. One of them is Roberto Clemente, and he was the first Latin American player to make it into that storied group. He was also only eleventh overall when he achieved it in 1972.
The big coincidence was that it was his last shot. Not his last season, game, or at-bat, but the final pitch of his entire career. He smacked it away, got to first, and was into history, what was likely mere minutes before his career came to an end.
The Miraculous Exploding Church Incident
That’s a sentence that grabs your attention, isn’t it? Yeah, you bet it is. Let’s dig in. Well, a church just up and exploded in the town of Beatrice, Nebraska, at 7:25 PM on March first, 1950. Choir practice started at 7:20 that night, which meant a tragedy...right? Not so. Somehow, not a single member of the choir was hurt in the blast.
How could this be possible? Any person who is part of a choir will tell you: it’s because everyone was running late. Literally, every member of the choir was late to choir practice. None of them were even near the church when it exploded. Instead of a horrifying event, it was a miraculous moment for everybody involved. Except for the church exploding, we guess.
The Entire Universe Itself
It might be a coincidence that the universe exists and we produce life, but we’re still here, which means it happened. Good for us, right? Well, not exactly. Professor Katie Mack tells us that one of the theories about the universe is that it’s...let’s see here...an implausibly unlikely false vacuum that could collapse if it ever came into a “true” vacuum.
This seems like the kind of thing you have to either have a complicated Ph.D. in or be really high to understand. Or maybe, both. Many things are implausible about the creation and formation of the universe from the scientific standpoint, but they all still happened.
The Life of George Story
Do you know the name, George Story? No? Don’t feel bad. You’re about to learn all about both his life and the life of “Life,” the magazine. This publication documented more than sixty years of the changing world, from World War II to the rise of the suburbs to entering space to the internet. The very first issue had a picture of a baby boy cradled in a doctor’s hands with the caption “’Life’ beings.”
That baby was George Story, and he’d go on to become a journalist. That’s not the coincidence, the coincidence is what happened when “Life” ended. It announced it was ceasing publication on April fourth, 2000. Just days later, George Story suffered heart failure and died at the age of sixty-three.
Twins Twinning Together and With Each Other
Buckle in, this one is goofy. This story was so extraordinary that “The New York Times Magazine” published it in 2015. The story begins when Wilbur visits a butcher in New York City, discovering that a man who worked at the butcher, William, looks identical to his co-worker Jorge. That’s because, as the two quickly found out, Jorge and William were actually twins who had been separated at birth.
They’d both made it from Bogota, Columbia, to the Big Apple on their own. Things got even weirder when it was found that William’s friend, Carlos, was WILBUR’S identical twin! They had also both been born in Bogota and separated at birth! It’s, like, a triple coincidence!
That Name Seems Familiar
Michael J. Fox is a famous actor whose main claim to fame – though not his only one – is playing Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” trilogy, which has his character jump around in the timeline, almost messing things up really badly. When Fox tried to join the Screen Actors Guild, he found that another actor already had the name Michael Fox, and you can’t double up on names like that in the guild.
He added his middle initial and went on his way. When his character went back to meet George McFly, Marty’s father, George mentioned that he loved the show “Science Fiction Theatre,” which was similar to “The Twilight Zone.” Not only was this a real show, but an actor by the name of Michael Fox starred in several episodes.
That Texas Ranger Walked In
This amazing coincidence was witnessed by a whole classroom of people. Royce Burton was a professor at New Jersey University, and during one of his classes, he told his students about 1940, when he had been a Texas Ranger. He’d been climbing out of a canyon, became disoriented, and lost his balance. He was a split-second from falling back into the canyon, but another ranger named Joe grabbed his rifle strap and dragged him to safety, saving his life.
The two rangers lost touch after enlisting in World War II. Burton finished retelling the tale, and then the door to the classroom opened, revealing Joe, the ranger who had saved him. Joe had taken it upon himself to track Burton down, walking in just as Burton finished telling the story.
Hey, Just Like in the Movie
Let’s imagine you live in the quaint and charming (we assume) Scottish village of Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire. You and your family are flipping through the channels and find the movie “Around the World in 80 Days.” This family-friendly flick is a great choice, so you sit down to watch.
In the movie is a scene where a hot air balloon is about to take off, but your TV set suddenly loses power – just like the rest of the village. You all race outside to see what has happened and find that the nearby power lines have been damaged. Why, you may ask? Well, because a hot air balloon crashed into them. Obviously.
Almost Too Connected
Getting to really dive into someone else’s history is a treat if you know your families will be joined together soon. That’s what Stephen and Helen Lee thought when they cracked open some family albums after getting engaged, only to make an incredible discovery.
They found out that Helen’s mom and Stephen’s dad had, at one point, been engaged to get married in Korea in the sixties but broke it off because of family disapproval. They moved on to other relationships and got married, producing children that would eventually get married. Now Lee’s father has a grandchild, the grandchild of another woman he loved on the other side of the world.
Well, This Is Awkward
World War I changed a lot of things. Forces on both sides did whatever they could to keep ahead of the competition, even if it meant taking control of private transatlantic ships. For instance, the Germans took control of “Cap Trafalgar” while the British took control of “HMS Carmania.”
They both camouflaged the ships in order for a momentary advantage during naval battles, but that advantage didn’t work out for the Germans when the two ships ran across each other since the “Cap Trafalgar” had been camouflaged as the “HMS Carmania.” The real Carmania was victorious in what would be the first battle between a pair of ocean liners. There are some sources that say the deception also went in the other direction, but this has been proven false.
Video Games Predict 9/11
September eleventh, 2001, was a life-changing event for millions of Americans and probably billions of people around the world. But before that, a few pop culture moments seemed to point at the idea of the towers going down. They’re coincidences, of course, but they can still feel eerie. The first is from the video game “Deus Ex,” a stealth/action sim game that takes place in New York City. Like, the first level is at the Statue of Liberty.
The game not only doesn’t feature the Twin Towers, but they’re absent from the skybox, too. While the real reason was that the towers were too space-intensive, the in-universe explanation for the Twin Towers missing from the skyline was that they had been hit by a terrorist attack.
Just What He Was Looking For
You know the feeling when you’re searching for a specific piece of media and just can’t find it? The right song to start your day, the right movie to watch at night? Well, legendary actor Sir Anthony Hopkins knows how you feel. He was cast as the character Kostya for the film adaptation of “The Girl from Petrokova” and wanted to give the book a read.
However, even after a rigorous search, he was unable to find the book. He might have had better luck in the internet era, but this was before Amazon. Legend has it, however, that he was waiting for his train at a London Tube station and happened to see the book sitting on a seat – someone had left it behind. He opened the book to find it had been signed by the author, George Feifer.
They’re Always Good Boys
Humans love our dogs. Sure, one or two out there might not like the messy, slobbery creatures. All that hair, all those claws. But, in general, humans have a long, storied relationship with their faithful hounds. We love our dogs, but you know who else loves their dogs? The people who speak the Aboriginal language of Australia known as “Mbabaram.”
When it comes to similarities to English, the two languages could hardly be more different, with a single exception: The tribe’s word for “dog” is…“dog.” The words have no connection – they aren’t from the same source, they don’t come from the same root, and it’s the only thing in the languages that overlap. It’s a simple sound, and dogs have been around for millions of years. All in all, it’s just a coincidence.
Music Predicts 9/11
New York City’s prominence on the world stage meant that it gets featured in all sorts of movies, shows, video games, and even music, like this next example. Progressive metal band Dream Theater’s album “Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory” is perhaps their best, and maybe even the best progressive metal album ever.
They played the entire concept album live and released it as an album, and the release date just so happened to be September eleventh, 2001. Also, the story of the album is set in New York City. Oh, also, the original cover for the live album had the city’s skyline in flames. As soon as they realized what was happening, Dream Theater recalled the albums and issued copies with a different cover.
An Astronomical Coincidence
There are plenty of coincidences here on Earth, but what about among the stars? Well, we can tell you one that is a regular, studied part of our life – solar eclipses. Though rare, these events are predictable, but they’re still a huge coincidence. You see, the moon has to be at the perfect distance from the Earth based on the size of the sun, or it wouldn’t work.
The sun is four hundred times wider but also four hundred times farther away, meaning the two celestial bodies line up perfectly. If the sun were any bigger or the moon any farther from us, the moon wouldn’t block the entire sun, and we’d just lose the moon in the sun’s overwhelming brilliance. It’s nice when bodies line up in such a beautiful way.
Does the Cabin Smell Like Brimstone?
In a coincidence that would make the main character of the “Doom” video game grin and load his shotgun, one flight decided to make an eerie trip on a fateful Friday. There are a lot of theories about the number 666, but in 2017, a flight from the airline Finnair took off from Copenhagen.
What is the flight’s number? The number of the beast: 666. Very metal from a place famed for heavy music. Where was this flight headed? Just Helsinki...which uses the three-letter code HEL for flights. Now we’re talking. But what about the day? Was it just a normal Friday? Hardly. It was, in fact, Friday the thirteenth. The plane was also thirteen years old and landed at 1 P.M., otherwise known as 13 o’clock.
It’s All in the Name
On February thirteenth, 1746, a French crowd assembled to watch a man named Jean Marie Dubarry get executed. His crime was that of patricide – he killed his father. It’s unknown if this man had to stick his head under a guillotine, but seeing as how it was 1746 in France, the odds are likely.
Unlikely, however, were the odds that exactly a hundred years later – we’re talking a hundred years to the day, February thirteenth, 1846, another man named Jean Marie Dubarry was executed (though likely not with the guillotine). What had he done to deserve such a fate? He had killed his father. If your last name is Durbarry and you have a son, don’t name him Jean Marie.
A Writer’s Personal Comet
Ready for two things that we should all be familiar with? Here we go; writer and humorist Mark Twain and Halley’s Comet. The Comet is famously visible on the reg, appearing in the sky between seventy-five and seventy-nine years after it was last seen – it will next make a visit in 2061, so we’re told. Mark Twain will not be making an appearance since he died in 1910 – coincidentally, one of the years when the comet showed up in the sky.
The comet also happened to show up in 1835, the year Twain – real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens – was born. There was even a writer for the “New York Times,” apparently a newspaper, that predicted Twain’s death and the reappearance of the comet, saying the two freaks came in together, so they should go out together.
It Just Liked the Name
In 2001, a ten-year-old girl named Laura Buxton decided to try something fun. She got a red balloon and wrote “Please return to Laura Buxton” on it before filling it with helium and releasing it into a strong wind. This balloon apparently soared a hundred and forty miles south before finally coming back down to earth, landing in the yard of another ten-year-old girl.
In an absolutely stunning coincidence, that girl’s name was also Laura Buxton! That’s a huge coincidence on its own, but there’s more! The two girls apparently dressed and looked alike, they both had three-year-old chocolate labs, a gray rabbit, and a guinea pig. Even further, when the two girls finally found a way to meet, they both brought their guinea pigs to the meeting!
The Attraction Started Early
Engaged couple Aimee Maiden and Nick Wheeler were looking through pictures from their respective childhoods for something for their wedding when they found something peculiar. They discovered that they had taken a picture together more than eleven years before they had officially met, despite the two growing up more than three hundred miles apart on different sides of England.
Nick and his family had gone on a beach vacation in Aimee’s hometown, and a picture that somebody from the Wheeler family took managed to capture both Nick and Aimee as they played in the sand and water – though Aimee was just another child a few feet behind Nick. Maybe Nick never forgot the little cutie that he saw that day, who’s to say?
Followed by the Ripper
Living in London in 1888 must have been a tough time. You had the disease, war, no TV, and there was even the legendary and mysterious killer Jack the Ripper roaming about in the dark, foggy streets. Catherine Eddowes had been tying one on when the police found her drunk in the street on the night of September 29th.
The police took her to the clink to let her sober up, and when she was released, she gave them a false name: Mary Kelly. That same night, Catherine Eddowes ran into the fabled murderer Jack the Ripper, and you can guess how that meeting went. Sometime after that (details are shrouded in mystery, of course), Jack the Ripper went on to kill another woman named Mary Kelly.
A Dose of Disney Magic
Early in the 2000s, engaged couple Alex and Donna were doing that thing you do before you get married – finding pictures for a slideshow of the couple as they grew up. They found one of Donna and her siblings at Disney World in 1980, posing with Smee from “Peter Pan.” It was a good pic, but looking closely, Alex noticed something else in the picture: himself.
He was sitting in a stroller, being pushed by his father in the background. They had no idea they’d been at Disney World at the same time and certainly didn’t know they’d been in the same picture. To make things even better, they went to Disney World in 2010 with their own children to recreate the photo.
Never Stop Saving Lives
Many people believe, at least a little bit, in the concept of guardian angels. The story of Xu Weifang might make you believe it, too. Eighty-year-old Weifang boldly jumped into a body of water in Jiangsu Province to save a boy who was a mere tenth of his age. While certainly a good act, there’s nothing special about it.
That was, until it was discovered that about thirty years prior, Weifang had saved another child’s life, and the two were related – the first boy he saved eventually became the second boy’s father! Weifang looks like the kind of guy who would happily dive into the water to save someone who is drowning, and the family owes the octogenarian a lot.
If Only This Could Have Been Avoided
The year was 1974, and the place was Bermuda. A man got in a taxi, and the taxi rolled down the street, picking up speed, until it struck a man riding a moped. Sadly, the man died due to the collision, though his moped survived and was able to be repaired. The moped eventually landed in the care of the poor man’s brother, who took to driving it around.
Exactly one year after the accident, the brother was hit while riding the moped. He was hit by the same taxi, driven by the same man, carrying the same passenger, on the same street where his brother was hit. And, just like his brother, the accident proved to be the death of him.
No, I’m Not a Car Legend in Disguise
If you like cars – even if you don’t – you probably recognize the name Enzo Ferrari. He founded an Italian car company that bore his name, creating some absolutely smoking-hot machines that can still make your eyes pop. Ferrari had a particular look – dark hair, a big nose, and a narrow chin. These features also describe soccer player Mesut Ozil, so much so that Ozil seems to be a doppelganger for Ferrari.
Okay, so the two bear a resemblance, so what? Well, there’s also the fact that Enzo Ferrari died in 1988, the same year when Ozil was born. We aren’t saying that this is evidence of the existence of reincarnation, but you can’t prove that it isn’t, either. Does Ozil like cars?
The Ground Shakes for Fall
September nineteenth is a date to remember for the people of Mexico City, but not for a good reason. Somehow, three earthquakes struck on that day, and that’s just in recent memory. The first and biggest was in 1985, which claimed more than ten thousand people. The second was in 2017, claiming about three hundred and sixty people, and there was another in 2022, which thankfully only resulted in a single death.
Mexico City is located within the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped ring of fault lines that means the city shakes with regularity – almost every day. Most of the time, it’s just a little wobble. The city now does practice earthquake alarms on that date in September, just in case.
Bookends to the Great War
World War I was, somewhat grandly, once called the war to end all wars. Now, any student of humanity will know that just won’t be the case, but it was the first worldwide conflict, bringing in millions of troops, new technology, and a haunting legacy. The very first recorded English casualty, the seventeen-year-old John Parr, is buried at Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium.
The final recorded British casualty of the war, George Edwin Ellison, is said to have a grave that faces Parr’s just fifteen feet away. This war, which many people can point to as a reason for the world we live in now, has the very first and final losses that are close to each other.
Together in Life and Death
When you really love someone, you want to spend all your time with that person. You can’t bear to be apart. John and Margaret Naylor, an Irish couple, look like they think that way, too. They spent a whole lot of their lives together, but World War I meant that John was headed overseas with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. On April 29 th, 1916, just like probably hundreds of other young men, he died in the trenches of France.
Well, that day marks an important one in Irish history – it was the beginning of the Easter Week Rising, an Irish fight for independence from England. Margaret had left home to buy food for her children and was shot in the head as she crossed a bridge. She became the first woman to die during the uprising, and it was the very same day that her husband died.
The Magic Dollar
It’s said that in the lifetime of a dollar bill, the money will pass the hands of 440 people per year while they’re in circulation. That’s a whole lot of hands. Surely there are some coincidences we can find when it comes to greenbacks getting passed around. Indeed, this story has Esther and Paul Grachan.
One day, Paul asked Esther to go steady. She agreed, and Paul paid for their lunch using a dollar bill. To his surprise, he found the name “Esther” written on the bill in pencil. He kept and framed the bill, and when Esther found out, she was flabbergasted. Once the two had gotten married, Esther revealed she had written her name on the bill before ever meeting Paul, intending to marry the person who brought it back to her.
Hey, Warden? HEY WARDEN?!
Getting thrown into a prison in the Caribbean doesn’t seem like a great time overall, but it was perhaps the worst place for prisoner Ludger Sylbaris to be in 1902. That was the year Mont Pele on the island of Martinique erupted. Hey, pop quiz: guess where Sylbaris was imprisoned? He knew nothing of this event, even as lava rushed toward his prison cell.
The only thing that kept Sylbaris from dying was the fact that his cell was underground. It kept him from being killed outright, but he was still in a lot of danger. Incredibly, he managed to stay alive, half-conscious, and burned until he was found four days after the eruption. He was one of just two survivors of the eruption and later became a circus performer.
Please Stop Fighting on My Lawn
The American Civil War made a mess of a lot of real estate in the United States... among many other things, but we’re looking at the land right now. The Civil War began in earnest in 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run – Bull Run is the stream that flowed through the farm of a grocer named Wilmer McLean in Manassas, Virginia.
His home was destroyed, and McLean left with his wife to another town in Virginia, Appomattox. If you know your Civil War history, you can see where this is headed. The war didn’t touch him until the final event of the entire war – when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse in 1865, mere steps from where Wilmer McLean lived.
Just Go on Your Own
Frane Selak, from Croatia, was riding the train one rainy night in 1962 when the vehicle jumped the tracks into a river. Seventeen people perished in the accident, but Selak wasn’t one of them. Selak hopped on a plane a year later to visit his sick mother. During the flight, one of the cabin doors opened by accident. Selak and a flight attendant were both sucked out. Selak landed in a haystack, but the crash claimed almost twenty people.
After that, there was a bus crash. And then another bus crash. His car caught on fire – twice. His car once almost went flying off a cliff five hundred feet up. He was the unluckiest man ever, but in 2002 Selak won the lottery. Maybe he was due for a good turn after his troublesome life.
The Original Curse of Friday the Thirteenth
You might know about the movies. You might even know about the Biblical origin of the Friday, the Thirteenth curse. But what about Thomas W. Lawson? Lawson was a stockbroker back in the really early twentieth century, and in 1907 Lawson published a book called “Friday the Thirteenth.” The book has a stockbroker attempt to make the entire stock market crash on the titular date.
In 1902, a schooner named the “Thomas W. Lawson,” after a different person, was built, eventually getting refitted for transatlantic voyages. Sometime after Lawson’s book was published, the schooner tried to cross the pond, only to sink at Hellweather Reef off England's Scilly Islands. The date was December thirteenth, 1907, and it was a Friday.
Casualties of the Dam
The Hoover Dam was one of the biggest and most audacious construction projects in the history of the United States, and it probably ranks up there on the world scale, too. Something like twenty-one thousand people worked on this immense project, and sadly ninety-six people lost their lives thanks to the explosives, the rock, the water, and the difficulty involved.
One of the first was a man named J.G. Tierney, who drowned while conducting a geological survey before construction even began. Fourteen years later to the day, the final recorded death from the project was a man named Patrick Tierney, who fell from an electrical tower. The name isn’t just a coincidence – Patrick was J.G.’s son.
A Day of German Significance
Many dates are special for certain countries, like the Fourth of July for the United States. We bet every country has at least one, but Germany has a different kind of significant date. It’s called “Shchicksalstag” or “The Day of Fate,” and it’s November ninth. It’s famous for at least three huge events.
The first is Kaiser Wilhelm II’s abdication of the throne in 1918, which ended the German monarchy – World War I ended two days later. In 1938, November ninth was when the horrible event known as “Kristallnacht” occurred. The most recent event that happened was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, ending the Cold War and rejoining the bisected country into one whole.
For most of us, losing our luggage is the worst thing that can happen while we’re on vacation. Plenty of other things could happen, but what are those odds? Well, one British couple has stories that will chill your blood. It first started when the couple, Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence, were in New York City on September eleventh, 2001. Yeah, it ended up being a bad trip.
The next time they went on a trip, they decided to go somewhere closer to home – London, perhaps. They went on July seventh, 2005, which was the day when a terrorist attack struck the London Underground, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. Finally, in 2008, they went to Mumbai, and while they were there, terrorists once again attacked on November twenty-sixth.
Something Drew It to the Name
The experts give us a one in one million and six hundred thousand chance of being hit by a meteor. That’s pretty small, obviously – the average person lives 27,375 days, which means you’d have to go through about fifty-eight and a half lives before having a chance of getting this ending. But, sometimes, things happen in a way that we simply can’t expect.
For instance, a meteor that had been hurtling through the silent dark of space hit a family home in France. That family's name was...Commette. Technically, a meteor (or meteorite) is not a comet, but you still have to notice the infinitesimal chance of something like that. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and the family now have their own space rock to show their friends.
How Tall Was the German Leader?
Europe has created a lot of would-be conquerors, and two of them share some strange similarities. While they were born in different countries and at different times, Napoleon Bonaparte and the German leader during WWII's lives line up in a lot of ways that you wouldn’t have guessed. The German dictator was born exactly one hundred and twenty-nine years after Napoleon. The mad Austrian’s rise to power came exactly one hundred and twenty-nine years after Napoleon’s.
The Germans made the powerful error of invading Russia exactly one hundred and twenty-nine years after Napoleon made the same mistake. Finally, his defeat came exactly one hundred and twenty-nine years after Napoleon’s defeat. While the similarities might end there, it’s still pretty eerie that so many details could line up.
Keep Track of Where He Goes
An American named Matthew is lucky to be alive but not very lucky based on where he goes. He just so happened to be passing by the World Trade Center Tower on September eleventh, 2001, and we hopefully shouldn’t have to tell you the tragedy that happened then and there. He was on his way to a meeting, but pretty much the entire world came to a halt when it happened.
Then, fourteen years later, in 2015, Matthew was vacationing in Paris and happened to visit a theater called Bataclan on November thirteenth. The deadliest peacetime attack in French history happened then and there, and Matthew was struck by a bullet and forced to play dead until the attack ended. Incredibly, he survived.
A Tornado Saved the United States Capitol
Even in a relatively young country like America, there’s a lot of history for kids to learn. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Great Depression – is it any wonder the War of 1812 kind of becomes a footnote? It’s a shame since some really crazy stuff happened at one point. It wasn’t going well for the young United States (then not even fifty years old).
British soldiers were marching on the Capitol with torches, and the scorching day meant fires would spread quickly. Until, of course, a tornado hit, demolishing the British forces, putting out their torches, and wrecking the attack as a whole. The accompanying rainstorm put out all the fires that the British had started, and it pushed the invaders out of the city.
An Auspicious Date
Fred and Lynette Dubendorf were walking their dog on the beach next to Lake Michigan one day, picking up bits of trash to toss out of the sand. They happened upon a plastic bottle that had washed up and snagged it. To their surprise, they found a message inside the bottle and gave it a read.
It was the marriage vows of another couple, Melody Kloska and Matt Behrs, who’d had a wedding on the other side of Lake Michigan, right on the beach. The note had the couple’s address, and the wedding date, which the Dubendorfs were amazed to find was the same date as their own wedding! They sent a message to congratulate the newlyweds, leading to quite a shocked Melody and Matt.
It Was My Favorite When I Was a Kid
One day in 1929, Anne Parrish was walking along the Seine in Paris and stopped at a stall to look at the books offered. She happened to see a copy of “Jack Frost and Other Stories,” a book she had read many times as a child – since she was a novelist, it might have been one of the books that inspired her to take up writing.
It cost her a single franc, so why not? After that, she met up with her husband for lunch at a nearby cafe and showed him the book. He opened the front cover, and his jaw dropped. Inside, faded from age, was his wife’s name and address from childhood. It was the exact same copy she had owned from all the way back then.
The Lee Family Predicts Its Own Demise
Let’s begin with the fact that legendary actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his son Brandon both died while filming movies, but there’s more than that. Bruce’s last film was called “Game of Death,” and it wasn’t finished when he died. In the movie, there’s a scene in which a prop master demonstrates how to use a fake gun to shoot a scene properly.
While Brandon Lee was filming “The Crow,” a gun was accidentally loaded with a dummy cartridge that still had a projectile and primer, meaning it was essentially a real bullet. When the bullet was fired, it struck Brandon in the abdomen and ended up killing him. Why yes, it IS getting spooky in here.
Crossword Puzzle Almost Ended the War
Leonard Dawe loved some crossword puzzles. Well, sure, why not? He liked them so much that he had a job writing them for “The Telegraph,” and he’d been doing it for about twenty years once 1944 rolled around. Then, one day, an official car pulled up to his house. Some men spoke to him, but it wasn’t until 1958 that he was allowed to talk about it.
Somebody from MI5 had been doing a crossword to take his mind off the impending D-Day assault when he started seeing words like “Utah,” “Overlord,” “Juno,” “Omaha,” and others...all of which happened to be codewords for elements of the D-Day assault. Just a coincidence? Not so. It turns out Dawe has gotten students at his school to fill out blank puzzles while they were bored, but the students had been hanging around with some local soldiers.
Maybe They Planned It That Way
People die together a lot, and if they were brothers – even twins – they were probably just hanging out together, right? Not when it comes to the case of the seventy-year-old Finnish twins in 2002. Here’s how it went down. Both men had been riding their bikes when trucks struck them.
It was on the same day, in the same town, on the same ROAD, about a mile apart, with the second brother getting hit less than two hours after the first. Authorities even investigated the possibility of suicide on the part of the second brother, but he had no knowledge of his twin’s death before going for his ride. It was nothing more than a freak accident and a crazy coincidence.
Not Named After a Grave
The most famous rock band in the world got its start when John Lennon and Paul McCartney met at a party in 1957. The party was at St. Peter’s Church; not long after that, we started to get some great music. Nine years later, McCartney wrote the song “Eleanor Rigby,” which he says he named after the actress Eleanor Bron and a store in Bristol called Rigby & Evans Ltd.
However, some enterprising fans have found a grave at St. Peter’s Church, just yards away from where the two met, that bore the very name “Eleanor Rigby.” McCartney says the grave may have subliminally been lodged in his mind. The deed to the grave was auctioned off but failed to sell.
Maybe Stop Inviting This Guy
These days, the death of a president is rare, however, they were far more common about a hundred years ago. One man, in particular, was there for a trio of them, but he was never the one pulling the trigger. His name was Robert Todd Lincoln, and you can probably guess who one of the presidents was. While Robert wasn’t there when his father, Abraham Lincoln, was shot, he was on his father’s deathbed as he passed away.
Robert Todd was also present when President James A. Garfield was shot and killed. All the way in 1901, Lincoln was in Buffalo, New York, at the invitation of President William McKinley, when that president was shot and killed.
The Proper Picture to Pick
One day, three-time father Michael Dick decided to go looking for his daughter Lisa, whom he hadn’t seen in more than ten years since Michael and his then-wife had separated. Lisa and her mother had moved to Suffolk, England, too far for Michael to search. Instead, Michael contacted the newspaper and asked them to publish a picture so that Lisa would recognize the picture and contact him. He sent them a picture of him with his other two daughters.
Not only did Lisa see the picture and recognize her father, but she also noticed herself and her mother standing in the background, barely visible! The pair were across the street from where the picture was taken, but it was as clear as day to the person in question.
Somehow, violence has a habit of trickling down through history to recur in startlingly similar ways. One of those examples involves the killing of Mary Ashford on May twenty-seventh, 1817. She was attacked in the small English village of Erdington, and a man named Abraham Thornton was charged with the crime, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Mary’s brother William refused to accept the verdict, asking for a retrial.
Exactly a hundred and fifty-seven years later, a woman named Barbara Forrest was attacked in the same village – her body was found only a few hundred feet away from Ashford’s. Just like before, a man was tried but found not guilty due to lack of evidence. Once again, a family member – Forrest’s sister Erika- appealed to reopen the case. Both women had reported feeling apprehensive and nervous in the days before their deaths.
He Has a Tasty Name
Perhaps you’ve read “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket,” a novel by Edgar Allen Poe from 1838, but here’s a brief recap if you haven’t: a four-man crew is shipwrecked, lost at sea without food or water, and must make a difficult choice. One of them, randomly chosen, will be eaten by the others so that they might survive. The sailor chosen by the drawing of straws was named Richard Parker.
Almost fifty years later, a real shipwreck occurred, and one of the sailors – Richard Parker – became ill after drinking seawater. The other sailors made the choice to kill and eat him before his body became too diseased, a frightening similarity to the Poe novel. The men survived but were charged with killing once they were rescued.
Saving the Family Name
John Wilkes Booth is if you’re an American, an infamous name. He’s the assassin who snuck into the private viewing box of the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, and shot him in the head. But long before this legendary event, the two had a different kind of connection. Booth’s brother, Edwin, was a well-known stage actor (part of the reason why John Wilkes Booth could gain access to the theater) who supported the Union during the Civil War.
Also, during that Civil War, Edwin Booth was at a train station in New Jersey and happened to save a young man from falling onto the tracks just as a train was starting up. That man just so happened to be Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son. Edwin had no idea who he had saved until years later.
Everybody has heard that lightning never strikes twice, but that isn’t true at all. That’s the whole point of lightning rods, actually. There’s even one man out there who has been struck by lightning four times – including once AFTER HIS DEATH. That just seems mean.
His name is Major Walter Summerford was struck by lightning three times while he was alive, and then after he died (probably from being struck by lightning), his grave was hit by lightning somehow, despite there being a lot of reasons why that shouldn’t happen unless he had a lightning rod on his tombstone. There’s even one tale that says all of the lightning strikes, even the one after his death, happened at six-year intervals. That story is up for debate, but one way or another, this is some tough luck.
Maybe He Was a Wizard
Back in the day, if someone angered you enough, you could challenge that person to a duel. Generally, you would both take a pistol, stand some certain paces apart, and fire until one was hit. This might not necessarily mean death, but it was a good bet in the nineteenth century. One man, Henri Tragne, participated in five duels, but nobody was ever hit by a bullet. Were they poor shots back then? No, not exactly. In fact, none of the duelists ever fired a pistol.
Just as they were getting set up, every one of his opponents fell down dead of natural causes. Pointing a gun at someone at twenty paces while that person is doing the same has got to be stressful, so maybe these were heart attacks. In his final duel, it was Tragne who dropped dead, again without any bullets fired.
Assassinations That Line Up
Two of the most famous presidents in American history to be assassinated, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, have a startling number of similarities to them. Both suffered gunshot wounds to the back of the head that eventually led to their death. Both died on a Friday before a holiday (Kennedy was killed on Thanksgiving Eve, while Lincoln died before Easter). They both had their wife and another couple with them.
Those aren’t too wild, but there are a lot more: Both of them had a friend named Billy Graham, both had four children, and they had secretaries named after each other – Kennedy’s secretary was Mrs. Lincoln, while Lincoln’s secretary was named John. Their successors were both named Johnson. Finally, Lincoln was shot in Ford’s theater, while Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, which was made by Ford.
A Pair of Little Menaces
Dennis the Menace is a little blonde kid with a penchant for getting in trouble with his dog Ruff. He first appeared in March of 1951, having fun and causing chaos, mostly by accident. He made it big in America, but across the pond, an incredibly similar character first hit newsstands in the very same month, also named Dennis the Menace.
The British version of the character had dark hair, a cat and actually set out to cause chaos intentionally in a much meaner manner. There were never any plagiarism lawsuits – both characters came about independently, and both of them went on to become beloved in their home countries.
An Ocean Tale of Prognostication
In “The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility,” an unsinkable ship named “Titan” ran into trouble when it collided with an iceberg, cutting into the ship's starboard side. It was four hundred miles off of Newfoundland when it sank on a cold night in April, and many of the passengers perished due to a lack of the proper number of lifeboats. If that story sounds familiar, that’s because it’s basically exactly like the story of the “Titanic.”
Robert Morgan, who wrote the book, must not have been very creative, was he? Well, it turns out it was a life that imitated art this time: The book came out in 1898, fourteen years before the “Titanic” set sail on its fateful maiden voyage. Even the names are similar.
A Skull Made of Metal
Getting struck by lightning has got to really suck. It’s way up there on things you don’t want to happen to you. What do you think it’s like being hit by lightning? Let’s ask park ranger Roy Sullivan, who was hit by lightning seven times in the span of twenty-five years because he’s actually a robot. We assume. He holds the record for most times being struck by lightning.
The first time was in 1942, and it necessitated the loss of a big toe. In 1969 he was struck again, which made him lose his eyebrows. He was hit in seventy-two and seventy-three, which burned his hair and skin. He was also hit in seventy-six and seventy-seventy, and then we figure he was done being outside forever.
The Cursed Car
Everybody knows Alec Guinness as the man who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original “Star Wars” movie (a role that he hated), but he’s also known for predicting James Dean’s death. Guinness saw the car at one point while talking with James Dean, and he directly told Dean: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Exactly seven days later, Dean got into the crash that ended his young career.
The car was a Porsche 550 Spyder, and several parts were recovered to be resold – many of the cars they ended up in also suffered accidents and crashes, including several fatalities. Guinness might not have known “Star Wars” would be as big a hit as it was, but he knew an evil car when he saw it.