25 Of The Most Astonishing Coincidences In History
Real life can be stranger than fiction at times. Some very strange events have happened throughout history, and here are a few of the most bizarre ones.
Coincidences or not? You decide.
The remarkable Lincoln-Kennedy link
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946. Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. Both were particularly concerned with civil rights. Both wives lost their children while living in the White House. Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were shot in the head. Both of their assassins were known by three names. Both names comprised of fifteen letters. Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater. Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
Both were succeeded by Southerners. Both successors were named Johnson. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
This man was present when each of these three U.S. presidents died.
Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln, was with his father when he passed away.
As President James. A Garfield’s Secretary of War, he was an eyewitness to the assassination of Garfield in 1881.
In 1901, Robert was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, at the invitation of then President William McKinley. McKinley was assassinated that day. After this event, Robert turned down any invitations by U.S. Presidents to events, fearing that his association led to their deaths.
The newspaper that solved a crime
A blurry photo of a man stealing a wallet in a store ran on the front page of Idaho’s Lewiston Tribune on December 14, 2007. Above it was an unrelated photo of a man painting a business. Keen-eyed readers noticed both men were wearing the same clothes and realised that they were in fact the same man, leading to his arrest.
Hollow nickel case
During the Cold War, Russian spies used hollow coins to pass messages to each other in America. One spy accidentally used his hollow coin as actual currency, and it ended up in the general population. The coin was found when it was given to a paperboy, who discovered the message in the hollowed out container when he dropped it and it split open. There was a message written in Russian code, so the boy handed it over to the authorities. The government spent years trying to decode the message, with no luck.
Eventually, a Russian spy named Reino Hayhanen defected to America, and in the process of handing over Russian secrets, the spy was asked about the coded message in the hollow coin. The man translated the message, and it turned out to be a “Welcome to America, here’s the way our operations work” message from Russia. The coin was in fact meant for the very spy who decoded the message for the American government.
Two brothers were killed by the same taxi driver a year apart.
In July 1975, Erskine Lawrence Ebbin was knocked off his moped and killed by a taxi in Hamilton, Bermuda. It was the same taxi driven by the same driver, carrying the same passenger, that had killed his brother Neville in July the previous year. Both brothers were 17 when they died, and had been riding the same moped in the same street.
The following clipping appeared in The Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph on July 21, 1975:
The link between Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare
Anne Hathaway’s husband Adam Shulman bears an uncanny resemblance to William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare’s wife was called Anne Hathaway.
The book that went full circle.
British actor Anthony Hopkins was delighted to hear that he had landed a leading role in a film based on the book The Girl From Petrovka by George Feifer. A few days after signing the contract, Hopkins traveled to London to buy a copy of the book. He tried several bookshops, but there wasn’t one to be had. Waiting at Leicester Square underground for his train home, he noticed a book apparently discarded on a bench. Incredibly, it was The Girl From Petrovka. Now, this was merely the beginning of an extraordinary chain of events.
Two years later, in the middle of filming in Vienna, Hopkins was visited by George Feifer, the author. Feifer mentioned that he did not have a copy of his own book. He had lent the last one containing his own annotations to a friend who had lost it somewhere in London. With mounting astonishment, Hopkins handed Feifer the book he had found. Is this the one? he asked, with the notes scribbled in the margins? It was the same book.
This guy beat death, then won the lottery twice in a row.
An Australian guy named Bill Morgan was declared dead for 14 minutes and was revived. To celebrate his survival, he bought a scratch card and won a $27,000 car. The news reporter asked him to reenact the scratch card moment to capture it on camera, so he bought another card and won a $250,000 jackpot this time.
The coincidence that is too tragic.
On the Christmas Eve of 1994, two cars collided near Flitcham, England. The drivers were twin sisters who were delivering presents to each other. Their names were Lorraine and Lavinia Christmas.
Here’s why we can see a complete solar eclipse.
The sun and moon appear to be of same size because of an astonishing coincidence. The moon is 400 times smaller in diameter but 400 times closer, which makes the eclipses possible. Also, complete eclipses won’t be possible forever as the moon is slowly drifting away from Earth.
The internet troll who foretold someone’s death.
Someone edited professional wrestler Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia page to include the death of his wife 14 hours before police discovered her body. The article originally read: “Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW World Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.” It turned out an internet troll had edited the page just for fun, and later clarified that his edit was a “huge coincidence and nothing more.”
She found her long lost brother.
In their exploration of the Western United States in 1804, Lewis and Clark were using Sacagawea as an interpreter with the native people as they traveled west. Before they crossed the Rocky Mountains, they had to secure horses for their journey across in order to survive. The local Indian tribe didn’t trust them and believed they might be a war party. As Sacagawea was talking with the Indian chief and getting nowhere, she suddenly realized that the chief was actually her long lost brother and broke down crying. She was taken as a slave from a neighboring tribe at a very young age. It completely changed the direction of the talks and Lewis and Clark’s party of 40 people got their horses.
The game makers that accidentally foretold the 9/11 attack.
The developers of the 2000 video game Deus Ex left the Twin Towers out of the New York skyline in game due to texture memory limitations. The developers justified that the towers were destroyed by terrorists early on in the game’s storyline.
These people escaped death by being lazy.
When a Nebraska church exploded in 1950, not one of the fifteen people who were supposed to be there for choir practice was injured because every member of the choir was late arriving for practice that evening and everyone had their own reason to not be there.
The man who escaped death seven times, and then won the lottery.
Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher, began his unlucky streak in 1962 on a train going from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. The train inexplicably jumped the tracks and fell into an icy river killing 17 passengers. He managed to swim to shore suffering from hypothermia and a broken arm.
A year later, while on an airplane, its door flew off and he was sucked out of the airplane. The plane crashed and he woke up in a hospital. He was found in a haystack. In 1966, he was on a bus that went off the road and into a river. Four people were killed, but he suffered minor injuries. In 1970, his car caught on fire and he stopped it and got out just before the whole car blew up. In 1973, Selak was driving another car when a faulty fuel line sprayed gas all over the engine and flames blew through his air vents. His only injury was loss of most of his hair. In 1995 he was hit by a bus, but only sustained minor injuries. Finally, in 1996, he was driving on a mountain road when he went around a bend and saw a truck coming right at him. He ran his car through a guardrail and jumped out to watch his car blow up 300 feet below him.
In 2003, Selak bought a lottery ticket for the first time in 40 years at the age of 74 and ended up winning 1 million.
Read more about Frane Selak.
This guy was assassinated by coincidence.
The direct cause of World War I was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. What many people don’t know is that the initial assassination attempt failed when the bomb blew up the car behind Ferdinand’s. The only reason the second assassination attempt was successful was because one of the terrorists wanted to buy a sandwich and happened to see Ferdinand in the store.
The assassination that failed.
In 1835 an unemployed house painter named Richard Lawrence tried to assassinate then President of the USA Andrew Jackson. He produced a pistol and fired at Jackson, but the gun did not go off. A scuffle ensued, with the 67-year-old Jackson beating the offender with his walking cane. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol and fired, but this gun also did not go off and bystanders wrestled him to the ground. Both guns were later test fired successfully on the first try and appeared to be in fine working condition.
One family, two Nobel Prize winners.
J.J. Thomson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1906 for showing that the electron is a particle. His son, George Paget Thomson, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1937 for showing that the electron is a wave.
Umberto I of Italy and his “double”
In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I, went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia-Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto’s order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in face and in build. Both men began discussing their striking resemblance and found many more similarities. Both men were born on the same day, of the same year, March 14th, 1844. Both men had been born in the same town. Both men married a woman with same name, Margherita. The restaurateur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy.
On July 29, 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restaurateur had died that day in a shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, he was then assassinated by an anarchist in the crowd.
The Ohio car crash in 1985
The haunting life story behind one of pop’s most famous songs
Eleanor Rigby was released by The Beatles on August 5, 1966. McCartney in an interview said that he originally came up with the idea of Father McCartney but figured it was inappropriate to use his dad’s name, so looked in the phone book and found McKenzie. Ultimately, the name Father McKenzie was used in the songs lyrics. McCartney came up with the name Eleanor from actress Eleanor Bron and Rigby from a store in Bristol named Rigby Evens Ltd, Wine Spirit Shippers. In the 1980s, a grave was discovered in St. Peters Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, with the name Eleanor Rigby on it. A few yards from Eleanor’s grave is another tombstone with the last name McKenzie on it. The cemetery is located near the spot where Lennon and McCartney first met, and the two spent a lot of time in the cemetery sunbathing as teenagers.
The foul ball that struck the same person twice.
During an August 17, 1957 game, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Richie Ashburn hit a foul ball into the stands that broke the nose of spectator Alice Roth. When play resumed Ashburn fouled off another ball that struck her while she was being carried off in a stretcher.
Two lottery winners with uncanny coincidences
On June 6, 2009, two men in China picked the same winning seven-digit lottery number. Though they were hundreds of miles away from each other, they bought their tickets at the exact same time, down to the second.
Twice in seven years 1274 and 1281, the Mongols under the leadership of Kublai Khan could have almost certainly conquered Japan, but each time the invading fleet was turned back by a typhoon.
The horrible curse of Timur
A warlord and nobleman who controlled a vast swath of Asia during the 14th century, Timur was renowned as a military tactician whose warfare killed some 17 million people. He was also a celebrated patron of architecture and the arts. In 1941, Joseph Stalin sent a team of archaeologists to open Timur’s tomb in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, much to the alarm of local residents and Muslim clergy. Upon opening Timur’s coffin, the team discovered an inscription: Whoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I. Within a matter of hours, Adolf Hitler’s troops invaded Russia and an estimated 26 million people died as a result.
In 1942, Stalin ordered Timur’s remains to be returned to Samarkand in accordance with Islamic tradition. Shortly after, the German army surrendered at Stalingrad, ending their campaign against the Russians.
Well, you couldn’t make it up. Share these amazing historical coincidences with others below.