We deal with coincidences everyday. From wearing the same shirt as your best friend (without prior planning) to running into someone you know at some random place. These coincidence may seem a bit trivial. Yet the coincidences that you are about witness transcend time and place to become anything but common. From uncanny predictions to extremely lucky military commanders these are 25 historical coincidences that are almost hard to believe!
The start of World War I
We all know that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand started the war, but did you know that the actual assassination attempt failed? The bomb blew up the car behind his. When his car took a different route, however, they ended up driving right by one of the assassins who had stopped to buy a sandwich.
Failed Mongol Invasion of Japan
Although they could have invaded twice, they were turned back by a typhoon both times.
Lewis and Clark get their horses
Their guide, Sacagawea, was interpreting for them in order for them to procure horses. The local Indians, however, didn’t trust them. In the middle of the talks though, she realized that the chief was her long lost brother (she had been kidnapped by a neighboring tribe as a child) and broke down crying. Lewis and Clark got their horses.
Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
Although the original Lincoln/Kennedy email that you found in your spam folder contained numerous false facts there were a few that are still true and indisputably interesting. Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846, Kennedy in 1946. Lincoln became president in 1860, Kennedy in 1960 (though sworn in 1961). And both were eventually shot in the head on a Friday.
Andrew Jackson's luck
Unlike Lincoln and Kennedy, Andrew Jackson was a bit luckier. When an unemployed painter named Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Jackson, his gun wouldn’t fire. The 67 year old president began to beat his would-be assassin with a cane during which the assassin pulled out another gun. This gun also misfired and the disgruntled painter was dragged away.
A Bystander's Bad Luck
On the topic of presidential assassinations, Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln was by his father’s side as he passed away. He then went on to witness the assassination of President James Garfield. 20 years later, in 1901, President William McKinley invited him to the Pan-American exposition in New York and on that day President McKinley was also assassinated. Robert decided to decline any presidential invitations from that day forth.
Wave vs Particle
In 1906 JJ Thompson won the Nobel Prize in Physics for proving that the electron was a particle. In 1937 his son, George Thompson, won the Nobel Prize for proving that it was a wave.
The Paperboy and the Spy
Russian spies used to use hollow coins to pass messages to each other in the US and one of these coins made it into circulation. One day a paperboy dropped the coin and it split open revealing its coded contents. The code baffled the FBI and CIA until a Russian spy defected to the US and interpreted the note. It was a welcome message from Moscow…and it was intended for him.
The Anne Hathaways
Anne Hathaway’s (the actress) husband bears a strong resemblance to William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare had a wife named Anne Hathaway.
The English Dennis the Menace and the American Dennis the Menace were thought up by completely independent authors and published on the same day – March 12, 1951.
Remember Robert Lincoln? Well, Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth (the guy that killed Robert’s father), saved his life when he prevented him from being run over by a train. Now that’s drama you can’t make up.
It wasn’t until the 1936 Berlin Olympics that people realized Haiti and Lichtenstein had the same flags. Adjustments have since been made!
A Grave Coincidence
John Parr was the first British soldier to die in WWI. George Ellison was the last. Although it wasn’t intentional, their graves are in the same cemetery, only meters apart, and facing one another.
Armand Hammer sat on the board of a company called Church and Dwight. This was the company that owned Arm & Hammer. The company name did not originate with Armand though, as it was named over 30 years prior.
The man that killed John Lennon was name Mark Chapman. When NBC decided to do an autobiography on Lennon a few years down the road they failed to realize that the actor playing John Lennon was also named Mark Chapman. This caused a bit of a media frenzy and they had to recast the actor, but the coincidence remains – the original actor looked like John but had the name of his killer.
The Two Bombs
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was living in Nagasaki, Japan when he was called to Hiroshima for work. On his last day in Hiroshima the nuclear bomb fell but Tsutomu survived. He then returned to Nagasaki only to be bombed again. Incredibly, he survived again.
The theory that predicted the existence of asteroids was at one point discredited although asteroids were later discovered. Some scientists have stated that this prediction was an amazing coincidence.
Life to Death
When Life Magazine ran its first issue it featured a baby on the cover by the name of George Story along with the headline “Life Begins”. 63 year later when the magazine published its last issue they decided to put George Story on the cover again with the headline “Life Ends”. Later that month George died of a heart attack.
The Founding Fathers
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 exactly 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence. John Adams didn’t know that Jefferson had died several hours early and his last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives”.
The Night America Burned
Although you’ve probably heard of the Great Chicago fire, did you know it wasn’t even the largest fire that night? The Port Huron Fire, Peshtigo Fire, and the Holland Fire all happened that evening too.
The D-Day crossword puzzle
In May 1944 Leonard Dawes, the British school teacher responsible for compiling the Daily Telegraph’s crossword puzzles, included several code words as answers. Well, more than several. And two of the words included beaches that were chosen as landing spots including Omaha and Utah. British agents interrogated him because they thought he was a spy but it turned out to be pure coincidence.
Mark Twain and Halley's Comet
Mark Twain was born shortly after Halley’s Comet passed by the Earth in 1835. He once predicted that he would “go out with it” too. Mark died the day after the comet returned to Earth in 1910.
It is purely a coincidence that the person who mass produced toilets had such an interesting name.
The First Battle of Bull Run during the American Civil War started on the McLean farm. The family moved over a hundred miles away to escape only to have a messenger from Robert E Lee show up on their doorstep 4 years later because he wanted to use their house to formally surrender. The Civil War had both started and ended on their property.
The Titan vs The Titanic
In 1898 Morgan Robertson published a book called Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan. In the book a British ocean liner hits an iceberg and sinks in the North Atlantic. This was 14 years before the Titanic sank.