Sometimes, things happen, and there’s no way to explain it. It could be serendipity, fate, or just circumstance; but no matter what you call it or how you see it, a coincidence can happen to anyone at any time. The following are our collection of coincidences that really happened in history.
The Hollowed-Out Coin
Russian spies would use hollowed-out coins to pass messages to each other when they were in America. One spy made the mistake of using his coin as actual currency as it wound up being circulated with the public.
The coin was discovered when it was given to a paperboy. He dropped the coin and found out it was a hollow container. The message inside was written in Russian code, and it was turned over by the boy to the proper authorities. The US government tried to decode the message for years but failed.
When a Russian spy named Reino Hayhanen switched sides and was in the process of telling the government Russian secrets, he was asked to decode the message from the hollow coin. Hayhanen translated the message, and it turned out to be intended for him all along.
The Girl from Petrovka
When British actor Anthony Hopkins agreed to star in a film called The Girl from Petrovka, he searched all over London to buy a copy of the book. He looked in many bookstores but couldn’t find a copy. Then by chance, he found a copy in a railway bench.
That’s not where the coincidence ends though. Years later, the director of the film, George Feifer, told Hopkins he did not have a copy of his own book because one of his friends lost the last copy. Amazingly, it turned out that the book Hopkins had found was the director’s own annotated copy.
The moon is much smaller than the Sun, but it is also much closer to the Earth. When a solar eclipse happens, the sun and moon look like they’re the same size. This effect is possible because of their distance from the Earth.
Lewis and Clark used Sacagawea as their tour guide when they wanted to explore the Western United States territory. To cross the Rocky Mountains, they needed to find horses to use for their journey.
The local Indian tribe did not trust Lewis and Clark, and Sacagawea was forced to talk with the chief. The chief did not want to help until he realized Sacagawea was his long-lost sister.
Sacagawea was kidnapped and taken to be a slave in another tribe when she was very small. Because of that family connection Sacagawea had with the chief, the expedition team of Lewis and Clark got their horses.
Saved by Running Late
A church in Nebraska exploded in 1950. Miraculously, none of the choir members who were supposed to be there at the time were injured. For some reason, all 15 members were running late for practice.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand started World War I. Most people do not know that the first assassination attempt failed when the bomb exploded in the car behind Ferdinand’s. They only completed their mission when they stopped for lunch and ran into the archduke himself.
A house painter named Richard Lawrence tried to kill US president Andrew Jackson. He fired at the president, but the gun did not go off. The 67-year-old Jackson beat the would-be assassin with his walking cane.
Lawrence pulled out another gun and fired, but it still did not go off. The witnesses wrestled him to the ground. The guns were later tested and found to be working properly.
Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln and JFK were elected to congress 100 years apart in 1846 and 1946 respectively. Lincoln became president in 1860, and Kennedy was elected in 1960. Their last names contain seven letters each. Both of them were concerned with civil rights, and both were shot in the head.
They were followed in office by men named Johnson—Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln, and Lyndon Johnson succeeded Kennedy. There are even similarities with their assassins. John Wilkes Booth ran from a theater and was found in a warehouse, while Lee Harvey Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater. Both assassins were killed before their trials.
Worst Drivers in History
In 1895, there were only two cars on the road in the entire state of Ohio, and these two vehicles crashed into each other.
The song “Eleanor Rigby” was released by the Beatles in 1966. Paul McCartney said in an interview that he came up with the name Father McCartney but decided against using his father’s name. He found the name McKenzie in a phone book and used that name in the song lyrics. The name Eleanor Rigby was from an actress and a store.
In the 1980s. a grave with the name Eleanor Rigby was found in Liverpool. A few feet away from the Rigby grave lies another tombstone with the name McKenzie. That cemetery is located near the spot where Lennon and McCartney first met as teenagers.
During a game in 1957, Richie Ashburn of the Philadelphia Phillies hit a foul ball into the stands. It struck Alice Roth, breaking her nose. When the game resumed, Ashburn struck another foul ball, and it hit Alice Roth as she was being carried off by a stretcher.
The mongols under Kublai Khan could have conquered Japan, but twice in 7 years, the invading army had to abandon their mission because of a typhoon.
In June 2009, two men from different parts of China bought lotto tickets at the exact same time. They both chose the same winning combination of seven digits.
Timur Tamerlane was a warlord and military tactician whose warfare killed nearly 17 million people. In 1941, Joseph Stalin had a team of archaeologists open Timur’s tomb in Uzbekistan.
When they opened the coffin, they read an inscription: “Whoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” Just a few hours later, Adolf Hitler’s terrible troops invaded Russia, and 26 million people died as a result. In 1942, Stalin gave the orders for the reburial of Timur’s remains. After that, the German army surrendered at Stalingrad. That was the end of their campaign against the Russians.
The Curse of Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln was with his father when he was assassinated. He was also a witness to the assassination of James A. Garfield. Twenty years later, Lincoln was invited to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, by President McKinley. The president was assassinated on that day.
After that event, Lincoln declined any invitations by presidents, fearing that his association somehow led to their deaths.
Caught on Camera
A grainy photo of a man stealing a wallet inside a store was featured on the bottom of the front page of Idaho’s Lewiston Tribune in December 2007. Right above it was a picture of a man painting a business. The readers of the paper noticed that both men wore the same clothes, and it turned out that it was the same man. He was arrested after that.
While in Monza, Italy, King Umberto I went to a small restaurant. As his order was being taken, the king noticed that they were remarkably similar in looks and build. The men began discussing their lives and found that they were born on the same day of the same year in the same town. They married women called Margherita, and the restaurant opened on the day the king was crowned King of Italy.
In 1900, King Umberto was told that the owner of the restaurant had died in a shooting accident. On that same day, the king was assassinated also.
Father and Son
JJ Thomson won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for proving the electron is a particle. In 1937, his son, George Paget Thomson, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for showing the electron is a wave.
The Life of Frane
Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher, has had quite an unlucky series of events happen in his life. He rode a train that jumped the tracks and fell into an icy river, but he managed to swim to shore. A while after that, he was on a plane and its door flew off and he was thrown out of the plane.
The plane crashed, but he landed on a haystack. He was on a bus that skidded off the road and killed four people, but Frane only had minor injuries. His car caught fire in 1970, but he escaped before the whole vehicle exploded.
He experienced other similar life-threatening situations, but his luck finally changed in 2003 when he bought a lottery ticket and ended up winning the jackpot.
Deus Ex Was Right
The game Deus Ex came out in 2000. In the game, the Twin Towers were left out of the picture of the New York skyline. In the game’s storyline, it says the towers were destroyed by terrorists.
Chris Benoit‘s Wikipedia page was edited by an Internet troll saying that his wife had died. That was 14 hours before the police discovered her body.
Twins Are Really Connected
Lorraine and Lavinia Christmas crashed into each other on Christmas Eve 1994. The twin sisters were on their cars on their way to deliver presents to each other.
Bill Morgan’s Luck
Australian Bill Morgan was declared dead but was revived 14 minutes later. To celebrate his comeback from death, he bought a scratch card and won a car worth $27,000.
When asked to reenact the scratch card moment to capture it on camera, he bought another card and won the $250,000 jackpot.
The Shakespearean Connection
Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway‘s husband, closely resembles William Shakespeare. Incidentally, Shakespeare’s wife was also named Anne Hathaway.
The Cursed Taxi
In July of 1975, Erskine Lawrence Ebbin was killed when a taxi hit his motorcycle. Only a year before, the same taxi, with the same driver, carrying the same passenger, had killed his brother Neville.
Both boys were 17 when they died, and both had been riding the same scooter on the same street.
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