Friday, December 16, 2016

Stranger Than Fiction

Thought for the day:  Coincidence is a recognized element in real life. All of us have anecdotes about those times when, by the merest coincidence, we avoided some disaster or stumbled onto some wonderful experience. [Jane Lindskold]

[Smarticus and I are still under the weather, but luckily, I wrote this post a couple months ago, and it's ready to go. (If only WE were!) It isn't exactly in tune with the Season, but I hope you enjoy it, anyway.]

Sometimes, events unfold in the most amazing and unbelievable ways, yielding results that make us question reality and shake our heads in wonder. It could be something simple, leading us to smile and say, How about that? Or it could be something so profound, it sends a shiver down our spines and makes us wonder about such an unlikely alignment of fate. Today, we're gonna take a look at some of the more interesting events in history that one could call coincidences. Or maybe they're just... weird. 



The first time my imagination was smacked upside the head by the notion of historical coincidences was in 1964, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, when a long list of bizarre coincidences was circulated, comparing Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, who'd been assassinated a century earlier.

Here are some of the peculiarities from that list:

  • Both were elected to the House of Representatives in '46.
  • Both were losing candidates for their party's VP nomination in '56.
  • Both were elected president in '60, following a series of debates with their opponents. 
  • Both of their VPs were Southern Democrats named Johnson... who were born in '08.
  • Both presidents fathered four children, and had a son die during his presidency.
  • Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater; Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in a Lincoln automobile... which was made by Ford.
  • After shooting Lincoln, Booth ran from a theater to a warehouse; after shooting Kennedy, Oswald ran from a warehouse to a theater.
There were plenty of other things on that list, some of which stretched things a bit too far, but you get the idea. You've probably seen most of them before, but if not, it shouldn't be too difficult to find them online if you're interested. 

What follows are some other historical coincidences, which you probably haven't heard of before. Ready? 

[wikipedia]
Remember the old movie about the unsinkable Molly Brown? Well, this is about another real life gal named Violet Jessop, who was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse. In 1911, she was aboard the Olympic, the largest luxury liner of its time, when it collided with HMS Hawke. She was also working on the Titanic when it stuck the iceberg and sank. During WWI, she worked on HMS Britannic, which had been converted to a hospital ship. The ship exploded on November 21, 1916. Whether its demise was caused by a torpedo or a land mine isn't definitely known, but it did go down. And the original Miss Unsinkable lived to tell about it... and to travel on many other ships. 



[freepik.com]









On September 29, 1888, Catherine Eddowes was arrested on drunken disorderly conduct charges. Initially, she gave her name as Nobody, but after she'd sobered up and was released late that night, she gave a different name. She said her name was Mary Kelly. After Catherine left the police station, she was attacked and killed by Jack the Ripper. Here's the reeeeeally creepy part: the name of his next, and assumed final victim, was... Mary Kelly.

[morguefile]




The next two tales are about brothers... very close brothers. 

* In 2002, a 70-year-old man was struck and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle 600 km north of Helsinki. Two hours later, and about 1.5 km away, another 70-year-old man was struck and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle. They were twin brothers. 

* On a balmy July evening in Bermuda in 1974, 17-year-old Neville Ebbin was killed when the moped he was riding collided with a taxicab driven by Willard Manders. On a balmy July evening in that same small town in Bermuda in July of the following year, his 17-year-old brother Erskine was killed when he was riding that same moped... and collided with that same taxicab driven by that same driver.. who was transporting the same passenger as he was the year before. 

[Beatrice Daily Sun]

Choir practice was held punctually at 7:20 PM sharp every Wednesday night at West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska. On March 1, 1950, a gas leak caused the church to explode at 7:27. Miraculously, no one was injured. Why? For one reason or another, all fifteen choir members and the choir director were running late that evening. 

[wikipedia]



The Hoover Dam project was an amazing feat of engineering, but it came at a high cost. One hundred and twelve men lost their lives during its construction. The first one to die was J.G. Tierney, who died on December 20, 1922. The last one to lose his life died on December 20, 1935. His name was Patrick Tierney... J.G.'s son.














[wikipedia]


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand initiated the beginning of World War I. This is the vehicle in which he was riding at the time of his death. In case you can't read it, his license tag reads A111 118. Not all that unusual until you think about it. A for Armistice, maybe? Which of course, ended the war on 11-11-18. 


[wikipedia]




This last story was too interesting to leave out, but I wasn't able to verify its accuracy, so you might wanta take it with a healthy dose of salt. 

Allegedly, King Umberto I of Italy went to a small restaurant in Monza on July 28, 1900. When the owner, whose name also was Umberto, took his order, they noticed how very much alike they looked. Turned out, they were both born on March 14, 1844, and both got married to a woman named Margherita... and on the same date. What's more, the restauranteur opened his restaurant the same day that the king was crowned.  

The next day, the king was informed that the restauranteur had been shot earlier in the day. While expressing his regrets, an anarchist in the crowd assassinated him. 










Yep, it's definitely a small world, and for sure, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. [Albert Einstein]

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. 

57 comments:

  1. Hi Susan - I hope you both start improving and feeling much better next week ... co-incidences are extraordinary aren't they. Father and son ... now that's just plain sad ... take care and look forward to a festive time ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary. Thanks. We're getting there.

      Yes, coincidences can be fascinating. Then again, some people say there's no such thing as coincidence. :)

      Cheers back atcha.

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  2. I do hope that you and Smarticus are on the mend. You have been below par for too long.
    Those coincidences are just plain tragic. And weird. But tragic first and foremost.

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    1. Thank you, sweet Sue. We're doing better; we just don't bounce back as quickly as we used to.

      I suppose some of these coincidences could be considered tragic. I fall more into the side of fascinating... like all of those choir members surviving because for the first time ever, they were all late to rehearsal. I mean, WOW!

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  3. Some of those coincidences are downright creepy.
    I hope you both are getting better by now.

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    1. Yeah, I know. If someone wrote things like that into a novel, readers would say they're too outlandish.

      Thank you, ma'am. We're a little better every day.

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  4. I would imagine that none Violet's friends ever would want to go sailing with her. You would think that one sinking would have have kept her landlocked forever.

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    1. I hope you and your hubby recover soon from that hell of a flu that invaded your systems. Grandchildren spread joy, happiness and lots of germs.

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    2. Yeah, one sinking would probably have been enough for me. I'd simply thank my lucky stars, and stay close to shore after that.

      Thank you. Yes, the wee ones do have a well-developed way of manufacturing germs, don't they? But the joy and happiness they give makes the risk worthwhile. (Who can resist a feverish child who needs to be cuddled...?)

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    3. If I owned a shipping company I might think Violet was jinxed and not allow her on the ships anymore.

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  5. Sometimes all it takes is looking and you can find them because you look hard for them. Other times, like the later if true, sure give you a wtf moment indeed.

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    1. Yep, there's lots of weird stuff to discover in the world, and lots of fun for us weird folks in discovering it. :)

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  6. I hope you are starting to recover.......this is not the time of year you want to be feeling 'off'. Those are indeed some weird and wonderful coincidences.

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    1. Thanks. We are. It just takes us a lot longer to bounce back nowadays than it used to. On the plus side, because of our lack of energy, I'm finally getting the laid-back Christmas I always wanted.

      Weird and wonderful... that they are.

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  7. you do find some weird stuff....or are you hallucinating? Out, out, damn flu. Sure hope you are on the mend - stay hydrated. Lots of chicken soup. You can't be sick for Santa. Take care!

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    1. I may be hallucinating NOW, but I wasn't when I wrote this post a couple months ago. :)

      Yes, ma'am. I hope you have a super weekend.

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  8. What a dumb time to be sick; the holidays are coming!!

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    1. It IS a kinda dumb way to get out of decorating...

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  9. First of all, I hope you get better soon. Now, that post was too spooky! :-) I knew about the Kennedy and Lincoln "coincidences". The others left me speechless.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Oh, no! We don't ever want to leave you speechless. Your words are always worth hearing. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  10. I'm glad I was never on board a ship with Violet Jessop. I'm sorry the two of you are still struggling to recover. That's quite a case of flu you have.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I don't think I'd want to share a ship with her, either. I can't tread water very long...

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  11. Incredible! These stories are the stuff of goosebumps, big time!
    I dunno HOW you find these, Susan ... but I'm mighty glad you do. :)
    Feel better soon!!!

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    1. I'm glad you find this weird kinda stuff interesting, too. :)

      Thanks. We're doing better every day.

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  12. I agree, some of these coincidences are downright creepy (cue the Twilight Theme music!). I had read about the Lincoln/Kennedy coincidences, the other stuff brought new shivers.

    Feel better soon - you'll need to enjoy your Christmas foods!

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    1. Darn, maybe I should have saved this post for next Halloween...

      Thanks. Our appetites have returned, so we WILL enjoy our Christmas foods... especially since our daughter and son-in-law will be doing all of the cooking this year. :)

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  13. Susan and Smarticus, get well soon. That's an order. I delighted in this post --the Kennedy/Lincoln coincidences I remember from the 1960s, but the rest, phenomenal. I'll address the Taylor Swift one: I understand she is a lovely tall girl but didn't know she disassembled and required 2 vans for transport. And, Susan, happy birthday to us!

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    1. Yes, sir! We're actually feeling human again, although his cough still sounds rather alien.

      I hope you had a super birthday, dude. :)

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  14. I always find stories like these fascinating but scary at the same time. It makes me ponder too much on whether or not there were/are 'otherworldly' reasons for such coincidences. It's enough to make my head implode.

    I really do hope that you and Smarticus feel much better soon. Sending you both huge hugs.

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    1. Oh, dear. Please don't let your head implode, kiddo. We need your kinda humor in the world. :)

      Thanks. Sending a hug right back atcha. (I'll hold my breath so I'm not breathing on you...)

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  15. Our high school history teacher read those coincidences to us once in class and it sent chills down our spines!

    Have a Merry Christmas :)

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    1. Yeah, the Lincoln-Kennedy comparisons really freaked me out, too.

      Thanks. I hope you and your bride have a wonderful Christmas, too. :)

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  16. Ah… coincidence the seed of every conspiracy theory ever known. GK Chesterton called coincidences spiritual puns. I always like that. :)

    Okay, you really need to kick this flu in the behind and send it packing. Your uninvited houseguest has way overstayed its welcome.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Spiritual puns... I love it!

      Yes, ma'am. Its bags are packed, but like me, it's saying a looooong good-bye. :)

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  17. Fantastic stories, Susan. I hope you're both 100% better very soon. Have a great Christmas.

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    1. Thanks, Keith! And a very Merry Christmas to you and your family, too.

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  18. Susan, I do hope you and your husband feel better very soon... hopefully in time for Christmas xox

    I love stories like these, it is so interesting to see the all the similarities...very strange indeed xox

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    1. Oh and of course Merry Christmas to you and your family in case I don't get to say it before then xox

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    2. Thanks, Launna. And a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family, too.

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  19. Those are some freaky coincidences. I can't imagine why Violet kept getting on ships. She needed a career change!

    Although, now my weird writer brain is thinking about reasons why bad things kept happening to ships Violet was on .... Hmmm.

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    1. HA! Great things always happen when your talented... not weird at all!... writer brain gets to churning. :)

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  20. So many of those coincidences are downright eerie...wow...

    And sorry to hear you're still feeling under the weather. Hope you;re able to recover enough to enjoy what's left of the holiday season!

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    1. Eerie is fun once in a while... keeps us on our toes. ;)

      We're doing better today. I actually did some cleaning and decorating. Hoo-RAH!

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  21. Great post! I always get so drawn into your blog posts. I need to remember to read them when I dont have toddlers crawling all of me haha! Merry Christmas! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Um, when you have toddlers, except for when they're asleep, aren't they ALWAYS crawling all over you? HA!

      Merry Christmas to you, too. :)

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    2. Haha, exactly! I feel like I am losing IQ points with being unable to pursue any decent reading material beyond a 140 character tweet these days! Grrrr!

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    3. I know what you mean. I must confess, when my kids were little, I used to read the newspaper out loud to them. That way, I got to read my paper, and they were happy just to be on my lap. Not all of the stories I read to them were kiddie books, either. :)

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  22. I hope you feel better soon. I remember that list about Lincoln and JFK. So bizarre. Great stories. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks. I'm actually feeling pretty good today, which of course, means I worked my butt off. So to speak. (I just looked, and it's still there...)

      And a very Merry Christmas to you and your family, too!

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  23. I do hope you and hubby are feeling better. Some things are shared that we wish weren't. :)

    Your stories are really interesting and a few I recognize, especially the one about the assassination of Lincoln and JFK. Definitely makes you wonder.

    Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday and a blessed New Year!

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    1. HA! Yeah, grandchildren are very good about sharing germs. (But it's never gonna stop us from cuddling with them!)

      Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and all the best in the new year.

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  24. Coincidence is indeed strange. Hope you're feeling better now that the solstice is here.

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    1. Thanks. The solstice musta done the trick, because I'm feeling MUCH better. :)

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  25. So sorry you and hubby are still so sick ! Bummer !
    Such an interesting post. Happy you had back up.
    Christmas is just a few days away . . . Have a lovely Holiday.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thanks, but we're doing a lot better now. I even did some cleaning and decorating yesterday. (What a concept!)

      A very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year for you and yours... including those sweet critters.

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  26. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours! :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Thanks, Mario. And the same to you and your family. May 2017 surprise us in wonderful ways.

      Greetings back atcha from Georgia.

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