Sometimes you and your friend give your dogs the same name. What a coincidence! Other times, three political leaders who caused the deaths of millions of people live in the same city at the same time. These historical coincidences aren’t just amusing: they’re eerie.
Separated twins who live the same lives, an Edgar Allen Poe book that mirrored a future event, and Founding Fathers who both died on the same Independence Day–these are just some of the incredible and shocking coincidences throughout history. Do you believe they’re chance, or something more significant?
Abraham Lincoln’s Son Was Bad Luck For Politicians
Robert Todd Lincoln, the oldest son of President Abraham Lincoln, was a distinguished politician. In 1881, Robert Lincoln walked along Sixth Street in Washington, D.C. with President Garfield, where he saw Charles J. Guiteau shoot the president.
Later, in 1901, Robert attended President William McKinley’s speech in New York where Leon F. Czolgosz shot McKinley twice. And these weren’t the only connections Robert had to presidential assassinations. Read on to learn about his chance encounter with the man who took his own father’s life.
Separated Twins Lived Basically The Same Life
In 1940, identical twin brothers were set up for adoption. They were adopted by separate parents, who both named their new son James, or Jim for short. The Jim twins, as they became known, went on to live eerily similar lives.
Each Jim married a woman named Linda. They both had a son, and each named their son James Alan and James Allan. Both divorced, and they each remarried – both to a woman named Betty. Each Jim smoked, drove a Chevrolet, and took a job in security. The Jim twins reunited at age 39 only to realize their crazy similarities.
Hoover Dam Hates The Tierneys
During the Hoover Dam’s construction, two men died fourteen years apart, on the same day. On December 20th, 1921, a work crew surveying the dam encountered a flash flood. A man named John Gregory Tierney got swept away. He was the first recorded death at Hoover Dam.
Years later, his son Patrick William Tierney sought out work as an electrician’s assistant on the Hoover Dam during the Great Depression. On December 20th, 1935, he fell 320 feet from an intake tower on the Arizona side of the dam. Before Patrick had taken the job, his mother admonished him against it.
A Ship Disguised As Another Ship That Is Also Disguised As The Former Ship
Imagine two opposing armies both bringing a Trojan Horses each into the same city. That’s basically what happened in 1944 when the German ocean liner Cap Trafalgar disguised itself as the British liner RMS Carmania. Unfortunately, the real British RMS Carmania saw the smoke coming from the disguised German Carmania.
But the German Carmania crew wouldn’t have recognized it, because the British Carmania was disguised as the German ship Cap Trafalgar. Both crews were surprised when the Carmania-as-Trafalgar battled the Trafalgar-as-Carmenia. In short, both ships were disguised as each other and everyone was confused.
These Founding Fathers Died On Independence Day
During the 1775 Continental Congress in Philadelphia, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became fast friends. Although their relationship floundered after Adams’ presidency, they reconciled everything in 1812.
On July 4th, 1826, the country celebrated its first 50 years of independence. One this day, Jefferson passed away at his Virginia estate, Monticello. Adams was on his own deathbed in Quincy, Massachusetts, unaware that Jefferson had died. His last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives.”
One Killer City
In 1913, Adolph Hitler, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin all lived in Vienna at the same time. That January, Soviet director Joseph Stalin spent a month in the city to meet Marxist revolutionist Leon Trotsky and write out Stalinism. Trotsky had already been living in Vienna since 1907, where he wrote for the paper Pravda.
Before Hitler joined the Nazi Party, he struggled to make a living as a painter in Vienna from 1908 to 1913. Hitler, Trotsky, and Stalin, of course, became some of the most notorious leaders the world has ever seen.
One Person Survived Both Atomic Bombs
Around 260,000 people lived through one of the atomic bombings in Japan, but only one survived both. Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a naval engineer, spent his last day on his business trip in Hiroshima dodging an atomic bomb. He saw the aircraft while walking down the street, and dove into a ditch just in time.
Yamaguchi limped to Nagasaki so severely burned that even his family didn’t recognize him. On August 9th, he was in the middle of explaining to his boss how a bomb could take out an entire city when a familiar white flash and mushroom cloud consumed everything.
A Real Life Edgar Allan Poe Novel
In 1838, Edgar Allan Poe published his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. In the book, the crew ends up stranded with no food or water, and eventually eat a tortoise. Later, they drew straws to decide who will be sacrificed, and the death sentence goes to former mutineer Richard Parker.
Forty-five years later, the English ship Mignonette sank and left four crew members stranded. Like the characters, they caught a turtle and ate it, but needed more. Then, a 17-year-old named Richard Parker fell over the side of the boat, and the other sailors decided to cannibalize him for survival.
Timur Told You So
In 1941, a Soviet anthropologist named Mikhail Gerasimov exhumed the tomb of Timur (or Tamerlane), a Turco-Mongol conqueror of the fourteenth century. Allegedly, Timur’s tomb had the inscription, “When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble.” On his casket lay the words, “Whomsoever disturbs my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.”
Three days later, Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa, the largest military occupation in history. In 1942, anthropologists re-buried Timur in full Islamic ritual. A couple of days later, the Soviets won at the Battle of Stalingrad.
The Civil War Began And Ended In Wilmer McLean’s Front Yard
In the summer of 1861, Wilmer McLean was living on his wife’s plantation in Manassas Junction, Virginia. On July 21st, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard took over his farm as a base for the first Civil War fight (and the second in August).
Likely tired of his war home, McLean and his family moved to a hamlet in the Appomattox Court House in 1863. On April 9th, 1865, Confederate Colonel Charles Marshal asked to use McLean’s front parlor for a meeting. That afternoon, Marshal surrendered to Union Colonel Ulysses S. Grant.
What Goes Around Comes Around In World War I
World War I’s starting point, the assassination Archduke Franz Ferdinand, went wrong in every way possible. By pure coincidence, it still worked. The first attempt involved a grenade thrown at Ferdinand’s car, although it didn’t detonate for ten minutes. Ferdinand survived, and the party of assassins dishearteningly split up.
Against his coworkers’ judgment, Ferdinand decided to return to the bomb site to check on the wounded. Unfortunately, his driver got lost and passed a cafe, where assassin Gavrilo Princip was enjoying a post-failed-killing sandwich. The rest was history.
Same Man Gets Hit By Two Falling Babies
On October 17th, 1937, Time magazine reported a bizarre story surrounding Joseph Figlock, a street sweeper in Detroit, Michigan. Figlock was furbishing an alleyway when a baby struck his head as it fell from a four-story window. Remarkably, neither Figlock nor baby were harmed.
A year later, Figlock was sweeping the same alleyway when a two-year-old kid named David Thomas fell out of a window. Again, both child and adult survived. Little is known about that specific alleyway or the family who leaves their babies by open windows.
Revenge Is Just As Sweet Twenty Years Later
According to legend, a bullet meant for a man shot him 20 years after its intended date in Honey Grove, Texas. In 1893, Henry Ziegland broke up with his girlfriend, whom records did not name. She passed away shortly after, so her brother opted to shoot Ziegland in revenge.
The brother’s bullet only scratched Ziegland’s face and hit a nearby tree. But in 1913, Ziegland decided to remove the tree by exploding its base with dynamite. The blast dislodged the bullet, which finished the job it had only scratched the surface of before.
Mark Twain Comes And Goes With Halley’s Comet
Every 76 years, onlookers can see Halley’s comet soaring past earth. Most people only see the comet once in their lifetime, but Mark Twain saw it twice. The first time was the years of his birth, 1835. In 1909, he predicted that he would die when the comet passed again.
“The Almighty has said, no doubt, ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together,'” Twain told the New York Times. He died one day after Halley comet’s closest approach in 1910.
The Start Of Rome, Or The End?
According to Roman myth, twin sons of Mars named Romulus and Remus decided to establish a new city called Rome. When they fought over who would rule, Romulus killed his brother. Although this story is only a legend, historical accounts agree that the first emperor of Rome was Augustus.
In September of 476, the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, was killed by the Germanic Prince Odovacar. The empire didn’t survive until the end of that year.
Miss Unsinkable Boards Every Sinking Ship Ever
Violet Jessop was an Irish Argentinian ship stewardess and nurse in the early twentieth century. If guests had known that she was a walking bad omen, they would have never boarded any ships with her.
In 1911, Jessop worked on the RMS Olympic when it slammed into the HMS Hawk. One year later she boarded the Titanic, and we all know how that ended. During World War I, she nursed on the HMHS Britannic that sank due to an unexplained explosion. Jessop survived all three accidents of the sister ships.
A Video Game Predicted The Future
In the 2000 video game Deus Ex, the player goes on several missions in Liberty City where they can see a digitally-rendered skyline of New York City. If you look closely, though, you’ll notice that the designers left out the World Trade Center towers.
The game covered up this mistake by claiming that terrorists destroyed the towers. Only a year later, the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers changed America forever. This eerie coincidence was a mistimed mistake on behalf of the game developers.
Here’s The Best Reason Not To Brag
In 2006, a Scottish fisherman named Mark Anderson found a 92-year-old message in a bottle while out at sea. His discovery landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest adrift bottle ever discovered. He boasted about his accomplishment and “never stopped talking about it,” according to his friend Andrew Leaper.
In late 2012, Andrew Leaper was fishing on the same boat Anderson used when he discovered out a message in a bottle. His was 98 years old, which topped Anderson’s world record. Leaper said that Anderson was “very unhappy that I have topped his record.”
Even Their Deaths Were Identical
In 2002, a 70-year-old Finnish bike rider pedaled along the a highway in Raahe. As he attempted to cross the road, a lorry crashed into him, ending his life. About two hours later, another bike rider crossed the same road, and was also struck by a lorry.
Police who investigated the scenes ran into a surprise. “It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two were brothers,” said police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala, “and identical twins at that.” Both brothers died in the same way about 1.5 km (0.3 miles) away from each other.
Hitler Might Have Been Napolean Reincarnated
Hitler was born in 1889, 120 years after Napoleon was born. He then rose to power 120 years after Napoleon (1919 vs. 1799) Hitler stormed Russia 130 years after Napoleon did (1941 vs. 1812), and fell from power 130 years after Napoleon (1944 vs.1814).
In addition, historians have pointed out several similarities between the two rulers. Both descended from a poor background; both achieved rulership through a coup d’état; both aimed to conquer Europe but failed to take over Russia; and both ended up failing through a coalition of countries.
Stephen Hawking Shares The Same Birth Date With Galileo And Death Date With Albert Einstein
All famous scientists that changed the way we view the world, these three men also have important dates in their lives in common. Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, on January 8, 1942.
Furthermore, he also shared something with Albert Einstein, as he died on March 14, 2018, which would have been Einstein’s 139th birthday. Something even more surprising about Hawking’s life is that he managed to live to be 76 years old, even though he suffered from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
A Meteor Hit The Commette Family’s Home
According to National Geographic, the odds of being killed by a meteor are 1 in 1,600,000. It seems improbable that a meteor that had been flying through space for more than four-and-a-half billion years would hit the home of a family with the last name “Commette.”
However, this is exactly what happened in France in 2011. Luckily, the meteor was only the size of an egg and nobody was hurt. It’s still pretty ironic.
Anthony Hopkins Found A Signed Copy Of A Book He Had Been Looking For
Back in the early 1970s, actor Anthony Hopkins was set to play Kostya in the film adaptation of The Girl from Petrovka. In order to prepare for the role, he had strong intentions to read the novel, yet was unable to find a copy, despite his diligent research.
Apparently, while sitting in the London subway station, he noticed that very book that someone had left behind. When he opened the book, he also noticed that it was signed by the novel’s author, George Feifer.
John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved The Life Of Abraham Lincoln’s Son
While John Wilkes Booth may have assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, the Booth family had a relationship with the Lincolns beforehand. Booth’s brother, Edwin, was a semi-famous stage actor and a supporter of the Union during the Civil War.
While at a train station in New Jersey, Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, leaned up against a stationary train and almost fell onto the tracks as it began to move. Edwin grabbed him by the collar to prevent him from falling, potentially saving his life. It wasn’t until years later that Booth discovered who he saved.
The First And Last Dead Soldiers Of WWI Are Buried Next To Each Other
At the end of World War I, it proved to be the bloodiest war in human history, claiming an estimated one million British soldier lives.
Somehow, without any true planning, John Parr, the first-recorded a 17-year-old, and first recorded British casualty of the war, and 30-year-old George Edwin Ellison, the last recorded British death from the war, are buried just 15 feet apart from one another in the Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery. Was this done on purpose?
One Man Missed Two Malaysian Flights That Crashed
In 2014, there were tragically two plane crashes that were attributed to Malaysian Air Flights. The first was shot down over Ukraine, and the second disappeared mysteriously without a trace somewhere over the Indian Ocean and is considered one of the strangest aviation mysteries of all time.
While these two occurrences could be described as a coincidence, the true coincidence is that Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge was scheduled to take both flights, yet didn’t manage to get on either of them.
The Dollar Of Love
As told on an episode of This American Life on NPR, Esther and Paul Grachan had been seeing each other for a short time when Paul asked Esther to be his girlfriend. That same day, while paying for a sandwich, he noticed that one of the bills he was using had the name “Esther” written on it. So, he decided to keep it and frame it to her as a gift.
Esther was without words when she was presented with the gift. Years later, after the two married, Esther explained that she had written her name on a few dollars after a breakup, telling herself she would marry the man that brought it back to her.
Tsutomo Yamaguchi Survived Both Japanese Nuclear Bombings
In 1944, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a twist of events, one man managed to survive both. Tsutomo Yamaguchi fled Hiroshima in search of safety after the first bomb fell and found himself in Nagasaki.
He was confronted with another bright light and wave of radioactive blasts that would cover his body. Currently, Yamaguchi is recognized by the Japanese government as the only person to have survived both blasts. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer in 2010.
“Dog” Means “Dog” In A Lost Language
Mbabaram is a slowly but surely dying Aboriginal language in Australia, one that couldn’t sound less “English.” So, it was a surprise to many experts when they deciphered that the word for “dog” was the same as ours, with no connection to the English language.
This is considered to be a false cognate, as not only do they share the same sound but meaning as well. This is rare, but something that has stumped historians since.
Message In A Bottle
As described by CNN News, Fred and Lynette Dubendorf were taking a walk down the beach when they noticed a bottle washed up on the shore.
Taking a closer look, they discovered that it was a message containing the marriage vows of a couple, Melody Kloska and Matt Behrs, who had performed their ceremony recently on a beach across Lake Michigan. The note also had the newlyweds’ address and wedding date, leading the Dubendorfs to write a letter of congratulations to them.
Twins Together At Last
Back in 2015, The New York Times posted a story about two identical twins that were separated and reunited in Bogota, Columbia.
Their encounter began when Jorge, one of the twins, had an encounter with his unknown brother, named Carlos, at the butcher shop where he worked. After insisting that she showed him, Jorge’s mother then showed pictures of the two as brothers and the two have remained in contact ever since.
Dennis The Menace Was Quite The Coincidence
Many people are familiar with the character of the comic book strip character “Dennis the Menace,” the mischievous little boy that came into the forefront of pop culture in 1951. However, few people are aware that the same year another character came to light in the United Kingdom known also as “Dennis the Menace.”
Incredibly, although the character was essentially the same, there was almost no plagiarism between the two different characters. By chance, they were both thought of, created, and released in the same year.
Someone Predicted The Sinking Of The Titanic
Published in 1898, author Robert Morgan published his story known as The Wreck of the Titan or Futility, fourteen years prior to the sinking of the iconic ship. In the novel, there are some incredible similarities between the ship in his own story compared to that of the sinking of the Titanic.
Besides both of the vessels being described as “unsinkable,” in the story, the ships also meet their demise at the hand of an iceberg hitting the starboard side of the ship. Furthermore, both 400 miles met their fate Newfoundland, on evenings in April, and both had a shortage of lifeboats.
Triplets Meet In College
Released in 2018, the documentary Three Identical Strangers tells the story of three identical triplet brothers that reunite in their early adult lives. Although separated at birth in 1980, two of the brothers discovered each other while attending the same university, with a third contacting the two of them after a meeting was published about them in the media.
As it turns out, the boys had been separated as part of a “nature vs. nature” experiment study by New York psychologists in the 1960s. However, they were all eventually brought back together and became friendly.
Anne Parish Found Her Own Childhood Book
In 1929, author Anne Parish was browsing titles in a bookstore along the Seine. There, she noticed one of the favorites that caught her eye, Jack Frost and Other Stories. She ended up purchasing the book for the small sum of one franc and met her husband at a local cafe.
When she showed her the purchase she had made, he was in awe. On the interior, there was written Parish’s address. The exact copy she bought had been her own as a child.
Alec Guinness Predicted James Dean’s Death
When it comes to the crash that James Dean that he was in during his untimely death, it’s a question of whether it’s pure coincidence or an instance of bad engineering.
According to Jalopnik, when Alec Guinness saw the car, he told Dean, “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Just seven days later, Dean died. Some of the car’s parts were then sold, and coincidentally, involved in the deaths of several owners of the various parts after putting them inside their vehicles.
Roberto Clemente’s Last Hit Ever Set A Record
A right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Robert Clemente was the first Latin American player, and 11th in the entire Major League, to reach 3,000 hits in 1972.
Incredibly, his final iconic swing, which landed him at 3,000 hits, would prove to be his last on the Major League Field. Shortly after hitting this iconic hit, he was killed in a plane crash off of Puerto Rico while on a humanitarian trip in Nicaragua.
Death By Missed Bullet
After his sister took her own life in 1905, the brother of the woman vowed revenge on Henry Ziegland, the man who had broken his sister’s heart. He later attempted to slay Ziegland and shot at him. When Ziegland fell to the ground, the brother believed that the job was done and turned the gun on himself.
However, the bullet never hit Ziegland, but a nearby tree. Three years later, Ziegland was working close to where he was almost murdered. While using dynamite to uproot the tree, the explosion released the bullet, which killed him.
Too Good Of A Disguise
While the war raged during World War I, the British converted the passenger ship RMS Carmania into a military vessel. In order to hide its identity from the Germans, it was disguised to look like the SMS Trafalgar.
In a series of unfortunate events, the Carmania sank a German ship off of the coast of Brazil. What may have seemed like a victory soon turned sour once they realized that they had sunk the Trafalgar, the British ship disguised to look like a German vessel.
In the 1930s, while walking down a street in Detroit, a man named Joseph Figlock was hit by a falling child who had accidentally fallen four stories above his head. While the child somehow walked away unharmed, that’s what’s incredible about the story.
Just one year later, the same child fell from the same home and landed on Figlock once again, and survived, yet again. Little is known about their relationship after both these unbelievable instances.