Historical Coincidences That Are Almost Too Strange to Believe

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: Thomas Kelley/Unsplash

We all experience coincidences sometimes, whether in the form of lucky breaks or unfortunate incidents. But sometimes the universe has a way of taking things to the next level with massive coincidences that are almost too eerie to believe. Here you'll find a collection of actual strange and bizarre events from throughout history that lined up so perfectly it's almost a little scary. From well-known historical happenings to those involving everyday people, discover some of the weirdest coincidences ever recorded.

Mark Twain and Halley's Comet

Samuel Clemens, the author who wrote under the name Mark Twain, was born in 1835 on the same day that Halley's Comet passed by Earth. This might not be so strange, except that he died in 1910, the same year that Halley's Comet made another trip past Earth.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

To make things more bizarre, the New York Times revealed that Twain once predicted that his death would coincide with the comet's passing. Twain was reported as saying, "The Almighty has said, no doubt, 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’"

The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam may now be a famous American landmark, but it wasn't built without a cost. While there were 96 official deaths reported during construction, some estimate that the number of workers killed is really over 100. One of the first casualties was a man named J.G. Tierney, who drowned while working on the dam on December 20, 1921.

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Photo Courtesy: Kevin Payravi/Wikimedia Commons

Fourteen years later to the day, the last casualty of the project fell to his death from one of the dam's intact towers. As if the coincidence wasn't strange enough, the worker was Patrick Tierney, J.G. Tierney's son.

Stephen Hawking, Galileo and Einstein's Strange Connection

Stephen Hawking not only defied the life expectancy of Lou Gehrig's disease by about five decades, but he also shared an interesting connection with both Galileo Galilei and Albert Einstein. Hawking, a brilliant physicist and cosmologist, was born exactly 300 years to the day that Galileo died.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

When Hawking passed away at the age of 76, it was on what would have been the 139th birthday of Albert Einstein. The three men were all known for their otherworldly brilliance and for introducing theories that defied everything humanity thought it knew during their respective lifetimes.


A Meteor and the Comettes

While our planet may be suspended in the middle of a vast universe with meteors flying all over the place, the odds of getting struck by one are incredibly slim. Though over 50,000 meteors have been discovered on Earth, National Geographic once put the odds of getting killed by one at 1 in 1,600,000.

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Photo Courtesy: laocaohenmang/Pixabay

So what are the odds that one would strike the home of a family who just happened to be named "Comette?" Despite the odds, that's exactly what happened to one ironically named French family, though luckily no one was hurt or injured.

An Author’s Titanic Prediction

In 1912, much of the world considered famous ocean liner the Titanic "unsinkable." It was only after the great ship's disastrous sinking that the world discovered its strange connection to an American writer named Morgan Robertson.

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Photo Courtesy: Funnytools/Pixabay

In 1898, 14 years before the Titanic sank, Robertson published a novella called Futility and later The Wreck of the Titan. The story is about a massive British passenger ship called the SS Titan that sets sail without enough lifeboats because everyone thinks it's unsinkable. Surely enough, it collides with an iceberg in the Atlantic, killing almost everyone on board. Sound familiar?

Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’ Coordinated Deaths

The friendship between U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was legendarily complicated. Though they started out as close friends and allies, their relationship got rockier over the years due to their contrasting political opinions.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Nonetheless, the two were eventually able to repair their friendship and often traded letters in their later years. Eerily, the two men both died on the same day — within four hours of each other. Even more bizarre was the date of their death. Both men passed on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.


John Wilkes Booth's Brother and Abraham Lincoln's Son

Long before John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, Booth's brother, Edwin, saved the life of Lincoln's son. Edwin Booth was a stage actor who had adamantly supported the cause of the Union during the Civil War.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

One day, he was at a train station in New Jersey where he saw a young man leaning up against a train. When the train began pulling out of the station, the young man almost fell onto the tracks, but Edwin grabbed him just in time. He wouldn't realize until years later that the young man was President Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

The Wizard of Coincidences

Remember Professor Marvel, the fortuneteller Dorothy came across before the tornado in The Wizard of Oz? While the costume designers were out searching for the character's costume, they came across a cool, tattered jacket in a thrift store.

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Photo Courtesy: MGM/IMDb

They bought it to use for the production, only to make an incredible discovery later on. There was a name stitched into one of the jacket's pockets that read "L. Frank Baum," the original writer of the Oz novels that the movie was based on. The odds of the whole coincidence are likely along the same lines as being abducted by flying monkeys.

A Video Game's Accidental 9/11 Prediction

On June 23, 2000, a role-playing action game called Deus Ex was first released by a company called Eidos Interactive. While programming a game setting that was supposed to show the New York City skyline in the background, the creators accidentally forgot to include the twin towers.

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Photo Courtesy: Xarlor X/YouTube

To get around the mistake, the creators merely explained it away by saying that the towers had been destroyed by a terrorist attack that had taken place in the game's world. Little did they know that, fewer than two years later, the towers actually would be destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001.


James Dean’s Cursed Car

Before James Dean's tragic car crash in 1955, fellow actor Alec Guinness warned Dean about the "sinister-looking" Porsche 550 Spyder. Guinness later recalled that he told Dean, "If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week."

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Photo Courtesy: Bettman/Getty Images

Seven days later, that's exactly what happened. But the tragedy didn't stop there. The car also crushed the leg of a mechanic who was trying to tow it and then set fire to the garage where it was being stored. Later, a racecar driver who installed its engine in his vehicle was also killed.

History Repeats Itself

As the old saying goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This turned out to be oddly true in the case of two men who were both named Jean Marie Dubarry. The first was convicted of murdering his father and beheaded on February 14, 1746.

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Photo Courtesy: mailme6/Pixabay

One hundred years later to the day, a second man named Jean Marie Dubarry was also executed for murdering his father. No word on whether the two men were related in any way — but, if so, the men of the Dubarry family didn't appear to have the best fathering skills.

Richard Parker’s Gruesome Fate

In 1838, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a novel called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. To no one's surprise, the book was just as macabre as many of Poe's other tales. In one scene, a crew of shipwrecked sailors kill cabin boy Richard Parker and eat him to stay alive.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Cut to 40 years later when the real-life crew of a ship called the Mignonette found themselves shipwrecked on the high seas. Their cabin boy's name? Richard Parker. The incident ended exactly how you're afraid it did: with the real-life Parker meeting the same fate as his fictional predecessor.


The Civil War’s Interesting Locations

In 1861, the first battle of the Civil War was named after Bull Run, a stream that ran through the land of 46-year-old grocer Wilmer McLean. After seeing the wreckage of the battle firsthand, McLean decided to pack up his wife and head for safer ground.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The couple eventually settled in Appomattox, Virginia, where they managed to stay sheltered from the bloody war for the next four years. Ironically, when the war came to an end in 1865, Robert E. Lee formally surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant just steps away from McLean's new house, which is now a tourist attraction.

Twin Jims

We've all heard rumors that twins have some sort of mysterious connection, but the case of the Jim twins is next-level crazy. Twins Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated at birth and weren't reunited until they were 39 years old.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

To their astonishment, they found that they had lived nearly identical lives. They both drove the same kind of car, vacationed at the same beach in Florida and worked similar security jobs. The twins had each married twice, first to women both named Linda, and then to second women, both named Betty. Their son's names? James Alan and James Allan.

The Simpsons and Psychic Predictions

When a show has been on the air for over 25 years, it's inevitable that it's likely to be in tune with the pulse of society. But The Simpsons has predicted so many events so far in advance that things have started to get a little creepy.

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Photo Courtesy: Paolo Angeletti/YouTube

In an episode called "Bart to the Future," which aired in 2000, the show jokingly showed what the world would be like if Donald Trump were president of the United States. Other episodes predicted the smartwatch, Disney's FOX takeover, Lady Gaga's halftime performance and even the final episode of Game of Thrones.


The Husband-homing Dollar

One day when a guy named Paul Grachan was paying for lunch, he noticed that the dollar he was about to pay with had his girlfriend Esther's name on it. Thinking it a strange coincidence, he kept the dollar, framed it and presented it to Esther as a lighthearted gift.

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Photo Courtesy: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Esther was speechless when she saw it, but assured him she'd tell him more about why in the future. When they got married, Esther revealed that she'd once written her name on several dollars and prayed that the man she was supposed to marry would bring one back to her.

The License Plate Prediction

Many people know that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand proved to be the trigger that launched the globe into World War I. What few may have noticed, however, was a strange coincidence about the car that the archduke was riding in when he was killed.

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Photo Courtesy: Bettman/Getty Images

The car's license plate, which read "A III-118" turned out to hold an uncanny prediction about the war that was soon to come. Though it may have begun with the archduke's assassination, the war concluded on November 11, 1918. That numerical form of the date 11/11/18 matches the plate number.

The First and Last Casualties of WW1

In a strange twist of fate, both the first and last British casualties of the First World War ended up being buried just 15 feet apart in Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery. Though this may sound like an orchestrated honor, it actually happened without any planning at all.

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Photo Courtesy: MichaelGaida/Pixabay

The first fallen soldier was a 17-year-old boy by the name of John Parr, and the second was a 30-year-old soldier named George Edwin. The two graves, which lie facing one another, are an accidental but beautiful tribute to all the brave soldiers who gave their lives as the war came full circle.


The Woman With the Best or Worst Luck in Naval History

Violet Jessop, who was a stewardess and nurse, managed to survive three major sea disasters of the 20th century. The first came when she found herself above the HMS Olympic, the Titanic's sister ship, the day it collided with the HMS Hawke in 1911.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

She was also aboard the HMHS Britannic, which killed 30 people when it struck a mine. Last but not least, she was among the lucky passengers who survived the Titanic's famous catastrophic collision with an iceberg. Whether she had the best or worst luck ever remains up for question, but she earned the nickname "Miss Unsinkable."

A Bullet’s Delayed Strike

A man named Harry Ziegland once broke a woman's heart to the point that she committed suicide over their failed romance. In order to exact revenge, the woman's brother came after Ziegland with a gun, took a shot at him and, believing Ziegland dead, killed himself.

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Photo Courtesy: Brain_Pain/Pixabay

As it turned out, the bullet had actually missed Ziegland and lodged into a tree. Years later, Ziegland decided to get rid of the bullet-bearing tree and attempted to clear it with dynamite. Unfortunately for Ziegland, the explosion launched the bullet straight into him and finally managed to kill him three years later.

The Dueler Who Never Fired a Shot

There once was a man named Henri Trange who lived in Marseille, France, who proved that what goes around truly can come around. Trange racked up the strangest dueling history ever from 1861 to 1878. During that time he was said to have participated in five duels without ever firing a single shot.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

In the first four duels, Trange got exceptionally lucky when all four of the men he had challenged suddenly died of natural causes. His luck ran out on duel number five, as it was Trange himself who suddenly dropped dead. Maybe the duelers were scared to death?


The World's Unluckiest Taxi

A creepy coincidence began playing out in Bermuda on the night of July 30, 1974. A 17-year-old boy named Neville Ebbin was out riding his moped when he was struck and killed by a taxi driver. The next year, on July 30th, his 17-year-old brother Erskine was also killed.

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Photo Courtesy: 12019/Pixabay

The strange part is that Erskine's death was also caused by the exact same taxi driver, who hit him in the same taxi that had killed his brother. Erskine had been riding the same moped and died driving down the same road. The taxi was even carrying the same passenger.

JFK and Lincoln's Strange String of Coincidences

If you've ever seen a Lincoln/Kennedy penny, then you may already be familiar with some of the strange coincidences surrounding the deaths of the two U.S. leaders. Both were killed on a Friday from gunshot wounds to the back of the head — Lincoln while he was at Ford's theater, and Kennedy while he was riding in a Ford Lincoln.

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Photo Courtesy: BigDPenny/YouTube

Each president had four children, and while Kennedy's secretary was named Mrs. Lincoln, Lincoln's secretary was named John. Perhaps eeriest of all, both men were succeeded after their deaths by their vice presidents, each of whom was named Johnson.

World's Worst Ship Disguise

During World War I, the Germans had what seemed like a brilliant idea to help get one of their ships through a British blockade. They dressed up their ship, the SMS Cap Trafalgar, to look like a famed British warship named the HMS Carmania.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

If the British mistook them for the Carmania, they reasoned, the British wouldn't fire. Unfortunately for the Germans, the first ship they came across on the high seas was the actual Carmania, which was ironically dressed up as a German ship for the same reason. A furious battle resulted, and the actual Carmania sank her German impostor.


The Baby-catching Street Sweeper

Though becoming a street sweeper in the 1930s might've sounded like a fairly safe job, a man named Joseph Figlock proved that it was fraught with unexpected dangers. One day while he was out for a routine sweep, he was suddenly struck from above by a baby who had fallen from a fourth-story apartment.

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Photo Courtesy: Library of Congress

Less than a year later, he was out sweeping yet again when suddenly a second falling baby (also from a fourth-floor apartment) landed on his head in the same fashion. While the second baby suffered some injuries, both toddlers survived thanks to Figlock breaking their falls.

A Dog by Any Other Name

While very few people are familiar with the Mbabaram language today, it was once used by a tribe of Aborigines in Australia. When linguists were attempting to study the old tribal language, they came across a surprising discovery. It turned out that the Mbabaram word for "dog" was..."dog."

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Photo Courtesy: Joséphine Menge/Unsplash

While it might be easy to assume that the tribe had come into contact with the English language at some point, linguists are certain that this couldn't have been possible. It seems that the two languages somehow happened to come up with the same word for man's best friend completely independently.

Message in a Bottle

In a more recent coincidence, a couple named Melody Kloska and Matt Behrs decided to seal their wedding vows in a bottle and toss it into the water as part of their beach wedding. Little did they know that it would eventually be discovered by a couple named Fred and Lynette Dubendorf as they strolled down a beach nearby.

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Photo Courtesy: Settergren/Pixabay

When the Dubendorfs opened the bottle, they discovered that the Behrs' vows were dated on the exact same date that the Dubendorfs had been married. The shocked couple even wrote the Behrs to congratulate them and tell them of the insane coincidence.


Love at Second Sight

Another couple named Aimee Maiden and Nick Wheeler made an incredible discovery when they were going through old family photos. Though the two were raised hundreds of miles apart, an old vacation photo revealed that they had actually crossed paths before.

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Photo Courtesy: jarmoluk/Pixabay

Nick came across a photo from a trip that his family had taken while visiting a beach in Aimee's hometown. To the astonishment of the couple, Aimee's family could be seen sitting in the background. Though the two wouldn't formally meet for 11 more years, it turned out that they had unknowingly shared a brief moment in their childhood.

Hitler and Napoleon's Strange 129-Year Gaps

What do Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler have in common? More than you might think. When their lives are compared, the number 129 keeps popping up with incredible regularity. Napoleon was born in 1760, while Hilter was born in 1889, making a 129-year gap in their birthdays.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

There are also 129-year gaps in the years they came to power (1804 and 1933) and the years they lost wars (1816 and 1945). They both also came to power when they were 44, attacked Russia at 52 and lost wars at 56.

Lighting Strikes the Same Family Twice

While some historical coincidences are funny or creepy, this one just seems wrong on so many levels. Out of the 300+ million people who live in the United States, only an average of about 49 people per year are struck and killed by lightning.

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Photo Courtesy: NOAA/Unsplash

The odds of two people in the same family falling victim to lightning strikes are incredibly slim, right? One family proved it can happen. A New Jersey man named Stephen Rooney was killed by lightning in 2011. His family revealed that his father had died the same way 48 years earlier.