Some events truly seem against all odds. Could these events really just be chance, or are they signs of a greater design? Here are some astounding personal accounts and some famous “coincidences.”
The personal accounts were given by social media users on Quora and Reddit.
1. Of All the Payphones in France …
My wife and her brother were traveling through Europe in the spring of 1986. I was home working in California.
I knew their itinerary but did not know exactly where they were. [I] hadn’t talked to them in a couple of days. [I] got bored [and] called an overseas operator and got her to call a pay phone outside of Monet’s gardens in Giverny [, France].
After about 15 rings, someone finally picked up the phone. It was my wife. Needless to say, it blew both our minds.
Payphone image via Shutterstock
2. A Mysterious Bond Between Families
About six years ago, my family traveled to San Diego. While we were there, we befriended a family made up of two little people and their teenage son, who was average-sized. We spent a few hours with them and parted ways.
Four years ago, my family traveled on an Alaskan cruise line. We had dinner on day three, and who’s sitting at the table next to us?
The family of little people [and their] teenage son.
We all laugh about it and spend the last two days of the cruise hanging out …
Last year, my family traveled to Australia. We were having a jolly time looking at all the things that could kill us. One day, we decide to go scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef. Who do you think was in our instruction group? The … family of little people [and their] teenage son.
3. Stalin’s Hubris Draws Warlord’s Curse?
Soviet communist dictator Joseph Stalin wanted to see the face of the 14th century Turko-Mongol warlord Tamerlane (also known as Timur) entombed in Samarkand. Legend held that “the War God’s sleep must not be disturbed,” as recounted in Edvard Radzinsky’s biography of Stalin. If Tamerlane’s corpse were disturbed, went the legend, Tamerlane would return on the third day, bringing war.
Stalin scoffed at the legend and on June 19, 1941, he opened the coffin. On June 21, Stalin found out Germany was set to invade the Soviet Union at dawn the next day.
Monument to Tamerlane. (Shutterstock)
4. Strange Signs Before 9/11
Georgia, August 2001: I was ten at the time, and I was never one to believe in coincidence or superstition; I was a ten-year-old boy just having fun.
I kid you not, for that entire month, every time I looked at a clock or watch to check the time it always, always, read 9:11 (by the twentieth time or so, I started making a game of this).
This went on until 9/11.
When watching the news at school the morning of [9/11], other kids were sitting at their desks crying; I was sitting at mine too, but I had other things on my mind. Picture me clutching the desk with both hands firmly, eyes bulging, sweating profusely, trying not to have a heart-attack, thoughts of me being a seer running through my head.
5. Exactly Right Song, Right Place, Right Time
I was in a cheap restaurant with friends for a quick meal. I ate up before they did and was getting downstairs to wait for them outside. I was singing a Turkish song in the stairs. I ran into someone while still singing, apologized, seeing him smiling, then recognizing him to be the composer and the singer of the song I was singing.
I never go to that restaurant. It was not a kind of restaurant any famous guy walks in. I almost never sing out loud, [and] even if I [do], I stop if someone gets near. Nevertheless, all happened at once that day and made us both smile.
Story shared via Quora.com
6. Brother of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassin Saved Lincoln’s Son’s Life
Edwin Booth saved Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son, from being killed by a train. Lincoln fell off a train platform in New Jersey, and Booth pulled him to safety. Shortly after this incident, Booth’s brother, John Wilkes Booth, killed Abraham Lincoln.
Robert Lincoln described the incident in a 1909 letter to Century Magazine editor Richard Watson Gilder. The letter is published in a book by William E. Barton titled “Catalogue of Lincolniana”: “The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.
7. Unwitting Heir
Poker image via Shutterstock
A card player by the name of Robert Fallon was accused of cheating during a game of poker in San Francisco in 1858. His opponents shot and killed him.
No one wanted to take the unlucky seat of the dead man, but the opponents found a man to take his place and staked him with Fallon’s $600. Fallon’s replacement won $2,200 before the police arrived and insisted the $600 be given up to Fallon’s next of kin.
It turned out the man who had replaced him was Fallon’s son. The son hadn’t seen his father in seven years and was completely unaware his father was in the same place that day.
The story was recounted in “Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored,” published by Red Wheel/Weiser, and written by Juanita Rose Violini.
8. Mark Twain’s Fateful Comet Connection
Mark Twain in 1907. (A.F. Bradley)
Halley’s Comet moves in an orbit that takes about 75 years. The comet neared Earth and appeared in the sky when author Mark Twain was born in 1835.
John H. Lienhard, professor of history at the University of Houston, quotes Twain’s prediction: “I came in with Halley’s Comet… It is coming again … and I expect to go out with it… The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”
Twain’s prediction came true. He died on April 21, 1910, as Halley’s Comet neared the Earth again.
Halley’s Comet as seen in 1910. (New York Times via Wikimedia Commons)
9. Twin Brothers Die Same Day, Same Road, Separate Accidents
In 2002, a 70-year-old man was killed on a road in northern Finland, hit by a truck while riding his bike.
About two hours later, his twin brother crossed the same road on bike about a mile from where his brother died and was also hit and killed by a truck, reported the BBC.
“This is simply a historic coincidence. Although the road is a busy one, accidents don’t occur every day,” police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala told BBC. “It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two were brothers, and identical twins at that. It came to mind that perhaps someone from upstairs had a say in this,” she said.
10. Another Mirrored Death
In July 1975, 17-year-old Neville Ebbin was killed in Bermuda while riding a moped. He was hit by a taxi. In July 1976, his younger brother, Erskine Lawrence Ebbin, was riding the same moped on the same street. He was hit by the same taxi driver, with the same passenger. The collision killed him at the same age, 17, as his older brother the year before.
11. What Are the Chances of a Baby Falling on You From the Sky Twice?
In 1937, in Detroit, a street sweeper named Joseph Figlock was in an alley when a baby fell out of a fourth-story window directly on top of him. Both the baby and Figlock were injured but survived. A year later, a 2-year-old by the name of David Thomas fell from a fourth-story window and landed on Figlock.
The coincidence is recounted in a 1938 article by Time Magazine.
It wasn’t the same baby, it wasn’t the same window, and to be fair, Figlock spent a lot of time on the streets due to his profession—but, two babies both falling from the fourth floor directly on top of the same man is still rather unlikely.
12. Twins Separated at Birth Live Strikingly Similar Lives
Two twins were separated at birth and adopted by different families. Both families independently decided to name the boys James. Both boys entered law enforcement—one as a security guard, the other as a deputy sheriff. Both married women named Linda. Both got divorced and remarried. Both remarried women named Betty. One named his son James Alan. The other named his son James Allan. When they eventually met, they discovered the eery similarities in their separate lives. Their story is recounted in a People magazine article.
13. Freaky Friday 13th
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
On Friday, Aug. 13, 2010, a 13-year-old boy was struck by lightening at 13:13 (1:13 p.m.) in Suffolk, England. The boy’s name was not released, according to British publications the Daily Mail and the Mirror. Rex Clarke, a St. John Ambulance team leader, told the Mirror: “Suddenly there was this huge crack of lightening really close to the seafront and really loud thunder. Seconds later we got a call someone had been hit. The boy was breathing and was conscious.” The boy had only a minor burn. Clarke said, “It’s all a bit strange that he was 13, and it happened at 13:13 on Friday 13.”