Top 20 MORE Creepiest Coincidences in History
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for circumstances so eerie and so unlikely that they send a slight chill up your spine.
#20: Flight 666 Flew Into HEL on Friday the 13th
Airports around the world are represented by three-letter codes. The code for Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the primary airport of Finland’s capital, is HEL. Finavia, the airport’s owner, has had fun with the initials. In October of 2017, they had a PR campaign, #lifeinhel. It was a mixed media campaign, with TV and online content. They even had a well-known Chinese actor spend a month living at the airport. Three days after the launch of the campaign, on Friday the 13th, Finnair’s regular flight 666 from Copenhagen flew straight to HEL. There was no bad luck to be found, but what a way to tempt fate.
#19: November 9th: The German “Day of Fate”
Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Germans know that Twain was right. Dating back to 1848, many history-shaping events of German history all occurred on the same day. November 9th is so significant in Germany, they have a name for it: Schicksalstag, or the “Day of Fate.” On November 9th, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the throne, ending the 500 year reign of Haus Hohenzollern. Just a few years later, Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch ended on November 9th, 1923, launching his political career. In 1938, on November 9th, the S.S. launched Kristallnacht: a violent pogrom against the nation’s Jewry. It’s not all dark history, however. November 9th, 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall.
#18: The Graves of the First & Last WWI Casualties Face Each Other
World War I was the bloodiest war in the history of England. The Battle of the Somme, for instance, claimed more British lives than every single post-WWII British battle combined. The nation lost 6% of its total male population to the war. Many of those fallen soldiers rest in the St Symphorien Military Cemetery. However, there is an odd and unplanned coincidence with their graves. The first British casualty of the war was a young man named John Parr. The last was thirty-year-old George Edwin Ellison. Parr and Ellison both lie at St Symphorien, seven yards apart and facing one another. Their graves act as somber bookends to a tragic chapter in their nation’s history.
#17: The Civil War Began & Ended on the Same Man’s Property
The first shots of the American Civil War rang out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It wasn’t a battle, per se. There were only eighty-five defenders and the few casualties came from an accident during the surrender. The first pitched battle occurred later with the First Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia. It was named for a stream that ran through the farmland of a grocer named Wilmer McLean. The battle was fierce and bloody, revealing to the country just how horrific a protracted war on American soil would become. After the battle, McLean fled his home to find safety. He moved to Appomattox, Virginia. Four years later, Robert E. Lee incidentally surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in the parlor of McLean’s Appomattox home.
#16: Major Summerford Defied the Odds in the Worst Way Imaginable
Walter Summerford, a British major during World War I, was sent home from the front in Belgium in 1918. He wasn’t hit by a bullet or a mortar shell: Summerford was struck by lightning. He was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down and sent back home. Six years later, while fishing in a local river, Summerford was struck by lightning for a second time. Again, Summerford had to rehabilitate from temporary paralysis. Fast forward another six years and the major’s luck ran out. He was hit by lightning a third time during a stroll in the park. He struggled for two years in a hospital bed before succumbing. Four years after that, his tombstone was struck by lightning. That’s four strikes, one every six years.
#15: The Comettes Hit by a Meteor
There is a reason why meteors are incredibly valuable. Many meteoroids break up in the atmosphere after hurtling through space for millions or billions of years. According to National Geographic, the chances of getting hit by a meteor are approximately 1 in 1.6 million. In 2011, one meteoroid fell to earth and landed on a house in France. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. This sort of event was newsworthy thanks to its unlikelihood alone. However, there is an odd wrinkle to this particular story. The home was owned by the Comette family.
#14: Anthony Hopkins & “The Girl from Petrovka”
In the early 1970s, Anthony Hopkins’s career was stalling. He hoped to jump start it with an audition for “The Girl from Petrovka,” an adaptation of an American novel. Hopkins was desperate for a break and wanted to be as prepared as possible. He frantically searched for the novel but learned it wasn’t yet available in the UK. Despondent, he went to the subway and sat on a bench to wait for the train. He noticed a bound manuscript on the bench next to him: one for the exact book he was searching for. He got the part, and a year later met the author on set in Vienna. He then learned that the author had lost that same copy in a stolen car.
#13: The Curse of “The Omen”
Horror movies like “The Exorcist” are famous for having productions plagued with creepy tragedies. Few such movies appear to be as cursed as 1976’s “The Omen.” Both before and after the film, the cast and crew began to suffer strange accidents. Star Gregory Peck’s son took his own life after Peck took the role. Special effects guru John Richardson oversaw the film’s death scenes. On his next gig, he and his girlfriend were in a car crash where she died in a manner similar to one death in “The Omen.” Both screenwriter David Seltzer and executive producer Mace Neufeld were on airplanes struck by lightning. It’s hard to discount the possibility that the film was, in fact, cursed.
#12: Stephen Hawking’s Birthday & Death Day
Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous physicists and cosmologists of the 20th and 21st centuries. He built on the work of astronomers and mathematicians going all the way back to Galileo. He deepened our understanding of the Big Bang, black holes, and time. Coincidentally, Hawking was somewhat famously born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. Adding to the creepy and bizarre symmetry, Hawking died on the birthday of Albert Einstein. It was as if the universe was determined to inextricably link three men responsible for our understanding of the cosmos.
#11: John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved Abraham Lincoln’s Son
Robert Todd Lincoln, the only of the President’s children to outlive his parents, himself had a long and storied career. Lincoln was at one time the Secretary of War as well as the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. That may never have happened if it weren’t for the intervention of a good samaritan. Lincoln was in New Jersey waiting for a train in the middle of a crowd. He slipped and fell onto the platform. Thankfully, an onlooker managed to pull Lincoln back onto the platform in time to avoid the oncoming train. That man was Edwin Booth, brother to the man who would ultimately kill Lincoln’s father, John Wilkes Booth. Coincidentally, Lincoln was also present at the assassinations of Presidents Garfield and McKinley.
#10: The Beginning & End of Life
Life Magazine helped define popular American culture in the 20th century. It was ubiquitous, on the shelves of every magazine stand, waiting room, and grocery checkout in the country. The first issue of the magazine as we currently know it was published on November 23, 1936. The first interior photo in the magazine’s history was a picture of a baby being cradled by his doctor after being delivered. The caption read “Life Begins.” That baby was George Story, who himself ultimately grew up to become a journalist. Decades later, on April 4th 2000, Life magazine announced that it would stop publication. Story died of heart failure a few days later.
#9: A Dutch Cyclist & Plane Crash Dodger
Maarten de Jonge is a former professional cyclist from Holland. His career peaked in 2014 with a first-place win in Stage 4 of the Tour of Thailand. What makes de Jonge’s life remarkable is not his career. Instead, he’s known for his shockingly good luck. The same year de Jonge won the aforementioned race, two separate Malaysia Airlines flights crashed. One - Flight 370 - went missing. The other, Flight 17, was shot down over Ukraine by Russia. De Jonge was allegedly planning to be on both flights. In the case of Flight 370, he decided to take a flight earlier in the day. With Flight 17, he ultimately chose a cheaper flight home.
#8: Bruce & Brandon Lee in “Game of Death” & “The Crow”
Despite Bruce Lee’s incredible fitness, he died suddenly at the age of thirty-two due to an allergic reaction to painkillers. Lee was in the middle of a movie production, filming “Game of Death.” The film was rewritten and partially reshot with a double in order to finish. In one scene, a prop master on a film set explains to a group of extras how to use a prop gun. One of them replaces a blank with a real bullet to try and kill Lee’s character. The scenes are eerily reminiscent of the death of Lee’s son Brandon decades later. While shooting “The Crow,” Brandon Lee died when a prop gun was misloaded. That film, too, was recut and partially reshot in order to finish.
#7: Hitler & Napoleon
In all of history, only Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler came close to conquering all of Europe. What is creepy is that their lives, rises to power, and falls mirror each other incredibly well. Separated by 120-130 years, their journeys were strikingly similar. Both were born in a country different from the one they would come to rule. Both seized power in a former superpower weakened by defeat in a previous war. They both utilized shockingly effective new military tactics to quickly conquer their neighbors, leaving England isolated and alone. Each leader was weakened by resistance movements in the territories they conquered. Ultimately, they were each undone by a poorly conceived invasion of Russia, each defeated by the bitter cold.
#6: James Dean’s Death & His Cursed Porsche
Like Marlon Brando, James Dean was a method actor of the new school. Between his good looks and his intense performances, the sky was the limit for his career. Unfortunately, he died in 1955 while driving his brand new Porsche 550 Spyder. There were many odd and spine-tingling coincidences surrounding the crash. Dean was with fellow actor Alec Guinness when the car was delivered. Guinness took one look at the machine and allegedly said “Please, never get in it. It is now ten o’clock, Friday the 23rd of September, 1955. If you get in that car you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” Pieces of the car would later get resold and caused multiple further accidents, and two fatalities.
#5: Author Morgan Robertson Predicted the Titanic
In 1898, author Morgan Robertson wrote a novella titled “The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility.” His fictional Titan is a British passenger liner marketed as the largest and most unsinkable ship in the world. On its maiden voyage to America in the North Atlantic, on a cold April night, the Titan strikes an iceberg on the starboard side. Possibly due to the hype around the Titan’s unsinkability, the vessel doesn’t have enough lifeboats. Most of the passengers and crew do not survive. Fourteen years later, an actual ocean liner suffered a virtually identical fate. So many of the details, down to the ship’s name - Titanic - mirrored Robertson’s book to a T.
#4: JFK May Have Predicted His Own Assassination
On November 22, 1963, all of the United States came to a standstill with the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Nine years later, two of his closest friends and aides wrote a memoir about JFK titled “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.” In that book, authors David Powers and Kenneth O’Donnell describe the events of that November morning. Jackie Kennedy had seen an anti-JFK ad in a local newspaper that was designed to resemble a funeral notice. It shook her terribly. The president allegedly responded, “We’re heading into nut country today. But Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it?”
#3: The Hoover Dam Tragedies
The Hoover Dam was one of the greatest American engineering marvels of the 20th century. At the time, it was the largest hydro-electric plant on Earth. Even today, it provides electricity for over one million Americans in three states. Construction took five years between 1931 and 1936, but plans for the dam began in the early 1920s. It was a massive undertaking, and one that ultimately cost the lives of 112 men. The second death associated with the dam occurred on December 20th, 1922, when surveyor John Gregory Tierney drowned in the Colorado River. The final death occurred exactly thirteen years later on December 20th, 1935. The man who died that day was Tierney’s son, Patrick.
#2: Predicting Pearl Harbor
Mere weeks leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, a peculiar set of advertisements for a board game ran in the New Yorker that sparked a short lived conspiracy theory. The ad was for a game called the “Deadly Double,” and in hindsight was filled with what seemed to be warnings for the aerial strike. The word “warning” was written on the promotion itself, and featured an illustration of people playing the dice game in an air-raid bunker. Arguably the strangest synchronicity was the numbers on two of the dice being “12” and “7”-- corresponding to the date of the attack. The theory was investigated, but it was revealed that these ads truly were nothing more than coincidences.
#1: One Man Survived Both Hiroshima & Nagasaki
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a Japanese draftsman for Mitsubishi. In the summer of 1945, he was on an extended business trip to Hiroshima. On August 6th, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city. Yamaguchi saw the plane fly by and drop the bomb. He was lucky - while he suffered severe burns, he survived in a shelter with colleagues. The next day, he returned to his home city of Nagasaki. Three days after surviving a nuclear bomb, Yamaguchi was at work describing the experience to his boss when the second bomb fell. He was again far enough away from the blast to survive, suffering radiation poisoning with a week-long fever. He died at the age of ninety-three in 2010.
Did a twist of fate leave a creepy coincidence off our list? Let us know in the comments below.