10 Insane Historical Coincidences Almost Too Weird To Be True
Do you believe in destiny?
10. “Code of the Secret Service”
On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr., an assassin who would have been successful if it were not for the quick actions of one of Reagan’s bodyguards, Special Agent Jerry Parr. Hinckley was a bit of a psychopath because the motivation for the attack was to impress Jodie Foster, an actress he had started to obsess over. But that’s not important.
What is important, is that Ronald Reagan was a movie star long before he was a president, as I’m sure you know. According to Reagan, one of the worst movies he ever acted in was Code of the Secret Service, which was the second of four films made in the 1930’s to depict law enforcement in a positive light.
Millions of people saw Code of the Secret Service, one of which was the very young, Jerry Parr. According to Parr, this Ronald Reagan film that he saw as a child was one of the main reasons he decided to become a Secret Service Agent. Had Reagan not made that film, or had the studio found another actor for it, Jimmy Parr would not have become a Special Agent, and wouldn’t be there on March 30, 1981, to save Reagan’s life by rapidly escorting him into an armored limousine. Experts say that Parr’s quick reaction to the situation saved Reagan from being shot in the head.
9. “Whale of a Deal” Promotion
A dead sperm whale washed up on the beach in Florence, Oregon. To remove the carcass, the Oregon Highway Division decided to load the whale with 20 cases of dynamite to literally blow the whale into pieces. The plan was that these pieces would then be small enough for scavenger animals to come along and eat what remained of the whale. What could possibly go wrong?
I’ll tell you what could go wrong: the people behind the genius plan didn’t have a lot of experience with dynamite. George Thornton, the man in charge, stated he was unsure how much dynamite he needed, and was only in charge of the removal because district engineer Dale Allen had gone hunting that day.
Military veteran Walter Umenhofer tried to intervene, stating that 20 cases of dynamite, which is roughly half a ton, was way too much dynamite. He said that 20 sticks of dynamite would have done the trick, but George Thornton ignored him and just went along with his original guesstimate of how much dynamite he needed. I literally think he just suggested 20 cases of dynamite and nobody gave him any weird looks, so he just went with it.
Regardless, the whale exploded:
I guess it’s kind of cool. That said, the resulting explosion sent the blubber flying more than 800 feet away.
Walter Umenhofer, the man who said they were using too much dynamite, owned a brand-new Oldsmobile. He purchased the car at a Get a Whale of a Deal promotion in Eugene, and unfortunately, the car was absolutely flattened by a piece of falling blubber. May it rest in pieces.
He was probably infuriated when he inevitably said: “I told you so.”
8. Solar Eclipses
Every year there are approximately two solar eclipses. A solar eclipse is when the Earth and the moon line up in such a way that the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking it entirely, allowing light to only creep around the sides. It looks pretty dope, let’s be honest — but it’s something that we take for granted.
There are literally no other known planets that can experience solar eclipses in the way that we do. The Earth is in the perfect place right now where the moon and the sun appear to be the same size, despite the fact that the sun is 400 times larger than the moon, but it’s also about 400 times farther away than the moon is.
But as Earth, the moon, and the sun travel through space together, the perfect distance that they are at now will change. Eventually, and I’m talking like eventually, there will be no more solar Eclipses!
It’s an amazing coincidence that humans exist at the same time the solar eclipse phenomena occurs. Scientists can’t calculate the odds of the human race existing at the same time solar eclipses, because we are inhabiting the only known planet where this phenomenon occurs. And let me tell you, it’s a beautiful phenomenon indeed. Cherish it!
7. D-Day Crossword
D-Day was almost cancelled because of an unbelievable coincidence involving a Daily Telegraph crossword.
Leonard Dawe, crossword master at The Daily Telegraph, was also the headmaster of Strand School, which was evacuated during World War II and relocated to Effingham in Surrey. Beside the school was a large military camp, where American and Canadian troops stayed while preparing for D-Day. Often, the school children interacted with the soldiers, and the soldiers would share military code words.
Now, Leonard Dawe was only one man. He couldn’t make countless crossword puzzles by himself, so he would often call schoolboys into his office and fill the crossword spaces with words. From there, Dawe would provide clues for those words.
So what am I getting at? Well, eventually Dawe was calling on schoolboys that were learning code words being used for D-Day, and they were writing those code words in crossword puzzles. Five D-Day code words (Utah, Omaha, Overlord, Mulberry, and Neptune) were put into The Daily Telegraph crosswords within two weeks of the scheduled assault.
Naturally, this caused the British Secret Services to view the crosswords as a form of espionage. But, that was quickly debunked and revealed to be an awkward coincidence, and the operation went forward.
6. Wikipedia Edit Predicts Death
Have you ever accidentally predicted a murder? That was the case for an anonymous Wikipedia prankster who made an interesting edit on a pro-wrestlers’ Wikipedia page. The page was for wrestler Chris Benoit, a 40-year old WWE veteran, who, for unknown reasons, killed his wife and his son on the weekend of June 25, 2007. After he killed his family, Benoit hung himself in his weight room.
However, 14 hours before the police discovered the bodies of Benoit and his family, someone edited the Wikipedia page of Chris Benoit to state “Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW World Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.” Essentially, police believed that someone knew about the murder before they did.
After an investigation, police were able to trace the IP address of the editor to Stamford, Connecticut, which happens to be the location of the WWE headquarters. Police eventually were able to find out who the poster was, who defended his edit as a “huge coincidence and nothing more.”
The police reviewed the man’s computer, and called the posting an “unbelievable hindrance” to their investigation. They concluded that the man was uninvolved, and agreed that the edit was a huge coincidence.
5. Red Solo Cup Lines
Red solo cups are the staple of American binge drinking. Whenever I travel to other countries and head off to a party, people will walk up to me and ask if red solo cups are as rampant at high school and college parties as they are in the movies. And the answer is yes, because they are the solution to so many problems. They’re a cheap cup that you can count on, and as an added bonus the lines correspond to the appropriate level you should fill it up with alcohol.
For example, in order from bottom to top, the first line on a red solo cup is one ounce, which can be used to measure how much liquor to put in a drink. The second line measures 5 ounces, which can be used to measure how much wine you should pour into your drink. The third line from the bottom is the ‘beer line’ as it measures 12 ounces, which works out to one beer.
While the use of the lines on solo cups are becoming common knowledge, what most people don’t know is that the lines measurements are completely coincidental.
According to Angie Chaplin Gorman, Director of Communications for the Solo Cup Company, “Although the lines do align pretty closely with some common liquid measures, in fact, these lines were not intended for measuring anything. This has become part of the folklore around the cup and is, as you say, a happy coincidence.”
4. Mark Twain and Halley’s Comet
Mark Twain is known mostly for two things: writing cool shit, and being involved in one of the craziest coincidences of all time.
Mark Twain was born just after Halley’s Comet appeared in 1835. The Comet is visible from Earth every 76 years or so, so it’s for the most part, a once in a lifetime thing to see. If you miss it once, hate to break it to you, but you’ll never see it again. It won’t appear next until 2062, so if you’re anywhere as unhealthy as I am, sorry. We’re not going to make it.
In 1909, Mark Twain said the following statement: “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet.” Well, as fate would have it, a year later in 1910, Mark Twain died suddenly of a heart attack, the day after Halley’s Comet was visible.
That’s spooky. Not only did he come to and leave Earth at the same time as Halley’s Comet, but he called it too.
3. The First and Last Deaths in WWI
World War I is known as one of the most horrific wars ever fought because of the horrible living conditions the soldiers had to endure. Many of them suffered from trench foot, slept with rats and died of pneumonia, among other things. It was truly horrible. So horrible, in fact, that world leaders said that a war on that scale would never happen again. But, as we know, it happened again, just over 20 years later.
Over 17 million people died during World War I, and another 20 million were wounded. The first Commonwealth soldier to be killed was Private John Parr, who is said to have been just 16 years old when he was killed, on August 21, 1914. Four years later, the last Commonwealth soldier to be killed, 36-year-old Private George Ellison, died just an hour before the ceasefire at 11am on November 11, 1918.
Both of these men were buried at St Symphorien Military Cemetery, which holds the bodies of 513 soldiers. By sheer coincidence, the two soldiers were buried with their graves facing each other. It’d be quite the poetic statement if it were intentional.
2. Sacagawea’s Long Lost Brother
The United States is a big place. It seems even bigger if you aren’t entirely sure how far you need to walk from one side to get to the other. This was the case for Lewis & Clark, who, with the help of Sacagawea, travelled to reach the Pacific Ocean.
The journey had a number of unforeseen and unfortunate events, but perhaps the worst is when the hopeful explorers were stranded in the Rocky Mountains. Without a guide or any horses, Lewis and Clark stumbled upon a group of Shoshone Indians led by a man name Cameahwait.
Normally, Lewis and Clark would have been absolutely screwed. But, as the saying goes, it’s a small world after all. To their surprise, Sacagawea was actually the long lost sister of Cameahwait. When she was a young girl, she was kidnapped and taken far away from her tribe. Now, years after the fact, here she was, lost, and in need of the help from a familiar face.
Cameahwait agreed to help them, and led the group through the Rocky Mountains, and, as they say, the rest is history!
1. Nebraska Church Explosion
Weekly choir practice was scheduled to continue as usual, at 7:20pm on Wednesday, March 1, 1950. At 7:25pm, the church unexpectedly exploded, causing a nearby radio station to stop broadcasting, and shattered windows in the surrounding area as a result. But, amazingly, none of the 15 choir members were hurt in anyway. How could this be possible? Because every single one of them was late that night.
The odds of one of the choir members being late was 1 in 4, the chances of all of them being late is over 1 in 1,000,000. Here’s why everyone was delayed that fateful evening:
- Reverend Walter Klempel arrived before the other singers to lite the furnace. He would then go back home, and return to the church after a quick dinner. But, at 7:10, when he was set to go back to the church, he was delayed because his daughter’s dress needed to be ironed.
- Ladona Vandergift, a high school sophomore who was usually early for choir practice was delayed because she instead decided to not leave until she had finished a geometry problem, a part of her homework that had stumped her.
- Royena Estes and her sister, Sadie Estes, were having car problems. They called Ladona to pick them up, but they had to wait for her to finish her geometry problem.
- Leonard Schuster normally arrived at 7:20 with her daughter Susan, but on this particular Wednesday she was delayed when she had to stop at her mother’s house to help her get ready for a missionary meeting.
- Herbert Kipf was delayed because he was busy writing an important letter that he had put off for far too long
- Joyce Black was feeling “just plain lazy” and didn’t want to leave her warm house until the last possible moment.
- Harvey Ahl was taking care of his two sons and lost track of time.
- Marilyn Paul, the pianist, was set to arrive half an hour early. However, she took a nap after dinner and slept for too long. She awoke at 7:15, and had to rush herself out the door. This also delayed Marilyn’s mother from arriving on time.
- Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood would walk to choir practice together. However, Lucille was listening to her favorite radio program,and wanted to hear the end for once. Lucille decided to wait for her.
Firemen say that the explosion may have been caused by natural gas, which was leaking into the church from a broken pipe outside the building. The fire from the furnace is suspected to have ignited the explosion, but, if you ask any member of the church choir about the incident, they’ll tell you that it was simply an act of God.