Bizarre Historical Coincidences
Prepare to have your mind blown by these bizarre historical coincidences!History
We’ve all experienced some weird coincidences in our lives, from sharing a birthday with a friend to bumping into someone you know while on vacation. But they’re nothing compared to many of the crazy coincidences that have happened throughout human history.
Get ready for your jaw to hit the floor as we investigate some of the most bizarre historical coincidences ever.
The Man Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was on a pretty standard business trip in Hiroshima back on August 6th, 1945. But his day took an unexpected, and almost deadly turn, when, out of nowhere, the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city.
Standing two miles from ground zero, the sky above Tsutomu erupted in a blaze of light, and he leapt into a ditch to try and avoid the wave of intense heat that seared his body. Miraculously, he survived, but in the immediate aftermath, some 80,000 people didn’t.
Injured, burned, and desperate to see his family, Tsutomu traveled home. It took him three days, but he made it. Despite being heavily burned and bandaged, he reported into work on August 9th.
His boss demanded to know what had happened, refusing to believe that a single bomb could have obliterated an entire city. Tsutomu was about to explain everything when, all of a sudden, the skyline outside exploded in another blinding white flash. Tsutomu and his colleagues dropped to the ground as the office windows shattered all around them.
In what might be the worst stroke of luck in history, his office was located in Nagasaki, the site of the second atomic bomb drop. Once again, Tsutomu survived, immediately rushing from the building to check on his wife and son.
Their house was nothing but rubble, but, in yet another strange twist of fate, they’d survived! His wife had been out buying burn ointment for Tsutomu and, when the bomb dropped, she and the baby managed to take refuge in a nearby tunnel.
So, by being injured in Hiroshima, Tsutomu had coincidentally saved his family’s life in Nagasaki! While he did suffer from radiation exposure, he managed to stave off death a third time, and lived to the grand old age of 93! I’m not sure if that makes this him the luckiest or unluckiest man in the world!
Dragons In Different Cultures
From each corner of the world, stories and myths of dragons seem to be present in every culture imaginable. From China’s tales of flying, wingless serpents dating back more than 5,000 years, to Iran’s Azhdaha, giant serpent like beings that allegedly inhabited the earth, air, and sea some 1000 years ago.
Over in Central Mexico, back in the 1200’s, the great feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl was depicted similarly. Even European folklore tells of winged creatures, more lizard than serpent, breathing fire and threatening heroic knights in shining armor, with depictions dating back to 1260.
But here’s the thing: these myths emerged at different times in different cultures around the world that were practically isolated from one another. So, how can they all have such similar stories and portrayals of creatures that don’t actually exist? It’s got to be an epic coincidence, one that’d almost make more sense if dragons did exist!
While there are theories as to how this might have happened, there’s no straight answer. One explanation is that ancient peoples discovered dinosaur fossils and extrapolated wildly as to what these beings would have looked like.
When you look at the size and shapes of some of these skeletal remains today, like that of a T-Rex or a diplodocus, you can almost see the similarity to some of those ancient depictions!
Another theory is that they’re inspired by actual animals. For example, the Incan Amaru has almost llama like qualities, while Apep, the mythical Egyptian serpent of the Nile, is crocodilian and eel-like in description.
Either way, dragons continue to be a big part of modern culture across the globe. As recently as 2017, a group of Chinese pranksters laid out supposed dragon bones in a field. The bones, which measured 60 ft long, probably belonged to sheep or cows, but some of the locals were convinced they were genuine!
This willingness, even eagerness, to believe in dragons isn’t uncommon, either. Look online and you’ll find websites claiming to show real dragon sightings, be they buried in Siberian ice or streaking across the skies!
Spoiler alert, these are all, pretty obviously, VFX clips or props used in films. But it’ll take more than that to slay this myth!
Ancient Egyptian civilization is as fascinating as it is mysterious, and structures like the pyramids have provided constant fuel for conspiracy theorists. Recently though, a set of hieroglyphs were discovered that sent conspiracy nuts wild.
Found above Pharaoh Seti I’s temple in Abydos, Egypt, the ancient writing appears to show a helicopter, a plane, and some sort of futuristic aircraft.
Considering Seti I lived 3,000 years ago however, this doesn’t make any sense. Did time travelers from the future decide to go back and show off by swagging around Ancient Egypt in choppers? Or could it be the work of aliens?
Well, despite the frenzy the hieroglyphs caused, it turns out they’ve got a far simpler explanation.
In ancient Egypt, it was common practice for hieroglyphs to be re-carved, especially when a new pharaoh came to power. In this case, the original carving was made during the reign of Seti I, but later, in Rameses II’s reign it was covered in plaster and re-carved.
However, over time the plaster eroded in places, revealing the original inscription beneath. Thus, both inscriptions combined and, thanks to a pretty huge coincidence, ended up looking exactly like modern vehicles! So, still no proof of little green men, I’m afraid! You can take those tin hats off now.
The Presidents’ Curse
I tend not to be superstitious, but sometimes something comes along that’s so creepily weird it makes me think twice, like the so-called “Curse of Tippecanoe”.
Between 1840 and 1960, all seven presidents of the United States who were elected in a year ending in “0” died in office. That’s a 120-year long pattern. So strange was this phenomenon that people were convinced it was a curse and the roots of that curse go way back.
At the start of the 1800s, the freshly formed United States of America was expanding westwards. Native Americans however, who’d lived in those lands for thousands of years, formed a confederation to resist this expansion, led by the chieftain Tecumseh.
He and his brother Tenskwatawa, a renowned prophet, led their people in a war against the invaders. But in 1811 they lost a great battle at Tippecanoe against the forces of William Henry Harrison, an American military officer. The confederation never truly recovered, and following the death of Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa supposedly put a curse on Harrison.
29 years later, in 1840, Harrison became the ninth US president but just one month after being inaugurated, he died. Following this, every president elected in a year ending in “0” died in office and all at 20-year intervals!
So, by the time Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in 1980, 20 years after JFK, he was all-too aware of the so-called curse. His First Lady, Nancy Reagan, was apparently so scared that she hired a host of psychics and astrologers to try and protect her husband!
And it seems they did their jobs. Despite an assassination attempt, Reagan survived both his terms, and the curse’s reign was officially over. Of course, it probably wasn’t really a curse, but you can’t deny it’s one killer coincidence!
Dennis The Menace
If you’re familiar with comic book strips, you’ve probably heard of Dennis the Menace, the troublesome but good-natured kid, drawn to life by American illustrator Hank Ketcham. But did you know there’s a British comic book character also called Dennis the Menace?
Unsurprisingly, the British Dennis, created by cartoonist David Law, is also a troublemaker. And to add the cherry on top of this suspicious sundae, both comics were first released on the exact same day!
That’s right, both the US Dennis and UK Dennis first appeared on 12th March 1951 in their respective home countries.
This can’t just be a coincidence, can it? There must be plagiarism at play, right? Well, wrong. For a start, there was nothing to be gained from the characters having the same name, if anything, it just confused potential readers. As well as this, the 1950s were long before the Internet.
Separated by a vast ocean, there’s simply no way Ketcham and Law would’ve known what each other was working on. Spooky!
Shakespeare and Psalm 46
You’re probably familiar with William Shakespeare, that incredibly famous British playwright. However, did you know he also wrote part of the Bible? Okay, so maybe I’m twisting the truth a little bit here. But there’s a bizarre coincidence that some people think proves he did!
The words ‘shake’ and ‘spear’ have four vowels and six consonants, right? So, when written together, that looks like “46”.
Some very bored person in 1902 decided that was good enough reason to flick to Psalm 46 of their Bible and see if there was anything interesting in there. Surprisingly enough, they actually found something.
If you happen to have a King James Bible lying around, flick over to Psalm 46. Now, count the words from the beginning until you get to the 46th the word is “shake”. And if you now count backwards from the last word in the psalm, you’ll find the 46th word from the end is “spear”!
Even odder, the King James version of the Bible was translated in around 1610, when Shakespeare was 46 years old. All this adds up to one crazy coincidence, and it’s led some people to believe that old Shakey had a hand in writing it.
Handbags of the Gods
Have you ever wondered how a God carries all their godly possessions? Nope, neither have I. But I’ll tell you anyway – they use handbags, just like regular humans! How do I have this sacred knowledge? From ancient carvings made by long-dead civilizations of course!
There is an object that looks like a handbag in the relief of the eagle-headed Assyrian god Nisroch from around 880BC.
The same object is also present in a relief of an Assyrian “winged genie,” beings that weren’t gods themselves but had godlike powers. Both carvings are holding the same mysterious object.
Ancient cultures from all around the world depicted their gods holding this same bag. There it is again in the image below, but this carving is from ancient Mexico, the other side of the world to Assyria (which is modern-day Iraq)!
Thousands of years ago, when the ancient Assyrians and Mayans lived, there was next to no chance they’d have been able to travel the vast distance between one another’s lands. And yet, despite a complete lack of contact, those handbags still crop up in both civilizations’ reliefs. So, what gives?
Unfortunately, it’s probably not due to some sort of long forgotten teleportation device. One theory is that the shape represents a simple portrayal of the cosmos.
From Africa to China, ancient cultures around the world associated circles with spirituality and squares with earthly concepts. So, the semi-circular handle would be the hemisphere of the sky, while the square base would be the earth. That would definitely vibe with the “god-like figure” holding it.
However, there’s also another, simpler explanation, that it really is just a vessel for holding things - there’s no denying it’s an effective shape for a bag. Even so, it’s still supremely odd that the depictions of it would look so alike, when everything else about the carvings is so different.
Stars and Time Travel
Everybody’s had the “what superpower would you most like to have” conversation. I’d pick time travel. Not because I have any mistakes to rectify, I just think it’d be super cool to visit the past.
Unfortunately, I can’t but it appears some people can. Like the late popstar Michael Jackson. The image below reveals a mysterious old painting dating back to 17th century Germany. Uncanny, right?
The only explanation must be that he went back in time. But it appears MJ wasn’t satisfied with going just a few hundred years into the past, his likeness also crops up on an ancient Egyptian statue!
Dating back over 3,000 years, the bust is from roughly the same era as Tutankhamun. So, maybe the king of pop just wanted to meet the boy king?
MJ wasn’t having all the fun though, it seems climate activist Greta Thunberg is also partial to time travel! In 2019, a photo of three children working at an old Canadian goldmine went viral.
Take a closer look at the girl on the left, though. Remind you of anyone? Yeah, she’s the spitting image of Thunberg!
After noticing the uncanny resemblance, social media went wild, convinced she’d gone back in time to warn our ancestors of the coming climate crisis. I’m not sure why she’d choose a 19th century goldmine as the perfect place for this, but all power to her.
The Broken Noses Of Egyptian Statues
That MJ-looking bust from the Tutankhamun era has a broken nose. Well, a 3,000-year-old statue having a chip in it isn’t much of a coincidence, but let’s investigate a few more Ancient Egyptian busts.
Why do so many of the heads have broken noses? Is it just one big coincidence?
For decades historians thought it might’ve been a mere coincidence. But many of the statues were found indoors, where they were otherwise well preserved. So, in a lot of cases the damage couldn’t just be accidental or coincidental. Instead, historians now reckon the noses were broken off on purpose!
The Ancient Egyptians believed that when a person passed away, their spirit was transferred to the statue that represented them. Therefore, to assert dominance, reigning pharaohs would destroy the noses of their past rivals’ statues, so their spirits couldn’t breathe.
That’s not the only explanation for the smashed noses though! Some experts think superstitious grave robbers are also to blame. Supposedly, when the robbers raided the pharaohs’ tombs, they also smashed the noses of their statues, so the spirits couldn’t place a vengeful curse on them.
It all starts with a young American named Paul Grachan. A few years ago, Paul was at his local Deli paying the cashier, when something caught his eye. One of the bills he was holding had the name “Esther” scribbled on it.
That was the name of the girl he’d been seeing for the last few weeks! Finding it funny, he pocketed it and gave the cashier a different note. Later that night, he framed and gift-wrapped the dollar bill, thinking it would make an amusing present.
The following week, he took Esther on a date and handed her the gift. She unwrapped it, but rather than finding it funny, she seemed shocked and even a little disturbed! Awkwardly, she put it away and told Paul to remind her about it later. Paul was confused but let it slide.
Two years passed with no mention of the bill. Paul and Esther’s relationship blossomed, and they got married. Then one day when they were moving apartments, Paul was surprised to find the bill again. Confused, he asked her about it and what she said next was insane. It turns out, she was the one who’d written her name on the bill!
A few years earlier, Esther had been stuck in an unhappy relationship, and in desperation had scrawled her name across a few dollar bills before spending them. She’d prayed that one day one of the bills would be returned to her, and if it was, it’d be by the man she’d marry.
So, when Paul handed her that gift-wrapped note, she knew immediately that he was her soulmate. She just hadn’t wanted to freak him out by telling him! Whether you believe in soulmates or not, that’s pretty nuts!
Back in 2016, a strange image began circulating around the Internet. It shows a mysterious seven-headed figure carved into rock, and dates all the way back to 5,000BC.
The carving is some form of snake deity and comes from Siberia, which isn’t that weird, until you realize that seven-headed snake deities weren’t just a part of Ancient Siberian culture. All the way on the other side of the world in ancient Mexico, they used to worship a goddess called Chicomecoatl, which literally translates to Seven Serpents.
Many ancient Mexican carvings bear a striking resemblance to the Siberian one. And thousands more miles away in India, people still worship the Hindu serpent goddess Manasa, who’s often depicted with seven snakes!
But considering these cultures lived thousands of years apart and were separated by vast distances, how could they possibly have had such similar religious symbolism? Is it a massive coincidence?
We can’t know for sure. What we do know though is snakes were revered by ancient peoples around the world. They’re deadly, mysterious, and possess the unique ability to shed their skin.
The ancient Semites and Mesopotamians believed this made them immortal, while Hindus saw it as an act of reincarnation. Basically, snakes were widely renowned for being very powerful, which could explain why they were treated as deities so often.
As for the seven heads? That’s less clear, but humanity has always had a weird affinity with the number seven. Whether it’s religions, myths, or superstitions, look for the number seven and you’ll find it everywhere. 7 wonders of the ancient world, 7 colors in the rainbow, 7 days in the week, so we seem to associate it with important things.
Therefore, humanity’s respect for snakes and love of the number seven could explain why so many ancient cultures had seven-headed serpent deities.
Tutankhamun's War Trumpets
It has been noticed that three different twentieth century wars were all caused by an ancient trumpet that once belonged to Tutankhamun. When British archeologist Howard Carter first discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun back in 1922, he found two trumpets buried with the pharaoh, one copper, and one silver.
Originally, they were used to call King Tut’s troops into battle for him, but they’d lain unblown for thousands of years before Carter got to them. And they remained unblown for 17 years after as well until radio presenter Rex Keating heard about them. Fascinated, he asked if he could use them in a broadcast to shine light on the King Tut research and the answer was yes.
In the spring of 1939, a trumpeter on Keating’s show used the trumpets to play a melody to an audience of 150 million people. A grave mistake.
Later that same year, World War II broke out and we’re all familiar with the horrors that brought with it.
Then, the trumpets went to the Egyptian museum where they lay silent for 28 years. But in 1967, a member of staff blew into the silver one. As if in response, Egypt and Israel were plunged into a brutal conflict that became known as the Six-Day War. Though short, over 20,000 people still died.
Following this, the trumpets lay silent again for 23 more years. But again, their silence was broken and when one was next played, in 1990, war broke out once more! This time, the Gulf War, which resulted in almost 200,000 casualties.
You’d think by now people would stop picking up the damn trumpets! But nope, museum staff played the silver trumpet again in 2011 and guess what? The violent Egyptian Revolution immediately followed!
Unsurprisingly, all this has led some people to believe the trumpets were cursed by Tutankhamun. But really, it’s more likely to just be one huge coincidence. Unfortunately, wars and disputes happen all the time. Even so, I really hope nobody blows either trumpet ever again, just to make sure!
If you were amazed at these bizarre historical coincidences, you might want to read our one in a million coincidences series. Thanks for reading!