One in a Million Coincidences - Part 5
There are loads of one in a million coincidences you have to see to believe.Stories
We’re surrounded by coincidences every day. Let's explore some wacky happenings and a selection of one-in-a-million coincidences you'll have to see to believe!
A Sandwich Started World War I
Your high-school history teacher probably taught you that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the event that kickstarted the First World War, but what most people don’t know is that the whole thing might not have happened if it wasn’t for a humble sandwich.
As the story goes, the assassins actually failed in their first attempt to kill the archduke after their grenade hit the car behind him, and he sped away unharmed. Understandably, his would-be killers were pretty peeved about this.
In fact, one of the men, Gavrilo Princip, was so hungry that he stopped to grab a sandwich at a nearby café. While Ferdinand was counting his lucky stars to have survived the attack, his driver (who was blissfully unaware that the pre-planned route had been changed) took a wrong turn, passing right by the café where the assassin had stopped for lunch.
Seizing the opportunity not to mess up a second time, Princip shot the archduke and his wife from five feet away, and the rest is history!
King Umberto’s Doppelgänger
On July 28th, 1900, Italian King Umberto I was enjoying a meal in a Monza restaurant when the proprietor approached to greet his honorable guest. Immediately, both men were struck by how alike they looked, and Umberto invited the man to sit and chat.
The spooky similarities didn’t stop there though: the restaurant owner was also named Umberto, and he’d been born in Turin on the same day as the king! If that wasn’t enough, both Umbertos had married a woman named Margherita on the very same day, and the restaurant owner even opened his establishment on the day of the king’s coronation.
The king was so amused by this baffling coincidence that he invited his new friend to attend an athletics show he was scheduled to appear at the following day, but sadly it never came to pass. That same morning, the restaurant owner was mysteriously shot and killed, and just a few hours later King Umberto was also assassinated by Italian-American anarchist Gaetano Bresci.
Many have speculated that the two Umberto’s were indeed long-lost twins separated at birth, and their killer, having witnessed the pair's chance meeting, was determined that they both die.
Santana Gutierrez Doppelgänger
In 2016, 17-year-old Santana Gutierrez went viral on Twitter after posting a mind-blowing photo of herself standing next to a total stranger who just so happened to be her total mirror image.
In September of that year, Santana, who originally hails from Las Vegas, had driven out of town to Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego because it was the nearest mall with an Apple store. When she arrived, she was randomly approached by Isobel, who was working for the Save the Children fund.
The pair couldn’t resist snapping a photo of their incredible likeness. The photo was retweeted thousands of times, and a week later someone responded with photos of their friend who also looked exactly like Santana.
By now, things were starting to get really freaky, and yet still more Twitter users weighed in with their very own versions of the 17-year-old. Either there’s some Santana Gutierrez cloning machine out there somewhere, or her parents have some serious explaining to do.
RMS Carmania Versus SMS Cap Trafalgar
When it started to look like WW1 was going get pretty gnarly, the German army decided to convert a cruise liner named the SMS Cap Trafalgar into an armed merchant cruiser. To protect their shiny new battleship from potential damage, they agreed upon a rather sneaky tactic: they’d disguise the Trafalgar as the British Liner RMS Carmania!
Unfortunately for them, the Trafalgar was attacked and sunk off the coast of Brazil in 1914, and its attacker was none other than the real RMS Carmania, which had also recently been converted into an armed merchant cruiser.
As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, it turns out the Germans weren’t alone in their scheming, because the Brits had also disguised the RMS Carmania to look like the SMS Trafalgar. Summing up, the SMS Trafalgar, which was actually the RMS Carmania, sunk the SMS Trafalgar, which was disguised as the RMS Carmania.
Orphaned Korean Sisters Reunited By Chance At Work
Some coincidences are definitely enough to make you believe in fate, like the amazing story of these long-lost sisters who were reunited in the most unexpected way. Holly Hoyle O’Brien, originally named Pok-nam Shin, was adopted by an American couple in 1978 when she was just 9 years old and never forgot about her younger half-sister, who was taken by her stepmother.
Holly’s adoptive mother even called the orphanage where the sisters had lived, but they had no record of her biological sister, so young Holly started to lose hope. That is, until Holly landed a new job at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte in 2015, working on the fourth floor with the medical surgical unit.
Three months later, Holly was scheduled to work a 7 AM to 7:30 PM shift and was joined by a new nurse named Megan Hughes, who was also from Korea. As the two women got to know each other better, it became clear that they shared too many similarities to ignore. That summer, a DNA test confirmed their suspicions, they were actually long-lost sisters!
The Monticello Miracle
In the throes of WW2 in 1942, army veteran Don Karkos was hit by some rogue shrapnel that gashed across his forehead and blinded him in his right eye. Various doctors tried in vain for 64 years to restore Don’s sight, until something miraculously unexpected happened in 2006.
84-year-old Don was working as a security guard on a paddock at the Monticello Raceway racecourse in New York when he was headbutted by a pedigree racehorse while slipping a collar around its chest. Although the impact threw him back against a wall, he was mostly unharmed, other than feeling a little dazed.
Later that night, though, the unbelievable happened: Don started to regain his lost vision! Although it’s still not perfect, Don can now see about 15 feet with his damaged eye.
Dr. Douglas Lozzaro, the head of ophthalmology at Long Island College Hospital, said the blow could have knocked a dislocated lens into place, but no one is exactly sure what happened to restore his sight. It’s not often someone can describe being headbutted by a horse as a miracle.
Purse Thief Caught In The Act On Lewiston Tribune
On Christmas day in 2007, the Lewiston Tribune newspaper in Idaho published the CCTV image of a man who’d stolen a woman’s purse from a store in the hope that someone could identify him. Despite their valiant efforts, the reality of finding this rather non-descript man based on one grainy image was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Hope wasn’t lost yet, though, because there was one big clue about the man’s identity just an inch up the page. Also on the front page that day was a festive photograph taken by the paper’s photographer Kyle Mills, which showed a man in a blue-and-black checked coat painting Christmas greetings on storefront windows.
Anyone with the slightest experience playing those “spot the difference” games would be able to notice that’s the same dude. In fact, Mills’ photograph even identified the man as Michael Millhouse of Millhouse Signs in Lewiston.
Copy editors contacted the police after noticing the glaring printing error, and Millhouse was immediately arrested for stealing, which he protested by stating that intended to return the wallet but forgot. He probably “forgot” to return the $600 of the woman’s cash too.
Eglin Staples Saved By His Mother
There are plenty of amazing war stories out there, but you’ve probably never heard the one about the WW2 seaman and his lucky lifebelt. During the summer of 1942, Eglin Staples was a crewman on the USS Astoria, which was in the fight for control of Guadalcanal.
After completing his watch one night, Staples was awoken by an explosion of enemy fire above deck. He instinctively threw his lifebelt on before going to help, but the deck quickly gave way, plunging him into the water. After floating for 4 hours, he was eventually rescued by another U.S. ship but his luck was still down, because this one sunk too, depositing poor Staples back into the ocean.
Once again, Staples’ life was saved by his lucky life belt. When he examined the belt more closely, he noticed it hailed from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, so he decided to keep it as a souvenir.
While sharing his stories with his families after the war, Staples’ mother proudly declared that she’d also done her part by working at a local Firestone plant, which manufactured lifebelts. Things went from coincidental to downright freaky when Staples’ mother inspected the belt and noticed her own inspector's number on it, which means she had personally approved and stamped the very device that saved her son's life – twice!
The Twin Taxi Tragedy In Bermuda
Not all coincidences are so fortunate, and if you ever feel down on your luck just remember this next tale of two brothers, one bike, and one very unfortunate cab. On the night of July 18, 1975, 17-year-old Erskine Ebbin was tragically struck and killed by a taxi while riding his moped in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda.
What made this accident so spooky was that Erskine’s brother was also killed almost exactly a year earlier on July 30th, 1974 on the same intersection known as Hog Bay Level, also by a rogue taxi. And he was riding the exact same moped.
If all that wasn’t Final Destination enough for you already, get this: it was the same taxi driver, Williard Manders, who happened to be carrying the same passenger, John Henry Ebbin, each time. This probably all seems too strange to be true, but analysts have since noted that as Bermuda is a small island with a small population, the likelihood of this creepy coincidence happening, while slim, is still entirely possible.
The Erdington Cases
Coincidences don’t get much creepier than this case of two unmistakeably similar unsolved crimes that occurred 157 years apart in the historical suburb of Erdington in Birmingham, U.K. at around 6:30 AM on May 27th, 1817, a laborer named George Jackson came across the body of a 20-year-old woman a local water-pit.
The woman was identified as Mary Ashford, who had met with a friend the night before to attend a dance in celebration of the historic Whit Monday at Tyburn Hall. That night, Ashford had met and walked home with a man named Abraham Thornton at about 4 AM, the prime suspect in her untimely demise. However, thanks to witness testimonies, Thornton was acquitted of the crime and the case remained unsolved.
Flash forward exactly 157 years to May 27th, 1974 and history was about to repeat itself. The life of another 20-year-old woman named Barbara Forrest was mysteriously snuffed out and she was found in a ditch a few days later with similar injuries to Ashford. On that fateful evening, Forrest had also attended the dance with her boyfriend in the spirit of Whit Monday.
The police eventually zoned in on a prime suspect: Forrest’s co-worker, Michael Ian Thornton. Miraculously, Thornton was once again acquitted, leaving the crime unsolved. To make matters worse, both women are reported to have told friends that they had a “bad feeling” on the evening of their demise.
If ever you need reminding of the importance of personal protective equipment in the workplace, just take a look at this seriously fortunate soul named Jerimiah. He happened to be wearing his safety goggles while angle grinding when this cutting wheel split in half and launched in his direction, and thanks to his smart thinking, he still has his right eye!
But remember: coincidences aren’t always gonna save your life, but following the right safety precautions probably will.
Sometimes it seems like luck really is on your side. Can you imagine the sigh of relief the owner of this vehicle breathed when they pulled up to discover that their fate had been hanging in the balance the whole journey home? Sometimes life can’t help but try and screw you.
There’s no denying that flies are the most downright irritating insects in the animal kingdom, after all, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as settling down in bed only to be kept awake by persistent buzzing.
Anyone who’s spent an eon chasing a trapped fly around the house armed with a fly swatter before will know how hard it is to land the money shot but take a look at the unbelievable coincidence in the image below.
How many times have you accidentally picked up a friend's phone and immediately realized it wasn’t yours because you’re so used to seeing your own wallpaper? People choose all sorts of things as their phone backgrounds, from pets to romantic partners and holiday snaps, so it’s not often you find someone whose phone screen looks exactly like yours.
One Redditor took that to the next level when they found themselves driving behind a truck advertising the beautiful city of Bruges, only to realize the stretch of canal was the exact same part they’d snapped and saved as their wallpaper.
If you were amazed at these incredible coincidences, you might want to check out our entire One In A Million Coincidences series. Thanks for reading!