Finnish twin brothers, aged 71, were killed in identical bicycle
accidents along the same road two hours apart, police said. "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 Reuters. "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.
twins. Identical accidents. Identical deaths. Two hours apart. This
astonishing coincidence was reported in newspapers and on newswires
around the world in early March, 2002. The odds of it occurring seem
remote in the extreme, and it causes one to wonder, as the woman did
above - even for a moment - if there's more at play here than mere
coincidence. Is it the hand of fate? Is it true, as author Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross wrote, that "there are no mistakes, no coincidences. All
events are blessings given to us to learn from."
History is full of
amazing and sometimes bizarre coincidences that give us pause and keep
us scratching our heads in wonder. Here is just a small sampling:
Other Coincidental Deaths
This is a similar story of coincidence, not of twins but of two
brothers. In 1975, while riding a moped in Bermuda, a man was
accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, this man's
bother was killed in the very same way. In fact, he was riding the very
same moped. And to stretch the odds even further, he was struck by the
very same taxi driven by the same driver - and even carrying the very
same passenger! (Phenomena: A Book of Wonders, John Michell and
Robert J. M. Rickard)
Mysterious Monk to the Rescue
Joseph Aigner was a fairlly well-known portrait painter in 19th century
Austria who, apparently, was quite an unhappy fellow: he several times
attempted suicide. His first attempt was at the young age of 18 when he
tried to hang himself, but was interrupted by the mysterious appearance
of a Capuchin monk. At age 22 he again tried to hang himself, but was
again saved from the act by the very same monk. Eight years later, his
death was ordained by others who sentenced him to the gallows for his
political activities. Once again, his life was saved by the intervention
of the same monk. At age 68, Aiger finally succeeded in suicide, a
pistol doing the trick. His funeral ceremony was conducted by the same
Capuchin monk - a man whose name Aiger never even knew. (Ripley's
Giant Book of Believe It or Not!)
Winnings' Rightful Owner
In 1858, Robert Fallon was shot dead, an act of vengeance by those with
whom he was playing poker. Fallon, they claimed, had won the $600 pot
through cheating. With Fallon's seat empty and none of the other players
willing to take the now-unlucky $600, they found a new player to take
Fallon's place and staked him with the dead man's $600. By the time the
police had arrived to investigate the killing, the new player had turned
the $600 into $2,200 in winnings. The police demanded the original $600
to pass on to Fallon's next of kin - only to discover that the new
player turned out to be Fallon's son, who had not seen his father in
seven years! (Ripley's Giant Book of Believe It or Not!)
Strangers on a Train
In the 1920s, three Englishman were traveling separately by train
through Peru. At the time of their introduction, they were the only
three men in the railroad car. Their introductions were more surprising
than they could have imagined. One man's last name was Bingham, and the
second man's last name was Powell. The third man announced that his last
name was Bingham-Powell. None were related in any way. (Mysteries of
It's Raining Babies
In Detroit sometime in the 1930s, a young (if incredibly careless)
mother must have been eternally grateful to a man named Joseph Figlock.
As Figlock was walking down the street, the mother's baby fell from a
high window onto Figlock. The baby's fall was broken and both man and
baby were unharmed. A stroke of luck on its own, but a year later, the
very same baby fell from the very same window onto poor, unsuspecting
Joseph Figlock as he was again passing beneath. And again, they both
survived the event. (Mysteries of the Unexplained)
Swapped Hotel Finds
In 1953, television reporter Irv Kupcinet was in London to cover the
coronation of Ellizabeth II. In one of the drawers in his room at the
Savoy he found found some items that, by their identification, belonged
to a man named Harry Hannin. Coincidentally, Harry Hannin - a basketball
star with the famed Harlem Globetrotters - was a good friend of
Kupcinet's. But the story has yet another twist. Just two days later,
and before he could tell Hannin of his lucky discovery, Kupcinet
received a letter from Hannin. In the letter, Hannin told Kucinet that
while staying at the Hotel Meurice in Paris, he found in a drawer a tie
- with Kupcinet's name on it! (Mysteries of the Unexplained)
Paging Mr. Bryson
While on a business trip sometime in the late 1950s, Mr. George D.
Bryson stopped and registered at the Brown Hotel in Louisville,
Kentucky. After signing the register and being given his key to room
307, he stopped by the mail desk to see if any letters had arrived for
him. Indeed there was a letter, the mail girl told him, and handed him
an envelope addressed to Mr. George D. Bryson, room 307. This wouldn't
be so odd accept the letter was not for him, but for room 307's
just-previous occupant - another man named George D. Bryson. (Incredible
Coincidence, Alan Vaughan)
Twin Boys, Twin Lives
The stories of identical twins' nearly identical lives are often
astonishing, but perhaps none more so than those of identical twins born
in Ohio. The twin boys were separated at birth, being adopted by
different families. Unknown to each other, both families named the boys
James. And here the coincidences just begin. Both James grew up not even
knowing of the other, yet both sought law-enforcement training, both had
abilities in mechanical drawing and carpentry, and each had married
women named Linda. They both had sons whom one named James Alan and the
other named James Allan. The twin brothers also divorced their wives and
married other women - both named Betty. And they both owned dogs which
they named Toy. Forty years after their childhood separation, the two
men were reunited to share their amazingly similar lives. (Reader's
Digest, January 1980)
The Vengeful Bullet
Henry Ziegland thought he had dodged fate. In 1883, he broke off a
relationship with his girlfriend who, out of distress, committed
suicide. The girl's brother was so enraged that he hunted down Ziegland
and shot him. The brother, believing he had killed Ziegland, then turned
his gun on himself and took his own life. But Ziegland had not been
killed. The bullet, in fact, had only grazed his face and then lodged in
a tree. Ziegland surely thought himself a lucky man. Some years later,
however, Ziegland decided to cut down the large tree, which still had
the bullet in it. The task seemed so formidable that he decided to blow
it up with a few sticks of dynamite. The explosion propelled the bullet
into Ziegland's head, killing him. (Ripley's Believe It or Not!)
While American novelist Anne Parrish was browsing bookstores in Paris in
the 1920s, she came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites
- Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and
showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered
as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf
found the inscription: "Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado
Springs." It was Anne's very own book. (While Rome Burns,
And Finally, Two More Twins
John and Arthur Mowforth were twins who lived about 80 miles apart in
Great Britain. On the evening of May 22, 1975, both fell severely ill
from chest pains. The families of both men were completely unaware of
the other's illness. Both men were rushed to separate hospitals at
approximately the same time. And both died of heart attacks shortly
after arrival. (Chronogenetics: The Inheretance of Biological Time,
Luigi Gedda and Gianni Brenci)
Extract taken from
Clusters of coincidences can seem
designed or the result of a preordained pattern to someone who is very
selective in his thinking, such as Uri Geller. After the anti-American
terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Geller posted his thoughts on
the number 11. He asked everyone to pray for eleven seconds for those in
need. Why? He was convinced that there was a cryptic, numerological
message in the events that occurred that day. In fact, he admits that he
has had a long-term relationship with the number 11. He thinks that 11
"represents a positive connection and a gateway to the mysteries of the
universe and beyond." But here is what he had to say about the terrorist
attack and how 11 relates to this day of infamy:
The date of the attack:
9/11 - 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
*September 11th is the 254th day of the year:
2+5+4 = 11
*After September 11th there are 111
days left to the end of the year.
*119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran. 1
+ 1 + 9 = 11 (reverse the numbers and you have the date)
[not true: Iran's country code is 98 (9+8=17), Iraq's is 964
(9+6+4= 19); Saudi Arabia's code is 966 (9+6+6=21.)]
*Twin Towers - standing side by side,
the number 11
*The first plane to hit the towers was
Flight 11 by
*American Airlines or AA - A=1st letter in
alphabet so we have again 11:11
*State of New York - The 11th
State added to the Union
*New York City - 11 Letters
*The USS Enterprise is in the gulf during the attack; its
ship number is 65N 6+5=11 [Or, maybe not. I received the
following in an email: "We were actually about 12 hours away
from the equator (I know this because we were about to have our
crossing the line ceremony that night) on our way to South
Africa. We had left the Gulf about a week before that and were
relieved by the USS John Stennis (CVN-74 but also adding up to
*Afghanistan - 11 Letters
*The Pentagon - 11 Letters
*Ramzi Yousef - 11 Letters (convicted
or orchestrating the attack on the WTC in 1993)
*Flight 11 - 92 on board - 9 + 2 = 11
*Flight 77 - 65 on board - 6 + 5 = 11
*The # of story is 110 (2x) 110 - 110
Remember that the zero "0" is not a number, so we have 11:11
*The house where they believed to have lived
had # 10001 again don't count the zero.....
have eleven letters
*Air Force One, *George W. Bush, *Bill Clinton,
*Saudi Arabia, *ww terrorism, *Colin Powell
U.S. Secretary of State
*Remembrance day is November 11....
*November is also the 11th month
the pilot that crashed into the World Trade Centre.
*Skyscrapers, American Airlines AA = 11
Geller also claimed that "there will be
more information coming in" and urged readers to e-mail him with more
findings of this kind. Geller also wrote: "I would encourage everyone to
send out this message to all your family, friends or business
acquaintances and try to put this in the right perspective."
Let me try to put this in the right
Accumulating more findings like these
coincidences between the number 11 and other things should be easy,
since there are countless items that can be made to relate in some
fashion to the number 11 (or 12, 13, or just about any other number
or word). E.g. the country code for Pakistan is 92 (9+2=11), a
Boeing 757 holds about 11,000 gallons of fuel and the wingspan is 155
feet (1+5+5=11), Nostradamus and Billy Graham have 11 letters,
any word with 8 letters just put 'the' in front of it; any word with 9
letters, just put 'ww' or any two-letter word in front of it, any word
with 10 letters, just put 'a' in front of it or add an s to the end of
it, etc. It is especially easy to do this since there is no specific
guide before we begin our hunt for amazing facts as to what will and
what won't count as being relevant. We have a nearly boundless array of
items that could count as hits. Unfortunately for Geller and others who
are impressed by these hits, there is also an even larger array of items
that could count as misses. Geller doesn't see them because he isn't
looking for them.
If we start hunting for items that seem
relevant but don't fit the pattern, we will soon see that there is
nothing special about Geller's list or the number 11. Only by focusing
on anything that we can fit to our belief and ignoring everything that
doesn't fit (confirmation bias) can we make these coincidences seem
Carroll's List of Meaningless Coincidences
- the planes hit a little before and a
little after 9 am
- there were 4 flights that crashed
with 266 people in them; 2+6+6= 14
- one plane was a 767 (7+6+7 = 20)
- the other a 757 (7+5+7 = 19)
- the 767 has 20,000-gal fuel capacity
- the 757 has a 124-foot wingspan
(1+2+4 = 7)
- a 767 has a 156-foot wingspan; 1+5+6
- one tower was 1,362 feet high;
1+3+6+2 = 12
- the other was 1,368; 1+3+6+8 = 18
- the supports are 39 inches apart;
3+9 = 12
- the buildings were leased for 3.25
billion; 3+2+5 = 10
- the other flights were AA 77 (7+7 =
14) and UA 93 (9+3= 12) and UA 175 (1+7+5= 13)
- flight 11 had 81 passengers (8+1 =
- flight 77 had 58 passengers (8+5 =
13), 4 crew members and 2 pilots (total=64)
- Boston has 6 letters
- Massachusetts has 13 letters
- Pennsylvania has 12 letters
- Washington D.C. has 12 letters
- Los Angeles has 10 letters
- The number of hijackers was 19
- Names and words that don't have
eleven letters in them: Osama bin Laden, Khalid Al-Midhar, Majed
Moqed, Nawaq Alhamzi, Salem Alhamzi, Satam Al Suqami, Waleed M.
Alshehri, Wail Alshehri, Abdulaziz Alomari, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush,
Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Muslim, Islam, Pentagon, World Trade Center,
terrorism, jihad, Taliban, Koran, United States, anti-American,
murder, fire, hell, stupid
truly large numbers (coincidence)
"That a particular specified
event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely. That some
astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why
remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with
foresight."--David G. Myers
The law of truly large numbers says that
with a large enough sample many odd coincidences are likely to happen.
For example, you might be in awe of the
person who won the lottery twice, thinking that the odds of anyone
winning twice are astronomical. The New York Times ran a story
about a woman who won the New Jersey lottery twice, calling her chances
"1 in 17 trillion." However, statisticians Stephen Samuels and George
McCabe of Purdue University calculated the odds of someone winning the
lottery twice to be something like1 in 30 for a four month period and
better than even odds over a seven year period. Why? Because players
don't buy one ticket for each of two lotteries, they buy multiple
tickets every week (Diaconis and Mosteller).
Some people find it surprising that there
are more than 16 million others on the planet who share their birthday.
At a typical football game with 50,000 fans, most fans are likely to
share their birthday with about 135 others in attendance. (The notable
exception will be those born on February 29. There will only be about 34
fans born on that day.)
You may find it even more astounding that
"In a random selection of twenty-three persons there is a 50 percent
chance that at least two of them celebrate the same birthdate" (Martin).
On the other hand, you might say that the
odds of something happening are a million to one. Such odds might strike
you as being so large as to rule out chance or coincidence. However,
with over 6 billion people on earth, a million to one shot will occur
frequently. Say the odds are a million to one that when a person has a
dream of an airplane crash, there is an airplane crash the next day.
With 6 billion people having an average of 250 dream themes each per
night (Hines, 50), there should be about 1.5 million people a day who
have dreams that seem clairvoyant. The number is actually likely to be
larger, since we tend to dream about things that legitimately concern or
worry us, and the data of dreams is usually vague or ambiguous, allowing
a wide range of events to count as fulfilling our dreams.
Carl Jung, like many people who have
experienced an uncanny pairing of events, did not think such happenings
are mere coincidence. He developed the notion of synchronicity to
explain "meaningful coincidences." He described synchronicity as an
acausal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their
coincidence in time. However, if you think of all the pairs of things
that can happen in a person's lifetime and add to that our very
versatile ability of finding meaningful connections between things, it
then seems likely that most of us will experience many meaningful
coincidences. The coincidences are predictable and we are the ones who
give them meaning. Given the fact that there are billions of people and
the possible number of meaningful coincidences is millions of billions,
it is inevitable that many people will experience some very weird and
uncanny coincidences every day.
Mathematician John Littlewood (1885-1977) calculated that a typical
person would experience about one miracle a month during his or her
lifetime. He defined a miracle as something deemed to have special
significance and occurring with a probability of one in a million. He
based his calculation on assuming that the typical person is awake and
alert about eight hours a day and that events occur at the rate of about
one per second. (For those who will do the math, you actually need about
35 days to experience one million events at the rate of one per second.
But this is miracle math, so we must cut Littlewood some slack.)
Abraham Lincoln and
John F Kennedy
Here's a little part of US history which makes you sit up and
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost children while living in the White House.
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.
Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.
Both successors were named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are comprised of fifteen letters.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named "Ford's".
Kennedy was shot in a car called "Lincoln - made by Ford Motor Co".
Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.
Both John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were assassinated
before their trials.
The Law of Spin or Flip