13 Incredible Coincidences You’ll Doubt Are Real—But Are
These are some weird, spooky, and sometimes hilarious twists of fate!
The Titanic has no shortage of legends, coincidences, and haunting tales surrounding it. But one of the weirdest actually took place 14 years before the liner set off on its ill-fated voyage. In 1898, author Morgan Robertson wrote a novella called “Futility,” about a supposedly “unsinkable” ocean liner that did, in fact, sink. On an April night. After hitting an iceberg, no less. And perhaps creepiest of all was the novella’s subtitle: “The Wreck of the Titan.” That’s right—the fictional ship was called the Titan. One fortunate difference, though, was that in the novella, nearly all of the ship’s 2,500 passengers perished (there were only 13 survivors), while more than 700 of the 2,200-odd people on the Titanic survived. Check out some more fascinating facts you never knew about the Titanic.
Here’s a coincidence that has a happier ending! In the Jiangsu province of China, in the late 1980s, a man named Xu Weifang jumped into a river near his house to save a man who was in danger of drowning. Xu and his wife, Wu Xiaomei, continued living by this very river for years to come—and good thing, too. In 2018, Xu, now 80 years old, heard someone calling for help. An eight-year-old boy who couldn’t swim had fallen into the river. Xu and his wife were able to pull the boy out of the river. But they hadn’t just completed another rescue. They soon learned that this boy was the son of the man Xu had saved 30 years ago. He’d saved a father and son, not just from death, but from the same type of death. Here are some more astonishing true stories that will change how you think about luck.
The devil’s flight
Some people are afraid of flying. Others are afraid of Friday the 13th. For anyone who falls into both categories, the airline-related occurrences of October 13, 2017, are the stuff of nightmares. On this day, Finnair Flight 666 took off as it had on many other days. It left from Copenhagen, in Denmark, and headed to Helsinki, Finland—an airport whose abbreviation is HEL. And as if that wasn’t creepy enough, it was the last journey of Flight 666, in a way. The Copenhagen–Helsinki route continued after that, but its flight number was changed to 954. So, to recap, it was Friday the 13th—in October, no less—and flight with the number 666 was taking its final flight to the destination HEL. (The flight landed safely and without incident.) We have to wonder if this was a full coincidence…or maybe the airline taking advantage of an opportunity to have a little fun. People with a somewhat twisted sense of humor will also enjoy these hilarious examples of irony in real life.
The beginning and end of a war…in one car
World War I offers no shortage of spooky coincidences! If you paid attention in world history, you might remember learning about the incident that triggered the start of the First World War: the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand while he was traveling in a car. Today, that very car is on display in Austria’s Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, where visitors can see its rather astonishing license plate number.
The license plate of the car, a Gräf and Stift double phaeton, seems like something worthy of a Pixar Easter egg—it’s AIII 118. If you tweak the I’s to be the Roman numeral 1 and remove the first A, that’s 111 118—the numbers making up the exact date the armistice was signed ending World War I. November 11, 1918. If you really want to embrace full coincidental weirdness, you could include the “A” too and say it could stand for “armistice” (though Smithsonian points out that the German word for “armistice” does not begin with an A). Still, though, pretty cool. For some more mind-boggling history tidbits, check out these historical events you won’t believe happened at the same time—but did.