Chance Fluke Luck Quirk Random – Historical Coincidences

Leave a comment

Bizarre

Historical

Coincidences

Given how many humans have existed in the world and how many events and incidents, both big and small, happen every day, history is littered with examples of strange coincidences. But the ones we will be looking at today are so unusual that they strain credulity and, should they have come from the pages of a book, they would have been deemed contrived or unbelievable.

10. Poe’s Tale of Cannibalism

At one point, the ship wrecks during a storm and only four men survive and are washed ashore. With no food whatsoever, after a few days they resort to the most drastic solution – cannibalism. They draw straws and the unlucky one is a young man named Richard Parker who is killed and eaten.

At first, this would seem like a straightforward, albeit grisly story. But then we move forward 46 years and something strange happens. In 1884, a yacht called the Mignonette left England headed for Sydney, Australia. Carrying four men, it also shipwrecked and left the seafarers stranded with no food. As a last resort, they also cannibalized one of their own – a 17-year-old named Richard Parker. The only main difference was that the survivors saw no need to draw straws as the real-life Parker had fallen ill after drinking seawater and was considered a goner.

Eerie coincidences aside, the case that followed after the remaining men were rescued and arrested for murder represented a landmark ruling in English law. It stated that necessity does not excuse murder, meaning you cannot kill someone else to save your own life.

9. Where the War Began and Ended

On July 21, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run marked the first major engagement in the American Civil War. Of course, the war was horrible for many people, but it was a particularly strange inconvenience for one wholesale grocer named Wilmer McLean. He lived on a plantation near Manassas, Virginia, and the Bull Run River passed right through his land. In fact, most of the battle took place on his property and the Confederate leader, General P.G.T. Beauregard even commandeered McLean’s house to use as his headquarters.

Obviously, McLean and his family couldn’t live in the middle of a war so they relocated. A few years later, they were residing in a house near a village called Appomattox Court House. As it happens, that is where the last battle of the Civil War took place. Afterwards, Confederate General Robert E. Lee officially surrendered to Union leader Ulysses S. Grant. And he did it in the parlor of Wilmer McLean’s new home.

The McLeans later moved back to their previous estate and simply abandoned the house in Appomattox County. They also defaulted on the loans they took out to buy it so “Surrender House”, as it came to be known, was confiscated and sold at auction. Today, it operates as a museum and it is a designated National Historical Monument.

As for Wilmer McLean, he liked to say that the Civil War “began in his front yard and ended in his front parlor.”

8. The Curse of Tecumseh

Ever since 1840, American presidents have died according to a pattern which is remarkable enough that people have ascribed it to a curse. Every president who is elected in a year ending in 0 (something which happens every two decades) is fated to die in office.

First was William Henry Harrison. Elected in 1840, he died of pneumonia a month after being sworn in. Then, in 1860 came Abraham Lincoln, and we all know how that ended. In 1880, James Garfield was elected president and he was also assassinated by a man named Charles Guiteau.

William McKinley might have escaped this alleged curse if he stuck at just one term. Alas, in 1900 he was elected president to his second term, and a year later, he was shot and killed by an anarchist. Next up was Warren G. Harding, who suffered a stroke three years after being elected in 1920. Afterwards came Franklin Roosevelt who passed away of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945. While he did die in office, he didn’t actually die during the term which allegedly sealed his fate. And last, but not least, there was JFK, who won the 1960 election and whose assassination is all too well-known.

As you can see, seven presidents followed this extraordinary pattern. Many see it for what it probably is – a series of incredible coincidences, but others claim it is a curse placed originally on William Henry Harrison by Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee people, for the former’s role in Tecumseh’s Rebellion.

Ronald Reagan would have been next in line. He was elected in 1980 and, although someone did try to kill him, he survived his injuries and died of old age decades after he left office. Even if the curse was real, it appears that he broke it.

7. The Church Explosion

At 7:25 p.m., March 1, 1950, the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska, exploded due to a natural gas leak ignited by the fire from the furnace. It was a Wednesday and every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. sharp, the church choir gathered there to practice. People were expecting the worst as they approached the smoking rubble, but it soon became apparent that nobody had been injured in the blast. Even though the choir director was very strict about tardiness, on this particular night, none of the 15 choir members arrived on time.

It wasn’t one single thing that caused the delays, either, but rather a series of minor occurrences that detained each person enough to evade the deadly blast. The reverend and his family, for example, were late because his wife had to iron a dress at the last moment. Two sisters both had car trouble. Two high school girls wanted to finish listening to a radio program, while another student was struggling with her geometry homework. The pianist fell asleep after dinner. A man was late because he wanted to finish writing a letter he kept putting off, while one woman was simply feeling lazy because it was cold outside and her home was warm and cozy.

And so went all the other excuses. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the circumstances, some people considered it divine intervention.

6. Right Place, Right Time

Joseph Figlock became a hero of Detroit due to a bizarre series of events that happened over the course of a year. One morning in 1937, Figlock was at his job as a street sweeper when he was struck by something that landed on his head and shoulders. That “something” was a baby girl who fell out a four-story window. Because Figlock broke her fall, the infant survived her drop that, otherwise, would have almost surely been fatal.

A year later, the street sweeper was back at his job when he was, again, hit by a falling object. And you guessed it – it was another baby. This time, it was 2-year-old David Thomas who also fell out of his window on the fourth floor. This baby did sustain some injuries but, once more, had escaped certain doom thanks to Joseph Figlock being in the right place, at the right time.

5. Miss Unsinkable

Violet Jessop was born in Argentina to Irish immigrants in 1887. When she turned 21, she found work as a ship stewardess and, in 1911, secured a position aboard the RMS Olympic, the first of the Olympic-class ocean liners built by the White Star Line at the start of the century.

At the time, these were the largest, most luxurious ships in the world. Jessop was probably thrilled with her new job but, pretty soon, she might have reconsidered her fortunes. In September 1911, Jessop was onboard the Olympic when it collided with a warship called the HMS Hawke. The collision wasn’t too bad and the ocean liner managed to make it to port without any fatalities.

This incident didn’t deter Jessop from continuing her career as a stewardess. Although she was content aboard the Olympic, her friends persuaded her that it would make for a much more exciting experience to work aboard the White Star Line’s new ocean liner. After all, this vessel was proclaimed to be “unsinkable” and its name was the Titanic.

You already know how this went down – just four days into its maiden voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. Jessop survived the ordeal as she was lowered down into lifeboat 16 which was later picked up by the RMS Carpathia. She later recalled that, as the boat was being lowered, an officer put a baby in her lap. Later, aboard the Carpathia, a woman leaped at her, snatched the baby and ran. Jessop always assumed that was the mother, but she never saw either one of them again.

Then World War II started and Jessop served as a nurse for the British Red Cross. She worked aboard the Britannic, which was the third and last of the Olympic-class ocean liners and had been repurposed into a hospital ship. In 1916, the vessel suffered damage from a mine explosion and sank in the Aegean Sea. For the third time in five years, Violet Jessop had survived a shipwreck, retroactively earning her the nickname “Miss Unsinkable.”

4. The Opposing Graves

Just outside the Belgian town of Mons sits the St. Symphorien Military Cemetery which serves as the final resting place for over 500 soldiers who died in the First World War.

Many of these men perished in the Battle of Mons which took place on August 23, 1914, and is considered to be the first major action of the British army in the war. One of these men, however, died a little earlier. John Parr was a private who was born in London and lied about his age so he could enlist. He served as a reconnaissance cyclist and scouted the area ahead of his battalion. However, he was gunned down by enemy fire and died on August 21, at only 17 years of age. He is generally considered to be the first British serviceman killed in action during the First World War.

His grave is at St. Symphorien and opposite of it, just a few yards away, is the grave of Private George Ellison. He died years later on November 11, 1918. This date is significant because it is, in fact, the day that Germany and the Allies signed an armistice, bringing an end to the war. George Ellison was killed just 90 minutes before peace was declared, thus giving him the unfortunate distinction of being the last British soldier killed in the war.

These two graves face each other, although this was done completely unintentionally as nobody was aware of their “first” and “last” positions when they were buried.

3. Death at Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was one of the greatest, most ambitious engineering projects of its day, but it came with a heavy price as a lot of people died during construction.

Exactly how many is a matter of debate. Officially, the death toll was 96, but historians argue that the real number would be much higher because the official version didn’t take into account workers who died off-site of construction-related injuries or illnesses. An inquiry by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increased the number to 213 deaths between 1921 and 1935.

The first fatality was a surveyor named John Gregory Tierney who drowned in the Colorado River on December 20, 1921, after he got caught in a flash flood. Technically, another worker named Harold Connelly died first, but his demise was completely unconnected with the project as he drowned in the river when he went swimming.

Here is the truly tragic part – the last fatality registered during construction of the Hoover Dam occurred on December 20, 1935, exactly 14 years to the day after Tierney drowned, when a 25-year-old electrician’s helper plummeted 320 feet from one of the intake towers. That man was Patrick Tierney, the surveyor’s son.

2. The King and His Double

Some say that we all have a doppelganger somewhere in the world, a person who isn’t related to us in any way but they look just like us. King Umberto I of Italy found his doppelganger in 1900 when he went to eat at a little restaurant in Monza. He discovered that the proprietor looked almost exactly like him but, more than that, they had been born on the same day.

At this point, you would think this was more a case of twins separated at birth, but the coincidences did not stop there. Both men had married women named Margherita and had sons named Vittorio. Moreover, the restaurant owner had opened his establishment the day of King Umberto’s coronation.

Shocked to his core by these revelations, the king invited his doppelganger or long-lost twin to an event taking place the next day. Sadly, neither one made it. The next morning, the restaurateur was killed under unexplained conditions. Just hours later, when King Umberto found out about his demise, he was assassinated by an anarchist named Gaetano Bresci.

1. The Writer and the Comet

The life of American writer Mark Twain has been inexorably linked to the passing of Halley’s Comet from beginning to end.

This famous comet visits us every 75 to 76 years. It will next be visible in 2061, but a noteworthy appearance happened in November 1835. Just two weeks after its perihelion (meaning the point of its orbit which is closest to the Sun), Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri. He would go on to adopt the pen name Mark Twain and become America’s most celebrated author.

Throughout his life, Twain took a keen interest in science and he was well-aware of his connection to Halley’s Comet. In the early 20th century, the writer was getting on in years and knew that the end was near. However, he also knew that the comet was due to pass by Earth again soon, and he was convinced that he would not die before that happened. As he put it: “Now there are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”

He could not have been more right. Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910, just one day after Halley’s Comet reached its perihelion.


Chance Fluke Luck Quirk Random

Historical Coincidences

At Home With Home Quotes

Leave a comment

Quotable Quotes 001

Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

James Baldwin

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room
L. Frank Baum

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
George Moore

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
George Moore, The Brook Kerith
Mark Twain

“A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”
Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

At Home With Home Quotes

The Animal Kingdom According to Twain

Leave a comment

Hawks and Doves, cats, dogs, doves, foxes, geese,  monkeys, squirrels and Man

 

Mark Twain

“Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal… In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.Next, in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame I added a Scotch Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas; a Buddhist from China; a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army Colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away for two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh–not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a Higher Court.”

Mark Twain,

Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings

writingisfun-damental

 

Hawks and Doves,

cats, dogs,

doves, foxes, geese,

 monkeys, squirrels and Man

QWERTY Revolutionizes Writing – WABAC to 1st Typewriter

Leave a comment
"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Let’s hunt ‘n peck our way to 1874 and find the very first typewriter, Sherman My Boy.”

July 1, 1874: 1st Successful Typewriter Goes on Sale!

july-1-1874-typewriter-for-sale

Secretaries of the World Rejoice!

On July 1, 1874, E. Remington and Sons placed the first successful typewriter on the market, a model also known as the Remington No. 1 and invented by Christopher Sholes, Samuel Soule, and Carlos Glidden.

Hunting & pecking….

Not particularly easy to manufacture, the inventors had sold out to Remington after failing to easily produce the machine.  Remington did not find an immediate market, as the machines were costly to make and still had some shortcomings such as the inability to type lower case letters.  It did however, introduce the familiar QWERTY 4 row keyboard, which despite appearances made typing much faster than an ABCtype layout.

The Remington No. 2 model incorporated the ability to type lower case letters, but incredibly the typist could not see his or her work as it was typed.  When businesses caught on to the idea of producing legible correspondence at a faster rate, the typewriter also caught on.  As it did, many women proved adept at mastering the skill of typing and a new job market for women was created, the office typist.  As more women moved into the office and clerical field via typing,  other office and clerical jobs opened up as well.

Although Remington had the only commercial typewriter available those first few years, sales lagged with the $125 price and poor reliability.  Only 400 were sold the first 6 months, although by 1887 4000 had been sold.  Even Mark Twain bought one.

In 1881 another manufacturer (American Writing Machine Company) put a typewriter on the market so Remington dropped the price to $80.  Remington had come out with the No. 2 in 1878 and sales began to pick up.  Other manufacturers started to pop up, and the typewriter became an everyday office necessity.

Another typewriting milestone came in 1881 when the YWCA opened the first typing school.  Prior to that typists were trained by the manufacturer.  As women made less pay then men regardless of occupation, it was more fiscally responsible for businesses to hire women to type.  In spite of the pay inequality, the pay for typing greatly exceeded the pay women made working in factories and such, causing women to flock to typist jobs.

Christopher Sholes, the main inventor of the typewriter, said late in life that he thought he had made it easier for women to make a decent living.  Cracked fact:  In 1874 a mere 4% of clerical jobs were held by women, and by 1900 the percentage had increased to 75% (in the US).

 

QWERTY Revolutionizes Writing – WABAC to 1st Typewriter

Morality Hard and Fast

Leave a comment

 

Quotes Ad 001

 

 

Morality Hard and Fast

 

Mark Twain

“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Seven Deadly Sins”

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.” 

Marcus Aurelius

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
― Marcus AureliusMeditations
Ronald Reagan

“More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of fifty states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to 1.5 million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.”

― Ronald Reagan

mo·ral·i·ty
məˈralətē,mô-/
noun
noun: morality
  1. 1.
    principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
    synonyms: ethics, rights and wrongs, ethicality More

     
     
    • a particular system of values and principles of conduct, esp. one held by a specified person or society.
      plural noun: moralities
      “a bourgeois morality”
    • the extent to which an action is right or wrong.
      “behind all the arguments lies the issue of the morality of the possession of nuclear weapons”

Morality Hard and Fast

Mad Bonkers

Leave a comment

Quotes - WIF Style 001

 

 

Mad Bonkers

 

“You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people.”

― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Richelle E. Goodrich

“You baffle me, addle me, drive me insane. 
You muddle, befuddle, and rattle my brain. 
My senses are mad, 
Skewed judgment to blame.
You drive me half stark-raving bonkers!
(But the truly crazy thing is how I love it.)” 
― Richelle E. GoodrichSmile Anyway
Mark Twain

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”
― Mark Twain

Mad Bonkers

Truth

Leave a comment
Mark Twain

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

George Carlin

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”

― George Carlin

Mark Twain

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
― Mark Twain
Mark Twain

“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”
― Mark Twain
Oscar Wilde

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

― Oscar Wilde

Truth

Gwen’s Bookshelf

Leave a comment
Marcus Tullius Cicero

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
Jane Austen

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen

Groucho Marx

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho MarxThe Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx
Mark Twain

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
― Mark Twain

 

BOOKSHELF

Wrapping Up a Story

Leave a comment

Harper Lee

“Daylight…In my mind, the night faded. It was daytime and the neighborhood was busy. Miss Stephenie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over the azaleas.
It was summertime, and two children scampered down the sidewalk toward a man approaching in the distance. The man waved, and the children raced each other to him. It was still summertime, and the children came closer. A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishingpole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yeard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.
It was fall and his children fought ont he sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose’s. The boy helped his sister to her feet and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day’s woe’s and triymph’s on their face. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled apprehensive.
Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and show a dog.
Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break.
Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

Samuel Johnson

“My congratulations to you, sir. Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. ”

― Samuel Johnson

Mark Twain

“Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are economical in its use.”
― Mark Twain

Wrapping Up A Story

Self Help

Leave a comment

Mark Twain

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
― Mark Twain

“Our first instinct, in this day of WebMD, is to self-diagnose…….wait I may be misrepresenting a wider audience…..Dr. Gwenny: “If you have spring fever, take one plane and two suitcases and head for the Caribbean.”

Example: “If you see someone who is choking, stand behind them and *crush their chest.”
*(compress)

Self Help Healing