In 1974, Anthony Hopkins acted in a film called "The Girl From Petrovka," which was adapted from a novel. Hopkins wanted to read a copy, so he set out to several bookstores to find one. He was unable to find a copy, and on the way home via train, he spotted a book sitting on a nearby bench. The book happened to be a heavily annotated copy of "The Girl From Petrovka." Later on while filming the movie, Hopkins met the book's author, George Feifer. Feifer mentioned that he had lent his own heavily-annotated copy of the book to a friend who later misplaced it. Hopkins then showed Feifer the book he had found and Feifer recognized his own annotations, proving that Hopkins' copy was Feifer's lost book.
Anne Parrish was a best-selling children's author in the first half of the 20th century. One of the books that had inspired her to write was "Jack Frost and Other Stories," which Parrish owned as a kid. While visiting Paris with her husband, she walked into a bookshop and found an old worn copy of that book. She then opened the book and was stunned to find her name and the address of her childhood home in her own handwriting, which she had written into the very same book years earlier in case she ever lost it.
Erskine and Neville Ebbin were twin brothers who really liked riding mopeds. Specifically in Bermuda. In 1974, Neville was tragically struck and killed by a taxi while riding his moped. Sadly, not something very out of the ordinary. The story gets weird in 1975, when Erskine was also struck and killed while riding the same moped by the same taxi, driven by the same driver who even happened to be carrying the same passenger.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 is the event that triggered the start of World War I. Ferdinand was killed by an assassin while riding in a car through the streets of Sarajevo. World War I would then rage on through Europe until the end of the war on November 11, 1918, now known as Armistice Day. That date is important because the license plate on the car that Ferdinand was riding in reads "AIII118," which as a date can be read as 11-11-18, or the date the war ended. Seems ol' Franz was involved in the beginning and the end of the first World War.
Driving in bad weather can be extremely hazardous. Just ask Lorraine and Lavenia, two sisters who crashed their cars on Christmas eve in 1994 in Norfolk, England. Notice I said cars, because the two sisters crashed their cars into each other. And no, they were not traveling together at the time. What adds one last layer of insanity to the story is the date of the crash, because Lorraine and Lavenia's last name is Christmas.
The Civil War began with the first Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia in 1861. The first shots were fired on Wilmer McLean's farm. His house was taken and used as a headquarters for Confederate general P.T. Beauregard, and as a result had a cannonball fired right through it by Union artillery. Greatly upset by this experience, McLean took his family and moved 120 miles south. Four years later, the Union and the Confederacy agreed to meet to discuss terms of the Confederacy's surrender in a small village known as Appomattox Court House. A suitable house was then procured for the meeting despite the protests of its owner, Wilmer McLean. McLean is said to have remarked that the Civil War "started in my front yard and ended in my parlor."
Author Morgan Robertson once wrote a novella entitled "Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan." It told of a luxurious ocean liner, the Titan, which hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean and sinks, with very few people surviving due to a lack of enough life boats. It doesn't sound very original, except for the fact that the book was written in 1898, you know, 14 years before the Titanic actually sank from hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic while not carrying enough life boats.
On December 14, 2007, the Lewiston Tribune published two pictures on its front page. One of a suspected thief who had stolen a wallet at a local store, and the other of Michael Millhouse, a sign painter at work for the holidays. Eagle-eyed readers quickly recognized that the thief and Millhouse were sporting the same clothes and contacted the police, who promptly questioned and arrested Millhouse for the theft. It was one day where everything was not coming up Millhouse.
Frank Morgan was a famous actor in the first half of the 20th century. You almost certainly know his face, since he played the titular Wizard in "The Wizard of Oz." Because the Wizard is a fraud, the costume department was looking for beaten up clothing in the style of what a scam artist would wear. They bought the Wizard's clothing at a second hand store and gave it to Morgan to wear. While on set, Morgan just happened to flip the coat's pocket inside-out and was startled to discover the name "L. Frank Baum" embroidered on the inside. L. Frank Baum was the author of "The Wizard of Oz," and after presenting the coat to his family, it was confirmed that the coat had indeed belonged to Baum many years before.
Richie Ashburn was a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Phillies, Cubs and Mets. He was not a power hitter, but hit for average and amassed over 2,500 hits in only 14 years of play. On August 17, 1957, Ashburn was playing for the Phillies and drove a foul ball into the stands. The ball accidentally struck a spectator, Alice Roth, in the face and broke her nose. Medics quickly arrived to aid Mrs. Roth and play resumed. The medics began to load her onto a stretcher when she was suddenly hit by another foul ball driven into the stands by Ashburn. Fortunately for Ashburn, Mrs. Roth was not a grudge-holder and the two actually became friends afterward.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most famous writers in history, but he actually only wrote a single novel, 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" in 1838. It tells the story of Pym, who stows away aboard a ship and has several harrowing experiences. At one point in the novel, the sailors aboard the ship are forced to resort to cannibalism. They draw lots and a sailor named Richard Parker loses and is eaten. 46 years later on July 5, 1884, a yacht known as the Mignonette sank and its four survivors drifted in a lifeboat about 700 miles away from the nearest land mass. After just about three weeks at sea and with no rescue in sight, the sailors drew lots and the already dying cabin boy was killed and eaten by the other three men. His name was Richard Parker.
Bill Morgan was an Australian truck driver with some extremely bad luck. He was involved in a brutal crash and suffered a fatal heart attack, or so it seemed. Clinically dead for 14 minutes, Morgan came back to life, but sadly in the form of a coma. After 12 days, his family was advised to take him off of life support due to the minuscule chance of his recovery. That's when Bill Morgan woke up. Given a new lease on life, he proposed to his long-time girlfriend and occasionally bought scratcher lottery tickets. It was then that Bill's luck changed and he actually won a new car. Impressed with his story, a news station asked to feature him and they decided to get some footage of Bill scratching a ticket for their presentation. Bill scratched the ticket and won 250,000 Australian dollars on camera.
Tamerlane was a conqueror from Central Asia in the 1300's, who is estimated to have killed around 5% of the world's population with his conquests. In June 1941, his body was exhumed from its grave under orders from Stalin. Tamerlane's grave featured numerous inscriptions, two of which read "When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble" and "Whoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I." Within days of the exhumation, Adolf Hitler invaded Russia. The battles between the Germany and Russia raged on for a year, and in November 1942, Tamerlane's body was ordered to be re-buried with full ritual. Shortly after this, the Russians defeated the Germans in the Battle of Stalingrad, a blow from which the Germans never recovered and led to their defeat in World War II.
Deus Ex is an action role-playing game released for the PC in June 2000. The setting is the year 2052, and a good chunk of the action takes place in a futuristic version of New York City. Due to technical limitations, the programmers were forced to leave out the World Trade Center, and the in-game explanation was that the towers had been destroyed in a terrorist attack.
While leaving the Capitol after a funeral in 1835, President Andrew Jackson was confronted by Richard Lawrence, an unemployed man from England. Lawrence pulled a pistol and fired at Jackson, but the gun misfired. Jackson, a former major general in the US army, did not take this lying down and began beating Lawrence's head in with his cane. Lawrence then produced a second pistol, which also misfired. He was then tackled and arrested. The pistols were later tested and shown to be in good working order, making the odds of both pistols misfiring somewhere around 1 in 125,000.
Halley's Comet is a comet visible from Earth roughly every 75-76 years. It was visible on November 16, 1835. 14 days later was the birth of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, one of the most famous writers in history. In 1909, Twain remarked that Halley's Comet was returning and that he had come in with it, so he expected to go out with it. The comet appeared on April 20, 1910 and true to his word, Twain died of a heart attack the very next day.
On March 1, 1950, the 15 members of the West Side Baptist Church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska set out to have practice like they did every Wednesday at 7:20 PM. At 7:25 PM, the West Side Baptist Church exploded. Amazingly, none of the 15 members were present, as every single one was late due to 15 different delays. The cause of the explosion was later revealed to be due to natural gas. No one was hurt, according to Snopes.
Violet Jessop was a stewardess and nurse aboard ocean liners in the early 20th century. In 1911, she was aboard the RMS Olympic, which was the lead ship of the White Star Line's fleet of Olympic-class liners. On September 20th, 1911, the Olympic accidentally collided with the HMS Hawke, a protected cruiser. The Olympic was badly damaged but was able to make it back to shore. Still seeking work in April 1912, Violet found herself aboard the Olympic's sister ship, the RMS Titanic. Yeah, that one. We all know what happened there, but Violet was one of the lucky survivors. Four years later during World War I, Violet was now serving as a nurse for the British Red Cross and was assigned to a new ship. On November 21st, 1916, Violet's new ship struck a sea mine and sank, but Violet survived despite being sucked underwater and having her head smashed against the keel of a lifeboat. Oh and guess what? That last ship was the HMHS Britannic, the sister ship of the Olympic and the Titanic.
Abraham Lincoln's family was struck by tragedy to an almost absurd degree. Ignoring his obvious assassination and the Civil War, only one of Lincoln's four children survived to adulthood. That would be Robert Todd Lincoln, who went on to a distinguished political career of his own. However, this was almost not the case. When he was around 20 years old, he accidentally slipped and fell onto the train tracks at a station in New Jersey just as the train began to move. Unable to climb back up. Lincoln was rescued by Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth, who would go on to assassinate President Lincoln within a year's time. And believe it or not, we're not done with Robert Todd Lincoln...
As mentioned before, Robert Todd Lincoln went on to have a political career that his father would've been proud of. Unfortunately, like his father, his life was touched by many tragedies. Robert was present at his father's bedside as he passed away, but this was not be the last time Robert watched a US President die. Lincoln accepted a position as Secretary of War in 1881, which led to him being an eyewitness to the assassination of President James Garfield. 20 years later, Lincoln accepted an invitation to attend the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, where he was present for the assassination of President William McKinley. After witnessing so many tragedies, Lincoln spent the rest of his life refusing all presidential invitations for fear of causing another assassination.