Stephen Hawking’s Relative Timing
- On March 14, 2018, Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. This date was not only the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, but it also marked Pi Day, a mathematical holiday celebrated on the 14th of March every year. Some have even pointed out that 143 is a “coincidentally significant” number in Hawking’s life, as it is the number of pages in his book “A Brief History of Time.”
Violet Jessop, the Indestructible Stewardess
- Violet Jessop was a stewardess who survived the sinkings of both the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic. She was also on board the RMS Olympic when it collided with a warship in 1911. Jessop’s survival of these three major maritime disasters is one of the most astonishing coincidences in history.
The Hoover Dam Double Tragedy
- The building of the Hoover Dam took the lives of 96 people. The first and last casualties were father and son. John Gregory Tierney drowned in a flash flood during the initial survey work in 1922. 14 years later, on the same day, his only son, Patrick Tierney, fell to his death from one of the dam’s towers.
The Sandwich that Triggered World War I
- On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. This event is widely considered to be the spark that ignited World War I. However, what many people don’t know is that the assassination might never have happened if Archduke Franz Ferdinand hadn’t stopped to have a sandwich. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was originally planning to attack the Archduke’s car as it passed through the city center. However, the car’s route was changed at the last minute, and Princip ended up bumping into the Archduke and his wife by chance as they were leaving a cafe.
The Jim Twins’ Parallel Lives
- Jim Springer and Jim Lewis were born just five minutes apart in 1946. They were separated shortly after birth and adopted by different families. However, when they were reunited 37 years later, they discovered that they had lived remarkably similar lives. Both men were skilled in mechanics, worked as security guards, and married women named Linda. They even had sons named James Alan and James Allan.
Surviving Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Tsutomu Yamaguchi is the only person who is officially recognized as having survived both the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on business when the bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. He was badly injured, but he survived. He then traveled to Nagasaki to help with the relief efforts, and he was there when the second bomb was dropped on August 9. Yamaguchi again survived, but he suffered from radiation sickness for the rest of his life.
Mark Twain and Halley’s Comet
- Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, just two weeks after the perihelion of Halley’s Comet. In his autobiography, Twain predicted that he would “go out with it” as well the next time it comes around. Remarkably, he died on April 21, 1910, the day following the comet’s subsequent perihelion.
The Baby that Fell Twice
- In 1937, a one-year-old baby named Joseph Figlock was being dangled out of a high window by his mother in Detroit. He slipped and fell to the ground, but his fall was broken by a man named Joseph Figlock who was passing beneath. A year later, the very same baby fell from the same window onto poor unsuspecting Joseph Figlock as he was again passing beneath.
Bullet Finds its Mark
- At the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, an Australian named Lance Corporal Thomas Grady was hit by a bullet fired by a Turkish soldier. The bullet should have killed him outright, but it hit a sixpence that Grady had slotted into the band of his hat for good luck. Grady survived the war and lived to the age of 93.