The world is filled with astonishing occurrences of coincidence and synchronicity that defy explanation. Are these incredible true stories of mere chance... or the hand of fate?
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.
Identical 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 the Unexplained)
Next page: The Vengeful Bullet and more coincidences