Saturday, April 14, 2018

Crazy Coincidences


I remember while in school in the Sixties someone pointing out all the coincidences between the JFK assassination and the assassination of President Lincoln a century earlier. The list was long, including things like same number of letters in their last names, Johnsons as their vice presidents and other such details. It never entered my mind that some of these details may have been fudged and others too trivial to have any meaning. It was the length of the list that was impressive and gave the two events a Twilight Zone feel.

This memory was brought to mind when a friend brought up the topic of crazy coincidences. Some coincidences really are incredible. Many are the kinds of stories that we'd read about in Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

For example, this story about Edgar Allan Poe's book, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. It's a story "about four survivors of a shipwreck who were in an open boat for many days before they decided to kill and eat the cabin boy whose name was Richard Parker. Some years later, in 1884, the yawl, Mignonette, foundered, with only four survivors, who were in an open boat for many days. Eventually the three senior members of the crew, killed and ate the cabin boy. The name of the cabin boy was Richard Parker.” Source: 29 Mind Blowing Coincidences

A Google search coincidentally includes many of these same stories in numerous other lists of varying lengths. This list of 17 Chilling Real Life Coincidences You Won't Believe Are Actually True includes the story of a baby that fell out a window but whose fall was broken by landing on a man and neither hurt. A year later the same kid fell from above and was saved from serious injury by falling on a man walking by below. It turned out to coincidentally be the same man. That's a story so bizarre it appears, coincidentally, in a few of these lists of coincidences.

What I find interesting are the various titles on these lists. Here's one that claims to be sharing the Top 15 Amazing Coincidences, as if they had done some kind of rigorous analysis of the multitude of coincidence data and objectively determined these 15 items to be to most amazing of all.

If nothing else, the stories might be useful as fodder for fake answers the next time you play Balderdash.

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C'est la vie. 

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