6 Insane Coincidences You Won't Believe Actually Happened

Normally at Cracked, we're all about finding answers to tough questions. Whether we're using simple science to explain day-to-day nuisances or showing that the world's "greatest mysteries" actually have totally obvious solutions, we're always trying to strengthen our status as leaders in the extremely specific field of "Informative Comedy Websites That Occasionally Feature Explosions of Male Nudity." Most recently, we found an idea that seems totally crazy -- how three different people invented Harry Potter at pretty much the same time -- and recorded a podcast where we came up with multiple explanations for how it could've happened. And only one of our ideas involved ghosts.

But that show reminded us of this old Cracked Classic and its sequels, which talk about coincidences so crazy that, honestly, we're not even sure blaming ghosts makes sense. They're normally way more subtle than this.

We're not going to bullshit you. Look hard enough, and you can find "amazing" coincidences anywhere. With a whole universe to work with, sometimes the stars are going to align just right.

But, even cynical types like us have to admit that sometimes this stuff can get downright creepy.

#6.
A Terrifyingly Accurate Prediction by Edgar Allan Poe

In 1838, future horror-god Edgar Allan Poe released a book called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, his only full novel. The book was such a bomb that Poe eventually agreed with his critics that it was "a very silly book" (yet still good enough to inspire heavyweights like Jules Verne and Herman Melville to write Moby Dick and An Antarctic Mystery--yes, Poe was a badass).


PIMP.

Where it Gets Weird:

Poe did a Blair Witch thing with his novel, which claimed to be based on true events. This turned out to be a half-truth: The real life events simply had not happened yet.

One scene in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket visits a whaling ship lost at sea, taking with it all but four crewmen. Out of food, the men drew lots to see who would be eaten, the unfortunate decision landing on a young cabin boy named Richard Parker.


Before fathering Spider-Man and being double-crossed by the Red Skull!
Editor's note: Change that. You're an idiot.

Forty-six years later, there was an actual disaster at sea involving the Mignonette. It became famous due to the legal consequences of some gruesome events on board, specifically the way the men drew lots and decided to eat their cabin boy...

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

...who was named Richard Parker.


Richard Parker: aged 17 years.

The bizarre story was discovered decades later by Nigel Parker, a distant cousin of the Richard Parker who got eaten. You can only imagine what the fuck went through his mind when he stumbled upon the connection.


Hell, this was us!

And that would go down as the freakiest unintentional prediction of future events in a work of fiction, if it were not completely blown away by...

#5.
Morgan Robertson Writes About the Titanic... 14 Years Early

A hundred years before James Cameron turned douchebaggery into an art form at the Oscars, American author Morgan Robertson wrote a shitty book called Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, about the sinking of an "unsinkable" ocean liner. When you see the cover, you figure you're pretty clearly looking at a fictionalized version of the Titanic story.

No surprise there; it's a story that's been told over and over (there were 13 Titanic movies before Cameron's, including one by the Nazis) but Robertson's book was first.

Where it Gets Weird:

He was so eager to be first, apparently, that he didn't bother to wait for the Titanic to actually sink before writing about it. The Wreck of the Titan was published in 1898, 14 years before RMS Titanic was even finished being [cheaply] built.

The similarities between Robertson's work and the Titanic disaster are so astounding that one has to imagine if White Star Line built Titanic to Robertson's specs as a dare. The Titan was described as "the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men," "equal to that of a first class hotel," and, of course, "unsinkable".

Both ships were British-owned steel vessels, both around 800 feet long and sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, in April, "around midnight." Sound like enough to keep you up at night? Maybe that's why Robertson republished the book in 1912 just in case enough people didn't know that he wrote it.


And you thought this guy was an ass.

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

While the novel does bear some curious coincidences with the Titanic disaster, there are quite a few things that Robertson got flat wrong. For one, the Titanic did not crash into an iceberg "400 miles from Newfoundland" at 25 knots. It crashed into an iceberg 400 miles from Newfoundland at 22.5 knots.

Wait, what the fuck? That's one hell of a lucky guess!


What 41.1 million square miles looks like.

But maybe the weirdest thing about Titan were points that had nothing to do with the story, but check out after numerous inquires and expeditions to the Titanic wreck site.

For one, both the Titan and the Titanic had too few lifeboats to accommodate every passenger on board; the Titan carrying "as few as the law allowed." While Robertson decided to be generous and include four lifeboats more on his ship than Titanic, it's an odd point to bring up when you consider that lifeboats had nothing to do with the fucking story. When Titan hit the iceberg (starboard bow, naturally), the ship sank immediately, making the point made about lifeboats inconsequential. Why the fuck mention this?!

It'd be like HAL 9000 addressing the danger posed by O-rings at low temperature decades before the Challenger disaster.

#4.
The Civil War Keeps Finding Wilmer McLean

When the American Civil War erupted in 1861, Wilmer McLean of Virginia was too old and "whatever" for warfighting. Unfortunately, he also happened to live smack dab on the road between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA, the respective capitals of the Union and Confederacy.

The first battle of the Civil War pretty much happened at this guy's place. The Battle of Bull Run, broke out on July 21, 1861 near Manassas, Virginia--McLean's hometown. Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard needed a building to serve as headquarters for his staff and many initials, and when he saw Wilmer McLean's cozy house, he figured "what the fuck..." and camped there.


Major war foul.

This immediately subjected the building to artillery fire, and one cannonball somehow found its way down the poor bastard's chimney. The entire building should have gone up like the Death Star, yet miraculously no one was hurt.

Where it Gets Weird:

But, hey, an insane amount of fighting occurred along that road. A lot of people between Richmond and DC could say a battle happened on their front lawn. And, after this narrow escape with the Reaper in his very own home, McLean figured that moving his family out of No Man's Land would be a smart bet.

However, the man took so long to skip town that when 1862 rolled around, a battle nearly twice as large and four times as bloody exploded just outside his front door again--the Second Battle of Bull Run. After dodging this second bullet the size of Civil War battlefield, McLean finally sold and moved his family as far away as he could afford.

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

When Wilmer settled on a cottage in Clover Hill, Virginia, the town that later changed its name to Appomattox Court House. By 1865, Robert E. Lee's "invincible" Army of North Virginia was too busy having the ever-loving shit kicked out of it by General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union Army to defend Richmond. So after abandoning their capital, Lee's sorry-excuse-for-an-army was chased by Grant all across Virginia to... fucking Appomattox Court House.


The armies of the Civil War, taking the battle to wherever Wilmer happened to be that day.

On April 9, 1865, General Lee officially surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. The site for his surrender: the parlor of Wilmer McLean's new home.

Once the two armies left (and helped themselves to some furniture as souvenirs), the now-bankrupt McLean remarked: "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor," which is probably the classiest way a man can handle the single most shit-luck in American history.


Should've just moved to Gettysburg.

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