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6 Insane Coincidences You Won't Believe Actually Happened

#3.
Ohio is Full of Astronauts

Quick: What's special about Ohio? Nothing? Well, hold on to your ass.

The first two aviators in both Ohioan and American history were Orville and Wilbur Wright, who successfully demonstrated the world's first airplane in 1903. Yeah, it was a piece of shit and it could only fly for 12 seconds, but at least it got them out of Ohio and onto the sandy beaches of North Carolina to test it. Once it landed, aviation was born.


"We will call it the 'Get Out of Ohio Machine.'"

So Ohioans helped mankind take to the skies. So what was the next step?

Well, 59 years later, another Ohioan heard that the U.S. government was shooting people into space. Since this offered him a chance to get further away from Ohio than any aircraft, he replied "Sign my ass up." Unfortunately, the man was dangerously unqualified for the job, but despite lacking the necessary college requirements, NASA figured "what the hell... he's from Ohio" and let him go. On February 20, 1962, he became the first American shot into orbit. His name is John Glenn.


Just look how happy he is! (Not pictured: Ohio)

First in flight, first into orbit, and Ohio was two for two.

Where it Gets Weird:

So the Wright Brothers and John Glenn all came from the same state. Big whoop, right? The odds of that happening are like 1:48 (excluding Hawaii, Alaska, and the rest of the freakin' planet). But then John F. Kennedy vowed to land an American on the Moon by the decade's end and this promise was fulfilled on July 20, 1969 by Neil Armstrong. Want to guess what state Neil Armstrong was from?


Ohio, the "I'm outta here" state.

First in flight, orbit and the moon--Ohio, Ohio and Ohio. And so ends the story of Ohio's great aviation history...

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

Oh, wait, no. The state produced another 22 freaking astronauts along the way. What the fuck? The last one you probably heard of was Jim Lovell. Who's Jim Lovell?


This guy.

Seriously, NASA even has a thing on its website practically apologizing for the fact that a state containing just 3% of America's population so utterly dominates the frontiers of human flight.

#2.
America's Freak Luck During the Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway may be remembered as one of the most spectacular naval battles in history and one of the huge turning points in the Pacific theater, but it started out as a pure clusterfuck for the Americans.

Despite going into battle with most of Japan's game plan in their pocket thanks to American codebreakers/Bothan spies, the U.S. Navy had little to show for it in the early hours of June 4, 1942. Just about every aircraft that took on the Japanese that day was destroyed, and all without delivering any serious damage. In short, the Battle of Midway started off like the Battle of Endor, only with every fighter in the Rebel Fleet crashing into the Death Star's deflector shield.

Where it Gets Weird:

There was one squadron of American dive bombers lead by Lieutenant Commander C. Wade McClusky, Jr. that got lost on the way to the battle. So lost that they entirely missed out on the initial bloodbath that got all of their fellow planes killed. Nearly out of fuel and flying blind in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, commander McClusky nevertheless put his enormous balls to the walls and kept searching for the real life Imperial Fleet.

His squadron started dropping like flies until, in an act of sheer luck that would make even J.K. Rowling roll her eyes, McClusky stumbled across a Japanese destroyer. Once he lifted his eyes to scan the horizon, the bastard saw the Rising Sun of the Imperial Japanese Fleet staring back at him and realized, "Holy shit! Just the enemy navy I was looking for!" Of course, judging by what had been happening prior to that, this meant certain death.

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

While finding the ships at all was luck, by some kind of ridiculous freak luck McClusky's squadron arrived at the precise moment when all three Japanese carriers were reloading and rearming their aircraft.

In a matter of minutes, Japanese fleet carriers Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu--along with all their airplanes--were destroyed in an attack that cost the Imperial Navy some of its finest sailors and pilots. The fourth carrier Hiryu was sunk in a counterattack the next day, effectively wiping out the same Strike Force that made up the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This winning of the lottery twice in the same day dealt the Japanese Navy's first defeat in almost 300 years, and a lopsided victory for the Americans that the Imperials never recovered from.


It'd be like this happening four times, and all in one battle.

#1.
The July Fourth Curse

For those of you who don't keep up with America, July Fourth is a big thing here because that's the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, effectively creating the U.S. (OK, in reality the Declaration was likely signed on a later date and in intervals, but keeping it to just the one day saves a lot on fireworks).

So it's one of those "more ironic than weird" coincidences that one of the founding fathers and second President of the United States, John Adams, met his maker on July 4, 1826: 50 years to the day after America was born.

Where it Gets Weird:

Right before John Adams died, he muttered, "Thomas Jefferson survives," since the two enjoyed a bit of a bromance in the twilight of their lives (Jefferson of course taking the White House right after Adams).


...when he wasn't busy being a pimp.

However, little did the Adams's (or the country) know, Jefferson had just died a few hours prior, also on the fiftieth anniversary of American independence.


Commence mindfucking.

We admit that having just one of these men die on July 4, 1826 as opposed to any of the 18,261 other days after signing the Declaration is kinda weird, but having both these men die on this day?

Where it Gets Even Weirder:

So, two of the nation's first three presidents died on the same day. So by our calculations, it'd be like a thousand presidents before you'd have another die on the Fourth of July.

Or, you know, two. Our fifth President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831. Yep, three of our first five Presidents died on Independence Day.

While we're on the July 4th thing, can we also throw in the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest and most pivotal battle in the Civil War, a day that determined the fate of the nation Adams and Jefferson helped create? It ended on July 4, 1863.

And that victory was crucial for the Union forces because, in a completely unrelated battle, Union General Ulysses S. Grant's six-month campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi finally ended in the city's unconditional surrender.

Also on July Fourth.


"Fucking a." - Ulysses S. Grant, before puking.

By the way, we said July Fourth was a big deal here, that may not go for places like Vicksburg, who didn't celebrate it as a holiday until after World War II. Possibly because they were still bitter over the Civil War thing, or because they're just worried that the vengeful July 4 spirit will return to take out another president.

Did you know there were like three different books about gawky, dark-haired 12-year-olds going to wizard school before Harry Potter? Two separate inventors actually filed patents for the telephone on the exact same day. On Monday's Cracked podcast, Jack O'Brien, Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) and Kristi Harrison went head-to-head-to-other-head and talked about great ideas a bunch of people had simultaneously:

Is it plagiarism, sheer coincidence or Jungian "collective unconsciousness" hippy bullshit? You can find out now if you throw on your headphones and click play above, go here to subscribe on iTunes or download it here.

And check out the most important coincidences in our lifetime, in 6 Random Coincidences That Created The Modern World. Or find out about some folks that had a couple 1-Ups hiding up their sleeves, in 7 People Who Cheated Death (Then Kicked It In The Balls).

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