It's easy to believe that everything in life is random, and that the events that fill our lives aren't connected at all, but sometimes a very strange event can make you stop and wonder whether everything is connected somehow.
Take these stories for instance: they each involve very plain events, like buying a book or a picking a coat from a used clothing store, but they all include a twist that makes it seem like the universe is playing tricks on us.
It could be that truth is just stranger than fiction, but we'll let you decide for yourself.
1. Two men from Finland
Police from the tiny town of Raahe, Finland shocked the world in 2002 when they described a pair of truck accidents. One man was riding his bike and trying to cross a highway when he was hit by a truck and killed. Less than 2 hours later, just over 1 kilometer down the same highway, another man was struck and killed while crossing the highway on his bike.
2. Front page news
The Lewiston Tribune ran 2 photos on its front one Thursday in December 2007: one featured a worker named Michael Millhouse hanging Christmas decorations at his work, the other was a shot from a surveillance camera, showing a man who stole a woman's wallet from a convenience store. The paper's photographer just happened to snap a picture of Millhouse in the same coat a day after the wallet was stolen. And yes, the paper called police to report Millhouse before they published that day's paper.
3. The Wizard's Coat
When a local second hand shop picked out a coat to be worn by Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel in The Wizard of Oz, they wound up making an inspired choice. The tattered old jacket they chose was once owned by Frank L. Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other Oz books. It sounds like exactly the sort of fairy tale story that would happen in Oz, but writer and historian Aljean Harmetz confirmed the jacket's authenticity with Baum's widow and his tailor.
4. The Ripper and the 3 Marys
More than 100 years after the mystery began, people still obsess over the infamous Jack the Ripper and his murders in Whitechapel. Two of the notorious serial killer's victims shared the same first name: Mary Ann Nichols and Mary Jane Kelly.
That's not surprising, since Mary is such a common name, but this is: a woman named Catherine Eddowes was arrested, and gave police the name "Mary Kelly" when she was released. Later that night, she became another one of the Ripper's victims. To make the story even stranger, this fake Mary Kelly was murdered days before the real one.
5. Wilmer McLean's 2 homes
The first major battle of the Civil War, Bull Run, took place on the property of a Virginia farmer named Wilmer McLean in 1861. It was a terribly stressful event for his family (a cannonball was shot through their house) so he packed up and moved 120 miles south. His new home was in a tiny town called Appomattox Court House, and 4 years later the 2 armies commandeered his new home to discuss the end of the war (despite his complaints). McLean often unhappily said that the war "started in my front yard and ended in my parlor."
6. The Bermuda taxi
Two brothers from Bermuda shared a very eerie cause of death: both Erskine Ebbin and his brother Neville died at age 17, a year apart. Both brothers were driving the same moped when they were hit by a taxi on the same street. But it doesn't end there: the same taxi driver crashed into both brothers, and he was driving the same passenger in both cases.
7. Parrish's traveling book
Anne Parrish, an American children's book author, was traveling in Paris when she decided to look through a book store. As the New Yorker reported in 1932, she found an old copy of Jack Frost and Other Stories, a book she had loved as a child. Parish bought the copy, then took it outside to show her husband, where she noticed the inscription inside the front cover: her name and childhood address. It was the same book Parrish grew up reading in America.
8. The Jim twins
Another baffling mystery about twins, discovered by researchers during the 1970s Minnesota Twin Family Study. A pair of twins were seperated when they were four weeks old, and didn't know about each other until age 39. During the time they were apart, they shared a number of coincidences.
Both men were named James by their adopted families, they loved and hated the same school subjects, smoked the same brand of cigarette and drove the same car, and regularly had tension headaches at the same time of day. They even vacationed on the same beach in Florida. But their matching families were the most surprising part: each Jim had married a Linda, divorced them, and re-married to a Betty. They each had a son named James Alan or James Allan, and even each had a dog named Toy.
9. Violet Jessop's 3 shipwrecks
Violet Jessop worked as a nurse and stewardess on ocean liners, and seemed to carry some back luck with her. She was on board the luxury cruise ship the Olympic when it collided with another ship. The next year, she was working on the Titanic when it crashed and sank, escaping on one of the ship's life boats. But Jessop's bad luck hadn't run out: during World War 1 she served on the Britannic, which struck a sea mine and sank. Despite her bad luck, Jessop survived all 3 incidents.
10. The Girl from Petrovka
Another mysterious case involving a book: actor Anthony Hopkins was cast in the film The Girl from Petrovka, based on a book of the same name. He hunted all over London, but couldn't find a copy. Then one day he discovered one that had been forgotten on a park bench. Hopkins still had the book on set 2 years later, when the director George Pfeifer said he had lost his copy, including the notes he wrote inside. "This one?" Hopkins asked, pulling out his copy. By chance, he had picked up Pfeifer's lost copy.
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