Strange but True

Thought for the Week

In response to the assertion that occurrences in the natural world are random, Albert Einstein replied, “That nonsense is not merely nonsense, it is objectionable nonsense.” Are random events actually the result of some complex intentionality; is the word “random” a lazy placeholder for what we don’t yet understand? Or is Einstein wrong, are random events and coincidences merely a matter of chance, after all? Quantum physicist Frank J. Tipler answers with a firm no: “There is no ‘chance’ in reality…the universe has a goal, and each atom has a goal…and since animals and plants are made up of atoms and are small parts of the universe, they also have goals.”

There is an intriguingly ironic quality to these coincidences:

America’s most famous actor, and a dedicated supporter of the Union during the Civil War, saw a young man fall onto the train tracks in front of an oncoming train. He leaped down and pulled the young man to safety just in time. The young man, Robert Todd Lincoln, didn’t recognize him. Only months later, after his father Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, did Robert realize it was Booth’s brother Edwin who had saved him. Robert publicly thanked the actor, reviving Edwin Booth’s career after his brother’s crime had derailed it.

Mark Twain was born during a rare every-75-years appearance of Halley’s Comet. Twain wrote, “It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet; the Almighty has said, no doubt, ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’” Sure enough, in his 75th year, just as Halley’s Comet appeared, Twain passed away.

Violet Jessop was a steward on the ocean liner Olympic when it went down in 1911. The following year, she moved to an “unskinkable” new ship – the Titanic. She heroically stayed on board as it was sinking, helping others into the lifeboats, but then was handed a baby and forced to climbed into a lifeboat herself to save it. A few years later, she was serving as a nurse on the hospital ship Britannic when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Ignoring her own safety, she helped save hundreds of passengers, and was thereafter affectionately referred to as “Miss Unsinkable.”

South African astronomer Danie du Toit gave a lecture on how death can strike anyone at any time. At the conclusion of his lecture, he popped a mint into his mouth and (unintentionally) choked to death on the spot.

Frenchman Henri Tragne participated in five duels without ever firing a shot. He won the first four when each of his opponents died suddenly of natural causes. In his fifth duel, Tragne himself dropped dead before either man had fired their weapon.

Upon finding a copy of Jack Frost and Other Stories in a 1920s Paris bookshop, popular American children’s author Anne Parrish told her husband how much she’d loved this book as a child. When they opened the copy, she found the following inscription: “Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado.”

If the above coincidences served some purpose, then perhaps the seemingly random events and coincidences in our lives, good and bad,

Serve some purpose as well. 

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Strange but True

  1. Goosebumps. Grandma Leora saw Comet Halley while she was in sewing school in 1910 (Exira, Iowa, will show up in the newest Leora book later this summer). Oh, we tried to see it when the earth met it again in 1986, but four generations of us (including Leora) could only find a smudge.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Todd R says:

    Did you write this post on purpose, or did it write itself?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Those are some strange occurances!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. believe4147 says:

    Thank you for sharing these stories. They have served a purpose for those who will see it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Proof that history and truth are stranger than fiction. You can’t makes this stuff up.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. BrittnyLee says:

    This is a topic I think about a lot. I don’t believe in coincidences either. There have been too many instances to lead me to believing they’re aren’t.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Excellent, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. M.B. Henry says:

    Oooooh some of those give me goosebumps!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have had about 11,000 views on my blog. The only Malta view came within hours of my attending a Bible study in one of our most treasured fellowship groups. The Biblical section studied was about Paul on Malta surviving a snake bite. Nothing will ever convince me that was a coincidence. The odds against that were, of course, 11,000 to 1.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’ve never believed in coincidences. My strange experiences are nothing in comparison with the incidences cited in your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. ejstoo says:

    Sooo…apparently in the Lincoln case, it just goes to prove that no good deed goes unpunished?

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Well, in this case Edwin Booth’s good deed (done anonymously and in advance) clearly contributed to the restoration of his good name after it had been trashed by his brother. But, no, it certainly didn’t save Abraham Lincoln; nor, in any way I can imagine, did it cause Lincoln’s assassination.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ejstoo says:

        Doesn’t seem right to blame someone for something they didn’t do. Not like he killed Lincoln. Like blaming someone else for someone being in the same genome pool as someone who did something bad. Kind of senseless and doesn’t make the situation better for anyone. If the poor Lincoln kid didn’t happen to remember who saved him, then what? Not everyone is willing to do the right thing. Integrity often seems a lot of work to some.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Wynne Leon says:

    Wow, those are some fascinating coincidences. The guy that participated in 5 duels – geez, did that say something about his character that he was in that circumstance 5 times? Thanks for some good food for thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nancy Ruegg says:

    “Coincidences are spiritual puns”–G. K. Chesterton. I can see God smiling when he engineers certain events (like Anne Parrish’s book-find), causing our eyes to widen and a “WOW” to escape our lips. Such moments provide more evidence that he is near and he is active. We just can’t see him.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. #hood says:

    when did jfk went down

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Michele Lee says:

    Fascinating examples of coincidence. 🤯 Thanks for the share.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Those examples are fascinating, but I would say that they are the exception rather than the rule. Most people never experience anything remotely as improbable.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. jbh42 says:

    That’s a really interesting article!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. murisopsis says:

    “If the above coincidences served some purpose, then perhaps the seemingly random events and coincidences in our lives, good and bad, serve some purpose as well.”
    I believe it! We belong to a God who created order out of chaos – in the universe and in our own little lives!!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Sheri Dye says:

    Excellent post!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Nancy Richy says:

    Fascinating! I love this stuff. Are you familiar with a book called “They Went That-a-Way” by Malcolm Forbes? It’s very entertaining reading and something you can pick up any time and just read a page or two. Check it out, no pun intended!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Your mind is a FASCINATING place Mitch! Genius connections and connecting of the dots. I. Believe. ✨😎

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Lisa Beth says:

    I want to say, “No way!” – these stories are almost divine appointments! Thanks for stirring our minds this morning. 😃

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Wow! Did not see that coming… Some facts just leave you wondering about the intricate subtleties in life.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. What fascinating facts. These could make great fodder for a historical fiction writer to expound upon.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. simba frank says:

    Oh yup we can’t explain that so let’s just blame it on chance lol

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Those are some fascinating coincidences, and as Asimov said “Having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.”

    Liked by 1 person

  27. The account of Henri Tragne seems like a story right out of the Bible – like when the armies ganging up on Israel turned and killed each other, and all Israel had to do was go collect the plunder.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Harshi says:

    Hahahaha…….you have a way with words, Mitch and are quite the story teller!

    The way you’ve shaped this post, all the occurrences seem thought provoking . Loved the message in the end. It’s beautiful and stirs hope in one’s heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Strange but True – Nelsapy

  30. Dawn Marie says:

    I too add…WOW!!! Hugs to you Mitch for the reminder we are more connected than we take the time to recognize.

    Liked by 2 people

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