More Cool Coincidences
Each of the case histories is factually documented.
Source material is referenced at bottom of page.
In Berkeley, California, 1974: Mrs. Willard Lovell was trying to get into her locked apartment after she had accidently locked herself out. At that moment a postman arrived with a letter from her brother who had stayed there a short time earlier. In the letter was her spare key, which he had borrowed and was returning.
A story by Edgar Allan Poe told of a shipwrecked open boat, and of three survivors who killed and ate the fourth -- a fictional cabin boy named Richard Parker. Fifty years later, an actual shipwreck occurred in which three survivors in an open boat killed and ate the fourth, a cabin boy named (you guessed it) Richard Parker.
In 1977 Texas, two culprits tried to cash a forged and stolen check at a teller's window. But alas, the teller happened to be their intended victim. Just a few hours earlier, the checks had been stolen from her and her boyfriend's home and she immediately recognized them as her own. She notified the police and the thieves were quickly captured.
At his first lecture at a university, a new statistics professor, in order to demonstrate to his class the laws of probability, tossed a fair coin which landed on the floor...vertically on its side. The odds of this happening by chance have been calculated as a billion to one.
El Paso highway patrolman Allen Farby had been chasing a truck when he crashed his motorcyle on a hot June night. While his battered leg lay sprawled on the pavement, nearly amputated, a businessman named Alfred Smith chanced upon meeting him. In the nick of time, Smith applied a crude tourniquet to the wound with his tie, an act which stopped the bleeding and saved Farby's life. Five years later, a recovered Farby was on patrol when he heard on his radio about a car smashed into a tree. He answered the call and arrived at the wreck before the ambulance. The victim's leg was smashed and was bleeding from a ruptured artery. Knowing about first aid, Farby applied a tourniquet and stopped the bleeding, then pulled the man to a more comfortable position on the ground. That's when he suddenly recognized the victim: Alfred Smith, the same man who had rescued Farby just five years before. Later, Farby was to declare: "It goes to prove that one good tourniquet deserves another."
Somewhere in New York, a psychology professor found a rare book he had been searching for on a street corner. But later he discovered that the psychologist who had recommended it says she never even heard of it.
During a business stopover in Louisville, Kentucky, George D. Bryson registered at the Brown Hotel and was staying in room 307. As a lark, he stepped up to the desk and asked the mail clerk if there was any mail for him. The clerk handed him a letter addressed to the previous occupant of his room, another George D. Bryson.
A West German farmer's wife had lost her wedding ring forty years earlier in a potato field. She finally found it while dining in her kitchen, inside a potato grown in that field.
Death Takes a Holiday: Obituary writer Mildred West chose the perfect time to take a week's vacation. During her absence not a single death occurred in her city of 32,000. Normally, an average of ten deaths occurred each week.
In 1967 England, a police constable named Moscardi told his friend that the number of his police station had changed, and was now 40166. Only later did he discover he had made an error, his new number actually being 40116. A short time later, while Moscardi was patrolling an industrial area, he noticed a light inside one of the buildings and entered to investigate. No fire was discovered, but inside the room a phone rang and the constable answered it. It was his friend, who had dialed the wrong number Moscardi had given him, and which belonged to the unmarked phone in the room Moscardi had never entered before.
In Worcester, England, 1974: Motorcyclist Frederick Chance crashed into a car that was driven by another Frederick Chance.
In 1953, Boone Aiken lost his engraved fountain pen in Florence, South Carolina. Three years later, while in New York City with his wife, Mrs. Aiken spied a pen on the street next to their hotel. The pen turned out to be Boone's lost original.
Sources: Associated Press, Arthur Koestler, London Sunday Times, and Alan Vaughan (from his book, Incredible Coincidence).