Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. To prove it, we combed through American history to find you five examples of coincidences so striking that you’ll wonder if we just got lazy and made a bunch of stuff up. Which we didn’t! All five of these crazy coincides are well-documented, actual events from America’s storied history.
5 Tierney Family and the Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is an icon of American engineering ingenuity and industrial might that is still a source of awe and pride some eight decades after its completion. But if you are a member of a certain Tierney family, it is probably your least favorite dam. Of the dozens of deaths caused by the massive project, a Tierney was both the first and the last to die. The first death “caused” by the project was the drowning of a man named J.G. Tierney. The last death directly related to the project was that of his son, Patrick Tierney, who drowned there more than a dozen years later.
4 Wilmer McLean
First Bull Run, aka First Manassas, is widely accepted as the first major battle of the Civil War. It began on July 21, 1861 with some of the opening salvo of artillery fire ripping into the home of a Virginia civilian named Wilmer McLean. McLean and his family eventually moved out of that home, settling almost 100 miles away in a little cluster of homes and buildings known as Appomattox Courthouse. It was in one of these homes that the South surrendered to the North on April 9, 1865. The home belonged to Wilmer McLean.
3 Mark Twain and Halley’s Comet
Mark Twain was not only the father of modern American literature, but also apparently some sort of celestial magician type. Twain was born on November 30, 1835 during the passage of Halley’s Comet, which occurs once every 74 to 76 years depending on various interplanetary orbital factors. Just as his birth occurred during the comet’s passing, Twain predicted that he would “go out with it” too – and he did. On April 21, 1910, Twain died, and sure enough, Halley’s Comet was visible in the sky.
2 Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth
Edwin Booth, brother of the infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth, saved the life of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the assassin’s target, our 16th president. The chance meeting of the “other” Booth and Lincoln occurred on a railway platform in New Jersey. The young Robert Lincoln was knocked down onto the rails and was nearly crushed by the wheels of a moving train before he was pulled to safety by E. Booth. Fair trade, then? No.
1 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
On the Fourth of July, 1826, two of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America died within hours of each other. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents of the young country, respectively passed away exactly 50 years after the official issue of the Declaration of Independence. Some of Adams’ last words were reported to be: “Thomas Jefferson still lives.” If he had spoken them a few hours earlier, they would have been correct.