Coincidence or fate?

Call it fate, call it destiny, but throughout history, a series of remarkable events have unfolded at just the right time as to shape the world to how we all see and know it today. These coincidences range from funny, to mundane to mind-blowing — but they all have one thing in common: they are some of the most bizarre occurrences in recorded history.

For instance: In the year 1895, there were exactly two cars in the entire state of Ohio. Or, there were. Until they crashed — into each other.

While DMV records don’t exactly date back to the 1890’s (the department wasn’t founded until 1915) the story seems to have truth behind it. Life magazine published the account in 1967 and it also has appeared in “The Blunder Book” published in 1984.

Covering a span of more than 44,800-square-miles, Ohio isn’t exactly a small state. How the only two cars in the state even met each other is a feat in and of itself — let alone crash.

If you thought the story of the cars was weird, wait until you hear the story of Henry Ziegland who was killed by a bullet 30 years after it was fired.

According to the book Mysteries of the Unexplained, in Honey Grove, Texas, in 1883, Ziegland broke off a relationship with his long-time girlfriend. The woman, jilted, committed suicide — which didn’t go over great with her brother.

The girl’s brother was so enraged that he hunted Ziegland down, challenged him to a duel and shot him.

Luckily (or not) for Ziegland, the brother turned out to be a lousy shot and the bullet only grazed him (although the blow did knock him unconscious).

The brother, believing he had killed Ziegland, turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

Ziegland awoke, presumably counted his blessings and carried on with his life.

Fast forward: Three decades later, while clearing some land, Ziegland decided to cut down a particularly large tree. The tree proved to be too much for a single man with an axe so Ziegland decided to blow it up instead.

Big mistake.

Upon detonation, the tree exploded and in the process it launched the bullet embedded in its trunk from the 30-year-old duel into Ziegland’s head — this time killing him.

This last one starts off a bit technical, but bear with us …

In the 1884 English criminal case R (Regina — the Queen) v Dudley and Stephens, a precedent was established throughout the common law world that necessity (different from self defense) cannot be a defense to a murder charge.

The case centered around Tom Dudley and Edwin Stephens who, along with two other men, were shipwrecked after their yacht Mignonette sank. After a length at time, with no prospect of rescue, Dudley and Stephens made the fateful decision to kill the cabin boy, Richard Parker, and … ahem … eat him.

After a highly publicized trial that captivated the whole of Victorian England, Dudley and Stephens were convicted of murder and sentenced to death with a recommendation for clemency.

Their sentences were eventually commuted to six months in prison.

But here’s where it gets odd: Fans of the writer Edgar Allan Poe might know that he penned a book titled The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

It was typical of the horror genre Poe favored and the story centered around four survivors of a shipwreck who were stranded at sea and decided to kill (and eat) the cabin boy. The cabin boy’s name in the story? Richard Parker.

Here’s the real kicker: Poe wrote the novel in 1838 — 46 years before the events on the Mignonette took place.

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