“Baffling Historical Coincidences,” by Daniel Galef

May 27th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

In the year 1858, a young Oliver Booth, brother of John Wilkes, saved the son of future president Abraham Lincoln from being crushed between two railway cars.

Louis Till, Emmet Till’s father, met the poet Ezra Pound when they were both living in adjoining outdoor cages in Pisa.

Philosopher and protégée of Bertrand Russell Ludwig Wittgenstein attended the same Austrian primary school as a young Adolf Hitler, and often had his lunch money taken by the same, whom he described in his writings as “a big doo-doo head.”

Albert Einstein and John Dillinger were discovered to have frequented the same television repairman for twenty years, but never crossed paths.

On the way home from a contentious crusade, King Richard got into an argument over a taxi on the streets of the Holy City with a surly man who later turned out to have been Saladin on his way back from the same battle.

While I was writing this, you walked up to the counter of your favorite café where I was sitting and ordered herbal tea. I had considered saying hello but was disgusted by the order and also at that moment had an idea for a better thing to write that I never wrote.

Ada, Countess Lovelace, who helped to create the first computer and developed the first programming language, was the daughter of Lord Byron the poet. After Byron died in 1824, Lovelace was visited by several famous poets and had to pretend to like poetry for almost three months.

One day while Aristotle was walking along the ramparts with Alexander, the young king fell to his knees and wept. Aristotle put his hand on Alexander’s shoulder. “Are you weeping because there are no more worlds to conquer?” he asked. “No,” said Alexander, “You stepped on my foot.” Exactly one year later to the day, Ptolemy died in Egypt.

In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. When he got back, he flipped a coin and got tails twelve times in a row.

At the first successful test of a nuclear device at Los Alamos in 1945, engineer Kenneth Bainbridge and physicist Richard Feynman shared a cigarette while they watched the Trinity device explode through specially-made tinted spectacles. That cigarette later grew up to become Miss America.


Daniel Galef’s humor writing has appeared in The American Bystander, Kugelmass, Clever Magazine, The Weekly Humorist, and The Journal of Irreproducible Results. He has also published fiction, poetry, song parodies, sketch comedy, crossword puzzles, science columns, academic papers, microfiction, book reviews, comic strips, and a musical play. Current status: kinda tired.

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