Aruba sunset

Predetermination issues

The licence plate number on Franz Ferdinand’s car referring to the end date of World War I may indicate that history is predetermined. Other coincidences in history suggest the existence of a script too, for instance those surrounding the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Some people are haunted by time prompts. They look at the clock at specific times like 11:11. If this is not selective remembrance, which it may be, this indicates that their minds are controlled.

Perhaps this universe is a virtual reality created by an advanced civilisation. Perhaps everything is predetermined and we do not really have a free will. That may raise some questions. One deals with fate. For instance, you may ask yourself, “If I am going to die on a certain day then what point is there in going to see a doctor when I fall ill?” Alternatively, you could opt for a dangerous hobby like climbing the Mount Everest because you believe the date you meet the Grim Reaper is already set in stone.

Only, you don’t know that date. So if you go to the doctor and he or she cures you from an illness that would otherwise have been fatal, that could be predetermined, but if you choose not to go to the doctor and subsequently die, that would also be predetermined. The same can be said about getting killed while climbing the Mount Everest.

If someone knows the future, and everything is predetermined, this person can’t inform us in detail about the future. Exact predictions can influence the future in such a way that something else will happen. For example, if I know I am going to have a car accident tomorrow I will remain at home tomorrow and the accident wouldn’t happen. But such a person might leave signs like the license plate on Franz Ferdinand’s death car.

Predetermination makes it possible to do predictions that are more accurate than chance allows for. Most predictions of that kind aren’t accurate enough to be actionable because that could alter the future. The action taken may help to make the prediction come true. That requires actors being unaware of their role in the scheme. Some premonitions may be actionable, but it is not possible to know which ones on beforehand.

One specific type of premonition comes from people called prophets. Countless prophets have predicted that the end of times would come. That never happened, at least until now. But in 1979 an historian wrote a fictional story in which the Berlin Wall would fall in 1989. And on 11 September 2001 the BBC claimed that WTC building 7 had collapsed 26 minutes before it really happened.

If everything is predetermined then there is not really a battle between good and evil. The concepts of good and evil emerged as a result of evolution. Humans are social animals and their success as a species depends on cooperation. Actions that benefit the group, whether it is a family, community, nation or humanity, are considered good, while actions that harm the group are considered evil.

If the choices you make are predetermined, so are the consequences. It may therefore be a good idea to think of it as if there are two levels. On our level, free will appears to exist, but on the higher level there might be a script. For us the laws of probability seem to apply so that it may be a useful delusion to believe that doing something smart will more likely bring a favourable outcome than doing something stupid.

Featured image: Aruba sunset. English Wikipedia.

 

Black sheep Frank. Tele2 marketing campaign

Animal rights

Our pets get love and attention but most animals in industrial farming live in poor conditions, at least if living in their natural habitat is their prerogative. Thinking about animal rights is sometimes seen as a luxury for leftists who have nothing else to worry about. Industrial farming can’t be ended so easily as humans don’t like to change their diet. But farm animals can feel pain and have social needs like us. Animal rights activists have a serious case here.

People like to eat meat and they want it to be cheap. The plight of animals will not make them change their minds so easily. The same applies to the contribution of meat consumption to climate change. Still, the end of the mass suffering of farm animals could be near. Artificial meat and meat replacements may soon be more widely available, be cheaper and taste as good, even though many people won’t believe that now.

Whether or not animals have a good life in their natural habitat is a matter of debate. Faced with predators, food shortages, and humans, life in nature can be hard. And in most areas nature isn’t what it used to be as humans have completely altered the ecology. With humans came the animals that profit from them like mice, rats, seagulls, magpies, foxes and cockroaches. Other species can suffer as a consequence.

In populated areas there is little left of nature so the remaining wildlife may need management. For example, magpies eat chicks of songbirds. As magpies profit from humans by eating their leftovers in the winter, more of them survive and more chicks will be eaten. So is it better to shoot magpies so that songbirds may survive? And if there isn’t enough food for all deer, is it better to shoot the weak? Animal rights activists have trouble accepting this.

Featured image: Black sheep Frank from a Tele2 marketing campaign

The end is near

For tonight God is a DJ

If the end ever comes then it is closer than ever. And the end may be soon because:

  • The exponential growth of human impact on the planet is about to end. That might be the end of our current way of living.
  • Eternal life may soon be possible and humans may be enhanced with technology. That might be the end of humanity.
  • The world has become interconnected to the point that we can be united. That might be the end of history.
  • It is possible to give everyone a comfortable life with basic necessities. That might be the end of poverty.
  • And finally, we may discover that we live inside a virtual reality. That might be the end that God has planned.

Whenever a river turns red because of some chemicals being spilled, people say: “Look what is written in the Book of Revelation.” If these ravings attributed to John of Patmos hadn’t been part of the Bible, hardly anyone would have noticed. And so religious people often ignore real evidence of the end being close. But if the end is near then there might indeed be signs, but perhaps in places where people don’t look.

As this universe might exist for entertainment we might expect the unexpected. There are people who believe that some pop music songs contain satanic messages that you can hear by playing them in reverse. Only, by playing the songs in the regular fashion could produce even more interesting results. There could be messages of God in pop music, including messages suggesting that these messages exist.

A day of coincidence with the radio,
And a word that won’t go away.
We know what they’re all going to say.
“G” arrives–“Funny, had a feeling he was on his way!

– Kate Bush, Strange Phenomena 

It requires a bit of imagination to surmise that coincidences on the radio precede the coming of God. A reason for such coincidences to occur could be hiddens messages. So if God is a woman and if Jesus was Her husband, and the Kingdom of God is about this marriage, and this is about to come out, there could be something out there. That’s a lot of ifs followed by a weak conclusion so for the purpose of the enquiry you may need to go along with that idea for a while and let God elect the records you listen to.

For tonight
God is a DJ

– Faithless, God is a DJ

From Almelo via Enschede to Eurovision

Ilse DeLange’s fourth studio album The Great Escape may be selected. This album could be seen as an order from God for Her prospective husband to prepare himself for his task. Peculiar coincidences surround DeLange and the album contains some remarkable lyrics. DeLange was born on 13 May 1977 in Almelo, a town in the region of Twente in the Netherlands. Almelo was also the home town of Herman Finkers, a comedian who wrote Kroamschudd’n in Mariaparochie, a short animation picture on the possibility of Christ being born in Twente. That is a bit peculiar already.

But there is more. On 13 May 2000, the 23rd birthday of Ilse Delange, a fireworks plant in Enschede exploded, killing 23 people. That recurring of 23 is a bit odd too. And it was exactly 11 years after I moved to Enschede to live on the campus of the University Of Twente. There I met a peculiar lady who later appeared to be God. On the day of the accident the Eurovision Song Contest was held. When the seriousness of the situation became clear in the course of the evening, the Dutch broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest was discontinued.wurst

The night before the fireworks accident my wife Ingrid had dreamt about a large fire. On the day itself she visited a friend who just had a baby. Some other friends of her were also present. One of them lived in Enschede. Just after Ingrid had told her friend from Enschede about the dream, she received a text message asking her whether she was all right. It was only then that they learned about the accident.

In 2014 Ilse Delange herself took part in the Eurovision Song Contest together with Waylon as The Common Linnets. They came in second after Conchita Wurst, a feminised Jesus look-alike. This is another peculiar coincidence.

The Great Escape was also the name of the fourth album made by the English rock band Blur that was released on 11 September 1994. 11 September can be rewritten as 9/11, which is the US emergency telephone number. And 11 September was the date of the terrorist attacks in 2001. The total length of this album is 56 minutes and 56 seconds. 56:56. This is a reference to 11:11 as 5+6=11. 56 + 56 = 112, while 112 is the European emergency telephone number. The lead song of DeLange’s album The Great Escape lasts 4:01 minutes, while I moved to Enschede to live in room 112 of dormitory 401-right side.

The Great Escape

Analysing the lyrics of The Great Escape from the perspective that God is a woman who asks Her prospective husband to prepare for his task brings up some interesting finds. That wasn’t the intention Ilse DeLange. Unwittingly she may have become the medium for the message. As it is often the case with mediums, they make misses alongside accurate guesses, so the alleged messages became blended in the lyrics. In the first song, Reach For the Light, God appears to say that She remembers their love and that he does not. That makes sense if he is the reincarnation of Adam and doesn’t remember that.

I know my name but who’s the same
When everything you knew is lost
I’m filled with hope that echoes loud
Inside a forgotten mind.

– Ilse DeLange, Reach For The Light

In the second song, The Lonely One, she appears to tell him that She used Her powers to make his life disagreeable. It is not hard to guess who can order the sun not to shine.

I told the sun, not to shine and stay away
I told the lake, to go dry and wash away

Asked the sky, to fall down on you
Asked the night, to be solid proof.

– Ilse DeLange, The Lonely One

What She is saying about Herself could even make Louis XIV blush, if he was still alive:

I am the only princess, I’m indestructible
I am winged victory, I am so breakable
I am the distant planet, I am the golden sun.

– Ilse DeLange, The Lonely One

The Great Escape is the song that gives the album its name. In the autumn some force pulls him into the shadow world.

The leaves will fall again
The wind comes crawling in
The rain with all its sin
Captures me again

Questions to embrace
Feelings that you’ll face
In this holy land
A desert made of quicksand
Streets that lead you there
Places of your fear
Some force pulls you in
The shadow world.

– Ilse DeLange, The Great Escape

There is not much left to guess here if you go along with the idea of it being a message. The shadow world is a holy land in disguise and She comes from heaven.

By the time I made the great escape
I was falling, falling falling from heaven.

– Ilse DeLange, The Great Escape

Then comes the song Carry Hope. God appears to tell him that he should prepare himself.

The power is in your hands
The dust will fall to sand
Got to make this land your own

And faith calls out your name.

– Ilse DeLange, Carry Hope

And even Louis XIV in all his vanity would not have dared to say:

When I let go of hope
There’s no one left to follow
There’s nothing but the power to believe in me

– Ilse DeLange, Carry Hope

The song Was It Love suggests that She did it for love. Perhaps Jesus fell for that ploy too.

Is it possible to see with every moment over
What the reason was for me
Was it love, was it love

– Ilse DeLange, Was It Love

The song also suggests that God doesn’t care much for religious people:

And they’re locked inside belief
But they’re not inside of me

– Ilse DeLange, Was It Love

Other songs don’t seem to be part of the scheme. That can be expected. DeLange came from Twente just like me. And the lady who appeared to be God was born in Enschede.

Slippery slope

There are a few other lyrics that might contain messages but these could easily be attributed to chance if there is chance. This is a slippery slope. There may be no chance so it might be justifiable to go down this path, at least for a while. The following lines come from Queen’s song Gimme The Prize.

Here I am, I’m the master of your destiny,
I am the one the only one, I am the god of kingdom come

– Queen, Gimme The Prize

The God of kingdom come could be a Queen, a queer joke. The song Joga from Björk is about accidents, coincidences and connecting the dots. It could be about a love affair. But who can make these accidents happen and make someone else see the connection?

All these accidents
That happen
Follow the dot
Coincidence
Makes sense
Only with you

State of emergency
How beautiful to be
State of emergency
Is where I want to be

– Björk, Joga

Stairway To Heaven of Led Zeppelin allegedly contains satanic messages that you can hear by playing the song in reverse. The artists claim this is just a coincidence.1 What has escaped the attention so far is that playing the song in a regular way might reveal a message that is hidden in plain sight.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold

– Led Zeppelin, Stairway To Heaven

The lady we all know could be God. The song is named Stairway To Heaven after all. The album, Led Zeppelin IV, which includes Stairway To Heaven, also includes the song Going To California. It has the following lines.

To find a queen without a king,
They say she plays guitar and cries and sings… la la la
Ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn
Trying to find a woman who’s never, never, never been born

– Led Zeppelin, Going To California

The woman who was never been born could be Eve. The Infant King is a song of The Nits from their album Adieu Sweet Bahnhof. It could refer to a king who is going to meet his bride. In a sense he might be an infant compared to his bride.

Wheels on steel go rumbling through the night
“Away, away” they seem to say
I tip-toe tip-toe through the sleeping train
An infant king who meets his bride

Someone said the other day
“The border’s closed, there’s no way in or out
Pack your bags, make up your mind
You can leave your memories behind”

Someone said the other day
“The world is cracking up, it’s plain to see”
Overheard two people say
“Some gold works wonders when you want to go”

– The Nits, The Infant King

It appears that the story unfolds against a backdrop of political and financial turmoil, which could be the End Of Times. Woman Cactus is another song on the same album. It appears to describe a psychotic love affair of an indecent nature.

This is not comme il faut
It’s no respectable affair
I know I lost my head
I’m burning bridges everywhere

My heart, my head, my brains
My senses don’t make sense at all
The bar sign prints your name
Over and over on the wall

And I can’t take it anymore
Chime little bells, big bells
I try to touch a woman cactus
Chime little bells, big bells
I try to touch a woman cactus

I know it hurts to touch a woman
With those needles and pins
I know it hurts to touch a woman
With those needles and pins

Nothing like cubism
To bring about a woman’s shape

– The Nits, Woman Cactus

The end may be near. The messages in pop-music could be signs. Perhaps the plot is about to unfold. We are living in interesting times.

1. The 10 Wildest Led Zeppelin Legends, Fact-Checked. Rolling Stone (2012). [link]

Happiness

The point of technological development and social change

Whether this universe emerged by accident or has been created intentionally doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t exist to please us. The universe either exists to please no-one or it exists to please our creators. The same is true for technological advancements and social changes. These things don’t happen to make us happier. For instance, humans switched to agriculture, not because it made them happier but agriculture could feed more people so that farmers soon outnumbered hunter-gatherers, even though farmers were more miserable.1

So what’s the point of technological development and social change? What’s the point of agriculture, cities, writing, money, empires, science, industry, human rights and democracy if these things don’t make us happier? Making people happier is often not the reason why things happen. For instance, private property, individual rights and independent courts emerged because countries that had these things did better economically and came to dominate the planet.

Technological advances happen because investors expect to profit from new technologies or because governments see some use of it. And so scientists fetch budgets for their research and get busy. Efficiency considerations do the rest. More efficient designs win out. This is for instance the reason why Natural Money may be the money of the future. Making people happier may be a side-effect of Natural Money but economic efficiency is the reason why it may become the money of the future.

Social reforms may make people happier, but it is a lot harder than you might think. For example, equal rights for women and minorities, and many other social justice issues have a long history, and are yet to be fully resolved. It is difficult to alter views and attitudes from the majority as well as the minorities as cultural differences are an underlying cause of these issues. Trying to resolve them can lead to social conflict.

Social reforms don’t necessarily make people happier. If there is a social norm, for example of the man being the head of the family, then women may be happy with this arrangement. Introducing feminist ideas can produce tensions and women may not always become happier as a consequence, let alone men. Perhaps propaganda can help. If people are taught that women and men should have equal rights, people can be happier with such an arrangement.

So what makes people happy? It is an important question. There are several issues that seem to have an effect on our sense of happiness:

  • chemical processes in the body
  • human needs
  • money
  • expectations
  • desires
  • having a sense of purpose
  • social and political environment

Chemical processes in the body

Some people are always happy despite adversity and poor living conditions. Some people are always angry even when they prosper and have no serious problems. That has something to do with chemical processes in the body. But if happiness is about chemical processes in the body then making people happy is about inventing the right pills and distributing them. Indeed pills can help to end a depression. Many people believe that pills give a false sense of happiness, but more and more people take pills to feel better.

maslovpiramid
Maslov’s hierarchy of human needs

Hierarchy of human needs

Abraham Maslow came up with a hierarchy of human needs. He thought that basic needs such as food and shelter are paramount. If these needs are fulfilled then people become interested in security. Maslow thought that if you don’t have food, security becomes of secondary importance, and if you have food and security, love and attention become more important. And if you have all that, it becomes more important to be respected and have a sense of purpose in your life. And even though the hierarchy is contested, the needs Maslow identified aren’t questioned.

Money

Does money make you happier? A lot of research has gone into this question. The results aren’t surprising. If you are poor then more money will probably make you happier. Poor people often worry about making ends meet. As soon as you can buy the things you need and have no financial worries, the picture becomes confusing. In that case more money can make you happier, but only if you spend it right. What is right is a personal consideration. So if you have the money, you should go on that vacation or go to that concert, but only if that is what you really want to do.

Expectations

Expectations can be important. If you expect to get a small car, and you get a medium sized car instead, your expectations are exceeded. That can make you happy for a while. But if you expected to get a big car, and you get the same medium sized car, your expectations are not met. And that can make you sad for a while. In both cases it is the same car. If you expected less, you are happy with the car, but if you expected more, the same car makes you feel bad. People tend to adapt to a new situation so after a while the happiness or the sadness from missed expectations is gone.

Similarly, if you are better off than others, it can give you satisfaction. Alternatively, if you are worse off than your peers, it can displease you. Happiness can depend on the people you compare yourself to. The attention given to celebrities, their riches, and their beautiful husbands and wives can give you the unpleasant feeling that you have to keep up with them. This can make you go to the gym or the plastic surgeon and buy things you can’t afford and turn down potential spouses that don’t look so great. The advertisement industry aims to make us unhappy so that we will buy more stuff. It can also explain why people in more equal societies are happier on average.

buddha
Rock cut seated Buddha statue, Andhra Pradesh, India

Craving

Gautama Buddha also weighed in on the issue. He was the founder of Buddhism. You may have seen a statue or a picture of him because he has become quite popular in recent decades. Buddha taught that people are always craving for temporary feelings and things. This craving causes a permanent state of dissatisfaction. As soon as you have achieved a desired feeling, for example love, or acquired a desired object, for example a car, you will start to crave for something else. That probably sounds very familiar.

Buddha also taught that this craving will tie us up in this world so that our souls will continue to reincarnate and suffer from craving. Only when we stop craving for temporary feelings and things and disengage ourselves from this world, we can disappear into nothingness, which is a state of eternal peace. This is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.  This type of happiness is a tranquillity caused by detachment from mundane affairs that may come close to not caring.

Meaning

Last but not least, if you think that your life has meaning, that can make you happy. Religious people may be happier than atheists because they may believe that they play a role in the great cosmic scheme of God while atheists may believe that their life has no purpose. The psychologist Daniel Kahneman came up with a similar conclusion. He researched a group of women and interviewed them about their daily activities, and which activities gave them pleasure. He also asked the women what made them happy.

It turned out that caring for their children were amongst the activities that gave them the least pleasure. But when he asked these women what made them the most happy they answered that their children made them the most happy. Perhaps the children gave meaning to their lives. Perhaps these women were just deluding themselves like religious people. Similarly, if you think that your job is important, that may give meaning to your life, but that can be a delusion too. If you didn’t do your job, someone else probably would. Delusions can make us happy so it may not be irrational to have them.

Social and political reforms can be worthwhile

If we contemplate social reforms we might need to ask ourselves: “Will they make us happier?” Perhaps we shouldn’t expect too much from political and social institutions in this respect. That doesn’t mean improvements aren’t worthwhile. If they aren’t then it doesn’t matter where you live. So why do so many immigrants come to Europe or to the United States? Most immigrants try to escape poverty or flee for oppressive regimes.

Perhaps people in Africa and South America learn about the life in Europe or the United States and become dissatisfied because they are worse off. Whatever their motives might be, it appears that prosperity and social institutions do matter. And that is why it can be a good idea to engage in social and political reforms, and to aim for the highest standards everywhere around the globe.

In ‘advanced’ countries the roles of the state and the market economy have increased at the expense of the family and the community. This may cause alienation and stress as humans have evolved to live in smaller groups, not in the anonymity of the state and the market. Reducing the role of governments and markets may require enlarging the role of communities and families. Life in communities and families wasn’t ideal either so people may not become happier if that is going to happen.

Pictures:
– Rock cut seated Buddha statue, Andhra Pradesh, India CC BY-SA 3.0. Adityamadhav83. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22764139

NASA mission control celebrating successful return of Apollo 13

History’s oddities

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both involved in drafting the US Declaration of Independence that was signed on 4 July 1776. Henceforth, the forth of July became Independence Day in the United States. Jefferson was Adam’s Vice-President until he himself became President in 1800. They were the last surviving members of the American revolutionaries. They had been bitter enemies but were also friends for many years. Both died on 4 July 1826, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence.1

Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler

Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler were the only two persons that ever conquered nearly all of Europe. There is a series of parallels between them. Napoleon and Hitler both came to power by a coup ending an unstable republic. They both turned Europe into a battlefield. They both ventured into Africa and both were repelled in Egypt. They both waged a war on two fronts because they both attacked Russia while England had not been defeated.

Napoleon was born on Corsica, an independent island that became part of France. Napoleon became the leader of France. Hitler was born in Austria, an independent country that became part of Germany. Hitler became the leader of Germany. Napoleon came to power after a coup to overthrow the government on 9 November 1799. Hitler was involved in a failed coup to overthrow the Weimar Republic on 9 November 1923.

The Titanic

The Titanic was the tallest ship in the world. It had compartments that could be sealed remotely. For that reason it was deemed unsinkable. Nevertheless the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage. In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote the novel Futility. It described the maiden voyage of a transatlantic luxury liner named the Titan. Although it was touted as being unsinkable, it struck an iceberg and sank with much loss of life. In the book the month of the wreck was April like in the real event.2

The similarities between the Titanic and the Titan are striking:

  • similar names of the ships
  • both were described as the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men
  • the sizes were similar: the Titan was 45,000 tons and the Titanic was 46,000 tons
  • both were deemed ‘unsinkable’
  • both had a triple screw (propeller)
  • both had a shortage of lifeboats
  • both struck an iceberg: the Titan, moving at 25 knots, struck an iceberg on the starboard side on a night in April, in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland while the Titanic, moving at 22½ knots, struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of 14 April 1912 in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland.
  • both sank and most of the passengers and crew died.2

In April 1935, the cargo vessel Titanian sailed in the North Atlantic. A sailor claimed that he had an uneasy feeling because of the similarity of the ship’s name with Titanic. That caused him to sound a warning. He claimed to have done this before ice was seen and that the vessel stopped just in front of an iceberg. Reports showed that the Titanian was slightly damaged on the voyage.3

One hundred years later a luxurious Italian cruise ship, the Costa Concordia sank after hitting a rock. The accident was on Friday 13 January 2012. The ship had thirteen decks. Some passengers claimed that the Titanic theme ‘My Heart Will Go On’ was playing in a restaurant when the ship hit the rock.4 On 27 February 2012, another cruise ship of the same parent company, the Costa Allegra, ran into trouble near the Seychelles.5

The John F. Kennedy assassination

“We’re heading into nut country today,” President John F. Kennedy said to his wife on the morning of 22 November 1963. She had just seen an advertisement of the John Birch Society in the Dallas Morning News suggesting that he was a communist. The advert was bordered in the black of a funeral announcement. “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it?”6

A few hours later he was killed by someone shooting him from a window with a rifle. The date of the assassination, 22 November (22/11), consists of two multiples of eleven. There are some parallels between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln:

  • Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
  • Lincoln was elected President in 1860. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
  • Both Presidents were concerned with Civil Rights.
  • When Lincoln became president in 1861, one of the persons that worried about his safety was John Kennedy, Superintendent of Police in New York. When Kennedy became president in 1961, one of the persons that worried about his safety was Evelyn Lincoln, his personal secretary.
  • Both presidents were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wife.
  • Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre while Kennedy was shot in a Ford Lincoln.
  • They were both shot on a Friday.
  • Both assassins were killed and not brought to trial.
  • Lincoln’s successor was Andrew Johnson, born in 1808, while Kennedy’s successor was Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908.7

It has been suggested that these similarities are a coincidence and that there are similar similarities between other US Presidents.7

Kennedy’s brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot a few years later. He died in 1968 on June 6 (6/6), just after Martin Luther King was murdered on April 4 (4/4). That is a bit peculiar because of the coincidences surrounding D-Day (6/6/44). There is a series of tragedies related to the Kennedy family called the Kennedy Curse.

The Lincoln connection

The son of President Lincoln, Robert Todd Lincoln, had his share of coincidences too. A few months before John Wilkes Booth murdered his father, he was rescued by Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes. The Booth family and the Lincoln family were not neighbours, which makes the incident remarkable. Robert Lincoln was in the vicinity when his father was shot. He was also present at the assassination of President Garfield in 1881 as well as the assassination of President McKinley in 1901.8

From William Henry Harrison through John Kennedy, every President elected in a year ending in zero has died in office. The presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren Harding and Franklin Roosevelt all ended prematurely. The pattern has been called ‘The Zero Year Curse’. It ended with Ronald Reagan who survived an assassination attempt. First Lady Nancy Reagan reportedly had hired psychics and astrologers to protect her husband from the curse.9

Apollo 13

The number 13 is often considered to be an unlucky number. The voyage of Apollo 13 was haunted by accidents. The launch was on 11 April 1970 at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The departure time combined with the number of the spacecraft appears to be an attempt to challenge fate. The lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded on 13 April. The crew made it back alive.10

Featured image: NASA mission control celebrating successful return of Apollo 13. NASA. Public Domain.

1. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die. History.com (2009). [link]
2. Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan. Wikipedia. [link]
3. Titanian – Echo of Titanic. Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) [link]
4. Costa Concordia disaster. Wikipedia. [link]
5. MS Costa Allegra. Wikipedia. [link]
6. Three surprising details from the JFK assassination – and why they matter. James L. Swanson (2013). The Globe and Mail. [link]
7. Lincoln–Kennedy coincidences urban legend. Wikipedia. [link]
8. Robert Todd Lincoln. Wikipedia. [link]
9. Curse of Tippecanoe. Wikipedia. [link]
10. Apollo 13. Wikipedia. [link]