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Stories so incredible they sound made up…but they’re not!

1.

While gardening, Lena Påhlsson pulled a carrot out of the ground that was ‘wearing’ the wedding ring she had lost 16 years earlier.

The ring, which Lena had designed herself, went missing after she put it on the kitchen counter while baking in 1995. Apparently, the ring had fallen into the compost bucket, and unbeknownst to Lena, been spread on the garden. If not for that lucky carrot, it might never have been found.

 

2.

After years of searching, Steve Flaig found his birth mom working in the very same Lowe’s store where he was employed.

Steve had been searching for his birth mom since he was 18, but it was 2007 before he realized he’d been spelling her name wrong. The new search got a hit–about a mile from the store where he worked. He mentioned the coincidence to his boss, who said, “You mean Chris Tallady, who works here?” The rest is history.

 

3.

Virginia Fike won the lottery twice in the same day.

Fike always played the same lottery numbers: her parents’ anniversary date and ages, divided by the year they were married. In 2012, a mix up at the cash register meant she played the numbers on two tickets instead of just one. Later that day, she saw on TV that two tickets in Virginia had hit five of the six Powerball numbers. Each one was worth $1 million. Fike looked at her mom and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny …” and then she laughed all the way to the bank.

 

4.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi lived through the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He was in Hiroshima on business when the bomb hit, rupturing his ear drums, temporarily blinding him, and burning much of his upper body. Despite his injuries,Tsutomu reported for work in Nagasaki three days later. He was discussing the incident with his boss when the air-raid sirens went off and the second bomb struck.

 

5.

Frano Selak cheated death seven times and then won the lottery.

Croatian music teacher Frano Selak had his first escape in 1962 when a train he was traveling on jumped the rails and plunged into an icy river. A year later, he was thrown out of a plane when the door flew open (19 people died but somehow he was thrown clear of the crash and landed in a haystack). He’s also survived multiple car and bus crashes. Then in 2005, his luck suddenly took a new turn, and Selak won nearly $1 million with his first ever lottery ticket.

 

6.

Maarten de Jonge booked flights on both of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flights but changed his plans at the last minute.

Although Dutch, Maarten de Jonge is a member of Malaysia’s Terengganu cycling team. In July 2014, De Jonge told a Dutch reporter he had been due to travel on flight MH17, the Boeing 777 that was shot down over Ukraine killing all of the almost 300 passengers on board. Even more incredible is the fact that MH17 wasn’t his first flight: he had also been planning to travel on flight MH370, the Malaysia jet which is still missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

 

7.

Harrison Okene survived for almost three days underwater by crouching in an air bubble after his tugboat capsized.

The Nigerian sailor was on the toilet (oy vey!) at 5 am when his boat suddenly started to sink–fast. The boat plunged almost 100 feet under the icy waters, and Okene was wearing only his underpants. Still he managed to survive thanks to a 4ft sq air bubble in the cabin.

 

8.

Anders Helstrup was skydiving when he was nearly hit by a meteorite as it fell to earth in “dark flight” – the point at which it no longer emits light.

Helstrup captured the near-miss on a head cam he was wearing as he fell to Earth – and he had no idea he had narrowly avoided death until watching the footage. “I got the feeling that there was something, but I didn’t register what was happening,” he told Norwegian news site NRK.

 

9.

Texas resident and math professor Joan Ginther won the lottery jackpot via scratch-offs not once but FOUR separate times.

This picture shows Lisa Rose, an assistant manager at the Diamond Shamrock store in Kingsville, Texas, that sold Ginther her first huge instant prize: $5.4 million. A decade later, she won $2 million; then two years later $3 million; and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot.

 

10.

In 1971, 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke was the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian Amazon, wandering a crocodile-infested jungle for 10 days before being rescued.

Koepcke fell two miles from the sky — still strapped in by her seatbelt — when her plane crashed into the Amazonian mountains. She wandered through jungle, waters teeming with crocodiles and piranhas–in only a sundress–until she was discovered by a group of Peruvian lumberjacks.

 

11.

In 1992, Chris Duddy, Michael Benson and Craig Hosking spent two days inside a live volcano crater after their helicopter crashed into it.

“…the helicopter lost power so suddenly that the pilot, Craig Hosking, did not have time to radio for help. When the helicopter crashed on the hot crater floor, it narrowly missed a bubbling lava pool, and all three survived with only minor cuts,” reported the Chicago Tribune. While waiting for rescue, the trio recall “listening to the lava gurgle below them and resigning themselves to a gruesome death.”

 

12.

Howard Ulrich and his then seven-year-old son rode out the world’s tallest mega-tsunami in a fishing boat.

On the night of July 9, 1958 an earthquake along the Fairweather Fault in the Alaska Panhandle generated a local tsunami with a wave that was nearly twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. “Ulrich tried to pull up the anchor, but the boat was quickly swept up as the wave raced through the bay at 100 miles per hour. Incredibly, their fishing vessel was lifted atop the wave, carrying them up above the trees before depositing them back into the bay,” explains Huffington Post.

 

13.

Reshma Begum was pulled alive from the rubble of a garment factory in Bangladesh 17 days after it collapsed.

Begum, 19, was working as a seamstress in the Rana Plaza building near Dhaka when the factory collapsed in April 2013, leaving more than 1,100 workers dead. Begum had found some dried food and a limited supply of water to keep her alive while trapped. The search for survivors had almost drawn to a close when rescuers heard a banging sound from amid the ruins, and found her.

 

14.

David Zehntner just happened to be flying a single-engine Cessna airplane over his property at the exact moment someone was trying to rob him.

Zehtner and his wife were 800 feet above the ground when they spotted a strange vehicle parked in their driveway. Zehntner went in for a closer look–at the exact moment the thief picked up a 6-foot-by-12-foot red utility trailer that was parked outside the house, set it on the bumper hitch to a pickup truck, hooked it up and drove off. He was later apprehended, of course.

 

15.

In 1954, Ann Hodges became the only person in history to have been hit by a meteorite.

Ok, I know that sounds decidedly UN-lucky, but you have to hear the full story. “On a clear afternoon in Sylacauga, Alabama…Ann was napping on her couch, covered by quilts, when a softball-size hunk of black rock broke through the ceiling, bounced off a radio, and hit her in the thigh, leaving a pineapple-shaped bruise,” explains NatGeo. If not for the quilts and the radio, it could have been her head.

 

 

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