A “simultaneous occurrence” is when two events are said to take place at the same time, while being wholly unrelated. In developing this list, there was the obstacle of finding things/events that were truly simultaneous yet completely unrelated. The question arose: Do these two events truly occur at the same time? I was led to brainy chat rooms populated by physics majors the world over, delving into theories that went way over my head. This, unfortunately, is not a scholarly undertaking on the subject of simultaneous coincidences. If one looks too closely, it is a splitting of hairs.
Though we may try for symmetry, for patterns in our ordinary pursuits—the universe seems chock full of these simultaneous blunders. Yet, it’s up to us to make our own ordinary interpretations. Quite possibly, we have to create the links for ourselves, if there are to be any. Using a little imagination and whimsy, it’s possible.
And to prove that people think about these things, just today while driving to work, the radio host said: “I heard that every breath we take has been breathed by every person that has once lived.” The other host responded, “I can see that for a big city but maybe not in the small towns.” The idea is still romantic, and takes a little edge off the road kill or the honking horns, wherever you are from.
15. The Hundredth Monkey Effect
When a group of Macaque monkeys off the Japanese island of Koshima started washing their sweet potatoes, scientists studied the effect. The scientists initiated the idea and found that once the main group of monkeys learned how to wash their potatoes and started to teach their young, what analyzers called a critical number was reached. After that, the idea was somehow spread to an independent island of monkeys across the water.
Scientists have debated over the validity of this experiment, and one outright refuted it. But like astrology, some of us like to believe those monkeys picked up the habit from some telepathy. To think of things lining up by intangible means adds a bit of magic to our lives as we correspond with others. Like the way some read horoscopes. Good luck mostly, except when you were born in the year of the monkey, which is supposed to be bad luck according the Chinese Celestial Calendar!
14. Longtime Couples Who Die Together
In this modern age, it’s kind of a surprising notion that two people can stay together long enough to die together.
After his father died of a heart attack, former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie wrote on his Facebook page, “They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it.” The reason? His mother also died of a heart attack less than an hour later.
But how and why does this occur?
According to the article, the phenomenon goes by the name of takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome. It’s reasoned that the spouse is unable to live with the immense shock of a sudden death, though debate is ongoing whether any pre-death knowledge about a spouse fatality might lessen the blow, so to speak, in their partner’s ability to cope.
13. Two Domestic Strains of Dogs Appeared Around the Same Time in Two Different Parts of the World
It is thought that humans and canines became friends in East Asia and Europe both around 4,800 years ago. Some think modern dogs are descended from the grey wolf, but studies from analyzing bone structures in many breeds consolidate the theory that two strains, Eastern and Western, must have met somewhere down the line and created the wide diversity of domestic breeds that exist today.
Scientists led their studies from an ancient dog they found near the Newgrange tomb and archeological site in Ireland. Germonpré, the scientist analyzing the results of the dog’s temporal bone, also containing the inner ear, describe it as such: “This Irish dog has a component that can’t be found in recent dogs or recent wolves.” He said the findings could demonstrate a link to either prehistoric European dogs or prehistoric ancient wolves that would eventually give rise to the early canines.
12. Empathy, The Exact Same Emotion Shared Between People
You may ask, what about love? How is sharing an emotion between two people different than say, simultaneous orgasm? But we’re talking about empathy, a very different type of emotion. Like Mother Theresa had, some may say. Yet a word that might describe her better is, Caritas.
Caritas by one definition means the love of all mankind or charity. In another definition, Caritas mean the forfeit of self-possession.
Imagine feeling as someone you love feels after being diagnosed with cancer, down to their physical aches.
J.K. Rowling believed in the power of empathy. She worked as an aid worker, and as an English language teacher in Portugal before she wrote Harry Potter. Her experience and her deep feeling towards others inspired her work. It might have been the reason we have death eaters, the embodiment of depression in a character. She said in a speech she gave at a Harvard graduation, “[imagination] is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”
11. Einstein’s Time As A Pattern
Einstein, in his theory of relativity, believed that time is not made of one linear line as many had previously believed. Rather, he thought of time in four dimensions, what he called space-time, so that something that was happening “now” could only be viewed subjectively.
Maybe another way to say it would be that an occurrence does not happen independently. Modern quantum physics, and Steven Hawking’s Theories of the Universe are both adapted from Einstein’s theories of time.
Steven Hawking spent years developing and disproving his own theory on the limits of space and time and is portrayed by the actor Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, where he struggles with Motor Neuron Disease.
In 2014, The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes referred to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge exploded Youtube and Facebook with people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves to fundraise for Motor Neuron Disease, ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
10. Little People Myths Cropping Up in Many Different Cultures
Hawaiian culture has the menehune. The Irish have leprechauns.
The Mi’kmaq tribe indigenous to Quebec, which now primarily resides in Maine, believed in the Sabewaelu, the half-way people. Also known as “the water people” these small people lived in the water as mermen and mermaids and were known to have lovely singing voices. Thought to bring about storms, it is said that the half-way people offered no other threat to humans. One exception being, if you were rude to one of the Sabewaelu they were sometimes known to take a child.
It seems many cultures share this common idea, and it makes one wonder if there is some coincidence in reality. As we know, our ancestors were typically shorter and more petite than we are today. Perhaps small people are prominent in our imaginations, whether or not they exist in reality. Maybe they represent a love for children or for small things in general.
9. The Subconscious Plagiarism of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” and The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”
George Harrison might be the “Guru” of The Beatles, compared to John, Ringo, or Paul, as he was a lyricist much inspired by India and meditative practices. Patty Boyd, his former wife, wrote in her memoir that he would sit and meditate for hours.
Being calm in his heart center, George must have received a shock when he was said to have plagiarized an earlier song. George Harrison faced this dilemma in 1969, when ongoing controversy over his “My Sweet Lord” was linked to the Chiffons’, “He’s So Fine,” recorded seven years earlier. Though all art can be said to be a mosaic of the surrounding world, how many similarities count as too many, when inspecting art or music? Is it plagiarism or is an accident? Harrison ended the debacle by buying the record company. Maybe you can’t buy love, but money can buy your way out of trouble.
According to an article entitled “What is Stagflation and Why it is So Dangerous,” stagflation is the perfect storm; the word itself is a double-header, a cognate of “stagnant” and “inflation.” The simultaneous occurrence of both substantial unemployment, slow economic growth, and inflation is known as stagflation.
Though both are unfortunate from an economic standpoint, economists think that substantial unemployment is worse. No jobs to be had equals no consumer input and a further inflated economy.
Stagflation is Trump’s worst fear, maybe. Or maybe it’s a mouse or a toupee catastrophe. We as Americans have chosen the best looking contenders through the history of the primaries.
The About.com article “Stagflation in a Historical Context,” links stagflation with the Jimmy Carter administration in the 70s, where an increase in government spending was thought to help with unemployment, which caused other factors to interfere and was considered greatly ineffectual.
7. Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox— “Living and Dead” in Equal Parts
Imagine a cat in a box. Now imagine a radioactive element that might at any moment, “blow the cat out of the box.” Here’s the scenario: Schrödinger, who is trying to determine the cat’s mortality, finds it undeterminable. The thought experiment is known as a paradox, because it demonstrates that at any given moment the cat can be both dead and alive. Without observation, the viewer cannot be sure. And the cat can be in the midst of two states or two half-states.
The experiment is largely an abstraction, but most refer to it as a “thought experiment.” In any case, today, it is quoted frequently. Author Neil Gaiman in his novel American Gods wrote, “If they don’t ever open the box to feed it, it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead.”
6. Twilight Zone: Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Spoiler alert! The Occurrence at Owl Creek is a short story written by Ambrose Bierce. It is also however, an episode of The Twilight Zone, and a short French film that won the 1962 Oscar for Best Short Film, at approximately 30-minutes long. So what’s the hubbub? During the Civil War, a southern civilian flees a hangman’s noose under his union executioner as the rope breaks. From Bierce’s Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, published on July 13, 1890, a simultaneous occurrence takes place that involves a vision and a twisted plot.
Ambrose Bierce, a lifelong atheist, participated as a soldier in the Mexican-American War. His death is a mystery because he is thought to have disappeared with no trace. Kurt Vonnegut said “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was the best short story of all time.
5. Carl Jung’s Dream Theories – The Golden Scarab
Among other things, the philosopher Carl Jung believed that a person’s consciousness was a not just his or her own but a collective consciousness of his all his ancestors. He was a friend of Freud, before the two of them had a falling out over some ideological differences.
Nevertheless, Freud and Jung studied and believed many of the same philosophies, especially relating to dreams.
Jung placed a lot of weight on dreams. His Golden Scarab idea came about as he was listening to a patient tell him about a dream they had about the mysterious scarab. Jung claims that while he listened, the infernal pest flew into his window and invaded his therapy room-study. We wonder if Jung made this up to fit his own theory to impress Freud, or if it really did happen?
The word chiaroscuro is of Italian origins. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, this word refers to the arrangement of light and dark parts in an artwork.
It also can describe the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character).
The technique was used by great artists from Rembrandt to da Vinci. By drawing in such a fashion, the artist can portray the illusion of a certain light coming on the figures and objects in a painting. It could also be said to define three-dimensional objects. Da Vinci used the early method in his oil painting that defined the Renaissance that emphasizes tone or brightness over color.
He said this about his technique: “I would remind you O Painter! To dress your figures in the lightest colors you can, since, if you put them in dark colors, they will be in too slight relief and inconspicuous from a distance.”
3. A Woman Who Survived Three Shipwrecks on The Titanic, Britannic, and Olympic
Her name was Violet Jessop and she seemed to make light of disaster from an early age. When she was a girl she luckily survived tuberculosis. She was born from Irish parents, who settled in Argentina. As a young woman, she decided to become a ship stewardess, which brought her to the prevailing trials and tribulations, on the rocky sea.
In 1910, while working on the Olympic, the two ships collided: the HMS Hawke and the Olympic. Though the hull of Jessop’s ship sank into the water, it was able to make port, passengers intact.
On the Titanic, she was evacuated on lifeboat 16.
WWII struck and on the Britannia, she dove head first, literally, when the ship hit an unsuspected mine left by a German U-Boat. She joked later that she only survived because of her thick hair, which cushioned the blow.
2. When Kublai Khan Became the Mongol Emperor, the First Humans Were Setting Foot on New Zealand
The first inhabitants of New Zealand are judged to have settled in the timeframe of 1250–1300 AD. They were the Polynesians, studies suggest. Yet, evidence found in the 1990s detected rats on the island, suggesting earlier inhabitants. Their results from the radioactive decay suspect that the people must have been to New Zealand much earlier in order for the rats to have been introduced, since rats could not swim the lengthy distance and are not native to the Island.
Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, was a Mongol who became the emperor of China sometime around 1260-1279. He was said to have completed the conquest his ancestor had started. Once China was under his control, stretching into Persia or modern day Iran, and southern Russia, Kublai Khan still ruled the Mongol empire, as well. An advisor made mention that his leader could conquer on horseback but not govern by horseback.
1. To Pat the Head and Rub the Stomach at the Same Time
This ranks among the tasks of those who can do a rubik’s cube in under 5-minutes. It’s difficult, but according to an online chat room, not impossible. It is conceivable to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time as a simultaneous occurrence! There are people among us who have mastered the art.
The challenge lies in the left brain vs. the right brain dichotomy. Both hands want to copy the mannerism of the other hand, which makes it difficult. That’s why it takes a special level of patience and practice to accomplish the task.
Makes one wonder about the mimicry in nature vs. the chaos in nature. What are we but puppets to our own maneuvers? If it was necessary to our survival could we change our way of putting our thoughts into motion?