The Power of Coincidences

By: JoJo Little

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My family friend Clare attends Miami University of Ohio, and while she was at school she experienced an encounter with a ghost that prompted me to write about the power of coincidences. Every summer my family spends a week in Maine in eerie cabins along Green Lake with Clare’s family. This past summer we all sat around the dinner table as Clare recounted her experience with this ghost.

She first told us that the house she lives in is an old funeral home. Her and her friends had experienced minor odd encounters with things moving around the house and hearing weird noises but nothing significant. Until one night when she was sleeping comfortably in her bed like always, she awoke to a being standing at the edge of her bed. At first, she thought she was just seeing things but was proven wrong when the middle-aged looking man lingered for a couple minutes. Of course, she couldn’t fall back asleep; her thoughts immediately thought about all the ghosts that existed in the house because of its history. Until she could sleep again, she decided to lie in bed looking at her phone in order to distract herself. Then, in the middle of the night she got an email from December 18, 1969 with no subject and no content. She deleted it immediately along with other junk mail. Afterwards, she looked in her email trash and found the other emails she had deleted but not the one with no content… she said she didn’t think too much of it. Just that it was very odd. Eventually, her mind calmed and she was able to find sleep again. The next morning as she was telling her friends what happened they seemed to be more intrigued than she was. One of her friends insisted they look up the date on the Internet and find out if there was any significance to it. Sure enough, they found an obituary for a man I will call John Smith (in order to maintain confidentiality), who was 43 years old when he died on December 18, 1969 in Springfield, Ohio just a couple towns over…

After hearing this story I was in awe, not because she had seen a ghost, but because it seemed as though the spiritual world influenced technology in such a way that was undeniable. However, a few days ago I got a similar email from December 31, 1969 with no subject and no content. But it wasn’t in the middle of the night after I had just seen a ghost. Instead, I was sitting at lunch with my friends. Interestingly enough, my friends said they have received the same emails. I guess it is a glitch in our phones or Gmail. I immediately thought about Clare’s encounter. It did not make the story less scary for me, but in fact more intriguing. I realized the email glitch was not in the hands of the spirit standing at the end of her bed, but a mere coincidence, yet the power of this coincidence is overwhelming. I did my research and actually found the obituary in order to validate her story. My perception of the story changed. It was no longer that the email in and of itself was weird; it was the fact that it appeared on her phone that night, when she saw that ghost, and the date corresponded with the death of a middle-aged man from a few towns over. Let’s not forget she lives in an old funeral home.
So I started thinking about the power of coincidences. Do you think the man standing at the end of her bed was John Smith? Do you think he somehow sent her that email in order to be noticed or in order to not be forgotten? Or do you think it was a mere coincidence?


a P.S., added about two hours after this post was originally put up: When I received the email telling me that my blog post was up, I also received another one of the strange emails!  Screenshot of the email below.

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12 thoughts on “The Power of Coincidences

  1. Coincidentally, I think about coincidences a lot! I think of them as ways that the universe tests our will power. Sometimes people do things or make decisions because they take something, that coincidentally happens, as a sign.

    There are so many eerie times we let unrelated events creep us out, but really we’re just scaring ourselves. I honestly think that your friends events are unrelated, but it is still so scary, because we let these scary thoughts linger and build and get scarier and scarier! Like the email, which could just be some type of spam with a random date, but becomes a sign that John Smith was communicating. Regardless of is coincidences are scary, weird, or just slightly creep, they always find a way to sincerely bother us, which is truly frightening!

  2. I personally believe everything happens for a reason and while some things may seem like mere chance to some, they can be extremely relevant to those they directly apply to – your friend Clare being an excellent example. Stories such as this always intrigue me because whenever sometimes happens to me that may seem like a coincidence I always look for a deeper meaning. Also, one of my favorite TV show quotes from the show Sherlock is “What do we say about coincidences?” “The universe is rarely so lazy.”

  3. I think that your friend’s encounter was not a mere coincident, but rather, a forgotten spirit seeking remembrance. It seems like John Smith is trying to continue his legend by inspiring you two to look into his life and share his story. When someone passes away, they never really die until they are completely forgotten. We often replay memories and share stories of the deceased, extending their influence for many years to come. Think of history. We teach future generations about the impact many have made in the past. Even in our personal lives, we never forget the ones closest to our hearts.

  4. First off, just wanted to say those emails are freaky. I’ve never received any or heard from anyone i know receiving any, so that in it self is creepy. Its another coincidence that it happened to send after your blog was posted.
    Secondly, I agree coincidences are a funny thing. I know I never just see them as what they are, coincidences. I always over think these situations because I do believe there is a deeper meaning behind them. With your friend and the man, the timing was just too perfect. Its an easy way to blame on coincidences, which reassures us it was nothing significant. We tend to choose the path thats leads to the easiest simplest answer for us, instead of the alternative complicated path.

  5. This is probably the first story I’ve ever read where an individual received an actual email from a potentially supernatural being. The modernity of the story is what causes it be frightening, as eyewitness accounts often leave room for skepticism. Have an actual physical–or in this case electronic–document allows the story to shift into a rather interesting tale as opposed to a generic ghost story. I found it interesting that you also chose to mention that it was a potential coincidence, and I appreciate the open mindedness with which you approach this matter. I look forward to reading more in the future!

  6. When I was first reading this story, I just thought it was a glitch and a mere coincidence. However, with the screenshot of you receiving the email again, I can’t believe it was just a coincidence. I think John Smith, or maybe someone else, is trying to reach out for some reason, and he’s doing it through an electronic means. It seems unusual, but to my knowledge it has been done before. I’m really intrigued because I want to know what this spirit wants. Why is it contacting people, and why is it communicating in such an unusual way?

  7. If the story of a ghost standing at the foot of your friend’s bed wasn’t creepy enough, the presence of this creepy email that actually exists was definitely enough to give me shivers. A quick google search of the date 12/31/1969 comes up with many results linking to speculation about this mysterious email. It is very strange how they are showing up in many people’s inboxes and are impossible to be read and deleted, and it seems like even now, people are still being bothered by it. Maybe John Smith’s death had something to do with an email, and his angry spirit is haunting this form of technology, forever tormenting those that may have caused his death? Whatever the case may be, this email seems very unnerving and I am dreading the possibility of seeing this email in my inbox.

  8. I think the line between coincidence and supernatural is very hard to discern and causes people lots of confusion and thought. This is an incredible case of just that. If it were coincidence, how could it be so strong? How can details align so perfectly on accident? On the other hand, if it is true and this is a ghost story, how can we rethink everything that we previously believed about the world and dying and afterlife? Either way, one is forced to accept a challenging reality.

  9. This was very interesting to read, especially with the screenshot of the text message you received! I believe that if someone believes something is a coincidence versus supernatural all depends on how much they believe in ghosts and hauntings. If you believe then you are more likely to attribute something like this to being supernatural. Whereas if you do not believe then you are more likely to attribute something to being a coincidence. I like to believe in the supernatural so I think that it could have been John Smith. I think the reason she would more creeped out by the text messages than you was because of “seeing” this person and the fact that she lives in an old funeral home.

  10. On the subject of coincidences I’m always caught between both sides. On the one hand, if people go digging enough, they are bound to turn up something. And there are often very logical explanations for things: a glitch in email, people die relatively frequently, I actually have this weird thing where I’m half asleep and think there are people in my room, and I have to stay awake and talk to them (my aunt had this too); Anyways to me, there could be an explanation to it. But on the other hand, is it actually just coincidence? While I can try to rationalize such things, I have a hard time getting myself to fully believe it. While it’s quite possible there’s a logical explanation for this occurrence, it’s quite possible there isn’t.

  11. This is probably one of my favorite stories on here! I actually got chills when I saw the date on that email it is so cool, but creepy at the same time! OK, speaking of coincidences, I recently called my younger brother on the phone after we had talked about Slender Man. My little brother claimed he saw “a tall skinny man with spider arms” in the corner of his room. Since I never talk to them about my classes this scared me a lot. I has to reassure him he was dreaming and that nothing was in his room, only for him to say “Yeah i know, He is in the back yard now”. coincidence or not?

  12. While I don’t think the email has to do with the supernatural, I do think that the idea of the supernatural interacting with technology is both interesting and terrifying. Technology can be scary enough with people pretending to be things they aren’t, or the possibility of people hacking into your personal files, but a ghost getting in? I still get creeped out by the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “I, Robot… You, Jane”, where a manipulative demon is released onto the interwebs. Then there’s Dionnea House, which is about ten times worse. I have to wonder, if ghosts exist, if modern ones will start messing with tech.

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