5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News Stories

Even the drunkest of screenwriters will try to keep ridiculous coincidences out of their scripts, or at least pass them off as fate or divine intervention. But the writer of the real world's everyday drama apparently just doesn't give a shit. How else do you explain ...

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5
A Runner Wearing A "Jesus Saves" Shirt Is Saved By Jesus

When it came time to choose what he'd be wearing when running this year's Twin Cities Marathon, instead of his name, Minnesota's Tyler Moon chose a two-word phrase. No, not "Fuck you." Fuck you for even suggesting that. Tyler went with "Jesus Saves," hoping to share this uplifting sentiment with everyone who saw him run by. Choosing a message over his legal name surely would have caused all kinds of controversy in some serious competitions, but Tyler was doing the less formal 10-mile race, a companion event to the main marathon. And anyway, this was Minnesota, where people aren't dicks.

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Tyler is a runner, but wasn't super prepared. He hadn't run this race before; he'd only watched it. Still, he was making good time for much of it. He was averaging a steady eight minutes per mile, which put him comfortably in the top half of the 10,000-plus people running. He managed this through the first eight of the race's ten miles. Then he started experiencing an irregular heartbeat. And by "irregular heartbeat," I don't mean an elevated heartbeat, which you had better experience when running a marathon. This was ventricular tachycardia, which stopped his heart from beating.

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He had a heart attack and collapsed. When his head hit the pavement, he fractured five bones in his face and got a concussion. Also he scraped his knee, which probably wasn't the most serious issue there, but must be listed for the sake of completeness. More serious was the heart stuff, which could have killed him pretty quickly. But luckily for Tyler, Jesus was there.

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Jesus Bueno was a nurse anesthetist and happened to be directly behind Tyler. He checked on the fallen man, figured out he wasn't breathing, and started performing CPR on him, with help from a nursing colleague of his who was also running. They kept this going for 10 minutes or so, until paramedics arrived and took over, and 10 minutes are crucial when your heart has stopped. Tyler was recovering just fine when the media last checked in on him, and he'll surely go on to preach further about the Good News, even if the Jesus who saved him that day isn't pronounced the same and wasn't literally an incarnation of God. Unless he was?

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Related: 29 Mind-Blowing Coincidences You Won't Believe Happened

4
A Woman Raised In A House Filled With Clown Art Gets Killed By A Clown

In a horror movie, this would be considered some ridiculously heavy-handed foreshadowing. Marlene Warren grew up in a home filled with clowns. Not actual clowns -- just lots of pictures and sculptures of them. Which is actually creepier. Sad clowns stared and judged her from framed paintings:

5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News StoriesABC

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There was a separate special "circus room," which sounds cheery enough, if only the place wasn't decorated with quite so many clown figurines.

5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News Stories

"I look at this one one right here," explains Marlene's mother Shirley, pointing at one particularly grim portrait, "and say, 'Hey, things will turn out all right.'" Shirley otherwise comes off like an adorable old lady, unaware that she's living in the shitty direct-to-Netflix slasher movie we call reality.

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When Marlene grew into a teenager, she became a artist. But there was no escape from the spirits that shaped her from youth. She took to painting clowns herself (that's not her holding the picture):

5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News StoriesABC

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Then she moved away and got married. And then her life was tragically ended. By a clown. No, this wasn't someone aware of her background who was playing to the theme -- it appears to have just randomly worked out that way.

It was May 26, 1990. The doorbell rang, and on the other side was a clown holding a bunch of balloons and a bouquet of flowers. The clown had the usual getup, with an orange wig, a big honkable nose, white gloves, and thick face paint. One of the balloons bore the message "YOU'RE THE GREATEST," and the clown handed it and the flowers to Marlene while her son and his friends watched from inside. Then out came the gun, and Marlene was shot dead. The clown walked to a white convertible and sped away.

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The investigation into the murder came with its own weird twists, and we've previously told you some of them. The person accused of being under the clown makeup (the trial is set for early 2020) is Sheila Keen, who was having an affair with Marlene's husband Michael at the time, and later went on to marry him. But even with this connection, it's believed that Sheila didn't know Marlene was raised around clowns. If she did it, she wore the costume as a disguise rather than any particular desire to exploit the victim's childhood comfort/trauma (prosecutors released photos of the accused dressed as a clown for Halloween).

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In fact, the media didn't even report on the weird clown connection until recently. "I feel he's sad," said Shirley about one clown to a reporter touring the home, "because Marlene was killed." "Did you buy these ... after Marlene was killed?" asks the reporter, baffled, only to learn that the paintings had been there for decades. The renewed interest in the case came because police finally cracked it 27 years after Marlene's death. She'd died in 1990, and they charged Keen in 2017. Incidentally, 27 years is also the exact length of time between Pennywise's appearances. Coincidence? Well ... yeah.

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Related: 5 Creepy Coincidences You Won't Believe Actually Happened

3
An EMT In An Ambulance Has A Medical Emergency, As Does The EMT Sent To Help

When you see an ambulance speeding along the highway, you get out of the way because you want it to have as free a path as possible. You don't usually get out of the way specifically because you fear the ambulance crashing into you, but that's always a possibility. Like what happened on the Brooklyn Expressway in October 2019, when a fire department ambulance careened into a car. That car's driver was fine. The ambulance driver, Liam Glinane, not so much. Liam, an EMT, had been with the department for 28 years, and was a first responder on 9/11. But on this day, his brain unfortunately decided to have a stroke.

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"Ambulance driver himself needs an ambulance" is enough to mark this as an ironic story for people to delightedly share, but New York's emergency services weren't done being on the receiving end of medical disasters that day. A second ambulance came to the scene to pick Glinane up, and inside was Raymond Wang, an EMT and a lieutenant. When his ambulance arrived at the crash site, Wang got down, spotted an unconscious Liam, and prepared to administer care. Then he was immediately struck by an aortic aneurysm, losing consciousness as well.

Both men were in critical condition when reporters last checked in on them. The mayor asked New Yorkers to pray, both for the men's recovery and for generally some proof that our lives are not controlled by some kind of malevolent trickster deity.

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Related: The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Coincidences Of All Time

2
A Doctor Sees A Kid Survive A Strange One-In-A-Million Head Injury, Then Sees It Happen Again

In 2017, a group of friends in western Missouri found a long metal meat skewer, and they thought it would be a good idea to stick it in the ground pointy end up right next to the ladder to their tree house. We don't know exactly what mischievous skewer-based game they were playing -- maybe they were just big fans of tempting fate -- but let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that all boys involved had every intention of not impaling themselves on anything. Then the wasps came.

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Ten-year-old Xavier Cunningham tried to swat away a yellow jacket, and in the process he fell off the ladder and onto the skewer in just about the worst possible way. It entered under his left eye and went all the way through his head, coming through the other side. And yet it missed the eye itself, it missed the brain, and despite brushing up against the carotid artery, it managed to avoid ripping open any major blood vessels. Xavier's many wasp stings (the wasps got him after all) hurt more than the impalement. In the hospital, Dr. Koji Ebersole oversaw the operation to remove the skewer, and it went perfectly. The boy's survival was a one-in-a-million chance, he said, given that this was what Xavier looked like coming in:

5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News StoriesCliff Erwin/Medical News Network

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Cut to June of this year. Eli Gregg of Redfield, Kansas was in his backyard with a ten-inch knife. A few minutes of play later, and the knife was in his head. Now, if you're suspicious and think that casual play is a totally inadequate explanation for how a knife goes into a child's head, take solace in knowing that the doctors who examined him were convinced this was no more than an accident -- or, alternatively, panic at this news, because knowing this can happen just by chance is even scarier. As with Xavier, the knife went in right under Eli's left eye:

5 Surreal Coincidences In Recent News StoriesMedical News Network

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And, as with Xavier, the knife avoided doing any real damage. It hadn't sliced into the brain, and it hadn't penetrated the carotid artery despite pushing right against it. And so the knife was extracted without much difficulty by a surgical team, which was led by ... Dr. Koji Ebersole.

"Ah," you say, "so Ebersole is a world-renowned steel extractor, based in some famous hospital dedicated to these freak injuries!" Nope. Ebersole works at the University of Kansas Hospital, and both injuries happened within 100 miles of Kansas City. Kansas City itself has a population of just 150,000 (fewer than the number of people in one square mile of Manhattan by day), but it's safe to say that the region has a distinctly above-average rate of head trauma miracles.

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Related: 6 Insane Real Coincidences That'll Make You Go 'Whoa, Dude'

1
A Rescued Sailor's Lost Boat Drifts All The Way To His Mother's Place

BBC presenter Niall Iain MacDonald was battling depression and came up with an idea: He'd row 43 miles across a strait in Scotland to raise awareness about mental health. If you're wondering how someone rowing across a strait in Scotland would raise awareness about mental health, well, maybe it wouldn't, but maybe it could get Niall out of his own slump. With that accomplished, he decided to go further and do something that would attract greater attention. He'd row solo all the way from New York to Scotland, which you might notice is an entire ocean.

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After a couple of failed attempts at the 3,400-mile journey, Niall tried again in 2018, and this was his most successful trip by far. After departing New York, he and his rowboat, the Alba, actually made it a quarter of the way across the Atlantic. But then a storm powered itself up, water swamped his cabin, he injured his head, and his radio antenna broke in two. He got out his satellite phone and called for help while he still could. A Dutch cargo ship answered and picked him up.

Niall announced that he was through adventuring. His boat was surely lost forever, as it was a tiny vessel in the middle of the ocean. But then this year, 15 months after he'd ditched it, the Alba washed up ashore ... in Scotland. That's right, the little boat finished the journey without him. Driven by nothing but currents, it had survived thousands of miles and wound up hitting the very neck of Britain it had been bound for. And here's where the weird coincidence comes in: It landed on a beach in South Uist, which happened to be right near Niall's mother's childhood home. If Niall was still looking for a sign to keep going, the Universe was very much serving one up. Or maybe the boat got sick of Niall steering it into storms and decided to take the act solo.

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Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should see.

For more, check out 4 Movie Curses With Unexpected Upsides - After Hours:


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