Wrong place, wrong time, or just plain unlucky? Here’s our list of the 13 (get it!) unluckiest people…
1. Unlucky strike
Park Ranger Roy Sullivan was struck by lightening seven times. The chances of getting hit by lightening is a 3,000 to 1. So, getting hit seven times is about 22,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. Roy was first struck in 1942. The bolt entered his leg and exited through his big toe. He was also struck while driving down a mountain, fishing, and inside a ranger station. Shocking!
2. Hurricane Martinez
Melanie Martinez lost four houses to four hurricanes – Betsy in 1965, Juan in 1985, George in 1998, and Katrina in 2005. But then, her luck changed, when a reality TV show selected her still-standing home, for a makeover. A week and $20,000 later, it was unrecognizable. But, on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, a category one hurricane named Isaac arrived, and took Melanie’s newly refurbed home with it. Martinez and her family, along with their five kittens and three dogs, were all rescued. Everything else was lost. Everything else was lost. Wipeout!
3. Anchors away!
Traditionally, sea captains considered it bad luck to have a woman on board when they weighed anchor. Women were said to make the sea angry. On the flip side, the superstition said, if the woman was naked, it would calm the sea!
Violet Jessop, however, was unlucky for all those she sailed with. She was on board the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic, in 1911, when it collided with a British warship. Moving to the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, she made it onto one of the lifeboats, and again survived. Then, in 1916, she signed up to serve as a nurse aboard the Britannic. Tragically, it floated into a mine and quickly sunk. But Violet made it out alive, and back onto dry land. She died of congestive heart failure in 1971, and was buried at sea.
4. And tonight’s winning numbers are…
Every year, when Christmas rolls around in Spain there’s the El Gordo lottery draw, or ‘the fat one’. And, in 2011, the tiny village of Sodeto won big when their numbers came up! The happy inhabitants ended up sharing an unimaginable $950 million. All except Costis Mitsotakis who, apparently, missed out on the syndicate. Gutted!
5. What next?
Fisherman Erik Norrie has been struck by lightening, bitten by a rattlesnake, punched by monkeys, and, more recently, almost eaten by a shark… Though he lost a chunk from his leg in the attack, the father-of-four survived to tell all his tales. That’s one unlucky streak.
Only two cities have ever been destroyed by atomic bombs. Tsuttomu Yamaguchi was in both of them. Tsutomu was on a business trip to Hiroshima, on 6 August 1945, when an atomic bomb blew up less than two miles away. Returning home to Nagasaki the next day, as he was telling his boss about his lucky escape, another atomic bomb detonated just two miles away. Surviving both, he became an anti-nuclear protester.
7. Bad shot
American president, Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was 21 when his father was assassinated. Undeterred, he worked in politics and became the Secretary of War under James Garfield. But, in 1881, just four months into his presidency, Garfield was shot dead as he boarded a train. Then, 20 years later, Robert was invited to New York by the re-elected William McKinley. While at a speaking engagement, an assassin shot McKinley twice. Lincoln didn’t witness the atrocity, but was in the room and heard the gunshots. Lincoln turned down the majority of parliamentary posts he was offered after that.
8. Mind your hip!
On 30 November 1954, Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch. Meanwhile, a meteorite was plummeting to earth. The rock, shattered into three pieces, one of which smashed through her roof and struck Ann in the hip. Ouch!
9. Bad juju
Regina Rhode was a student at Columbine High School during one of the worst school massacres in history, where 12 people were killed. Then, eight years later, Rhodes was studying as a grad student during the shootings of 32 students at Virginia Tech.
10. WLTM a hairy man!
Sure, some ladies like their men complete with a hairy chest. But there’s hairy, and there’s Yu Zhenhuan. With hair covering 96 per cent of his body, due to a rare condition, he’s the hairiest man in the world. From the palms of his hands to the soles of his feet. Yu even underwent surgery to remove hair from his ears, as it was affecting his hearing. Hair-raising stuff!
11. Calamity John
‘Calamity’ John Lyne has been labeled Britain’s unluckiest man – suffering 16 major accidents, from lightning strikes, a rock fall in a mine, three car crashes, and the time a catapulted stone hit him in the mouth smashing eight teeth. His calamities began at just 18 months old when he took a swig from a plastic bottle, which contained disinfectant. Rushed to hospital, he had his stomach pumped. Then, as a teen, rather than outgrowing his disastrous reputation, after breaking his arm falling from a tree, on the way home from the hospital the bus he was in crashed – and broke the same arm again in a different place. One unlucky lad.
12. Tree-cherous fall
Aged 10, after he fell and scraped his knee in the Indonesia forests, small, bark-like warts sprouted on Dede Koswara’s leg. Slowly, they spread to his feet and hands. At one point, 3ft-long yellow-brown branches sprouted, as Dede became half-plant. Destitute, he was forced to join a travelling freak show, as the Tree Man of Java. Surgeons used an electric saw to cut off 13 pounds of warts and decaying matter. But it all grew back again. Sadly, he died aged 45.
13. Cursed couple
Like so many, Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence were left traumatised after their trip to New York turned to horror when it was interrupted by one of the worst terrorist attacks in history – 9/11. Sadly, four years later, they were in London during 7/7. Likely hoping it was just a bizarre, if horrific, twist of fate, it didn’t put them off travelling. Three years on, they headed to India, but this time the cursed couple’s holiday coincided with the terrifying terror attack in Mumbai, India.