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Think You're Unlucky? Think Again

Updated on August 12, 2015

Stories abound about dumb people getting caught in the act of doing something stupid. They might be considered unlucky, but these intellectually challenged individuals don’t hold a candle to the folks featured in the following accounts.

Consider the unfortunate events to befall this Japanese chap. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Does that date ring a bell? It should, it’s the date America dropped the first atomic bomb on that city. Yamaguchi suffered serious burns but was able to return home. Where was home? He lived in Nagasaki…the second city to be hit by an atomic bomb. Unlucky perhaps, but considering the fact he survived both bombings, he might be thought of as a very lucky man.

In January, 1962, Frane Selak was traveling on a train when it suddenly derailed and plunged into an icy river. The death toll was 17 passengers. Selak managed to escape with only a broken arm, minor scrapes and bruises. A year later he was a passenger on a plane when the cockpit door blew open and he was forced out of the plane. Nineteen died in the incident. Selak however, by a twist of fate, landed in a haystack. Again, he suffered only minor injuries.

Several years later, in 1966, he was on a bus that plunged into a river. Four passengers were killed, but Selak escaped without injury. Following is a list of further events which the hapless man encountered:

· 1970, managed to escape from his car before a faulty fuel pump caused it to explode in flames.

· 1973, another car caught fire. He survived with only most of his hair being burned off.

· 1995, hit by a city bus, but only suffered minor injuries.

· 1996 forced to drive off a cliff to escape an oncoming truck. He landed in a tree, his car exploding 300 feet below.

Selak says he’s either the world's unluckiest man or the luckiest.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. But, you couldn’t convince Major Summerford, a British officer of that. In February 1918 he was knocked off his horse by a bolt of lightning which paralyzed him from the waist down. He retired, but a few years later in 1924 he was fishing alongside a river when lightning struck the tree he was under. It paralyzed his right side. It took two years before he was able to take walks in a local park. He was doing just that in 1930 when once again he was hit by a lightning bolt permanently paralyzing him. He died two years later. One would think that would be the end of the story, but 4 years later, his tombstone was struck and destroyed by lightning.

But, Summerford’s luck paled in comparison to Roy Sullivan, a U.S. park ranger in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. He holds the Guinness Book of World Record for being struck by lightning an unbelievable 7 times.

These are indeed unfortunate events. But there are others, though tragic, are hard not to laugh at…such as German zookeeper, Friedrich Riesfeldt’s appalling accident. While caring for a constipated elephant he decided to administer 22 doses of animal laxative to alleviate the pachyderms’ problem. Later, after the laxative began taking effect, he happened to be standing directly behind the animal. Suddenly and without warning the elephant dumped over 200 lbs of manure on top of him. Riesfeldt suffocated to death at the age of 46.

Perhaps not quite as amusing, is the case of Ivan McGuire. Ivan, in addition to being a sky diver, was also a film buff. Naturally, he thought it would be a good idea to film a jump over North Carolina. So, in 1988, he leaped from a plane camera in hand…then remembered he forgot his parachute!

Last, but not least we have Frenchman Jacques LeFevrier who decided to commit suicide. He was taking no chances he wouldn’t succeed in his endeavor. Standing at the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean he looped a noose around his neck and secured the other end of the rope to a big rock. All in succession he drank some poison, set fire to his clothes and as he jumped tried to shoot himself with a pistol. The bullet missed cutting through the rope. LeFevrier plunged into the freezing cold sea putting out his flaming clothes and threw up, expelling the poison he had drank. Standers by rescued him from the cold waters and took him to a hospital. However, Jacques got his wish in the end. He died at the hospital of hypothermia.

So, if anyone thinks they’re unlucky, think again.


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    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I suppose I'm lucky to have so many devoted readers.

    • SweetMocha-Monroe profile image


      7 years ago

      JY32502, You have done it again; Amaze me! I must admit I had to laugh at some of these misfortunes; but your point was well made. How can one feel unlucky when being spared so often. This most definitely made me reevaluate my luck status. Great job!

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Daffy Duck, uh life experiences? No. I have to look for them. But, I'll see if I can find some more.

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      7 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      LMAO. This is one of the more entertaining hubs I've ever read. If I was Selak I would have sold my story to 60 Minutes or People Magazine.

      I can't even imagine what it's like being struck by lightning. It's suprising that anyone can survive something like that.

      How bad would the Frenchman have felt if he actually would have survived that instance. Unbelievable.

      I don't know where you get these stories from, but please keep writing them. :)

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks neman. But, I write on everything, not just humor. Hope ya can take it!

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 

      7 years ago from Serbia

      Great stuff, JY! Based on this hub, I'll start being your follower, as I have a feeling that your other hubs are great as well :)

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I can't promise anything beccas, but I'll try.

    • beccas90 profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      This is great stuff - I hope you have more to add to this as time goes on. One of the best reads today.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Riveting! Those poor dudes.

    • Topnewhottoys profile image


      7 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland

      great hub - poor Frenchman though

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      7 years ago

      Good Grief. you can't help but laugh *shaking head* and makes you rethink about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • blairtracy profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Awesome hub! These are all such interesting stories!!

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Go ahead and laugh, I couldn't help it either.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Good God,JY, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. (Okay, I'm laughing--sort of.) Need to bookmark this page. The next time I have a bad day, I'll have to reread it to put things in perspective!


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