In 1956, a young shopkeeper from San Remo, Giovani Cataneo, becomes engaged to a ravishing, pudic adolescent named Bianca-Maria Pellegrini.
The young girl’s parents demand a long engagement. So long, that Giovani, during his holidays, amuses himself courting a young lady with a flirtatious eye named Marina Locatelli, whose lover he very rapidly becomes. And one day, Marina tells him that she is expecting a child. Giovani must marry her, against his will. But he warns his future in-laws:
“I shall marry your daughter, but only in a civil marriage; for a religious marriage must have love. And I don’t love Marina…”
The Locatelli Family, furious, can hurl, vociferate, bang its fist on tables and threaten Giovani with all of Hell’s atrocities, the young man resists and, in the end, only the civil marriage is celebrated.
However, in the Roman Catholic Italy of the 1950’s, this act has only a juridical value and can be annulled. So the new husband loses no time. The day after his wedding, he rushes to the Tribunal and deposits a request for a divorce…
The process is long. He has to wait five years to obtain satisfaction. As soon as he is free, he marries – this time in church – the gentle Bianca-Maria Pellegrini who had waited for him.
Alas! after four years of happiness, Bianca-Maria, who is pregnant, has to be transported urgently to the San Remo Hospital. That same evening, Giovani is called and informed that his young wife is suddenly at death’s door.
Mad with pain, he rushes to the hospital. When he arrives, Bianca-Maria has just died.
Then, he collapses. A doctor approaches:
“Your wife died five minutes ago. It’s curious, she died almost at the same time as her neighbour…”
Giovani turns his head and remains frozen: in the bed behind him, there is a woman whose eyes have just been closed. And this woman is Marina Locatelli… So, his two wives – who had never met – had come to die side by side, at the same time, in the same hospital…
Fifth example of exaggerated coincidence:
Georges Reme was a thief who was famous for escaping from prison. One day that he had once again succeeded in escaping, he stole a car, changed its number-plates and drove towards the South-West. At Royan, he stopped in front of a garage for some petrol. However, after a few instants, another car came to park beside his.
The garage owner, who was standing in the doorway, then noticed, stunned, that the two vehicles had exactly the same number on their number-plates. He alerted the Police.
And Georges Reme was arrested because – by a really fabulous coincidence – the owner of the number that he had painted, absolutely by chance, on his car, had come to park his car right next to him…
Finally, last exaggerated coincidence:
One day in 1956, in Charleroi, Monsieur Emile Massart, seeing that his dog was ill, decided to kill it. He took it to the bottom of his garden, attached it to a stake, took his gun and fired. But he missed it. The bullet went through the hedge and killed his 21 year old cousin who was passing in the street…
This young lady’s name was Mademoiselle Leonce Lechien [“Thedog” in English].
Certain parapsychologists, refusing the simplistic notion of chance, consider that these coincidences are signs which our intelligence is unable – at least for the moment – to interpret.
Destiny’s winks are sometimes mischievous. Here is an example: When he married, Camille Flammarion decided to make a very short wedding trip in a balloon… And he promised the priest who had blessed his marriage to take him with him.
One evening – about ten days after the ceremony – he sent a message to inform him that he was leaving the next day. He was told that the Abbot had left Paris to spend a few days with some cousins, on the banks of the Marne. Flammarion was a bit bothered by this, but he decided to leave anyway. He thought that the Abbot would never know about it and that he would take him another time.
And the balloon took off.
There are an infinite number of directions for leaving Paris in a balloon… However the wind pushed Flammarion over near the Marne and brought him exactly over the garden where the Abbot was lunching… where the balloon came down.
Strange coincidence, it must be agreed… And coincidence that a fiction writer would have hesitated to imagine, so implausible it seems…
Finally, here are the exaggerated coincidences which exist between the death of President Kennedy and that of President Lincoln:
Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860, Kennedy in 1960.
Both were killed in their wife’s presence.
Both were killed by a bullet to the head fired from behind.
Their successors were both named Johnson.
Each of these successors was a Democrat from the South.
Each of these successors had been a member of the Senate.
Andrew Johnson (successor to Lincoln) was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson (successor to Kennedy) was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln’s assassin) was born in 1839. Lee Harvey Oswald (Kennedy’s assassin) was born in 1939.
Booth and Oswald were both assassinated before being able to be judged.
The wives of the two Presidents each lost a child while living in the White House.
President Lincoln’s secretary, whose name was Kennedy, strongly advised him not to go to the theatre where he was assassinated. President Kennedy’s secretary, whose name was Lincoln, advised him not to go to Dallas where he was assassinated.
John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln in a theatre and ran to a warehouse. Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy from a warehouse and ran to a theatre.
The names of Lincoln and Kennedy each have seven letters.
The names of Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson each have thirteen letters.
The names of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald each have fifteen letters…
To understand the signification of these “exaggerated coincidences”, these signs that Destiny – or someone – sends to us, we must wait until Man becomes a bit more intelligent…