My Aunt Violet phoned about an interesting article in a local magazine; submitted by Keith Roberts from Abergele in North Wales. Titled ‘Truth is Stranger than Fiction’, it concerned the coincidences between assassinated presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy. She thought it might be something for the blog. Talk about keeping it in the family!
When she went through the details I couldn’t believe it… was truth really so much stranger than fiction? It was definitely worth investigating.
(Let me be clear, while I don’t mind disseminating half-truths or even fantasies, I draw the line at downright lies. Although, you’ll be relieved to know, I’m sure these pangs of conscience will soon pass. As newspapers discovered a long time ago, why let something as ephemeral as the truth stand in the way of a damn good story?)
Fortunately in this case I don’t have to. I soon found confirmation on the internet.
The list of coincidences first saw the light of day in 1964, the year after John F Kennedy’s assassination. Nobody knows the origin of the compilation, but a mathematician called Martin Gardiner validated them in ‘Scientific American‘ soon afterwards. The list persists today and although many have tried to pooh-pooh it, it really is true.
Here are some of them…
Both presidents suffered from a genetic disease: Lincoln had Marfan’s syndrome. Kennedy had Addison’s disease.
Both were ship captains: Lincoln on a river boat; Kennedy on a motor torpedo boat during World War II.
Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846; Kennedy in 1946.
Lincoln was the losing candidate for the vice-presidential nomination in 1856; Kennedy in 1956.
Lincoln became president in 1860; Kennedy in 1960.
Both defeated the incumbent Vice President.
Both succeeded presidents who left office in their 70s and retired to Pennsylvania. James Buchanan (Lincoln) to Lancaster Township & Dwight D. Eisenhower (Kennedy) to Gettysburg. Buchanan and Eisenhower both then died before the end of the decade.
Both presidents were shot in the head on a Friday seated beside their wives.
Both presidents had bodyguards named William – who died within 48 hours of reaching 75 years, 5 months.
The doctors attending each president immediately after assassination were named Charles. Dr. Charles Leale for Lincoln; Dr. Charles Crenshaw for Kennedy.
Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre; Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in a Ford Lincoln automobile. Both assassins had 3 names of 15 letters in total. Both presidents’ surnames have 7 letters.
After shooting Lincoln, Booth ran from a theatre to a warehouse. After shooting Kennedy, Oswald ran from a warehouse to a theatre.
Both assassins were Southern white males, in their mid-20s, were 5’8″ in height with hazel eyes and brown hair.
Both assassins suffered injuries during escape and were murdered on the run by men who were brought up in the North, changed their name as adults, and were bachelors.
Lincoln and Kennedy were succeeded by Vice Presidents, who were Southerners and named Johnson – Lincoln: Andrew Johnson (born 1808); Kennedy: Lyndon B. Johnson (born 1908).
OK they are not exactly the same, for while Lincoln was a Republican, Kennedy was a democrat. And while Kennedy would have been delighted being compared to Lincoln, I suspect Lincoln would have advised the serial philanderer Kennedy to keep it in his trousers.
Now all that remains is to ask; why nepotism?
Nepotism was the practice of promoting your nephews. It originated in the Renaissance Church. Cardinals and Popes were celibate. Not having children (officially) to inherit, they kept power and wealth in the family by promoting their nephews to lucrative positions.
My aunt, not having a blog, passed on this little nugget to me: her nephew.
Kerchink! And that my friends, is the sound of the penny dropping.