Having fun with the bizarre Kennedy/Lincoln coincidences

September 20, 2010

By Craig McKee

Are you one of those people who reads all kinds of things into coincidences?
I’ve done this at times, but I usually try to convince myself that you notice something when there’s a coincidence that you wouldn’t notice the rest of the time. In other words, these occurrences are really just chance.
A coincidence is defined by Dictionary.com as a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time, apparently by mere chance.
When I was a kid I remember hearing about the coincidences between the lives and deaths of U.S. presidents Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. At the time, I thought it was very cool. The most striking example I remember hearing was that Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln. This turns out to be only half true. But ones that are true are even more fascinating. If your firm belief is that weird coincidences are just random and mean nothing (as I usually am) then you might find that this subject will test that belief.
None of these coincidences would even rate a look if there were on their own. But in combination with all the others it`s a different story. Here are just some of the most incredible ones:

  • Kennedy and Lincoln both have 7 letters
  • In the names, the consonants and vowels fall in exactly the same places
  • Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, Kennedy in 1946
  • Lincoln became president in 1860, Kennedy in 1960
  • Both were assassinated while in office
  • Both were succeeded by a vice-president named Johnson
  • Andrew Johnson was born in 1808, Lyndon Johnson in 1908
  • Both their names have 13 letters
  • Both Lincoln and Kennedy were allegedly killed by someone with three names: John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. Both have 15 letters
  • Lincoln was shot in a theatre and his alleged assassin ran to a warehouse; Kennedy was allegedly shot from a warehouse and his alleged assassin ran to a theatre
  • Lincoln was killed in the Ford Theatre, Kennedy was killed in a Ford car (which happened to be a Lincoln)
  • Booth and Oswald were both shot before they could come to trial (though some question the circumstances of Booth`s death)
  • Both Lincoln and Kennedy authorized the Treasury to print its own money, angering private bankers
  • Both took significant steps to improve civil rights for blacks
  • Both were killed in the presence of their wives
  • Both were shot on a Friday
  • Both had imagined being assassinated
  • Both were killed following shocking lapses in security
  • Both died in a place with the initials P and H: Lincoln died in Peterson`s house, Kennedy died in Parkland Hospital
  • Both had to confront wars shortly after they were inaugurated
  • Lincoln had sons Edward and Robert, Edward died young; Kennedy had brothers Edward and Robert, Robert died young

There are quite a few others. Some commonly repeated ones turn out not to be true (Lincoln did not have a secretary named Kennedy).
So what does all this mean? I have no idea. But it’s kind of fun, no?

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