Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Obligatory: Lincoln / Kennedy Coincidences

Having a US History blog without the obligatory coincidences between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, is like having a little league game without a parent who complains about the ump. You know its coming, you don't want to hear it, but still you find some joy in knowing that it still exists.

I think that most of us have seen this list. It is continuously passed around via email on an endless cycle and will inevitably land in your inbox every year or so, like it did in my inbox this afternoon. My Grandfather sent it to me. And despite how many times I've seen it, and how many times I've looked up the facts to debunk it, I still read each and every word.
Continue reading to the bottom for a link to the debunking of the list.

Mr. Miley, my 10th grade US History teacher from William Tennent High School in Warminster, PA introduced me to this phenomenon. As an open minded high school sophomore I thought it was one of the more interesting things I've ever learned. Mr. Miley was a JFK assassination buff and spent a significant amount of time on the subject. Unfortunately, this and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair are about the only things I remember from that class. I didn't start to appreciate US History until college. And I owe most of this to Dr. Paul Zbiek from King's College in Wilkes-Barre. He lectured by telling a story, and he would plan the classes well by leaving us with cliffhangers. It was great to watch his passion for the Civil War.

Back to the topic at hand...

I've been familiar with these "coincidences" for a while. And I don't think I can really continue this American History blog without getting this entry out of the way so that I can reference it later.

So here it goes... Here are the coincidences

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960.
The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.

Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both were shot in the head.

Lincoln's secretary, Kennedy, warned him not to go to the theatre.
Kennedy's secretary, Lincoln, warned him not to go to Dallas.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.

Both successors were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are comprised of fifteen letters.
Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

So that's the list.... Some of the similarities are kind of eerie, I don't doubt that. Let me continue by giving you the origins of this list.

A short while after JFK's assassination in 1963, this list surfaced and has been continuously reprinted and circulated since. And for good reason. It makes for interesting fodder. However, several of these entries are misleading or just flat out wrong. The majority of the coincidences are simply that, coincidences and should not be tied to any spiritual or karmic motives. If our president in 2o60 is assassinated, I might reconsider this statement.

And often times, this one is added:

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland. A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.

The Debunking:

To start, I've personally done some research about the last coincidence and the first thing that jumps out is this. Marilyn Monroe died in August of 1962. Kennedy was shot in November of 1963. Monroe was dead for over a year before the assassination. Do I even have to go on?

No. But I will. Currently, there is no town named Monroe, Maryland. Though there is a Monroe Gardens, Maryland, so this one might be possible.


John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939.

This is wrong. Just take a look at any John Wilkes Booth Bio to find out that he was born on May 10, 1838. See it here and here.

And because I couldn't say it better myself, please find a link to Snopes.com where someone has already taken the time to debunk many more of these claims.

I welcome any other facts and information...

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Geoff Elliott said...

Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and was cornered in a warehouse.

Oswald shot Lincoln from a warehouse and was captured in a theater.

The list goes on. Uncanny how history does repeat itself.


Doug said...

Hmmmm...Lincoln and Kennedy were both sitting beside their wives at the time of their shootings.

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