Is it possible to predict your own death? And if you could, would you want to? Here are seven people who (somewhat) accurately predicted their own death.
Mark Twain and the Deathly Comet
Mark Twain was born in 1835, the year that Halley’s Comet made one of its famous appearances to Earth-dwellers. Twain joked that the next time it arrived, he would ‘go out with it’. Halley’s Comet appears every 76 years. Sure enough, Twain died of a heart attack on April 20th, 1910 – the day after the comet appeared in the night sky above Earth.
Mark Twain used to say, “God must have said, "Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together."”
Marc Bolan and the Meandering Mini
Marc Bolan, the lead singer of British 1970s glam rock band, T-Rex, said at the time of Elvis Presley’s death in 1977, “I’m really glad I didn’t die today because I wouldn’t have made the main story.” A month later the Mini driven by his girlfriend, in which he was a passenger, hit a metal fence post. At the time it was reported to be a sycamore tree, but an eye-witness later confirmed it was a bolt in the fence post that had killed Bolan. He died on the same day as opera singer, Maria Callas.
One of T-Rex’s hits, ‘Solid Gold, Easy Action’ has the line, “Easy as picking foxes from a tree” The registration plate on the Mini read FOX 661L. Another line from his last single,’Celebrate Summer’, says, “Summer is heaven in seventy-seven”.
William Thomas Stead and the Sinking Ship
Stead was a forerunner of the modern investigative journalist. He was an editor and also wrote some fiction. In 1886 he wrote a fictional piece for the Pall Mall Gazette. The story was called “The Sinking of a Modern Liner" and described the chaotic events that followed an ocean collision. One detail he mentioned in the story was that there were too few lifeboats.
He went on to write another story about an ocean liner called, ‘The Majestic’, on which a passenger has a dream about another ship crashing into an iceberg. The Majestic is later present at the very scene he dreamed of, and her crew helps save many lives.
In 1912, William Thomas Stead was traveling in an ocean liner across the Atlantic. The ship, ‘Titanic’, hit an iceberg and sank. He drowned. Coincidence? Premonition? Or did life imitate art?
Abraham de Moire and the 24 Hour Calculation
Abraham De Moire was a renowned French mathematician. One area of his work focused on the theory of probability. It may have been this that enabled him to forecast the precise date of his own death. As he aged, he noticed that he was beginning to sleep longer and longer.
When he first paid attention to his sleep patterns he was sleeping 15 minutes longer than usual. He calculated that when the time amounted to 24 hours in total, he would die. On November 27th, 1754, he did, indeed, sleep for 24 hours and he died.
Arnold Schoenberg and Deadly 13
Schoenberg was an acclaimed composer of the 1920s. He suffered from triskaidekaphobia – terror of the number 13. When he had to use or say it, he’d call it 12A. He was born on September 13th, and was convinced that it was an unlucky sign. When the total number of letters in the title of one of his operas came to 13, he immediately altered the spelling to make it 12.
When a less-than-kind astrologer, pointed out to him on his 76th birthday that 7 plus 6 added up to 13 and that the year ahead was dangerous for him, poor Schoenberg was at his wits end with anxiety. When Friday 13th came around the following July, he stayed in bed all day, thinking it was the safest place. At 11:45pm his wife looked at the clock, reassured that he’d made it through the day safely with only 15 minutes to go. Then he passed away. Self-fulfilling prophecy? Or heart failure caused by a pinacle of panic?
Carrie Fisher and her Cardboard Effigy
The singer, James Blunt, recalls when he stayed at Carrie Fisher’s home during the recording of his latest album. He says she placed a life-size cardboard cutout of herself outside his room. On the image’s forehead, Fisher had written the date of her birth and the date of her birth. Unfortunately James Blunt can’t remember the exact date, only that it was early 2017. The actress died December 17, 2016. Close enough.
Abraham Lincoln and the Assassination Dream
On April 11th 1865, President Lincoln recounted to a friend, Ward Hill Lamon, a dream that he’d had recently. He told Lamon he’d heard mourners sobbing and saw a corpse lying on a raised platform in the East Room of the White House. He asked a nearby soldier who had died and was told, “The President – he was killed by an assassin.” President Lincoln was clearly disturbed by the dream; he told Lamon that it had been ‘annoying him ever since’.
Ten days after having the dream, he was killed by a gun-wielding assassin at the theater.
Other Famous People Who Predicted Their Own Death
Debbie Reynolds said she never wanted to live longer than one of her children. She died a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher.
Princess Diana wrote a letter to her butler, Paul Burrell, telling him that she was convinced there was a plot to take her life and it would happen in a car crash.
John Lennon sang about ‘living on borrowed time’ in a song released posthumously. He also replied to a reporter, back in 1964, who asked him if the Beatles were leaving the music scene, “Not unless we get shot, or something.”
Genuine Predictions of Death or Self-Fulfilling Prophesies?
What do you think? Did these people actually predict, if inadvertently in some cases, their own deaths? Or do you think they ‘willed’ themselves to die? That they were so convinced, like Schoenberg and de Moire, that it had to happen?
Images: Public Domain, Creative Commons & Pixabay