If you go to a restaurant in Chinatown (in any city around the world) the chances are that at the end of the meal, you will unwrap a fortune cookie, read the message inside, and laugh amongst yourselves at the fortunes inside (even though fortune cookies have nothing to do with China, having been invented in California). You may even eat the cookie, if you have dined at a decent restaurant that makes its own. However, some people don’t find the luck they need inside a fortune cookie, and as part of International Fortune Cookie Day, which was on the 13th of September, Opposing Views, Gala and Diply went on a mission to uncover the people most in need of a bit of good fortune.

Lightning never strikes twice….right?

Major Summerford could really have done with a bit of good old fashioned fortune cookie advice, like – don’t go out in a thunderstorm. The Major was a real magnet for lightning, and was struck four times. In 1918, Major Summerford was fighting in the fields of Flanders when lightning knocked him from his horse, paralysing him from the waist down. In time, he recovered, and in 1924 he went for a quiet fish by the river, close to his home. Guess what? Yup, he was struck by lightning, paralysing him down the right side of his body. He recovered, again, and in 1930 he went for a stroll in the local park – you got it, folks! He was struck by lightning a third time, which paralysed him totally. He died two years later, and in 1936, his tomb was destroyed by …lightning!


You make your own luck – or does your luck make you?

The exploits of Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher, are so extreme that one has to wonder if he is not, in fact, a music teacher, but some kind of Iron Man character destined to save the universe.

1962 – Selak escapes from a derailed train, with only minor injuries.

1963 – Selak is travelling to Rijeka by plane. The door blows off. 19 people died, while Selak landed in a hay stack. A hay stack!

1966 – He escapes from a bus that plunges into a river, and is completely unhurt.

1970 – His car blew up. He was fine.

1973 – Another of his cars blew up. He loses most of his hair, but that is the full extent of his injuries.

1995 – He was hit by a bus.

1996 – He drove off a cliff in order to avoid colliding with a bus. He escapes from his plummeting car and lands in a tree, while the car crashes into the cliff and explodes.

2003 – He wins $1,000,000.

Who is this guy?

Money money money

Evelyn Adams could really have done with some fortune cookie advice about how to use money – or not use it, perhaps. Evelyn won the lottery in 1985, and then won it again in 1986, amassing a fortune of $5.4million. However, she gambled and gambled until the pot was empty – and now lives in a trailer. She says that all she can do is ‘keep moving forward’. And stop spending, that will help.

Close encounters of a rocky kind

Ann Hodges should have had a fortune cookie that read ‘don’t fall asleep by the window’, as she became the first documented person to be hit by a meteorite. She was napping when a meteorite came through the window, striking her arm and hip. She was only bruised, so you could say she got off lightly.

Bad break-up

If ever there was a man who needed advice about women, it was Henry Ziegland. A fortune cookie could have saved him from his fate, but his story begins in 1883, so there weren’t any around. He split up with his girlfriend, and can’t have been very good about it, because the young lady unfortunately topped herself. He brother arrived at Ziegland’s property, with the intention of shooting him – however his bullet missed, but the brother turned his gun on himself before that fact was discovered. Ziegland suffered only a flesh wound, and the bullet lodged in a tree. Years later, when he went to cut down the tree, the bullet exploded, killing him outright.

So, always listen to fortune cookie advice, you never know when it might save your life. Check out this list of other people who have fallen foul of Lady Luck.