On Netflix’s latest show, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, viewers are urged to turn away immediately and watch something more pleasant, because what follows is too dark and strange to fathom.
Based on the popular novels of the same name, the show centres on three newly-orphaned children and their attempt to uncover the truth behind their family’s dark, twisted past.
Macabre and amusing in equal measure, A Series of Unfortunate Events touches on the strange and often tragic twists and turns life can sometimes bring.
With that in mind, loaded has teamed up with Netflix to bring you seven tales chronicling a series of unfortunate events from throughout history.
It’s up to you whether you wish to read on and find out more.
A brotherly bond
The story of brothers Neville and Erskine Ebbin is both tragic and unfortunate in equal measure. In July 1974, the then-17-year-old Neville was riding his moped in Hamilton, Bermuda when he was hit and killed by a taxi.
A year later Erkine, who was 17 by then, was killed in exactly the same way – and we mean exactly the same. As in same moped, same road, same taxi, same taxi driver and – here’s the kicker – same passenger.
The tree of life
Henry Ziegland probably thought he’d had a lucky escape when he survived a gun shot to the face outside his home. Miraculously the bullet, rather than kill him, merely grazed his face and became lodged in a nearby tree.
But Henry would have his date with destiny. Years later, when trying to cut down that very same tree, Ziegland opted to use dynamite. The explosion saw the bullet fly through the air and straight into Henry’s head, killing him instantly.
Ever since King Louis XVI of France was a child, he had been terrified by the 21st day of the month.
This pathological fear stemmed from a warning he had received from an astrologer, who urged the future monarch to always be on his guard on the 21st. As a result of the warning, Louis never engaged in any business whatsoever on the 21st. Alas, fate had other ideas:
June 21st 1791 – Louis and his queen are arrested, following the French revolution, attempting to escape the country.
September 21st 1791 – France abolishes the institution of Royalty and becomes a republic.
January 21st 179 – King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine.
Stalked by death
Edgar Allan Poe is famous for his macabre horror writings from the 19th century but few stories compare to a tale he scribed by the name of “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.”
It told the story of four shipwrecked survivors, stranded at sea, who are forced to kill and eat the cabin boy among them, a lad by the name of Richard Parker.
Now, what makes this particular tale all the more terrifying is that, just a few years later a boat by the name of Mignonette sank, leaving behind four survivors. Among their number was a cabin boy by the name of Richard Parker who, like his namesake in the Poe story, ended up being devoured by his starving crew mates.
Violet Jessop was nicknamed ‘Miss Unsinkable’ during her life as a ship stewardess and with good reason. It all started in 1911, when a trio of gigantic luxury liners was launched.
The first was The Olympic, a ship Jessop served on until collided with the HMS Hawke on its fifth commercial voyage, just off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
Uneasy, Jessop switched to the Olympic’s sister liner ahead of it’s maiden voyage from Southampton in April 1912. Bound for New York City, the vessel, none other than the Titanic, sank after hitting an iceberg, killing some 1,500 people in the process.
Having helped women and children escape the sinking ship, Jessop stayed out of trouble for a while. Things changed with the advent of the First World War. Serving as a nurse aboard The Britannic in November 1916, disaster struck for a third time when the vessel hit a mine planted by German forces in the Aegeon Sea. 30 people died but Miss Unsinkable lived on, eventually passing away in 1971.
A king’s coincidence
King Umberto I of Italy was dining in a restaurant at some point towards the end of the 19th century when he suddenly noticed something stranger about the owner of the establishment – he looked exactly the same as him.
The coincidences did not end there either – both had the same birthday and both had wives named Margherita. But it gets weirder. The day Umberto took the throne was also the same day the restaurant opened for business. It’s therefore perhaps fitting that the restaurant owner should die in a mysterious shooting accident on exactly the same day Umberto was assassinated in 1900.
The black border
Jackie Kennedy was feeling nervous on the morning of November 22, 1963. Reading the Dallas Morning News, she had come across a full page ad accusing her husband, President John F. Kennedy of being a communist sympathiser. But it wasn’t so much the ad as the black border around it that bothered her, something she felt made it look like a death notice.
JFK was not phased though: “We’re heading to nut country today. But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle nobody can stop it so why worry about it?”
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events premieres worldwide today, Friday, January 13, 2017, only on Netflix.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.