10 Unbelievable Incidents that Actually Happened

by Aleena Khan3 years ago
Picture 10 Unbelievable Incidents that Actually Happened

In the normal scheme of things, the world is predictable. There’s a cause, and then there’s its effect. There are action and a resulting justifiable reaction – perfect harmony. But then, at times, things slip through these loopholes in the chains of these laws creating incidents so unusual and bizarre that it boggles our rational mind. Below, are details of ten such unbelievable incidents that actually happened.

1 In 1969, American musician Jim Sullivan made a debut with his album titled U.F.O. where he sings about leaving his family and being abducted by aliens in the desert. Six years later, his abandoned car was found at a remote ranch in the New Mexico desert. He disappeared without a trace, never to be seen again.

Jim Sullivan
Image credits: Chris and Barbara Sullivan/Light In The Attic

In March 1975, Jim Sullivan, an American singer-songwriter, left his family in Los Angeles with $120 in his pocket and headed for Nashville. After a 15-hour drive, he checked into La Mesa Motel just outside of Santa Rosa in New Mexico.

He was next seen at a remote ranch, 26 miles away from the motel. Then he disappeared without a trace.

His car was found stranded at the ranch. The disappearance appears to be involuntary as the singer’s guitar was found in the car. As pointed out by Sullivan’s friend, he would have never left his guitar.

The mystery is amplified by the eerie lyrics of his debut album, U.F.O., where he talks about leaving his family and being abducted by aliens. (1, 2)


2 On May 23, 2012, Casey J. Fury, a shipyard worker, started a fire on the USS Miami (S SN-755) submarine in order to get off work early. The blaze damaged the vessel to an estimated cost of $450 million to $700 million, an amount that the Navy couldn’t afford, resulting in the submarine being decommissioned.

USS Miami
Image credits: Pressherald.com, Wikimedia

In 2012, the US Navy Los Angeles-class submarine was undergoing a 20-month engineered overhaul and system upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. On May 23, the nuclear-powered vessel caught fire. Firefighters were called in and it took them 12 hours to extinguish the blaze.

Seven firefighters and two crew members were injured. The command and control area, crew quarters, and torpedo room were damaged.

Initially, it was reported that the fire started after an industrial vacuum cleaner sucked up a heat source, igniting the debris inside.  However, an investigation revealed that Casey J. Fury, a shipyard employee, deliberately started the fire by igniting some rags in a berthing compartment. His motivation was to get out of work early.

The fire caused an estimated $700 million in repairs. As the Navy could not bear the repair cost during budget cuts, the submarine was decommissioned.

Fury was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $400 million in restitution. (1, 2)


3 In 1980, John Birges, Sr., a gambling addict who lost $750,000, placed an undefusable bomb in the Harvey’s Resort Hotel, a casino in Nevada. It was an attempt to extort his lost money from the casino. The FBI tried to defuse the bomb that had eight fusing systems and failed, destroying much of the building.

Harveys bombing
Image credits: Bigpicture.ru, Federal Bureau of Investigation via Wikimedia

John Birges, Sr. fell into bankruptcy owing to a sustained gambling addiction that wiped off $750,000 from his wealth.

To recover his losses, he decided to extort money from the Harvey’s Resort Hotel, a casino in Stateline, Nevada. For this, he recruited his two sons and built an undefusable bomb with 1,000 pounds of dynamite.

On August 26, 1980, John Birges, Sr., Willis Brown, and Terry Lee Hall, disguised as delivery men, placed the bomb on the second floor of the casino.

Next to the bomb, they placed an extortion note demanding $3 million in one-hundred-dollar bills.

Then, Birges, Sr. placed glue and toothpicks in the doorways to avoid the risk of someone wandering by and triggering the bomb.

“The machine,” as their maker called it, was discovered within 30 minutes and a dramatic scene ensued.

Federal agents and bomb squads worked around the clock to find a way to defuse the bomb. But the bomb was meticulously built with eight fusing systems. It was virtually impossible to detonate the bomb.

An FBI attempt to pay the extortion money failed as Birges, Jr. failed to reach the set location.

After a grueling 33 hours, explosive experts tried to remotely detonate with a shaped charge. As expected, the bomb was triggered, blasting a crater in the casino.

Birges, Sr. was arrested after a tip-off from the boyfriend of his son’s ex-girlfriend. (1, 2)


4 The opening ceremony of a new terminal building at the Uplands Airport in Ottawa in 1959, proved counterproductive when a USAF F-104 Starfighter did a supersonic low pass, breaking the sound barrier. The resulting sonic boom shattered almost every window in the building and also caused damage to the structural beams, delaying the opening for another year.

F-104G Starfighter
Image credits: Netherlands Institute for Military History/Wikipedia

In the 1950s, with the arrival and operation of civilian jet travel, a new terminal building was added to the Uplands Airport, which was later named the Macdonald–Cartier International Airport.

In August 1959, during the opening ceremony of the terminal, a USAF F-104 Starfighter was practicing for a demonstration flight. The subsonic jet fighter dove to 500 feet and went supersonic for a brief time.

As the jet was very low, the resulting sonic boom shattered the glass of virtually all the windows, damaged the window frames, ceiling tiles, doors, and structural beams.

The repair added another $300,000 to the initial cost and delayed the opening by a year. (1, 2, 3)


5 On September 29, 1940, two Avro Ansons collided in mid-air over Brocklesby in New South Wales, Australia. The airplanes became jammed together, but the upper pilot was able to control the interlocked aircraft with his flaps and ailerons. The piggybacking pair made an emergency landing at a paddock nearby without a single casualty.

Two Avro Ansons, with tail numbers N4876 and L9162, of the Royal Australian Airforce, Collided mid-air during a cross-country training exercise on September 29, 1940.

The aircraft were at an altitude of 300 meters over Brocklesby when the pilot of N4876 lost sight of the other Anson, L9162, and the two collided with a grinding crash.

The propellers struck each other and bit into the engine cowlings. The turret of the lower Anson wedged into the upper one’s port wing root, interlocking the two aircraft.

The pilot of the upper aircraft discovered that he was able to control the biplane with his ailerons and flaps while being powered by the engine of the lower aircraft. He flew the jammed Ansons for eight kilometers before finally crash-landing it to safety in a large paddock. (1, 2)

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