In an April 1953 newspaper article in the Tacoma News Tribune, Mark Sullivan made an uncannily accurate prediction about the future of the telephone.
A roman scholar predicted microbiology over 2000 years ago, writing “there are bred certain minute creatures which cannot be seen by the eyes, but which float in the air and enter the body through the mouth and nose and cause serious diseases.”
In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a novel about an ocean liner sinking in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. That is 14 years before the Titanic sunk in the same place and in the same way. And if this was not enough, the novel was titled: “The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility”. The ship in the novel, just like in real life, was touted as “unsinkable” and therefore did not have enough lifeboats aboard to accommodate all the passengers.
26 years before Titanic, William Thomas Stead wrote a story called “How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid Atlantic by a Survivor.” The title’s pretty descriptive, with the concern of the story being a lack of adequate safety precautions, specifically lifeboats. Stead himself would die on Titanic.
Jules Verne’s shelved 1863 novel “Paris in the Twentieth Century” predicted gas-powered cars, fax machines, electric street lighting, maglev trains, the record industry, the internet. His publisher deemed it pessimistic and lackluster. It was discovered in 1989 and published 5 years later.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono visited an astrologer Who told them John would be shot and die on an island. So disturbed were they that they cancelled their extended Greek Isles vacation. Ten years later he died … on Manhattan island.
In 1903 the New York Times predicted that building a flying machine would be possible in 1-10 Million years.
Jean Jaurès, a French socialist, predicted world war one and tried to organize global strikes to prevent it. He was assassinated before his plans could be realized.
Leroy Irwin, a 92-year-old farmer living in Allegan, Michigan, decided to have the dates of his life carved on his gravestone before he died, because (having no children) he wasn’t sure who would pay to do it after he died. He carved the dates 1856-1950, but it turned out he was a little too optimistic. He died in November 1949, seven weeks shy of reaching 1950. The incorrect date wasn’t changed. Leroy Irwin’s grave (with the wrong date) remains standing in Hudson Corners Cemetery.