A World of Luck

Urban legends about luck and good fortune.

Good fortune, a big break, hidden treasure, easy money — we create a great many tales expressing our optimistic fantasies that these things may come our way at any moment. Although sometimes they do, we also have to be wary that Lady Luck is a capricious spirit, and stunning reversals of fortune are just as possible.

Red bullet Casinos pump extra oxygen onto the gaming floors during the early-morning hours to keep tired patrons from heading off to bed.

White bullet Money is sometimes left in Gideon Bibles by Christians looking to reward the next tortured soul who turns to the Good Book for solace.

Red bullet A stranger who stopped to change a tire on a disabled limo was rewarded for his efforts when the vehicle's passenger, Donald Trump, paid off his mortgage.

White bullet A passing pedestrian who stops by to use a funeral home's restroom signs the visitors' book and hits the jackpot.

Green bullet In 1873 a British mill engineer "broke the bank" at a Monte Carlo casino.

Green bullet When a Nebraska church exploded in 1950, no one was injured because every member of the choir was late arriving for practice that evening.

Green bullet A lucky bargain hunter became a millionaire after finding an original print of the Declaration of Independence in the frame of an old painting.

Green bullet A policeman promised a waitress half the winnings from his lottery ticket; all the numbers came up, and he kept his word by sharing the jackpot with her.

Green bullet A husband and wife each won a lottery by playing numbers recommended by a fortune cookie.

Green bullet A man committed suicide because he mistakenly believed his lotto numbers had come up the one week he didn't play them.

Yellow bullet An unkempt, filthy, shoeless bum turned a $400 Social Security check into $1.6 million playing blackjack in Las Vegas.

Red bullet Man buys old motorcycle, then discovers it was once owned by Elvis Presley.*

Green bullet A contestant on the game show Press Your Luck racked up an amazing series of wins by memorizing the patterns of the prize board's sequence of lights.*

Green bullet A woman killed her husband over his bidding and play of a bridge hand.

Green bullet Tourists who have taken rocks from Hawaiian beaches have returned them in hopes of ending streaks of bad luck.

White bullet Burying a statuette of St. Joseph will help speed the sale of a property.

Green bullet Lottery winner is run over by a truck and killed hours after his win.

Red bullet Same woman originally scheduled to be part of the 1986 Challenger shuttle crew was also bumped off the ill-fated Columbia mission in 2003.

White bullet Friday the 13th is a day fraught with peril.

Green bullet Numbers recommended by a fortune cookie resulted in a lottery win.

Multi-colored bullet Video poker player who was dealt a royal flush lost his jackpot because he failed to mark all the cards as held before pushing the "Deal" button.

Red bullet Soon after winning the largest ever Megabucks jackpot, the new multi-millionaire died a violent death.

White bullet Nick "the Greek" Dandalos had an unusual way of introducing Albert Einstein around Las Vegas.

White bullet A discussion of the history and various types of chain letters.

White bullet Playing card superstitions.

Green bullet A wealthy woman left her entire estate to a man she had known for only four hours.

Green bullet Woman wins lottery twice after dreaming about the winning combination.

Multi-colored bullet Rock purchased for $10 proves to be a valuable star sapphire.

White bullet Luck and ill-luck attributed to a variety of gems.

Red bullet Donald Trump left a Buffalo Club waiter a $10,000 tip.

White bullet After being tricked into believing he's won the lottery, a fellow makes startling admissions prior to walking out on those closest to him.

White bullet Green is an unlucky color for an automobile.*

White bullet Inadequately safeguarded winning lottery ticket is lost, either through being treated carelessly, or by being passed around in a bar.

White bullet Kit Kat chocolate bars bring luck to Japanese students during exams.

White bullet Breaking a mirror brings one seven years of bad luck.

White bullet Rain that falls during a sun shower brings good luck.

White bullet Peanuts in the shell unlucky at auto racing events.*

Red bullet The impossible-to-win bet: Eat a quail a day for 30 days.*

Green bullet Voided lottery ticket would have won $30 million.

White bullet Bananas on a fishing boat are unlucky.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.