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We all have bad days. However, some people seem to suffer from more than their fair share. Is being unlucky completely random, or can we do something to prevent those mishaps that seem to appear out of the blue. We’ve come up with a list of men and women who have had some impressive brushes with doom to explore if there’s a way to avoid bad luck, or if you just have to accept what comes when fate knocks on your door.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi: Present for both Atomic Bomb drops in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On August 6, 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was traveling in Hiroshima, Japan conducting business for his employer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. While returning to his office to get a forgotten travel document, he was caught in the blast when the “Little Boy” bomb was dropped on the center of the city. He was forced to shelter overnight and suffered from serious burns, ruptured ear drums, and temporary blindness. He returned to his home in Nagasaki the next day to seek treatment.

Two days later, on August 9th, the heavily-bandaged Yamaguchi returned to work at his office. He started telling his incredulous co-workers about the destructive power of the new type of weapon America had unleashed on Japan. It was at this point when the “Fat Man” bomb exploded, 3 kilometers away. Amazingly, this time Yamaguchi was not injured during the attack. He was eventually recognized as the only person to have survived two atomic explosions. He went on to live another 64 years, dying of stomach cancer at 93.

Verdict: Fate.

You can’t choose how your country fights a war.


Melanie Martinez: Lost 5 homes to hurricanes in 27 years


When you live near New Orleans, you can expect to experience a hurricane or two. It’s not unreasonable that local residents might be prepared for their homes to suffer serious flood damage, or even to see a home destroyed by the worst of the storms. However, how many people would be willing to rebuild five times? Meet Melanie Martinez, a schoolbus driver from Braithwaite, Louisiana. She is sometimes referred to as America’s unluckiest woman, and for good reason.

Martinez had lost homes in Hurricanes Betsy (1965), Juan (1985), George (1998), and Katrina (2005) before being contacted by the A&E channel reality show Hideous Houses in 2012. The show’s host Eric Stromer offered to rebuild the Martinez home and invested $20,000 worth of appliances, cupboards, and kitchen remodeling in the project. And then Hurricane Isaac came ashore on August 29, 2012. Once again, the Martinez house was wiped out. When asked why she continues to rebuild on a flood plain, Martinez answered: “I was born here. It’s home, home, home.” She did say that she was looking into moving to somewhere hillier in the future.

Verdict: Fault.

When mother nature tells you to go, start packing.


Frane Selak: Escaped death numerous times and then won a lottery.

Frane Selak spent much of his life in Croatia dreading what was on the horizon. His streak of horrible luck began in 1962 when his train jumped the tracks and fell into a river. Selak was pulled to safety suffering from a hypothermia and a broken arm. Unfortunately, 17 other passengers drowned. In 1966, he nearly drowned again when a bus driver lost control and steered the bus into a river, resulting in four deaths. He escaped with his life from burning cars twice, in 1970 and 1973.  In 1995, he was hit by a bus, and finally, in 1996, he was forced off a mountain road by a U.N. vehicle, and survived a 300-foot plummet by clinging to a tree as his car fell into a gorge.

In a rare twist, in 2003, at the age of 73, Selak finally got some good luck. He bought a lottery ticket and ended up winning over $1 million. However, instead of going off to spend his winnings on living it up, he gave away most of the fortune after purchasing two houses and a boat. Selak said that he preferred to live quietly alongside his fifth wife. “All I need at my age is my Katarina. Money would not change anything,” he quipped.

Verdict: Mostly Fate.

He wasn’t responsible for the train, busses, or car incidents. Nevertheless, he did apparently choose the wrong woman on four separate occasions, which was likely a fate worse than death.

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