It's a Guy Thing

The Luckiest Men in History

Luck has always had an important role in the life of humans. So much so, in fact, that it had proper deities dedicated to it: the Romans had Fortuna, the ancient Greeks had Tyche, the Norse had Gefion (whose name translates as “giver”), and all of them were women, also associated with life and fertility. When they smile at you, you’ll feel it immediately: you may stumble upon a wad of cash in the street (which is unlucky for the one who lost it, though), avoid an accident, win a jackpot at an online casino or even find the love of your life.

There are, in turn, cases when it appears that more than one of the ancient fortune deities smile on the same person, making them luckier than it seems possible – turning them into the luckiest people in history.

Twice the millionaire

Elmer Sherwin had every reason to consider himself lucky – he fought in World War II and lived to tell the tale. An avid gambler, he never passed on the occasion to try his luck at the slot machines – he always had a fixed amount to spend on his passion.

During a visit to Las Vegas in 1989, Sherwin might have felt that there’s something coming. After spending his “allowance” at a slot machine at the Mirage – it was the casino’s opening day – he asked his wife for $20 more. That’s when Fortuna smiled at him first: he hit the Megabucks jackpot, winning a stunning $4.6 million (worth about $9.6 million today).

But his story doesn’t end here. He continued playing the slots even after becoming a big winner, constantly returning to Megabucks. And the time dedicated to it was not wasted either: 15 years later while playing at the off-Strip Cannery Casino and Hotel, he hit the jackpot again, winning a staggering $21 million. He was 92 at the time.

Lucky or unlucky?

How many times can you avoid certain death? Well, if the example of Frane Selak is of any relevance, the answer may be “seven” – so far.

Selak survived everything from his car catching fire to falling out of an aeroplane, dodging the Grim Reaper seven times before the turn of the century. On top of all these, he also won the lottery, pocketing $1.1 million dollars just two days after his 73rd birthday.

Frane Selak is still alive today in his native Croatia, living a frugal lifestyle with his fifth wife.

Twice the nuclear…

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was born, raised, and working in Nagasaki all his life. He was a marine engineer working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In August 1945, he was on a work trip to Hiroshima – he was preparing to return home when the first bomb fell, levelling the city. He suffered radiation burns, the blast ruptured his eardrums, and the flash blinded him temporarily. He spent the night in an air-raid shelter, where his wounds were tended to, then returned to Nagasaki the next day.

Despite being heavily bandaged and in pain, he returned to work a few days later. He was telling his supervisor about the blast in Hiroshima when the second bomb fell. This time, he was kilometres away from ground zero, so he was not hurt by the explosion.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the only person officially recognized to have survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 93.