Unplanned Brilliance: 47 Remarkable Events That Happened by Accident

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1Movile Cave

Movile Cave

In 2015, Romanian sewer workers accidentally discovered a cave which was sealed for 5.5 million years. The Movile Cave was filled with evolutionarily distinct exotic creatures such as albino crabs and worms, which were feeding off sulfur-producing bacteria.

2. In 2012, the parody national anthem of Kazakhstan from the movie “Borat” was accidentally downloaded and played at a medal ceremony in Kuwait when a Kazakh national named Maria Dmitrienko received a gold medal for shooting.

3. In 2017, Ghanaian soccer player Mohammed Anas made a hilarious blunder when he accidentally thanked both his wife and his girlfriend in a speech after winning a match.

4. In 2016, a woman named Sarah Darling accidentally dropped her engagement ring into a homeless man’s change cup. Billy Ray Harris returned the ring back to her. As a way to say thank you, Sarah started a fund to raise money for Harris to help him get his life back on track. Over a period of three months they raised over $190,000 and he is no longer homeless.

5. There are popsicles that don’t melt. After the 2011 tsunami, scientists helping strawberry farmers in Japan salvage damaged crops accidentally discovered that liquid polyphenol extracted from the berries caused the cream to solidify. This lead to Kanazawa Ice pops which can stay frozen up to an hour.

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6Chris Reynolds

Chris Reynolds

In 2013, PayPal accidentally credited $92 quadrillion to a Pennsylvania man named Chris Reynolds.

7. Landmines planted on the coasts during the Falklands War accidentally created penguin sanctuaries. The penguins are too light to detonate the mines, so they live and breed safely. The sanctuaries are so popular and profitable that there are efforts to prevent removal of the mines.

8. A man named Rene Lima Marin was once accidentally released from prison 90 years early due to a clerical error. He then started building his life by getting a job, getting married, having kids, coaching youth soccer, being active in his church. Authorities realized the mistake 6 years later and sent him back to prison.

9. In 2015, an Italian grandma accidentally sent 2 adults and 3 children to the hospital when she made them cocoa with packets that had expired in 1990.

10. In 1978, a radio station accidentally played "Imaginary Lover" by the Atlanta Rhythm Section at the wrong RPM, causing it to sound just like Stevie Nicks. Stevie Nicks eventually heard about it and played the record at the increased speed for bandmates, who all believed it was her singing.

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11Accidental death

Accidental death

In 2003, a 38-year-old cattleman in Nebraska died after he accidentally injected himself with a cow antibiotic known as Micotil. When he was taken to the hospital, he was informed that there was no known antidote that could help him and he soon died.

12. During a battle of the Korean War, a mortar section was running out of mortar rounds. Instead of ordering more rounds, they accidentally ordered hundreds of crates of Tootsie Rolls, having not specified that "tootsie rolls" was a slang term for mortar rounds.

13. When a student named William Edgar Smith applied for Georgia Tech in 1927, he was accidentally sent two enrollment forms. He filled out both the forms and created a fictional man named George P. Burdell. William enrolled Burdell in classes and turned in assignments for him. The elaborate prank lasted all the way to graduation day, when Burdell earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering.

14. As of 2015, at least six Americans have been accidentally shot by dogs in the past five years, including by a dog named "Trigger." 

15. In 2006, the BBC accidentally filmed a live TV interview with a job applicant named Guy Goma (instead of Guy 'Kewney' ) due to a waiting room mix-up. 

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For over an hour on February 7th, 2008, Comcast accidentally broadcast porn instead of Cartoon Network in Nashville, Tennessee. In another incident, Comcast replaced Disney Channel with hardcore porn for subscribers in Lincroft, New Jersey.

17. When David Reimer was born in 1965, his doctor had accidentally burned off his penis during a failed circumcision. His family, under the guidance of Dr. John Money, decided to raise him as a girl, to prove that nurture, and not nature defines sexual identity. It failed.

18. In England in 1858, a confectioner making peppermint lozenges tried to purchase harmless powdered gypsum from a local pharmacist but was accidentally sold 12 pounds of arsenic trioxide. 20 people died and more than 200 others became ill when the poisoned candy was unwittingly sold to the public. 

19. In 1992, the carrier Saratoga accidentally launched live missiles during a joint U.S - Turkish exercise, killing several Turkish naval officers.

20. In 2012, an 80-year-old woman named Mrs. Palmerina Pires Ribeiro was killed in a Brazilian clinic when a student nurse accidentally administered coffee and milk through her IV line.

21DJ Scratch

DJ Scratch

DJ Grand Wizard Theodore accidentally invents ‘the scratch.’ While trying to hold a spinning record in place in order to listen to his mom, who was yelling at him, Grand Wizard accidentally caused the record to produce the “shigi-shigi” sound that is now known as the scratch. Scratch is the crux of modern deejaying.

22. A giant Wham-O SUPERBALL, made as a promotional item, accidentally fell out of a 23rd story window, bounced 15 stories in the air and destroyed a parked sports car by landing on it.

23. In 1904, tea bags were invented accidentally. The inventor, Thomas Sullivan, decided that it was cheaper to send small samples to potential customers in silk bags instead of boxes. The recipients believed they were meant to be dunked and soon Sullivan was flooded with orders for his “tea bags.”

24. A chemistry graduate student named Barry Kidston accidentally synthesized the chemical MPTP and gave himself Parkinsonian Syndrome while trying to make opioids. He accidentally advanced Parkinson's research at his own expense.

25. Steve Wynn bought a Picasso painting (Le Rêve) for $45 million in 1997, accidentally put his elbow through it causing over $90,000 in damages. This story added value to the painting and was sold for $155 million in 2013. 

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