The 20-Year Flight of the Killer Bullet

ziegland exploding tree bullet coincidence

EDITOR’S NOTE — January 19, 2021: We knew when we published this piece on January 26, 2016, that the story was so fanciful that its veracity might be dubious. We were, however, able to verify it through a seemingly-reliable news source. This met our standards for reliability, and after all, the world is a weird place, so why wouldn’t it be true? Alas, our hopes have been dashed, thanks to reader ucastrobr, who sent us the link to this article that seems to drive a stake through the claims. It does, however, fall within the category of “Even if it isn’t true, it should be,” and since nearly 13,000 people have read the article to date, we have decided to leave it up and to add it to our Hoaxes and Pranks category.

Sometimes you just can’t escape fate. Take Henry Ziegland, for example. When he broke up with his girlfriend in 1893, she committed suicide. Her brother blamed Ziegland for his sister’s death and vowed revenge. He confronted Ziegland, pulled a gun, and took a shot at him.

Fortunately for Ziegland, the bullet only grazed his face and lodged in the nearby tree. The brother, believing that he got his message across, did not attempt any further violence.

For twenty years the bullet remained lodged in that tree, all but forgotten. In 1913 Ziegland decided to remove the tree. Rather than mess around with an ax, he opted for dynamite to uproot the offending timber.

The explosion dislodged the bullet and propelled it through the air until it became lodged — in Henry Ziegland’s head.

He died instantly — even though it had been twenty years since the bullet had been fired.

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