On July 28, 1900, King Umberto I of Italy and his aide-de-camp General Emilio Ponzio-Vaglia arrived in the town of Monza, a few miles outside Milan.  The next day the King was to present the prizes at an athletic event.  The night of their arrival he and his aide went to a small restaurant for dinner.  As the owner was taking their order, the King noticed that he and the owner were virtual doubles, in both face and build.  He remarked on this, and as the two men talked an extraordinary series of parallels emerged which caused both of them to marvel.

The two men were born on the same day of the same year (on March 14, 1844)and in the same town, each was named Umberto.  They had both married on April 22, 1868, each to a woman named Margherita.  Each had named his son Vittorio.  And on the same of Umberto’s coronation, the other Umberto had opened his restaurant.

The King was staggered by these coincidences and asked the restaurant owner how it could be that their paths had never crossed?  In fact, Umberto told him, they had been decorated for bravery together on two occasions, the first time in 1866, when Umberto had been a private and the King a colonel, and the second time in 1870, when each was promoted – to sergeant and Corps commander.  With this final revelation the restaurant owner returned to his duties, and the King, turning to his aide, said, “I intend to make that man a Cavaliere of the Crown of Italy tomorrow.  Be sure he comes to the athletic event.”

The following day, true to his word the King asked for his double only to be told that the man had died that day in a shooting accident.  Shocked, the King asked his aide to find out when the funeral was to take place so that he might attend.  At that very moment, three shots rang out, fired by an assassin.  The first of them missed the King, but the second two pierced his heart and killed him instantly.

(Reader’s Digest Association Inc, Mysteries of the Unexplained, pp. 61-62; Ripley’s Ghost Stories and Plays, pp. 30-33)

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