Frane Selak: The Most Unlucky Lucky Man

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Frane Selak: The Most Unlucky Lucky Man

Silas Ou and Kavin Thiyagarajan

Frane Selak.  Most people don’t know him by his name but rather by his title. The luckiest unlucky man in the world. So want to know why he is called this? He has cheated death seven times, then won the lottery.

His Brushes With Death

Selak’s first brush with death. Selak, then a 32-year-old Croatian man (A music teacher), was on a flight during 1963. He was hurriedly rushing to see his sick mother but narrowly missed the departure time. He begged and pleaded with the flight crew and they let him sit in the back of the plane with a flight attendant. Selak talked to the flight attendant and they became quite close. But fate has it, that the flight door just flew open and due to the pressure difference, Selak, and everybody on the airplane flew out into the clutches of death. Selak however, cheated death. He somehow landed in a pile of hay and only sustained minor injuries. This is truly a feat by itself. But, there are 6 more times that similar have happened.

The year before the plane crash, Selak said he was on a train from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik that derailed and crashed into an icy river. But he claimed that despite suffering from hypothermia and a broken arm, he swam to safety and survived. Then in 1966, three years after the plane crash, his bus skidded into a river, leaving four dead while he swam safely to the banks and suffered only minor cuts and bruises.  Then in 1970 and 1973, Selak reportedly survived two similar accidents in which his car spontaneously caught fire while he was driving it and then exploded just before he was able to flee to safety.

After 22 accident-free years, Selak said he survived being hit by a bus while walking in Zagreb in 1995 at the age of 64. The next year Selak claimed that he was driving in the Croatian mountains when an oncoming United Nations truck caused him to swerve off a 300-foot cliff. However, he said that he was able to jump out, (he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt) and at the last second and watch from a tree at the cliff’s edge as his car plummeted downward.  Selak told The Telegraph that his friends were eventually hesitant to get in a vehicle with him or even be near him at all. “There came a stage when I was lucky to have any friends at all,” he said. “Many stopped seeing me saying I was bad karma.” And as one neighbor of Selak’s said, Frane Selak remained optimistic despite his many brush-with-death stories. “You could look at it two ways,” he said in 2003. “I was either the unluckiest man in the world or the luckiest. I preferred to believe the latter.”

“Put it like this, if I heard Frane had booked a flight or a train, I would cancel.”

Controversy and Winning the Lottery

However, despite all of this, the Croatian man won the lottery. How much? $960,000 much. Never the less throughout the article, you may have noticed that many of these accounts were alleged, or reported etc. The reason for that is because of inconsistencies between his stories.  Another thing you may have noticed is there are only six brushes with death. The seventh one was when he almost was kicked in the face by a donkey. In his own words: seven [brushes of death] sounds cooler than six”.  But back to the point. The reason they are all alleged is that they all have no eyewitnesses or evidence supporting them. They essentially are only claims. As a result, lots of doubt has come through. For example, inconsistency with stories causes people to disregard the bus crash. Other people say that the plane crash never happened because there is no recorded case of it happening except him. But most people (like me) would prefer that all of these stories are true. However, this doesn’t mean that he’s definitely lying or that the news sources that have reported his story are mistaken. Perhaps his story contains a mix of truth and lies, perhaps he’s misremembered some details that have caused inconsistencies, or perhaps those who have retold his stories have mistakenly added in inconsistencies themselves. Despite this, it still seems that his stories will most likely never be proven.

But the story still doesn’t end there. When a YouTube channel by the name of This and That Visuals made a video about Frane Selak’s incredible, partially fact story, Frane Selak immediately demanded at least $1,000. Why? Frane Selak claims that the video misportrayed him. In the video, Selak is animated as a fat old man with a mustache. Selak said that he wasn’t fat and that he didn’t have a mustache.  He also claims that they mixed up all his accidents. His other justification is that he needs the $1,000 dollars because he lives on a pension. It seems the media didn’t catch on to what he said as nobody has really cared about it. Anyways the owner of the Youtube channel David Ransom hopes Selak won’t actually sue him for the amount. “I am very sorry that he was upset by his depiction,” he says. “If he would like to set the record straight I would be more than happy to amend the video to more accurately represent his image, and add or remove any details he wants.”


In the last paragraph, you might have noticed that he was living on a pension despite winning the lottery. So why? Because he gave away most of his money to charity and family, probably an attempt to gain good karma.  The other bit he bought two boats and a house. He later got rid of them and today the 89-year-old Croatian man lives in a small hut in the woods like a hermit with his FIFTH wife. Yeah, remember that bad karma thing? But despite all of his bad karma, amazing life, controversy, and pretty much unprovable claims, he still holds the title of the World’s most Unlucky Lucky Man.