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Accidentally Correct Writing
aka: Accidentally Accurate

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"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."
Sir Winston Churchill, 1941 address to the U.S. Congress

This is a subversion of inaccuracy for Artistic License; the research wasn't done (or wasn't available), but the writer was still correct on at least a few points — by complete fluke. This can be hard to tell from Shown Their Work, and can often only be seen in context with the rest of the work. A work that has Shown Their Work would be accurate overall, while one that has Accidentally Correct Writing would only get a few things correct. Alternately, the author could not have known the piece of information in question, and explicitly claimed to be "just guessing", but turned out to be right (as has happened more than once with real life classified information).

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Accidentally Correct Zoology is a specific subtrope for an animal or other organism that was made to be fictional but turned out to be real.

If research not available at the time of the writing proves them right, that's a case of Science Marches On meeting this trope; if the work turns out prophetic, that's Dated History (and "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, Hilarious in Hindsight or Harsher in Hindsight) meeting this trope. If the thing is made true in real life, see Defictionalization. If the theory would never have been accepted by researchers working in whatever field (e.g. Professor Alexander Abian's theory that we should blow up the moon to stop Typhus), it's just the writers fertilizing some Epileptic Trees. If the writer was just showing off an obscure fact that they know, that's Shown Their Work. Compare Right for the Wrong Reasons. For the same principle applied to tactics, see Strategy Schmategy. Compare: Accidental Truth, in which an in-story lie by a character turns out to be true after all, and The Cuckoolander Was Right, for In-Universe examples of something similar.

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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • This Snickers commercial ends with Eugene Levy (as a crewman) making a quip about Marilyn Monroe's iconic subway grate scene from The Seven Year Itch, saying it'll never make the final cut. Despite the obvious It Will Never Catch On joke, he's 100% correct; the actual scene is far tamer compared to the more well-known publicity stills, precisely because the censorship bureau wouldn't allow them to put something so risqué in the film.
  • The cavemen depicted in GEICO's commercials are depicted as intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, and knowledgeable as a subversion of the stereotype of cavemen as brutes. Later studies of Neanderthals, and other species of humans who lived during then, indicated they were likely just as smart as Homo sapiens, if not more so, and seem to have been about as peaceful and empathetic. That is, had species like Neanderthals avoided extinction to the present day, the GEICO cavemen would have probably been a stereotype played straight instead.

    Anime & Manga 
  • AIR: The scene in episode 2 where Haruko mentions Misuzu thinking that dinosaurs came from chicken eggs. It has since become scientific consensus that birds aren't just the descendants of Dinosaurs, but living Dinosaurs themselves.
  • AKIRA: The film depicted Tokyo about to host the 2020 Olympic games. It came out in 1988, 25 years before IOC confirmed Japan would host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
    • And subverted, because the games have been delayed to 2021 thanks to the coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic. Or made even truer to how the events in Akira played out, considering that in the story, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were postponed or canceled due to a biological crisis.
  • The 2006 version of Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur featured feathered Ornithomimus with wings. 6 years prior to this study.
  • Berserk: Miura originally designed Guts' prosthetic arm more out of Rule of Cool than anything, but it turns out it wasn't as far-fetched as he thought. Götz von Berlichingen earned fame and fortune in the 15th century with a prosthetic arm of his own. While it didn't have an Arm Cannon built into it like Guts' did, the fingers were very articulated, and an advances series of springs and levers made the hand perfectly capable of holding a weapon in battle, among other things. Yet despite this shared trait between both people and their similar-sounding names, Miura has confirmed that he never even heard about Götz until well after he started publishing the manga.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: In the New York skyline set in 2065, the Twin Towers are completely absent.
  • Golden Kamuy: Wilk raised his only child, Asirpa, to be a huntress, which is unusual because Ainu culture strictly enforced gender roles. However, as the series' Ainu language supervisor, Nakagawa Hiroshi, states in the seventh chapter of Ainu Bunka de Yomitoku Golden Kamuy ("Reading and Understanding Ainu Culture: Golden Kamuy"), Mokottunasi Kitahara discovered not only that there was an Ainu story about a girl raised as a skilled huntress in her murdered older brothers' place but also that Kinsei Ezo Jinbutsushi ("Personages of Early Modern Ezo") by Takeshiro Matsuhara documented a real-life Ainu huntress named Ciyuhirika.
  • Hugtto! Pretty Cure: An interview with Keisuke Naito has him stated that the only reason why they named one of the characters Ruru / RUR-9500 was because it sounded impressive, and that they never intended to reference the theater play R.U.R. at all. Despite this, Ruru's character arc revolved around her betraying her masters at the Dark Tomorrow Company and learning how to be her own person, much like the plot of the play.
  • One Piece: Shortly after the flashback about Corazon, Doflamingo's brother who wears a black version of his iconic pink coat, scientists discovered this.

    Comedy 
  • In his famous Pachelbel Rant, Rob Paravonian makes some very inaccurate claims about the piece, such as getting the date wrong by more than a century. However, the one thing that he admits that he doesn't know is the composer's first name, but guesses that it's Johann, since "they're all named Johann". Turns out he's dead right about that one.
  • In Weapons of Self Destruction, Robin Williams joked that the next pope after Benedict would be from Latin America "or Brazil" (which is part of Latin America). Come 2013, Pope Francis is elected and hails from Argentina.
  • French stand-up comedian Coluche did a skit on TV in 1979 in which he joked, "Just wait till the left [wins the presidential elections] in 2012!" At the time, a French president's term was 7 years, until Jacques Chirac changed it to 5 in 2000 after a referendum, 14 years after Coluche's death. Not only did the presidential election happen in 2012 (and not 2014, like it would have had Chirac not changed it), but the left did win.
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    Comic Books 
  • The Agents of Atlas are all comprised of 50's superheroes, but one conspicuous absence is 3-D Man, part of the 50's Avengers team that inspired the group's creation in real life. When discussing the roster in the introduction to the book's hardcover release, Jeff Parker said all the other characters were pulp archetypes, and 3-D Man wasn't, so they decided to to bench him for now (his chance would come in the miniseries titled simply 'Atlas'). But Parker's instincts turned out to be more accurate than he might have thought - 3-D Man really wasn't a character created during the fifties - that was only his gimmick, and he was created in the seventies. So he really shouldn't be part of a tribute to Atlas Comics, which is what Agents of Atlas was. So either Jeff Parker could just feel the non-50sness of 3-D Man in his bones just by looking at him, or Marvel is really, really keen on preserving Kayfabe.
  • In a mid-80s issue of Uncanny X-Men, Rachel Summers describes the future of Days of Future Past to the X-Men. Among the things she recalls is the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in 2001.
  • In the Wildstorm miniseries Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, the latter title character makes a comment about 'Romans and their pyramids'. While obviously he was meant to be confusing them with the Ancient Egyptians, in real life the Romans actually did construct several pyramids.
  • A 2008 issue of Iron Man had Tony Stark invent titanium-gold alloy. The idea was to make it sound impressive and something so expensive, only Tony himself could afford to produce and use it. In 2016, titanium-gold alloy was produced for real—and was discovered to be 4 times stronger than titanium alone.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield:
    • Garfield hates raisins. While this was just because Jim Davis hates them, in real life he would have a very good reason not to like them — they are poisonous to cats. (There's also the fact that he as a cat is, you know, an obligate carnivore.)
    • Jon once bought a "battery operated battery charger". The joke was supposed to be that he falls for scams and blows money on "useless" stuff, but it turns out such a concept is far from useless and is totally real. Such devices exist as a means to give portable electronics such as cell phones, laptops, and even car batteries juice in the event of an emergency or if they are being used much more than their battery can handle.
  • One Pearls Before Swine strip has Guard Duck at a fancy restaurant ordering "chateaubriand, cooked medium well." In the commentary for that strip, Stephan Pastis admitted that he only used chateaubriand because it sounded fancy without knowing what it was, but he hoped it really was a type of food. It is — it's a type of steak, which can be cooked medium well. Guard Duck also orders "a glass of your finest pinot noir", which is in no way a bad wine pairing.

    Fan Works 
  • My Immortal:
    • Many Dramatic Readings scoff at the line which says that it was snowing and raining at the same time. This is known as "sleet" in Commonwealth Nations and parts of the United Statesnote , and it very much happens in the real world. If you believe one of the people who confessed to writing it as a Troll Fic, the author thought it was impossible and put it in as a joke. It has also "rained" slush, which also works.
    • This line, which, if you can make out what Tara's saying, inadvertently called a major plot twist in The Deathly Hallows (though to be fair, by this point it was a fairly common fan theory):
      "nd den hairy wil have 2 kommit suicide so voldimort will die koz he will rilly be a horcrox!!!!!111"
    • Though the series's treatment of goth culture is infamous for bearing almost conceivable resemblance to the real thing, one line in the series is "Red vevlet lined da blak box." This is, if mangled, identical to the first line in "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus—generally considered the Trope Maker of gothic music, and may be one of the few actual cases of goth culture in the entire story. Hammering it home further, this is right after a description of how the room is covered in "portraits of gothic bands lik MCR, GC and Marlin Mason", all of which are considered pop-punk or emo. Depending on how you view My Immortal, this is either a very well-hidden Easter egg or a cosmic coincidence.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender fan comic How I Became Yours infamously included a scene of daytime bloodbending which was thought to be impossible in the universe of the show, until The Legend of Korra introduced three characters who were able to do it, not that the author of the fic would have known this at the time. This is especially ironic since it's a fic that more or less personifies Canon Defilement, yet managed to be pretty spot on about the metaphysics of the world.
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami:
    • The narrator claims that Wales is "A town in England". In reality, there is a small village in England called Wales. However, there is not one called 'whales', as the author persistently spells it.
    • Blood Bananas (Blud the shinigami's Trademark Favorite Food) are actually a real thing, though they are not normally made of blood.
    • Sayu's portrayal as a lesbian is somewhat accurate to canon, where she's implied to be either gay or bisexual. She even says that Misa is her "type".
  • Lady Norbert picked her online handle to name herself after the dragon from Harry Potter, but tacked "Lady" on the front because she's a grown woman. This was in 2000. Seven years later, Deathly Hallows revealed that the dragon Norbert is, in fact, Norberta.
  • In Shadow and Rose, which was published prior to the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Alistair explains to Wynne that he's not good at dancing because Templars never learned how. In Inquisition, a romanced Cullen tells the Inquisitor the same thing at the Winter Palace ball, and his explanation is almost word-for-word the same one as in the fic.
    • In addition, The World of Thedas, vol. 2 was published after the release of Inquisition and revealed that some of the background details of this fic were accurate, such as the fact that Arl Eamon altered the records of Alistair's birth to hide his real mother's identity.
  • A Different Halloween has this in-universe, when the chief at the Daily Prophet takes a few bits of fact and wraps them around a backstory for the recently deceased Voldemort to write a sensationalist piece, not realizing that he and a young Rita Skeeter have accidentally hammered out Voldemort's actual history.
  • While Being Dead Ain't Easy was written before the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime/manga got to the part about how the Millennium Items were made, Yami Bakura's statement that he knows roughly how it was done still fits, as do the parts about how much power the shadows once held. The ritual to save Joey is also accurate to the dubbed anime, as the villagers were sacrificed via their souls/life energy.
  • Citadel of the Heart:
    • Our first introduction with Ash Ketchum sees him cooking pancakes for his mother's two pet Pikachu, and later for his own newly hatched Pichu turned Pikachu come later chapters of Truth and Ideals. Alolan Raichu would be revealed nearly two years after the story was originally published, and the change in appearance to match Alola is specifically because of a change in diet; a favoritism of pancakes, specifically. Not only that, but the author took a massive risk with evolving Pikachu into Alolan Raichu by only using the Thunder Stone as normal to achieve the form alongside the aforementioned dietary habits. Turns out he makes lightning strike twice because, in Sun and Moon and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pikachu will only evolve into its Alolan Raichu variant unless you're located within Ultra Space when you use the Thunder Stone on it.
    • In Digimon Re: Adventure, the Agumon from the movie is the same entity as the one from the series. A little over a year later, the finale of Digimon Adventure tri. would heavily imply that yes, the Agumon from the movie and the show really are the same one.
    • In Truth and Ideals Chapter 58, Necrozma is referred to by Solgaleo and Lunala as an ally who for some reason went rogue, and are horrified as to the Blood Knight Necrozma has become. This chapter was released a good year before Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out, and even longer before the anime revealed this apparently wasn't too far off; Necrozma was originally benevolent and was worshiped alongside Solgaleo and Lunala as a trio of light bringing Legendary Pokémon, before it started absorbing the light instead.
  • In Kyuubi N: Son of the Demon King, Tobi is revealed to be the ghost of Madara Uchiha possessing the dead body of his descendant Obito. Years later, canon would reveal Tobi's identity as Obito trying to complete a plan created by Madara before the latter's death.
  • Selaginella Lepidophylla: The title is the scientific name of a plant that is called, among other things, "The False Rose of Jericho". Later, canon would reveal that Rose Quartz isn't a Rose Quartz at all, but actually Pink Diamond.
  • In Code Prime - R1: Rebellion, Charles' brother V.V. is given the name Victor. Supplementary materials would later reveal his canon name is Victor zi Britannia.
  • Brainbent has two character interpretations that were later proven accurate in Homestuck canon:
    • Rose being The Alcoholic predates the Homestuck Rose developing an alcohol problem by over a year. When asked about it, the authors said that they suspect that they picked up on parts of her personality in canon that would predispose her to addiction.
    • Brainbent's Bro Strider is an abusive, neglectful caregiver, mostly leaving Dave to fend for himself in an apartment full of weapons and sexual puppets but no food. This and the psychological trauma it causes Dave turn out to be almost entirely accurate. In early Homestuck acts, things like the Striders' fridge being full of swords are played for laughs; much later, Dave admits that he had to learn from movies that fridges are supposed to be used for food, and shares Brainbent Dave's realization that his Big Brother Worship of Bro was horribly unfounded.
  • White Sheep (RWBY):
    • The fic started as a Crack Fic, as the idea of Salem falling in love and raising a family was ridiculous. It turned into a Comedy AU following the canon reveal that she did have family thousands of years ago (even after she turned evil), but it ended in tragedy.
    • Jaune and his sisters all have blonde hair and blue eyes like their father; while a bit improbable, it's far from impossible. The canon reveal that Salem also had blonde hair and blue eyes before her dip in the Pools of Annihilation makes the genetics far more probable.
  • The Ghost of Ochs was started a month before the release of the Cindered Shadows side story, which features Baron Ochs as a boss character in one of the DLC paralogues. In the story, Monica mentions to Byleth that House Ochs has a history of skilled sword fighters. When the DLC was released, it turned out that Baron Ochs was of the Trickster class, which excels in swords and white magic (but the Baron himself attempted to fight with Balthus' Vajra-Mushti, a gauntlet-type weapon, before its power consumed him and turned him into a Demonic Beast).
  • At Arm's Length is a Rurouni Kenshin For Want of a Nail fic started in 2016 that describes what the manga could've been like had Kaoru's father survived and returned home after the first arc of the story. A year later, an official sequel manga began that includes (among other things) the reveal that Kaoru's father is still alive.

    Films — Animation 
  • There is a joke in Coco about a skeleton being allergic to a hairless dog. In reality, many people are allergic to dogs with little-to-no fur. It's not the dog's fur that sets off the allergy, it's their saliva.
  • In Fantasia, a double-error caused accuracy in the "Rite of Spring Suite": The famous Tyrannosaurus rex vs. Stegosaurus battle was impossible. Tyrannosaurus lived in the Cretaceous period, while Stegosaurus lived in the Jurassic. Furthermore, the T. rex was drawn with three fingers instead of two. These are both resolved if it's not a T. rex at all, but an Allosaurus or a Torvosaurus, both of which did live in the Jurassic alongside Stegosaurus and had three fingers.
  • Ice Age:
  • The Lorax: In the film, the main villain is charging people for clean air mainly because of their overly polluted air and smog. Later on, an "oxygen bar" in Delhi gave Indians a gulp of fresh air, and even later than that, China began selling bottled air as well. Low air quality has given a business opportunity to entrepreneurs offering pollution-free oxygen at a price.
  • In Osmosis Jones, Pikachu has a split-second cameo in one of the bar scenes. Six years later, a protein was discovered christened Pikachurin by Japanese researchers for its lightning-fast moves and electrical effects.
  • Titan/, excuse me, Tighten's rant in Megamind has him say "There is no Easter bunny, there is no tooth fairy, and there is no queen of England!" The intended joke is clear, but there actually hasn't been a monarch of England since the Acts of Union 1707 united England, Wales, and Scotland to form Great Britain. Currently, the title is "Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."
  • Monsters, Inc. has a joke where Randall calls Mike a "cretin" and Mike responds that he's pronouncing it wrong. However, Randall's specific pronunciation ("creh-tin", rather than "cree-tin" as Mike insists) actually is the common pronunciation in the United Kingdom (not that Randall has any kind of British accent).
  • In Mulan, Shan-Yu is understandably furious with Mulan for destroying his army, but he doesn't seem to care that she's a woman, and is also one of the few male characters in the whole film who never outright says anything sexist towards her. Given it's never commented on, it's likely the writers didn't realize that many nomadic tribes (including the actual Huns and the Xiongnu) did have a widespread culture of warrior women. Because of this, it's not too surprising that Shan-Yu wouldn't care about Mulan's gender, instead viewing her as just another soldier on the battlefield.
  • Edward Norton's Playing Against Type character in Sausage Party is the Ambiguously Jewish Woody Allen-Expy named Sammy Bagel Jr. While it's obvious that the person for whom the character is named is black and Norton isn't, something that many people may not know is that he was actually Jewish.
  • In the animated version of The King and I, Tuptim's lover Lun Tha is Adapted Out, she becomes Prince Chulalongkorn's love interest instead, and the two of them get a Happily Ever After ending in place of the original Tuptim and Lun Tha's tragic fate. This was obviously done to make the movie more family-friendly. However, according to one of King Mongkut's descendants, Anna Leonowens' story of Tuptim's forbidden romance and death was total fiction; there really was a Tuptim, but she outlived Mongkut and became one of Chulalongkorn's wives. (Here's her modern day descendant Her Serene Highness Princess Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya (green dress, far left).) So in this detail, the animated version is more accurate than the original!
  • In Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Prince Philip is trying to get his moody horse Samson to follow his orders, so he bribes him with "an extra bucket of oats" as well as carrots. Oats and other grains are supplemental feed used for an energy-boost, and most horses only need a few pounds per day if at all. Since Philip promised an EXTRA bucket of oats (assuming it holds 1-2 gallons for your average hand-carried "bucket"), this means Samson gets ten or twenty pounds of grain along with his regular oats, which horses do eat... after insane exertion of Epic Race levels. This would mean: 1) racehorses who sprint for several miles, 2) war-horses after a battle, or 3) endurance horses who can truck along for a whole DAY of eight to ten hours. Given that they DO end up fighting Maleficent at the climax, twenty pounds of oats would certainly be a good idea, but as it was used for a Running Gag, it's not clear if the writers actually knew horses need that much grain after hard work.
  • Wreck-It Ralph is set Inside a Computer System and has characters travel between video games in an arcade through the machines' power supply cords. One may think it unrealistic to transfer data through electrical wiring, but it is in fact possible, and often very practical, especially in homes that don't carry a Wi-Fi signal well and aren't wired for Ethernet. Of course it's still not the most practical way to link arcade machines that are literally right next to each other; any meaningful data link between arcade machines would far more likely take place over network cabling.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Any paleontologist watching Jurassic Park could, among other things, call out the movie for its depiction of Velociraptors as man-sized monsters when real raptors were about the size of turkeys. Only two years prior to the movie's release, however, paleontologists discovered Utahraptor, which really was about the size of the raptors in the movie. And at the time the book was written, Gregory Paul had proposed reclassifying Deinonychus as Velociraptor antirrhopus, believing the species to be similar enough to Velociraptor mongoliensis to justify it being a different species in the same genus, rather than in its own genus. Crichton chose to follow Paul's nomenclature, rather than the standard. Thus, the Velociraptors in the movie and books are actually Deinonychus because Paul's theory wasn't disproven until after publishing. This is why Alan Grant is digging up a supposed Velociraptor in America, where the actual Velociraptor didn't live, but Deinonychus did. In the years since then, another dromaeosaur has been found matching Jurassic Park's raptors for size, and it lived in roughly the same time and place as the raptor Grant was digging up. It's called Dakotaraptor.
  • In Jurassic Park III, Spinosaurus was portrayed as being larger than Tyrannosaurus rex and at that time it was believed to be the other way around (though some paleontologists already listed it as being longer than Tyrannosaurus, at 50 feet in length, but still not heavier). Later in 2006, Spinosaurus turned out to be not only larger than a T. rex but also the largest carnivorous dinosaur of them all. A later evidence indicates that Spinosaurus was also aquatic, making the climatic scene where it rises out of the water while swimming also somewhat accurate. Of course, it's now thought that it was short-legged instead of long-legged like in the movie so it kind of cancels itself out.
  • In Quatermass and the Pit (1967), the protagonists uncover remains of primitive humans from five million years ago. The characters state that no such remains have ever been found that far back in time before. At the time, the oldest known hominids were three million years-old members of the genus Australopithecus, but in 1994, a newly discovered five million years-old hominid, Ardipithecus, was announced.
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth was notable for being one of the first movies to correctly describe Venus as a hot, inhospitable planet with a poisonous sulfur-filled atmosphere. Probes to the planet confirmed this... five years after the movie came out.
  • The Nazi flying wing airplane in Raiders of the Lost Ark is a fictional design, albeit one partly inspired by the Horten Ho 229 (which didn't exist at the time the movie takes place, and was powered by jet engines rather than propellers). But there was another, much more obscure Nazi flying wing design that the filmmakers were presumably unaware of— and it looked almost exactly like the one in the movie.
  • While A Clockwork Orange was incorrect in its assumption that mini-cassettes would become a popular audio medium, the record store filled with LPs would not look out of place today.
  • Some have questioned the credibility of the fact that Captain Englehorn in King Kong is able to translate the language of the islanders, who have apparently never had Western visitors before. He describes it as similar to the language of the Nias islanders. Nias is a real place in Indonesia, but the language of the film is completely fabricated. Nonetheless, Englehorn's ability to translate is not all that implausible; most of the languages of the Pacific share common enough roots to be mutually intelligible to fluent speakers.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap goes for a Sophisticated as Hell gag by having one of the band members describe his song as being influenced by Bach and Mozart, only to reveal that it's entitled "Lick My Love Pump". Such a title would, in fact, have precedent in Mozart's oeuvre, which contains a vocal canon named "Leck Mich im Arsch" (in German literally "lick me in the arse", or "kiss my ass"). Also, many heavy metal musicians are classically trained, which may surprise people who think the genre is all about noise and satanism.
  • Stanley Kubrick and the Doctor Strangelove production team got themselves in trouble with the US Air Force because their interior sets for the B-52 bomber were suspiciously accurate, even though the plane's layout was classified. The filmmakers had started with the appearance of a WWII-era B-29 flight deck, along with a single photograph from a book cover, and simply expanded it based on the B-52's exterior dimensions. Evidently they did an excellent job.
  • The infamous "transparent aluminum" of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which sounds like a far-flung sci-fi concept if ever there was one, is not all that impossible, technically, since in 2015, Japanese researchers detailed a process to create super-strong glass with aluminum dust. And Gorilla Glass, that lovely substance that covers every smartphone on the planet contains aluminum too. To be fair though, transparent aluminum oxide — also known as synthetic sapphire — has been produced since the early part of the 20th century, including for industrial use of its extreme durability.
  • In 2010: The Year We Make Contact, when Dr. Heywood Floyd stands in the doorway of his sleeping son's room, on the wall to the left of his bed is a poster of an Olympic runner with the text "Beijing 08" on the bottom. The film was made in 1984 and the Olympic Committee did not choose Beijing for the 2008 Olympics until July 2001.
  • In Blade Runner, when Batty and Tyrell are arguing about how to prolong a Replicant's lifespan, Batty mentions something called "EMS". Tyrell says they already tried "Ethyl methanesulfonate" unsuccessfully. Ethyl methanesulfonate is an actual organic compound with mutagenic qualities, used in genetics. The scriptwriter later admitted he did no research for the conversation and the mention of a real compound in the Techno Babble was coincidental.
  • Given Fort Knox is closed for visitors, the art crew of Goldfinger had to to make up the vault in a studio from their own ideas. The comptroller of the Depository would later send a complimentary letter saying it was imaginative.
  • Demolition Man is a mixed bag, depending on how much leeway you want to give for hyperbole. However, a blink-and-you-miss-it moment near the beginning of the movie shows Scott Peterson as the name of an inmate incarcerated in the same cryogenic prison as antagonist Simon Phoenix. The movie was released in 1993. Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife in a highly-publicized trial in 2005. The judge in the case sentenced him to death, so putting him on ice is metaphorical in this instance.
  • Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet in Star Wars: A New Hope, famously has two suns. At the time the Star Wars movies were written dual star systems were thought of as too unstable to actually contain planets. In the early 1990s, astronomers theorized (and later confirmed) the existence of a planet in the binary star system PSR B1620-26, and today it's known to be fairly common (e.g. Kepler-16b).
  • Back to the Future:
    • Back to the Future Part II predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the 2015 World Series. They were one year off, and they also predicted that Miami would get a professional baseball team. Their predictions weren't perfect, though — the baseball team Miami would get about five years after the film's release is a National League team, not an American League team, so they couldn't play the Cubs in the World Series (though the Cubs and Marlins have played each other in the playoffs before), and while October 21 is about when the World Series would be ending in the 1980's, baseball's playoffs had expanded from 4 teams to 10 by 2015 in the real world, making October 21 way too early for the World Series to end (and it often hasn't even started by October 21!). Interestingly enough, the Cubs did make the playoffs in 2015, but rather than win the World Series, they ended up getting knocked out of the playoffs in the NLCS, coincidentally losing that series on October 21.
    • Most of the technology in 2015 was deliberately Zeerust and not intended to be a plausible depiction of the future. That said, some of the gadgets we see are pretty close to ones that actually existed in the real 2015, such as video calls and being able to watch six channels at once (although you do both on the computer, rather than a TV), and machines that respond to voice commands. In around-about way, it predicted the since-discreditied Web TV concept, which attempted to combine computers and television but never gained enough popularity and disappeared rather quickly. Smart T Vs would revisit the concept but not until later.
    • In Back to the Future Part III, Buford Tannen's gang members take notice of Marty's Nike sneakers, pronouncing "Nike" as "Nee-Kay" ("What is that, some sort of Injun talk or something?"). While meant to show how uneducated Tannen and his gang is, "Nee-kay" actually is similar to the Ancient Greek pronunciation of "Nike".
  • The decision to use the Ford Taurus for the Detroit Police Department in RoboCop (1987) was because the car looked futuristic. Some years later, police departments would use Tauruses for cars.
  • A lot of the jokes in Spaceballs ended up unwittingly predicting later developments in the Star Wars franchise, making the film's satire all the more biting. For example, the "father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate" gag inadvertently mirrored the huge plot twist regarding Rey's parents in The Last Jedi. Or not, actually.
  • In one of the most famous scenes from The Blues Brothers, the brothers go on a car chase through a shopping mall (which in fact was a real shopping mall that had closed, fitted with fake storefronts). One of the stores they crash through is a Toys "R" Us (never a tenant of the actual mall). While no traditional enclosed mall at the time had a Toys "R" Us in it, the chain would later open a few such locations in The '80s and The '90s.
  • In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a person getting shot in the head can be treated using "Alpha Gel", before bringing the body back to the base and applying nanomachines to fix the brain. Just one year later, scientists come up with this making the brain repairing gel a reality.
  • Harold Ramis was apparently told by a parapsychologist that Slimer from Ghostbusters was a great portrayal of a "hungry ghost." Ramis said he had no idea such a thing was genuine folklore.
  • M*A*S*H and the TV series that followed featured a black surgeon until people pointed out the anachronism that the army wasn't racially integrated until 1954. However, the 8055th MASH in real life, which inspired the series, actually did have a black surgeon on staff who the producers of the show were completely unaware of, as individual cases of integration had been occurring on occasion since before even 1940.
  • The Room attempted to have one of the main character named after the actor from The Talented Mr. Ripley, Matt Damon but Tommy Wiseau remembered his name as "Mark Damon." While he was not in that movie, as it turns out, there really is an actor who goes by the name Mark Damon.
  • Welcome Mr. Marshall! was originally set in an Andalusian village named Villar del Río, which people kept mistaking for another called Villar del Campo. In the last version of the script, the setting was moved to a Castilian village that pretended to be Andalusian for added hilarity. Turns out there is an actual village named Villar del Río in Soria province, in Castile, and that there is another named Villar del Campo just one hour drive from it.
  • Who Killed Bambi?, which would have been a Russ Meyer-directed film about the Sex Pistols, would have ended with Johnny Rotten Breaking the Fourth Wall by looking into the camera and asking, "Ever get the feeling you're Being Watched?" Rotten would end the Pistols' final concert, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA on January 14, 1978, by asking the crowd, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Good night," dropping the mic and walking offstage.
  • The Wizard, despite being a glorified Nintendo commercial, Dan Browned a lot of the details about games that it portrayed. That being said, despite that, and despite being released in a day where Asian pronunciations were especially bad in America, they correctly pronounced Ninja Gaiden as "Ninja Guy-Den," as opposed to pronouncing it "Ninja Gay-Den."

    Jokes 
  • A blonde joke (replacing "blonde" with whatever Acceptable Target you like) tells of one who chose the password "MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofySacramento", because it needed to have at least 8 characters and include at least 1 capital. The humor comes from the Acceptable Target being overly Literal-Minded, but a password like this would actually be really good — due to its sheer length, it would take a while to crack by brute force, and because it's eight closely-related names (plus Sacramento), it would also be fairly easy to remember. How Secure Is My Password claims it would take 135 duovigintillion years to crack this password, that is 135 x 10⁶⁹ note  years when the estimated age of the universe since the Big Bang is around 13.8 billion years plus or minus around 20 million. It would also be hard to guess, too. Even if you know which names are in the password, it is significantly more common to say 'Huey, Dewey and Louie' than it is 'Huey, Louie and Dewey', which is the order of their names in the password.
  • Any joke about France using a white flag. The punchline is that a white flag is a symbol for surrender, but France really did use a pure white flag for a while, both as a Naval ensign and as a national flag during the Bourbon Restoration.
  • An old Australian hoax pulled on tourists is that of the drop bear, a supposed deadly Koala that jumps unsuspecting people from trees. Cue the discovery of Thylacoleo carnifex, the "marsupial lion". Some scientists believe it jumped down at prey from trees, and it most likely coexisted with humans. It remains unclear if the drop bear hoax has origins in native oral history of the creature, or the similarities are a mere coincidence.
  • There's a joke that deliberately invokes this trope: A guy is on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and is at the million dollar question, which is "which of these birds doesn't make it's own nest A. the sparrow B. The eagle C. the dove d. the cuckoo He only has "call a friend" left so he calls his friend and repeats the question. The friend immediately says "the cuckoo". He says "are you sure" and the friend says "yes, positive". He answers the cuckoo and wins a million dollars. When he goes to thank his friend later, he asks "how did you know a cuckoo doesn't build it's own nest" and the friend says "Because it lives in a clock, duh!"

    Literature 
  • In 1726, Jonathan Swift mentioned in the third part of Gulliver's Travels that the scientists of Laputa had discovered two satellites of Mars, at distances that were much smaller than those of any known moons at the time, and with rotation speeds that also were out of kilter with any known moons. When Asaph Hall discovered the moons in 1877 these numbers were uncannily close to the real ones. One Soviet spacecraft designer even suggested Swift had found Martian records on Earth that revealed this, although naturally more plausible explanations exist.
  • Improperly used adjectives are all over The Eye of Argon (amongst other linguistic woes). Surprisingly, "scarlet" emerald isn't one of them: they're also called red beryls. It's unlikely that Jim Theis knew this.
  • Twilight:
    • In Eclipse, Bella, Edward, and Jacob hide out in the mountains on the same evening that there is a freak snowstorm. There really was a freak snowstorm in that region of the United States in June of 2006.
    • In both Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, Bella and Jacob get a few laughs out of Bella's made-up term of "beta" to mean the second-in-command of the wolf pack. "Beta" is in fact an outdatednote , but still in very common use by laypeople, term for such a wolf.
  • Many people are quite shocked by the accuracy with which Fifty Shades of Grey depicts an abusive relationship. It could be a case of Shown Their Work, except that the book is marketed as erotic romance novel and the author vehemently denies any abuse. On top of that, according to Matthew Patrick's Film Theory episode on the film adaptation, it's a scarily accurate depiction of cult indoctrination.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien seems to have acquired the gift of prophecy while writing The Notion Club Papers in 1944, given that he gives 1986 as the date of a space program disaster, a nuclear disaster, and the greatest storm ever to hit England. The last one was a few months out — in Real Life it happened in 1987.
  • The famous incident involving "Deadline", a short story sci-fi pulp written by Cleve Cartmill in 1944 which described how to build a uranium-fission bomb, using information taken from technical articles published before the war. The FBI demanded the issue be removed from the newsstands, but editor John W. Campbell convinced them this would only alert the world that the US government was working on building such a weapon. Campbell himself wrote a story in 1936 called "Frictional Losses" that predicted the Japanese use of explosive-laden kamikaze planes (in that case, to fight an Alien Invasion).
  • The 1940 anti-isolationist Lightning in the Night predicted a US War with Japan and Germany would begin with a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and end with atomic bombs (!)
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has the equation 6X9=42. This is indeed correct—in Base 13 notation (it's 54 in Base 10, the numbering system we use every day). Douglas Adams responded to the revelation with "I may be a sorry case, but I don't write jokes in base 13."
  • Al Franken's The Truth (with jokes) ends with a letter to his grandchildren, supposedly written in 2015 (the book was published in 2005) about all the things that have happened in politics since then. Some of his predictions are wrong, and some are just for jokes (Karl Rove goes to prison for punching a cop, but continues to advise the 2008 Republican race). He does correctly predict that a Democrat (that he specifically avoids naming) wins in 2008 and again in 2012, and that Al would be elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008.
  • The 1981 "honorary Alternate History" novel The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn predicted many things about the state of baseball in the span of 1985 to 1988, but the most correct prediction was that the Dodgers would go to the World Series in 1988.
  • The World Society of Brave New World physically and mentally handicaps its lower castes by injecting alcohol into the uterine replicators in which they are grown. This was written well before Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was actually discovered, but Huxley even managed to get the symptoms almost exactly right. Even prior to its formal identification however, there was awareness of the link (dating back to ancient Greece, Israel and Rome), if not the reason, later observations being from the 18th/19th centuries. Huxley (coming from a scientific family) may well have known about it before.
  • Tom Clancy's description of submarine inertial navigation system in The Hunt for Red October would have been considered as Shown Their Work...if it's not classified information. Some high-up people are concerned that Clancy somehow got access to classified information when he extrapolated this himself.
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin's We describes a surgical procedure that basically destroys someone's personality and emotions by destroying parts of the brain — the book was written approximately fifteen years before Lobotomy was invented.
  • In Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, the brief paragraph describing Wyoming claims that the Grand Tetons "get their name from the Indian expression, 'Get a load of those Tetons.'" Though it's actually French, the word does in fact mean what it sounds like.
  • The writers of Warriors admit that they don't know much about cats and it shows. Still, Clans do coincidentally have a lot of similarities to how actual cat colonies work.
  • Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, written by Morgan Robertson and published in 1898, chronicles the final voyage of a luxury liner named Titan, which sinks after striking an iceberg a few hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland. A large number of the passengers die in the sinking because the ship carried too few lifeboats. Fourteen years later...
  • In Stray, Pufftail repeatedly laments about how cats prefer the company of each other over humans and how they are social animals. At the time of release in the 1980s, cats were seen as loners, with feral/stray colonies being the exception to the rule. Since then, further research has shown that domestic cats aren't as asocial as once thought.
  • What are the chances that the creator of Maya the Bee knew that beekeeping was an important economic activity for the ancient Maya?
  • Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs features a scene where a horse dies of a marijuana overdose. Considering the book is pretty hardline in its Drugs Are Bad stance, it seems to have been saying that people can die of marijuana overdose—which, for a human, would require the user to be too young to smoke cigarettes; it's generally accepted that the most dangerous part of smoking a joint is the smoke itself. However, marijuana actually is pretty toxic to horses, so the events could have happened... well, if you got a horse to smoke a joint, anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The infamous line uttered by a character from Baywatch; "I love playing Mario on my Atari!" There were in fact, games featuring Mario available on the Atari 2600, such as Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. The line was outdated, but not inaccurate.
  • After the revelation that British Prime Minister David Cameron had maybe stuck his penis into a pig's mouth during a debauched university initiation, many, many people compared it to the premiere of Black Mirror, where the (fictional) British Prime Minister is blackmailed into having intercourse with a pig. Even series creator Charlie Brooker was flabbergasted at how close the episode was to reality.
    • Of course, that absurd coincidence is one reason to doubt the whole 'pig' story. If it was completely made up, then the Black Mirror episode might have been the inspiration.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Nan Britton, the mistress of Warren Harding, appears in season 1. She meets Nucky during a Republican convention in Chicago, who decides to have her lay low in Atlantic City until the election is over in order to avoid a scandal. At the time the season was written, the historians consensus was that Harding had no children, and that Britton's claiming his paternity of her child was part of her delusion. The show portrayed Harding's paternity as real for the sake of drama. In 2015, a DNA test validated the show's stance as it found a match between descendants of Britton's daughter and members of the Harding family.
  • Community had a joke where Britta is said to have a favorite superhero character called X-Man. It's presented in-universe as a joke, with Britta either not knowing the names of the actual X-Men character she likes and calling the character X-Man instead. However, there's actually a real character named "X-Man" in the Marvel continuity, albeit a fairly obscure and Out of Focus one. The character, X-Man, is an alternate-universe version of Cyclops's future son, Cable.
  • Show continuity version: One of the CSI: NY tie-in novels had Mac recall that Claire liked opera. Several years later, "Indelible" had Mac surprising her with opera tickets on the morning of 9/11/2001, to her delight.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "An Unearthly Child", aired in 1963, Susan doesn't know how to use 1960s money because she only knows decimal currency. The episode was pre-decimalisation by more than seven years, and while decimalisation was being discussed in deep political back rooms in 1963, it only became a popular Ripped from the Headlines topic towards the late 1960s.
    • In "The Sea Devils", the BBC made a Miniature Effects nuclear submarine to shoot, basing this on an Off-the-Shelf FX submarine build kit but adding on some extra parts from a vacuum cleaner to make a 22-rotor nuclear sub. The British military immediately got angry because they had a 22-rotor nuclear sub in development which was supposed to be top secret, and the Navy believed the footage was leaked test footage.
    • Doctor Who had the Doctor refer to a sauropod dinosaur as Brontosaurus in "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". Although the correct designation at the time was Apatosaurus, the issue of the type specimen's proper genus was later re-opened, and Brontosaurus ended up becoming its own genus again. Being a time traveller, the Doctor could have already known the name would change when he called the animal that.
  • After the E-Ring episode "The General" aired in 2006, depicting an American general kidnapped by Basque separatists in Spain, a user in a Spanish forum criticized the lack of research, pointing (among others) that none of the Basque separatists had Basque names, just common Spanish ones. "The leader of the Etarras is named Miguel Carrera. Not even Mikel Korrika." Four years later, an ETA leader named Miguel Carrera was arrested in France for the murder of a Gendarme.
  • The ABC finale of Family Feud had the question "Tell me how old you think Ronald Reagan looks" and Richard Dawson guessed that he was 74. At the time the episode aired — June 14, 1985 — Reagan actually was 74 years old.
  • A much-criticized scene in Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" had Jayne place his beloved rifle Vera in a spacesuit in order to fire in space, with the given reason that it needs oxygen to fire. Bullet propellants contain all that's needed for combustion, meaning that normal guns should be able to fire in the airless environment of space. However, there actually is a valid reason for putting an atmosphere around it: exposure to hard vacuum can cause many types of non-specialized lubrication to flash-evaporate, causing the working parts to quickly wear out to inoperable.
  • Rachel on Friends joins a book club where they discuss Jane Eyre and she doesn't bother to read the book. When another character asks Rachel what her favorite part was, she immediately outs herself by saying: "The part with... the robot?" In actual fact, the titular character in Jane Eyre has this quite memorable line to Mr. Rochester: "Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? And can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?"
  • Some of the hidden gadgets the writers of Get Smart came up with for the agents of CONTROL were accidentally close to what was being developed for actual spies, to the point that the CIA called them in demanding to know where the writers were getting their information.
  • On Hannibal and the book it's based on, Will Graham's "empathy disorder", as it's called by the writers, is stated as being fictional, though on the same spectrum as autism and Asperger's Syndrome, but being characterized by an overreading of social cues that overwhelms him rather than the difficulty instinctively reading those cues that occur in real life. However, several newer theories of autism suggest that what's described in Will's case may in fact be true of more people on the autism spectrum than previously thought, something that both the original author Thomas Harris and series writer Bryan Fuller were likely unaware of, the former especially since the book was first published in 1981.
  • An occasional Running Gag on Have I Got News for You is for Paul Merton to give an answer that he clearly doesn't intend to be serious, only for it to turn out to actually be correct.
  • In a game of the original The Hollywood Squares, Buddy Hackett was asked which country has the most doctors proportional to population, to which he jokingly answered "The country with the most Jews! I would say Israel. You have a doctor in every family, it's a cousin, could be an uncle. Couple of specialists...". The contestant agreed, prompting Buddy to ask "You agree with that?" before host Peter Marshall revealed the correct answer was indeed Israel, much to Buddy's amusement.
  • This I've Got a Secret episode, which had Neil Armstrong's parents with the secret that their son had just been chosen as an astronaut. Host Garry Moore asks how they'd feel if their son became the first man on the Moon.
  • In an episode of One Foot in the Grave, Victor Meldrew tests positive for blood in the stool after eating black pudding. Obviously this is the sort of crazy contrivance that could only happen to a sitcom character who is the Chew Toy of a cruel universe... except that a couple of years after this episode aired, a study discovered that eating black pudding really can and does cause false positives. Nowadays they tell you not to eat black pudding before a colonoscopy for this reason.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): "Gettysburg" (which aired in 2000) accurately predicted that the U.S. President would be an African-American man in 2013.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "All-Americans" (which aired in 1990), Al tells Sam that the Pittsburgh Steelers are down by three points in Super Bowl XXX. When Super Bowl XXX was played in real life in 1996, the Steelers were down by three points on two occasions during the game, which they ended up losing to the Dallas Cowboys.
  • On The Real O'Neals, about teenager Kenny coming out as gay to his Catholic family, this happened because of the episodes being aired Out of Order. His mother Eileen would have varying levels of acceptance depending on the episode because of this. Critics noted that it made the depiction of Eileen's struggle to come to terms with having a gay son oddly realistic, as it comes off as a messy hodgepodge of conflicted emotions rather than the straight line to acceptance that had been intended.
  • Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In made a joke in 1969 about the future news, setting California governor Ronald Reagan (who had run in the 1968 Republican primaries) as president of the U.S. in 1988.note 
  • Saturday Night Live: The season 34 episode had a sketch about people who would benefit from the 2008 bailout that happened when the global economic meltdown was still fresh. Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson played a couple named Herbert and Marion Sandler (no relation to Adam) who screwed Wachovia Bank out of a lot of money and profited from the economic meltdown. Now, considering that there were two other fictional characters introduced before them, you'd expect Herbert and Marion to be fakes, too, right? Not in this case: turns out Herbert and Marion Sandler were real people who did exactly what the sketch said they did (Lorne Michaels didn't realize this until after the sketch aired), making the brief clip of them being described as "People who should be shot" by a lower-third graphic tasteless (which explains why the NBC website video and the televised reruns got rid of that scene in the "2008 Bailout" sketch. When Netflix aired the sketch as part of their Saturday Night Live 2000s collection, they aired the scene with Herbert and Marion Sandler, but got rid of the "People who should be shot" lower-third and removed Herbert's line thanking the government for letting them get away with their crime).
  • In a 2007 episode of Scrubs, the Janitor, who is more than he appears to be, predicts that terrorist in hiding, Osama bin Laden will be found in Pakistan. Four years later, in 2011, US Navy Seals kill bin Laden will he is hiding in a safe house with his wives in Pakistan.
  • Seaquest DSV had an episode where a character claims to have found something in the handwriting of the Greek poet Homer. This has to be incorrect, because it would be impossible for a blind man to write something that wasn't written down for many years. While it's not clear whether the writers knew it, there is a significant amount of scholarship debating whether Homer was actually blind and whether The Odyssey was written, as opposed to an oral narrative.
  • The short-lived 1987 series Second Chance had a throwaway joke involving Muammar Gaddafi arriving at the Pearly Gates which listed the date of his death as July 29, 2011. Less than three months away from the real date (October 20). They also correctly predicted that Gaddafi would die from multiple gunshot wounds.
  • Seinfeld: In "The Conversion", the writers didn't know that the Latvian Orthodox Church was a real religion, since they were trying to make up a fictional one. They ended up receiving many thank-you letters from the church for bringing attention to the denomination.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Orpheus", Jack O'Neill mans a sniper rifle during a rescue operation against a Goa'uld P.O.W. Camp. He aims for center of mass. Falls here because the showrunners' reasoning for doing that was because headshots are messy and they didn't want to have to argue with the network censors, but trained snipers in real life aim for center of mass because it's an easier target.
    • In the episode "200", when Martin is giving another one of his derivative movie pitches (this time a thinly-veiled Star Trek parody), his version of Carter delivers the line "the singularity is about to explode". In the following scene when the team is criticizing the scene, the real Carter specifically mocks that line for being ridiculous. However, in real life, singularities gradually lose mass via Hawking radiation, and if the mass of a singularity becomes low enough, it will rapidly evaporate and release a tremendous amount of energy in a short period of time as it dies, much like a nuclear or antimatter explosion.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Jean-Luc Picard mentions that his brother Robert operates the family vineyard in La Barre, and keeps a couple of bottles around for special occasions. There is in fact a "Château Picard" in Real Life, though the real one is in Saint-Estèphe rather than La Barre.
    • In-Universe example: episode called "Future Imperfect", in which Riker supposedly woke up sixteen years into his future, but it was actually a hologram created by a lonely alien orphan named Barash. As it turns out...
      • ...Riker commented on how odd it felt to have a Ferengi helmsman. Nog became an ensign nine years later (and served as the helmsman of the Defiant in the final battle with the Dominion.)
      • ...Riker noted that there were more Klingons in Starfleet, notably a female that he passed on a deck. B'Elanna Torres, a female Klingon/Human hybrid, worked as a chief engineer on a Starfleet vessel four years later.
      • ...Picard tells Riker that peace talks with the Romulans began four years ago (from the future that Riker was in), and that Riker's ship was instrumental in doing so. It's just that, right down to the date.
      • Though it's probably down to prop reuse rather than intended to mean anything in-universe, the future combadge will be the norm in one of the parallel universes seen in a later episode with Worf shifting between dimensions.
      • The nurse in the sickbay Riker wakes up in will appear in the present, and come to be known as major recurring character Alyssa Ogawa.
      • ...and finally, Troi is seen wearing a Starfleet uniform, although she didn't wear one in the show at the time. She started doing so two years later, during the same series no less.
  • There are two Star Trek: The Original Series episodes where the Enterprise travels back in time to the contemporary 1960s. In the first one, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", it's mentioned that three astronauts are taking part in a manned moon shot on Wednesday. Two years after the episode aired, Apollo 11 blasted off on July 16, 1969 (a Wednesday) carrying three astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins). In "Assignment: Earth", Spock discusses how chaotic the time period is and mentions that "there will be an important assassination today." Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated six days after the episode aired. Also, the episode's plot involves stopping the U.S. from launching a nuclear weapon into space, which involves plenty of Saturn V Stock Footage. A Saturn V rocket carrying Apollo 6 was launched on the same day that King died.
  • One Supernatural episode had Crowley, a demon born in the 17th century, mentioning his and Naomi's "time in Mesopotamia". This led to a lot of fan theories involving Crowley being older than he claims, while Word of God is that it was just a mistake... except that the name "Mesopotamia" was still sometimes used to refer to the area encompassing most of modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Syria until after the Second World War.
  • An episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt features a fake sequel to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark that's an overlong trainwreck, involving dozens of Spider-Men all swinging around and colliding on stage. While it seems to be mostly a knock on Broadway largesse and the original's notorious overambition, a lot of comic fans remarked that, while the writers probably didn't realize it, it's actually a very apt parody of The Clone Saga, an infamous Spider-Man arc that was also severely overlong and featured multiple Spider-Men.
  • On an episode of Wheel of Fortune, host Pat Sajak joked that the show had only used the category Fictional Family eight times when it came up in one round. At the end of the show, the research department found out that it actually had been used only eight times. (However, a fan has found out that it was actually the category's 10th appearance.)
  • Something like this happened in The Wire with the character Kenard, who's seen briefly in season 3 arguing with some other corner kids about who gets to "play" Omar in their stick-up game, and comes back in season 5 where he assassinates Omar. The writers didn't actually realize that it was the same kid and only found out he'd been cast in both roles later, making it an unintentional case of Chekhov's Gunman. Dennis Lehane, who wrote that episode, has jokingly said that he meant to do that.

    Mathematics 
  • One theory about Fermat's Last Theorem is that Fermat's proof was actually wrong, but the results were correct anyway. In fact, this is almost universally believed within the mathematical community. Fermat always did turn out to have a proof when he said he did, so it's likely that he at least thought he could prove this. Fermat essentially created several areas of math despite not publishing much of his work, including a general form of integration along with finding a general way to get rates of change, making it possible that far from being mistaken, he did discover a proof for a special case and generalized it incorrectly (the book that he wrote it in was actually the first attempt ever to use a symbolic system to write algebra). Given the insane complexity of Andrew Wiles's proof, very few mathematicians believe that 17th-century mathematics could have produced any solution at all, much less a simple one. Both of the theorems Wiles used to make his proof were twentieth-century in origin. Also, the theorem holds the record for the most wrong proofs.
    • It's fairly easy to prove for the special case of n=3 and n=4 or other small numbers. The hard part comes from proving it for *all* n. Most likely, Fermat proved the former and mistakenly thought he had proved the latter.

    Music 
  • It's unlikely that Maria Nayler was talking about Boolean logic when she sang the line "one and one still is one" in Robert Miles' "One and One", but she hits the nail on the head.
  • "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette has been widely lampooned for not being ironic, and Morissette has admitted this. Michael Stevens of Vsauce points out that one could interpret the song as being dramatically ironic, when the significance of something is unknown to a character but known to others. The individual events aren't examples of situational irony, but life is ironic because life knows what we need while what we think we need differs. It's also been suggested that the song "Ironic" not having any examples of irony is itself ironic and appropriate. This is also a meta-example of irony, as there is one instance in the song that is often overlooked - a man overcoming his fear of flying to end up involved in a plane crash - which ironically makes the accusations of being entirely unironic inaccurate.
  • Originally written in 1980, "Weird Al" Yankovic has a song called "Yoda" that correctly predicted that Mark Hamill would play the role of Luke Skywalker until he's "old and gray." He also wasn't too far off when claiming "they'll be making [Star Wars] movies 'til the end of time."

    Pinball 
  • In The Simpsons Pinball Party, Abe is sometimes heard saying, "Back in my day, we didn't have flippers!" While flippers are such a core part of pinball now that it's hard to imagine it without them—and the word for pinball in some languages is literally "flipper"—they were introduced in Humpty Dumpty in 1949. Any elderly person in 2003, the year of The Simpsons Pinball Party's release, would have been alive at a time before pinball machines had flippers; Abe would've been old enough to play some of them when they were new.

    Podcasts 
  • Mike Duncan Of Revolutions derives a lot of self-deprecating humor from his tendency to mangle foreign words despite his best attempts. However, he does pronounce the surname "Windisch-Grätz" correctly despite the correct pronunciation being anything but intuitive to a native German speakers, simply by virtue of pronouncing "ä" like "a" which is wrong in 99.9% of cases but happens to be right here.

    Print Media 
  • MAD Magazine and its parodies of the Rocky movies:
    • In "Rockhead III", because Rockhead twice stands nose-to-chest with his ring opponents, he remarks, "If this kind of posing keeps up, I want my next match to be with Dolly Parton!" Stallone's next film after First Blood? Rhinestone, where he acts opposite guess who.
    • In "Rockhead IV," during "Appalling Greed's" funeral, "Brawly" muses to "Atrium," "I wonder which one of us gets our ticket punched in 'Rockhead V'?" While it doesn't happen during the events of Rocky V, one of them (Adrian) is indeed dead before the events of Rocky Balboa.
    • MAD spoofed Cathy with one called Amy!, which depicted Amy Winehouse pulling a vial of cocaine out of her beehive hairdo. Later on, the real Ms. Winehouse was filmed doing exactly that.
  • Averted: a newspaper crossword-puzzle editor was once briefly arrested for using the words "Overlord," "Utah," "Omaha," "Mulberry" and "Neptune" in a number of puzzles in the weeks leading up to D-Day.note  The same editor, Leonard Dawe, had previously been investigated for having put "Dieppe" as an answer — on August 18, 1942, the day before the disastrous Allied raid on Dieppe was to launch. An investigation at the time could only conclude that it was a bizarre and astonishing coincidence. Only in the 1980s did the answer come out — the crossword-puzzle editor was a teacher, and he used his students to collect odd words. One of those students had hung around military camps and bases enough to overhear the unusual words being spoken, and promptly turned them over.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When Místico signed with the WWE and was rebranded Sin Cara, Jim Ross made mention that as Sin Cara, he'd have the potential to be a global cultural icon. Well, Mistico's style was wildly incompatible with "WWE" style wrestling, and thanks to his propensity for screwing up, became almost synonymous with botching.

    Radio 
  • Journey into Space: Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna accurately predicted that the first spacewalk would take place in 1965. On March 18, 1965, the Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first person to conduct a spacewalk when he exited the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission. This first spacewalk lasted for twelve minutes.

    Science 
  • The Greek philosopher Leucippus created the atomic theory, as an argument against another philosopher, Parmenides. While Parmenidies argued against the idea that a state of nothingness could exist, Leucippus argued that there were in fact voids and that everything that was not a void was made of small units of matter that assembled to create larger ones. Aristotle scoffed at the argument, stating that in a complete absence of matter, motion would no longer encounter friction and allow for infinite speeds, which he saw as ridiculous. Well, turns out that what Aristotle used to try to discredit the theory is pretty close to what actually occurs to objects in motion in space. Of course, his view of atoms was also confirmed, though there are more particles than he thought.
  • Finnish naturalist Immanuel Ilmoni hypothesized in the early 18th century that diseases were actually living beings, not unlike animals. While he was ridiculed, the germ theory of diseases was confirmed less than a hundred years later.
  • The rules for heat movement were created based on the idea that heat was a fluid/gas called caloric. One of the reasons that this theory stuck around so long is that the rules concerning the movement of heat are the same as the movement of diffuse material in a fluid. Thus, while caloric was abandoned as a theory, the rules of heat movement were unchanged.
  • This apparently happened twice due to correspondence between Galileo and Kepler. Scientists at the time would sometimes write down discoveries with scrambled letters when they weren't ready to publish their findings, but wanted to establish priority of discovery. Galileo wrote two such letters to Kepler, one concerning his discovery of Saturn's rings, the other concerning the phases of Venus. Kepler tried to unscramble them both and ended up with different sentences, one claiming that Mars had two moons and the other that there was a moving red spot on Jupiter. By complete coincidence, both of those claims were correct, but neither would be proven for centuries.
  • In 1900, the Russian archaeologist Friedrich Zibold discovered the remains of a mysterious domed structure in the Byzantine Crimean site of Theodosia. After studying the ruins and some terracotta pipes found nearby, he proposed that the structure was an air well designed to condense moisture from the air into water, and built a replica to test it. This replica was successful and became the precursor of modern air wells. However, it was discovered later that the ancient structure was actually a tomb, the pipes were not related to it, Zibold had used the wrong materials for his replica, and weather conditions at the time (which had included thick fog) had exaggerated the results of the experiment. But by sheer coincidence, these materials were the right type to make a working air well — had Zibold used the real ones in the tomb, his experiment would have been a failure — and had weather conditions been more characteristic of the area (not as much fog), it wouldn't have worked as well as Zibold reported it did. Neither of these problems were discovered until 90 years after Zibold's experiment. In other words, Zibold inadvertently invented a new technology as a result of a failed attempt to replicate a Lost Technology that didn't actually exist in the first place.

    Theatre 
  • The play Abigail's Party makes a humorous reference to putting red wine (Beaujolais) in the fridge, as a comment of misguided middle class aspirations in the 70s. However, playwright Mike Leigh later learned that Beaujolais is one of a few red wines that is best when chilled.
  • In The Mikado, W.S. Gilbert used the name Ko Ko because he thought it was funny sounding, and didn't know at the time that it is a legitimate Japanese name. Just ask Kouko Kaga.
  • One of the biggest points of academic contention about Hamlet is whether or not the eponymous Prince of Denmark is actually mad, or just faking it. The Vikings did allegedly have some sort of taboo against killing a person afflicted with madness, which makes pretending to be one a viable survival trait for the son of a usurped Danish king. Apparently, it's doubtful that Shakespeare would have been aware of this. Even so, it's not entirely a coincidence. While Shakespeare wouldn't have known about this taboo, the authors of his source material would have. He probably kept the Obfuscating Insanity plot without understanding the societal context of it.
  • The play Brand by Henrik Ibsen made an eerie prophecy concerning the consequences of British pollution reaching Norway, leading to dying forests and lakes. The play was written in 1866, while this problem became apparent in the 1980s. The accuracy of this passage is quite chilling:
    Britain's smoke-cloud sinks corroding
    On the land in noisome fume;
    Smirches all its tender bloom,
    All its gracious verdure dashes,
    Sweeping low with breath of bane,
    Stealing sunlight from the plain,
    Showering down like rain of ashes
    On the city of God's doom.

    Video Games 
  • WarioWare has a couple.
    • In the manual of WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! , Wario eats a "healthy" breakfast of tons of bacon washed down with bacon grease. However, if the movie Fat Head is correct, then fats, especially animal fats, provide needed fuel instead of making you fatnote . Indeed, Tom Naughton ate a high-fat diet which involved plenty of bacon and other foods cooked in fat, the result being that he could program into the night without getting tired. There is no excuse for Wario's "healthy" cup of sugar that has only a dash of coffee, though.
    • In WarioWare: Touched!, when Wario got a cold, he decided to eat garlic, his favorite food. Garlic is antiseptic and antiviral and therefore used in treating colds, which would explain why Wario never got a cold until that time.
  • Deus Ex:
    • The game came out in 2000, but takes place in 2052; it has, in certain areas, the New York City skyline as background scenery, but missing the Twin Towers. This was due to technical limitations where one half of the skybox texture - the half that just so happens to lack the Twin Towers - is mirrored over the other half rather than applying the full texture, but the explanation the developers gave is that they were destroyed in a terrorist attack some time in the game's past. This may have been an educated guess on their part, as the World Trade Center had been the target of a terrorist bombing back in 1993, but not nearly on a large enough scale to actually topple any of the buildings. As well, terrorism is a large part of the game's plot, so that explanation fits within the mythology, too.
    • Another one that sort of adds a little uneasiness, in the mission where you save someone from a gas station, you can see the prices. At the time it may have represented something far off, as gas prices were on average about $1.20 and the game depicted gas prices at $3.58, for regular. Cue 10-12 years later after the game's release and that's exactly where those gas prices are, although the early 2015 drop in gas prices let us breathe easily.
    • A most thought-provoking, or perhaps scary, example can be read on government sponsored electronic bulletin boards across the game. One article found at the very beginning of the game tells readers to keep an eye out for terrorists and report any suspicious activities. The messages are clearly intended to be alarming signs of the dystopian state of the current government, both in the fear mongering "everyone can be a terrorist" message used to scare everyone into accepting the Big Brother level of control the government has, and in the invasion of privacy advocated by suggesting a thorough background search on anyone who is a foreigner or has spent too much time on the net. Thus, it's rather shocking how close this came to actual suggestions put out shortly after 9/11 for 'how to spot a terrorist'. What are you supposed to think when your own government is now repeating word for word the dystopian messages we're told to watch out for?
    • Its prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, mentions an oil crash in 2015. While we didn't have an oil crash, prices did fall significantly.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 has an Easter egg which in which Naruto and Hinata are declared "secret lovers", despite not being too much canon support for it in the original manga at the time. Turned out that Naruto and Hinata ended up married and with two children in the canon story.
  • Ever 17: It was assumed that the scene with Tsugumi and the jellyfish themed gondola was significant symbolism due to her immortality and there is a species of jellyfish that are considered immortal. The writer responsible for that scenario admitted that he did not know that at the time.
  • In the concept art book for Doki Doki Literature Club!, Dan Salvato noted that "'Sayori' was some kind of unholy fusion between 'Sayuri' and 'Saori', and to this day I’m not even sure if it could pass off as a real Japanese name." However, "Sayori" (さより) is an actual Japanese girls' name (as well as the name of the Japanese halfbeak fish), albeit an uncommon one, as seen with voice actress Sayori Ishizuka.
  • The plot of Hong Kong '97, which was released in 1995 but takes place during the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty in 1997, involves the mainland Chinese resurrecting the deceased "Tong Shau Ping" (i.e. Deng Xiaoping) as a weapon against the player character. Deng Xiaoping was alive in 1995, but he did end up dying in 1997.
  • A plot point late in Splinter Cell involves a missing cache of Americium-239, which the game makes a big enough deal about that it's implied that the bad guys are planning to use it for nuclear weapons. Americium-239 would actually be very bad for this purpose, between it not being a fissile isotope in the first place, its ridiculously-short half-life of less than 12 hours, and the fact that it decays via electron-capture, which produces no harmful radiation for use in a dirty bomb. Thing is, though, when it does decay, it turns into other isotopes that would be much more suitable for weaponization - 99.99% of it decays into Plutonium-239, and the remaining .01% eventually decays into Uranium-239, either of which would definitely warrant the Oh, Crap! sort of reaction the game assigns to it.
  • Sonic Mania introduced a new abilty for Sonic, the Drop Dash. In 2019, two years after Mania's release, an early beta of Sonic 3 & Knuckles surfaced, featuring an ability that was dropped from the final game that works very similarly to the Drop Dash. The game's director Christian Whitehead stated on Twitter that this was an Uncanny Coincidence.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Medic's hometown was originally Stuttgart, Germany, but was later retconned as hailing from the fictional town of Rottenburg. Except there's three real towns named Rottenburg in Germany, one of them (Rottenburg am Neckar) being only 60 kilometers away from Stuttgart.
  • Déjà Vu: The game takes place in Chicago on December 7, 1941 (newspapers point out that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor). Yet, there's no indication that it's winter, as everyone is dressed for warm weather. However, Chicago on December 7, 1941 really was unusually warm, or at least above freezing.

    Web Animation 
  • Puffin Forest: Ben once played as Sauron in a The Lord of the Rings villain campaign. But after he chose Sauron he realized that he had no idea what Sauron's personality and abilities were and had to make them up based on what on what little he did know. What he came up with (a blacksmith with the personality of a Corrupt Corporate Executive) was actually surprisingly close to canon Sauron in The Silmarillion if a bit goofier.

    Web Comics 
  • In the webcomic DM of the Rings, the players tend to mangle their characters' names. At one point, "Gimli" introduces himself as "Gimli, son of Groin", obviously mispronouncing "Glóin". However, in The Lord of the Rings canon, Gimli actually is descended from a Gróin, who is his grandfather.
  • Somewhat early on in Homestuck, John uses a Modus Control Deck to convert his Sylladex's Fetch Modus to a queuestack array by combining a queue, a stack, and an array. While Andrew Hussie was more than likely just making a pun based on John Cusack, a queuestack is actually a real data structure, although it's more often referred to as a double-ended queue, or deque (pronounced "deck") for short. And yes, you can in fact make an array of them, although there's not usually much reason to do so.
  • In Nebula, the creators admitted that Ceres' emergence from Black Hole's head wasn't intended to be anything close to realistic or plausible, but some months after the comic's publication NASA actually observed an object coming out of a black hole.
  • In Sonichu, beer is usually referred to as "reeb". Reeb is actually a brand of beer in China, and was also a 19th-century slang term for beer.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse ignored Dragon Ball GT and put the Dragon Ball Z characters into an interdimensional fighting tournament. Dragon Ball Super ended up doing this years later.

    Web Original 
  • In Cracked article "10 Brilliant Comedy Gems Hiding on Youtube," the author quips that he hopes the authors of "Jean-Luc Picard Doesn't Give a Fuck" only stopped making them "because they became super famous and died from all the sex and money that was thrown at them." As a number of the comments pointed out, the reason they stopped making them was so one of them could work on Homestuck, this article having been written after the celebrated 2.5 million dollar Kickstarter.
  • This article from Sonic The Hedgehog fansite The Sonic Stadium about this terrible review from the British tabloid newspaper The Sun decribing that it sounded something like what Fox News would write. In fact both The Sun and Fox News are owned by the same guy.
  • At the end of this review for The Tigger Movie, Duckyworth wonders if the director, Toby Bluth, is related to Don Bluth. He is.
  • For TV Tropes itself, the description of the page Invincible Hero used the Perfectly Cromulent Word "vincible" to mean the opposite of "invincible". Not only is it perfectly cromulent, it's perfectly real as well. And it means exactly what it's suggested to mean: beatable.
  • Not Always Right:
    • One couple on Not Always Romantic started mutating "Hey, baby!" until it became "Habibi". Upon realizing that "Habibi" was an actual Arabic word, they looked it up in case they were saying something inappropriate. It means "my beloved".
    • This brother and sister duo on Not Always Related jokingly settled the matter of "who would give their mother grandchildren first?" through a best-of-three game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, after they had both brought their respective partners to a family dinner, with the brother "winning" the honor of having children first. As the story notes, it has been a few years since that dinner, and that brother has since gone on to become a father, and with the same woman he brought to that dinner, no less!
  • Many furry artists, unsure of how to draw the arms of spectacles for characters who wear glasses, omit the arms altogether. Rest assured, ye artistic masses, such glasses exist: They are called Pince-nez, and use a spring or clip to pinch the nose, or are made to fit an individual's nose.
  • The infamous "Tampocalypse" tumblr post where a tampon commercial involving survivors of a zombie apocalypse using them to plug bullet wounds is described. It makes you wonder if anyone taking part in that discussion knew that feminine hygiene products actually were originally invented to treat battlefield wounds, and the Xstat Rapid Hemostasis System is very similar in concept to a tampon.

    Web Videos 
  • Game Grumps:
    • When Arin plays Kirby Super Star with Jon, he calls a boomerang-wielding enemy "Boomer Man". The enemy's actual name is "Boomer".
    • Arin jokingly suggests a line for Blaze in a cutscene of Sonic '06 seconds before she says it for real.
      Arin: She's like "Come back for more, huh?" and he's like "Ah, shut up".
      Jon: "Not everything's about sex."
      Arin: She's like "Of course it is!" She's all, like, cynical like she's been broken down by the world. And she's like "What else would it be? You're so naive!" and like, walks away.
      Jon: And he's just like, "I don't even care anymore. It used to rile me up, and now I realize that, you know..."
      Blaze: You're so naive.
      Jon: What?!
    • When playing Super Mario Maker, Arin, in-character as Yoda making terrible Star Wars puns, jokes Yoda's car is a Toyoda. Toyota is owned by the Toyoda family, who changed the spelling to give a more modern look to the company.
  • In JonTron's popular video, "Waterproofing My Life with FLEX TAPE", he makes a joke about Phil Swift having sniffed too much Flex Glue, a product which didn't exist at the time. A few months later, Flex Glue actually came out for real. Jon brings this up in his sequel video, "Flex Seal II: The Flexening", jokingly taking credit for coming up with the idea and demanding royalties.
    • In his review of Clock Tower (1995) he attempts to escape in the car to which the protagonist refuses. Then JonTron edits a part where the protagonist rushes out in the car. However,if one examined the car 3 times, the main character will get in it and run away though it doesn't go well for her
    • In "Dr. Ho: License to Practice", Jon wished Predator would be in Mortal Kombat. It already happened four years before the video uploaded with Mortal Kombat X.
  • When the Real-Time Fandub of Sonic Adventure 2 was made, some of the voice actors making said dub had never played the game in question. But even some of the lines they made up on the fly without any familiarity with the source material still managed to fit with the canon storyline, much to their surprise:
    • After Sonic and Shadow's fight on Prison Island in the Hero Story, Alfred (as Eggman) jokingly tells the pair that the island is about to blow up... and the other actors have to point out to him that it really is about to blow up. Cue repeated shouts of "OH MY GOD, I DIDN'T KNOW!" from Alfred as Prison Island explodes.
    • In the Dark Story, when the Biolizard is unleashed, Eggman says "Shadow could have been a true beast, and now you shall die!". His VA is somewhat surprised to learn that this is, again, the actual plot.
    • During the game's ending, where Shadow appears to have died, Rouge (voiced by Blue Lennox) calls Shadow "Hedgehog Jesus". Slightly later, while the recording session is being wrapped up, Blue wonders whether that means Shadow will come back to life and is immediately informed that he was indeed brought back in later games.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • During his review of Tank Girl, Doug gets repeatedly frustrated with the overuse of comic drawings instead of live action and guesses that the makers simply forgot to shoot several scenes and had to improvise. As it turns out, he was partially correct — in an interview, co-creator Jamie Hewlett said that he and Alan Martin had to animate several scenes because the producers forgot to film them.
    • During his Disneycember review of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad he muses over how protagonist and hero Ichabod Crane is a malicious jerk and how Brom Bones, treated as The Bully and antagonist, doesn't do anything particularly villainous aside from antagonize the jerk Ichabod and could very well be a nice guy. He even points out how Brom seems to treat Katrina quite well and remarks how in any other story Brom would be the hero. This is absolutely the case in the original tale, where Ichabod is an obnoxious Villain Protagonist Yankee who invades a Dutch-American community, becomes an Abhorrent Admirer and Gold Digger to the local beauty Katrina Van Tassel, and is mercifully driven out of town by the clever ruse of the local good-ole-boy Brom.
    • He accuses The Matrix Reloaded of going into "video game land" (albeit because of the now dated CGI) during the big Smith fight and jokes that they should just assemble into the shape of a big giant monster when he sees them all pile on Neo. That's exactly what ends up happening in one of the video game adaptations: Neo faces a big giant Smith monster known as "Mega-Smith" as the Final Boss.
  • A number of things the players of the Persona 4 Endurance Run do end up accurately predicting some things. For example, their overuse of God Hand when using Chie accidentally predicts said move being one of her Signature Moves in Persona 4: Arena (being one of her Super Moves).
  • In Internet Personality Vangelus' review of a Dancougar action figure, he admits that he doesn't know much about the show, but he hopes its Cool Sword has an appropriately awesome name, like "Dankuuken". That is in fact the sword's name, and Vangelus' Subtitles (which are pretty shocked themselves) promise that he didn't look the name up before filming.
  • When Two Best Friends Play played an untranslated game in Portuguese called Insanidade, seeing the word "jogo" (game) written in-game several times inspired a long-staying Running Gag of calling things "a mysterious jogo". They all pronounce the word "joe-go", which is mostly correct, but state in a much later video that they were trying to mispronounce it as a joke.
  • In an Achievement Hunter Let's Play video on Family Feud, one question asked for characters Bugs Bunny faced off against. Gavin Free claims that Bugs went up against Wile E. Coyote, but the others dismiss it and get the odd answer of "Porky Pig" right. As it turns out, there really were two shorts where Bugs and the Coyote went against each other, but being shorts that are rarely aired, it's not impossible that Gavin, being the Cloudcuckoolander that he is, could have been wrong.
  • When the YouTuber Mangaminx released her first-ever face reveal video, quite a few comments stated that they were amazed as to how accurate some of the fan-art of her was. Downplayed, however, as some of that fan-art could have been based off of the artistic depictions of Minx drawn by her own wife, KrismPro.
  • When discussing Bombshell in his "Top 10 Worst Games of 2016", ProJared says that the game was conceived so they could use a pre-existing character. That's actually more-or-less the case - Bombshell was originally going to appear in Duke Nukem Forever as a Distaff Counterpart to the titular character, but said appearance was scrapped. Given that Jared doesn't really talk about First Person Shootersnote , and there's no sign he's played any Duke Nukem gamesnote , it's unlikely he knew about this when he was writing his review.
  • Todd in the Shadows:
    • When he reviewed Nine Days' song "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)," he discovered that the band's lead singer John Hampson later became an English teacher, and jokingly wondered if he teaches the song to his students. Not long after the review was posted, a Twitter user found a video of Hampson doing exactly that.
    • In a 2015 video for "See You Again", Todd mentions that Wiz Khalifa is a strange choice for a tribute song, and says maybe someone involved in the The Fast and the Furious series should have sung it instead. The joke sees him showing multiple pictures of Ludacris, a regular in the series, before instead naming Dwayne Johnson, who had no relation to the music industry... yet. But, in 2016, The Rock would star in Moana and perform "You're Welcome", which would land him on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The Mega64 parody of Metal Gear Solid V actually has nothing to do with it and the creators hadn't even finished the game when they made it. And yet, it managed to accurately predict the game's big plot twist (there are two Big Bosses, with the one the player's controlling being a fake) by sheer dumb luck.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd is typically pretty thorough in his research. So much so that he's slipped into this twice by telling jokes:
    • After playing a slew of bad to mediocre Ghostbusters games and noticing how most of them lack Winston as a playable character, he snaps "What's their problem with Winston?! Are they fucking racist or something?!" The reason likely did have to do with Winston's skin color, but not because of any racism on the part of the developers: older games were rather limited in their choice of color palettes purely by the technology of the timenote . The developers likely felt it wasn't worth it to devote extra color palettes just for the sake of an extra cosmetically different but otherwise identical character to play as, and just stuck to the three characters who could reasonably share a single color palette. Given the quality of these games (like AVGN said), Ernie Hudson was probably relieved if anything to have been left out of those games anyways.
    • During his Mega Man review, disparagingly remarks how it was like a "law" that series from the PlayStation era had to have 3D entries. This is very accurate to how things were back then, as Sony was notoriously anti-2D during the late '90s as they wanted to emphasize the superior 3D capabilities of the Playstation compared to the Sega Saturn, and were heavily pressuring developers to make the jump to 3D. On the topic of Mega Man, there's a rumor that Capcom really was forced to make the 3D Mega Man Legends before they could make another 2D Mega Man, and even had to threaten to make Resident Evil 2 a Saturn exclusive before Sony would even allow them to release the 2D Mega Man 8.
  • When Google Translate Sings did its version of "When Will My Life Begin?" from Tangled, one of the lyrics became "I held the pots" (which is close to what actually happens in the film).
  • More like "accidentally correct artwork", but it still fits. This cover of "Be Prepared" features art of a female Scar with a mane. The singer acknowledges that lionesses don't have manes, but she thought Scar's mane was "fabulous" and decided to keep it. What she didn't know was that some lionesses actually do have manes.
  • In the Ross's Game Dungeon review of Life Is Strange, Ross gives up playing the game before the end of Episode 1 due to hating all of the characters, but many of his complaints about the game end up being accidental predictions of events in later episodes. A list of these can be found on the show's Funny page. A particular one is his belief that the right thing to do would be to let Chloe die, which is mostly because he disliked her annoying gangsta-white-girl attitude, but also because he thinks that if a psychotic rich-kid bully who pulled a gun on her got arrested for murder, then that would probably improve the lives of most of the kids in school. Turns out he's right. Letting Chloe die is the decision that benefits the most people, but you only learn this at the very end of the game.
  • During an episode of Checkpoint from 2013, Graham reported on how Poker Night at the Inventory 2 was an actual game and not an April Fools' joke. At the end, he proposed a new 5-man roster to consider for Poker Night 3; Snake Pliskin, Lara Croft, Grumpy Cat, Sterling Archer and Mr. Pigglesworth (a LRR original character). Later on, one staff member shared via. twitter that two of those characters (Lara and Archer) were actually considered for use in Poker Night 2.
  • The Let's Player NicoB is quite well known for his Ultimate Bullshit powers, which can quite often lead to this occuring, with him often making jokes about plot twists that end up actually true. Some examples include how he joked about Tengan was the mastermind in Danganronpa 3 (at the time he made the joke, the episode of the show where said twist was revealed hadn't been aired), or how Kiryu was going to recruit a chicken as a manager for his real estate business in Yakuza 0.
  • One The Adventures of Duane & BrandO video rapping to Mega Man 2 has Mega Man quip to Heat Man that "Capcom didn't spend much time on you!" While it's obviously a joke on Heat Man's rather goofy "zippo lighter with arms and legs" design, it's actually true, albeit not for the reasons you might think. Pretty much all of the later Robot Masters were created via fan-submitted contest entries, with their designs being tweaked appropriately, so Capcom didn't need to spend much time coming up with Heat Man... or any Robot Master in the game, for that matter.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: In "Sorry, Wrong Era", Jimmy needs a diamond to use as a catalyst for a Bamboo Technology time travel remote, since he's stuck in prehistoric times with Sheen and Carl. Finding a diamond proves easy; the problem is that it's about the size of a hill, which obviously makes it too big to use. So how does he get a small enough diamond out of that? By baiting a tyrannosaurus rex into charging into it head-first, of course. This isn't as unrealistic a solution as it seems on the face of it. Diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, sure, but one thing most people don't know is that it's also brittle enough to shatter. Most of the "science" on the show is of the jokey It Runs on Nonsensoleum kind, so the writers probably didn't know this either—and just to underline it even further, the show uses the justification that "a T-rex's skull is as hard as steel", which definitely isn't true.
  • American Dad! had an episode that revealed that George Washington Carver didn't invent peanut butter and that the US government had credited him with the discovery in order to help ease race relations after the The American Civil War. In reality, George Washington Carver actually did not invent peanut butter. Peanut butter actually dates back to the Aztecs and Incas, and the first patent was issued to Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884.
  • An eerie example of this with Bob's Burgers: In the episode "I Get a Psychic Out of You", Linda, convinced that she has psychic powers, tells her friend Gretchen to stay away from trains on her trip to Philadelphia. In Real Life about a year after the episode aired, an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, resulting in several deaths.
  • A BoJack Horseman episode in the last season has Princess Carolyn discussing an all-female reboot of 12 Angry Men. Some theater companies do stage productions of the play with all female jurors (and others do mixed-gender productions as well).
  • The Cow and Chicken episode "Chicken in the Bathroom" had Cow desperately needing to relieve her udder. While this is treated as Potty Emergency, cows actually do find relief in getting milked.
  • An episode of The Critic in 1994 featured a musical adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The writers and many others were quite surprised when Disney made an actual Animated Musical of the same book two years later.
  • One episode of Family Guy had a Cutaway Gag of a cow really enjoying getting milked. This is actually true for cows and other dairy animals as it relieves pressure on their udders, and can sometimes be quite erotic to them as well.
    • In "We Love you Conrad", which first aired in May 2009, Stewie jokes to Brian that "Bruce Jenner is a woman. An elegant Dutch woman." In another episode, Bruce is portrayed all-femmed up and using a boa to entertain a group of Navy sailors a la Cher in her "Turn Back Time" video.
  • Futurama:
    • The episode "The Cyber House Rules" features the line, "This jigsaw of a pacifier factory makes me want to have children with you even more." Originally the line was "This jigsaw of a barn makes me want to have children with you even more." By coincidence, the Swedish word for children is barn, a cognate of the archaic English "bairn" when means "children" (and found in the Scots language). "Bairn" is etymologically related to "born". Maybe the joke was cut because it was esoteric, even for a show that often has jokes about science and math that no one would get unless they were college or grad school-educated. The Scottish terrier from Lady and the Tramp refers to the new baby as a "wee bairn", so obscure but not unknown.
    • In "T: The Terrestrial", Leela informs Bender that, contrary to his expectations, the Planet Express ship has no cloaking devices or any stealth technology that could get them past a blockade (save for a can of spray paint). The intended joke is that the Planet Express is ridiculously poorly equipped, but Leela is actually right: Stealth in Space actually is impossible.
  • The 2014 FIFA World Cup was accompanied by a German parody show called Hoeggschde Konzentration. The episode right before Germany's semi-final match against Brazil had the Germans completely ridicule their opponents, suggesting they'd win by the absurd margin of 6-0. The writers certainly didn't expect them to win 7-1 in Real Life.
  • In the I Am Weasel episode "Time Weasel, I.R. Baboon refers to dinosaurs as "big chickens". It is now scientific consensus that birds are not just descended from dinosaurs but dinosaurs themselves.
  • Infinity Train: In "The Crystal Car", Tulip mentions a movie about Star-Crossed Lovers on the Hindenburg, which is clearly a parody of Titanic. Believe it or not, such a movie exists, and (strangely enough) wasn't created as a parody of the James Cameron film.
  • A similar joke to the Jimmy Neutron example occurs in an episode of Johnny Bravo: a thief is trying to steal the world's largest cubic zircon, but when she tries to cut the glass case with a small buzzaw the blade dulls since the case is actually made out of diamond. She then smashes Johnny's head into the case and it breaks. Not only is this exactly what would happen in real life (diamond is extremely hard, and therefore resistant to cutting, but is also brittle and will shatter if hit hard enough), the way the case shatters is pretty accurate too (it doesn't break into shards like glass, but seems to crumble to dust: when diamond shatters it breaks along crystal planes into multiple tiny diamonds rather than shattering like glass).
  • In King of the Hill, Peggy once claims that "Swiss cheese is not Mexican, it is American." The kind of Swiss cheese she's most likely talking about, which is sold in American stores labeled simply "Swiss cheese," is an American recipe that's just based (and quite loosely) on a Swiss one—Emmentaler, to be specific.
  • A Looney Tunes example: near the end of Falling Hare, as the plane is rapidly plummeting to the ground, Bugs makes loud, rapid screams of panic. That apparently originated as a studio in-joke, but real-life rabbits really do scream rapidly when they're distressed. And it's not so much "goofy shouting" as "blood-curdling shrieking."
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends has a predominantly female cast, with the males traveling together and only coming back home once a year. Of course, this because it is a show marketed to girls, but in real life groups of horses are almost all female with sometimes a 'herd stallion'. In contrast, Generation 4 has the most male characters and happens to have had the most research put into it.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In one episode, the Brain tries to tell a 'scary' campfire story to a group of camp kids, the joke being that he ends up boring them instead with a bunch of scientific and mathematical jargon that they don't understand. However, the punchline of his story, which involved a scientist inadvertently discovering a way to quickly calculate extremely large prime numbers, would actually have pretty terrifying implications in real life, as such an algorithm could be used to break most modern data encryption methods, making hacking, identity theft, and other cyber crimes incredibly easy, as there would be no effective way to protect your data.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Perry the platypus makes a strange growling sound by chattering his teeth. It turns out platypuses really do make such a noise, though they don't make it by chattering (adult platypuses don't have teeth, after all).
    • One of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's earliest inventions, the Magnetism Magnif-inator, uses a specially-crafted funnel to gather a magnet's magnetic field, extending and directing it over long distances. Though greatly exaggerated in the show, this method of preserving a magnetic field's power was discovered to be completely accurate several years later, by physicists who used a tube made of superconducting and ferromagnetic materials to pull off the same trick. Lasers that create powerful magnetic fields would also become a thing years after the show's conclusion.
    • As in the episode "Day of the Living Gelatin", it's possible to make a pool full of Gelatin to lay on and to slide on. It can't be used as a trampoline like in the episode.
    • A running gag is that whenever the boys would have to drive motor vehicles, they drive by remote control, reasoning that RC cars don't need a driver's license. In real life, there are full-size RC cars, trucks, and other vehicles, mainly used for theme parks, showcasing and other purposes—children using them legally is a whole nother story.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • One sketch portrays Alvin and the Chipmunks with deep voices that Dave hates so much he tries to kill them over. He fills their booth with helium, giving them their signature high-pitched voices and Dave's approval right before it kills them. The canister being labelled "deadly helium" suggests the writers thought the idea wasn't supposed to make sense, but that much helium really would be fatal: even if it isn't poisonous, displacing that much oxygen would cause asphyxiation. Admittedly, it's also possible they were evoking Viewers Are Morons and assumed the audience wouldn't realize that helium, which is commonly huffed in real life to get high-pitched voices, would cause death via oxygen displacement.
    • Another sketch involves Mickey trying to ban mixed species Disney couples, which eventually gets into a pretty obvious metaphor for homophobia. It's funnier when you remember this comic actually exists.
    • The sketch "Welcome to the Golf Jam" is a Space Jam parody that featured Tiger Woods playing golf with DiC characters. Ironically one of the early ideas for a sequel to Space Jam would've had Tiger Woods in the starring role with Bugs Bunny, possibly with the title "Golf Jam".
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the commentary for "The Crepes of Wrath", the writers note that the bit about adding antifreeze to wine was a parody of an incident where some wine was found contaminated with antifreeze, but that, obviously, the contamination wasn't deliberate. Except that the contamination was discovered when a winery started listing antifreeze as a business expense, and it was very deliberately added to make the wine sweeter.note 
    • While the writers may have known that a torus is one of the contenders for the shape of the universe, Homer certainly didn't know that when he told Stephen Hawking about his theory of a doughnut-shaped universe in "They Saved Lisa's Brain".
    • Abe Simpson once recalls his father talking about America being the greatest thing since sliced bread. He then says that sliced bread had been invented the previous winter. It was just meant as an "old fart" joke, but given that he served in WWII and the first commercial bread-slicing machine was invented in 1928, the writers were surprisingly accurate with this one.
    • In "Two Bad Neighbors", Homer attempts to prank George H. W. Bush with cardboard cut-outs he identifies as "your sons, George Bush Jr. and Jeb Bush". In the audio commentary for that episode, it's said that the writers had no idea that there really is a "George Bush Jr." and the line was supposed to be an example of Homer being stupid. Stupider like a fox, it seems.
    • In "Bart to the Future" (airdate March 19, 2000), future President Lisa makes a reference to President Donald Trump—who, 16 years later, would indeed be elected the 45th President of the United States of America. At the time of the episode's airing, he had just ended an attempt to win a nomination of a third party, so the idea of his going from failed third-party candidate to elected president was perfect as a humorously far-fetched throwaway joke. The timeline of the episode implied that it'd take him over 20 years to make that transition, but in fact it only took him 17.
    • In "The Monkey Suit", Bart stars in a stage adaptation of Grease 2. Eight years later Grease 2 was adapted into the stage musical, Cool Rider.
    • Santa's Little Helper is a two-fold case of this. One is he's a somewhat lazy ex-racer Greyhound. Rather than go with the normal "always energetic and fast" Dog Stereotype attributed to the breed, he's a "normal" laidback dog. This is actually accurate to Greyhounds, and especially former racing dogs. Aside from when they're on walks, they tend to be very relaxed. Greyhounds were bred for short spurts of running, not being energetic constantly. Two is his backstory that he was abandoned by his owner after a long string of losses. Much to the surprise of the writers, this actually is a common plight of racing dogs, and they were praised by animal rights groups for bringing mainstream attention to it: Matt Groening later explained in an interview that he had no idea this was an issue but was happy they were able to raise awareness of it.
    • "Lisa the Iconoclast" featured the term "embiggen" as a nonsensical word (or a Perfectly Cromulent Word), but the writers later learned that the word "embiggen" had been used by writer C.A. Ward in 1884.
    • In the "Treehouse Of Horror XIII" story "The Island Of Dr. Hibbert", where Ned Flanders takes pleasure and relief in getting milked when his lower half got transformed into the body of a cow, which actually is a valid reaction. As for why that half of his body is female, though...
    • In "Dead Putting Society" Lisa asks Bart "What is the sound of one hand clapping", to which Bart immediately holds up a hand and smacks his fingers against the palm to Lisa's frustration. Though it was meant to be a Rhetorical Question Blunder, this is actually very close to an actual answer to the koan: simply holding up one's hand with the fingers out.
    • In "Beyond Blunderdome" (1999), Homer misleads Mel Gibson into doing a hyper-violent, In Name Only remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that includes a scene where Smith impales a rival with an American flag. The sequence is presented as being completely over-the-top ridiculous and the movie is implied to ruin Gibson's career irreparably. One year later, the real Gibson released The Patriot, where his main character (an actionized counterpart of a real historical figure) uses an American flag as a pike to bring the main villain's horse down during the final battle before killing him. And it's supposed to be taken seriously.
    • "Homer at the Bat" features a gag where the Springfield P.D. arrests Steve Sax. Sax attempts to ask for his One Phone Call, which is brushed off as "you watch too many movies." While the joke is obviously that the police are needlessly brutal and corrupt (demonstrated by the fact that they charged Sax with every unsolved murder in New York City, based solely on the fact that he claimed to be from there), they're right that the old "one phone call" isn't a thing.
  • South Park did an episode with a character called Sexual Harassment Panda that satirized how difficult subjects (like sexual harassment) are often presented to children in a sugar-coated manner. Turns out there is a program called P.A.N.D.A. that deals with how to deal with sexual harassment at both school and work.

     Other 
  • Technically a subvertion, but there is an ancient Sumerian clay tablet (officially named Cylinder Seal VA 243), which has a picture of the sun in the upper left corner surrounded by 9 dots. Many people claim it's a map of the solar system and they successfully guessed there were nine planets note . That said, most scholars now think the dots just represent the various Sumerian deities. Also, while the tablet has writing on it, it just says “Dubsiga, Ili-illat, your/his servant.” Whereas one would think if it's a map of the solar system there would be writing saying this.
  • The Greek philospher Empedocles first came up with the whole idea of the four classical elements (air, earth, fire, and water). While this doesn't fit the modern definition of "element" (in the context of chemistry), it does map on rather well to the four basic states of matter (i.e earth:solid, water:liquid, air:gas and fire:plasma.)

Alternative Title(s): Accidentally Accurate

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