Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

crossing paths & fate

When talking to my late husband about our pasts, we discovered that: At the end of the 1960s I had worked in Kampala, in a building which had previously been the old British HIgh Commission. I showed my husband a picture of me sitting in a room which he said had been his office some years earlier, before the High Commission moved to a new building. In the early 1970s I left Uganda and worked in the British Embassy in another country to which at that time he had also been appointed, but this posting was cancelled, so we did not meet.


My maternal grandparents names were Mary (Roman Catholic) and Andrew (non-Catholic). I was given Mary as a middle name in 1957 (a very Catholic name). I've had 3 long term relationships over the course of my life with men who all have the middle name - Andrew. The age difference between the 3 men ranges across 11 years. All 3 were brought up with different religions - Catholic, Church of Scotland, Jewish, I was brought up Catholic where being named after a saint is important. And my one brother has two middle names, one of which is also Andrew.

Coincidences related to my sister (half-sister actually)

My name is Maggie. Several years ago, I spoke to my sister (well, technically half-sister) on the phone and said I was retiring from my job. She said she was too. Next time we talked on the phone, I told her I retired on June 2, 2006 -- she said, you are kidding! I retired on that very same day! This with no discussion between us about plans or dates we were thinking about, or anything. I found that very coincidental. Another strange chain of events related to my half sister occurred when we met (we didn't meet until we were adults).

Airport Meeting

In March 2007 I went on my first skiing holiday with my husband and son. We stayed in a catered chalet in Meribel. Amongst the guests was an airline pilot in his late 50's who was holidaying on his own. We chatted over dinner a few times and said goodbye at the end of the week. Two years later, in December 2009, my husband, son and myself were with friends on a skiing holiday in Valmorel in France. We had flown into Chambery and enjoyed a week's holiday on the slopes.

Wrong bus route

When I was younger I used to walk to school each day there and back. One morning as I turned left off the busy main road down a quieter suburban street I was thinking to myself how quiet this street was. Further, I wondered why the bus didn't take this route as it would make the route a lot shorter. Lost in thought I considered that it must be rather nice for the residents not to have buses thundering up and down their street. No sooner had I thought this, a number 1 bus went racing passed me stopping me in my tracks dumbfounded.


Returning books to the local library, I was mistakenly told that I had another book "The Scorpian" outstanding, I had never heard of this book. A short while later, when visiting my brother, he showed me some books a friend had sent him from America, one of which was "The Scorpian".

Multiple coincidences

In 1966, two years after I married my wife, Anne, we ended up one day visiting a village called Knot End on a day out with Anne's parents. Anne's mother said that her cousin Lottie lived in the village having retired there and bought a bungalow with her husband Jack. We decided to look them up. I did not know them at all but after the initial welcome, during the conversation ( about family naturally), it turned out that my mother-in-law's cousin Lottie was married to my father's cousin Jack.

Births Deaths & Marriages

My sister's youngest child, a daughter and my eldest child, also a daughter were born on exactly the same day. My father was born on New Years day, my sister on St Patrick's day and my youngest daughter on St George's day.

Would we have married anyway?

Just before I was born my mother's eldest sister married a widower with two sons. Douglas was 4 years older than me and Gordon 8 years. We did not live very near to each other but were brought up as cousins Soon after the war started Gordon, by then engaged, went into the Royal Engineers but soon after being sent out to the Middle East he got a "Dear John" letter. Later Douglas went into the RAF and I wrote to them both. In 1942 Douglas was killed over Germany and perhaps that made me write to Gordon a little more.

Surely thats very strange.....

Back in 1975 I was working in an office in Regent Street.