Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

One person, two coincidental meetings

In the very early 80s I was British Council programme officer for a Bulgarian violinist studying in London on a scholarship and got to know her fairly well, but we more or less fell out of touch when she returned home. About three years later, in about 1985, I went for a walk one Sunday afternoon on Hampstead Heath with a friend who was staying with me, something I almost never did, even though I lived not very far from the Heath, having moved from another part of London since my Bulgarian friend had left.

Alpine neighbours

My wife and I own a renovated farmhouse on the outskirts of an ancient small town in the French Alps where we have just two neighbourng properties. Ten years ago, when my wife came to France to undertake the legal business in connection with this purchase, she was invited to have coffee with the family next door. The young husband and his French wife had his parents staying with them, and my wife felt that she vaguely recognised that couple.

Spooky choice of an event

I don't know if this comes into the "forbidden" category of premonition. It's close to it, but here goes, because it is really spooky. I grew up in Swansea, S.Wales and went to the Grammar School there - an ancient edifice founded in the 1600's. But at age 18 we moved to London and spent all the years in England until retirement at age 65 in 1980. (Yes, that means I'm in my 97th year, but don't go away!). We had spent occasional holidays back in Swansea, but had not visited or thought about the Grammar School.

Cat-sitters in Cardiff

A couple of Australian friends were in England on business and arrived in Cambridge on a Sunday evening prior to an appointment the following day. They decided to go out for a drink before dinner and went into a nearby hotel and requested a beer, This being in the age of restricted licensing hours the barman politely told them that he was unable to serve them until after 7pm as they were not residents. A woman sitting at a nearby table spoke up and, as a resident, asked if she might buy them a drink which they gladly accepted.

Place Coincidence

I have Belgian friends who lived in a small village, Ruddervoorde between Ostend and Brugges. A few years ago they were visiting us in the UK for Christmas. My Uncle (married to my father's sister) who lived 150 miles away called in to drop off presents. I did not know he had any connection with Belgium. He had never met my friends and asked where they lived. They said he would never have heard of the place but told him the name of their village. He said 'I've been there. My aunt met a Belgium General during the war and married him and lived there.

Holiday coincidence

In 1970 I traveled from England to Central Finland to stay with the Syrija family who were farmers. I had finished my first year at Exeter University and they had a son, Kari who was 19, 10 months younger than myself. After 4 weeks Kari and I drove to Oulu, "North" known for its market. Kari bought a reindeer skin for me. We were then approached by a Dutch couple who were jugglers working their way around Finland. They couldn't speak Finnish and asked Kari to negotiate a similar skin for them..which he did.

birthday coincidence

my Sister 01 01 1965 her youngest son 01 01 2004 my birthday 29 Dec think our Mother preferred Hospital food to cooking a Christmas Meal

Travel coincidence

About 15 years ago my brother was travelling in Australia. About once a fortnight he would phone my mum to let her know he was ok and then afterwards he would go into an internet cafe to email his 4 sisters. My mum is a dressmaker and had one of her customers in her workroom. They started to talk about their children and mum talked about my brother and the phonecalls. The customer got upset as her daughter was also in Australia but rarely contacted home. Just then the phone rang and it was my brother with his regular call. Mum told him about the customer in her workroom.

"Get off my train"

A few years ago I visted New York for the first time with friends. We went on the subway to Grand Central Station and commented it was like a scene from the film "Ghost" when PAtrick Swayze meets a slightly mad ghost who berates people to "get off my train". We arrived at out destination and left the subway. Guess who was walking towards us - the actor who played the mad ghost - I still don't know his name to this day!! Later that evening we went to a speakeasy bar in Greenwich Village and were discussing how bizarre this event had been.

Chance meeting

Some years ago my husband and I were driving along one evening in a quiet Hampshire coastal retirement area near our home when we spotted an elderly woman in slippers looking lost and confused in the road. We pulled abruptly to a halt to see if we could help - at the same time as a man driving in the opposite direction did the same. Having established that the old lady was indeed very confused we phoned the police for help. Whilst waiting for them to arrive my husband (originally from Plymouth in Devon) commented on the other man's Devonshire accent .