Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

R Duffy

This is the coincidence of a friend: Between April 1985 and 1986, an Irish friend of mine, living in Manchester (had been there for over 10 years) had a year off to work and travel - along with her sister - in Australia. For the first 6 months they worked - in either Sydney or Melbourne - I can check - then for the final 6 months they travelled extensively throughout the continent, hitchhiking mostly, but also taking other means of transport. One Friday afternoon they were dropped off by a lorry driver at some small town in the Outback - in a really out of the way place - near Darwin (but no

Workplace Family Tree Discovery

I work as a civil servant. A couple of years ago I joined a new department and bumped into another chap (Tim) who shares my surname. We chatted for a while and it came out that we are both interested in family history and had started compiling our respective trees. His family was from south west Devon and mine from north west Devon. Its took a few months searching and travelling around before it became apparent that we have an ancestor in common who was born in NW Devon in 1710. We are 7th cousins; not once, twice or thrice removed, just exact 7th cousins.


In 1987 my wife and I purchased a small property in a very Spanish village - Guardamar del Segura - from an English couple who introduced us to some English ex-pat friends living about 7 kilometres away in Torrevieja. Around about 1995 my wife called me from the garden telling me that my cousin's husband was on the telephone. As, sadly, we did not have regular contact apart from Christmas cards I suspected the worst and told him so. He told me not to worry, he was only ringing to tell me he had been to our Spanish property though we had never told them of the purchase.


To help remember credit card PIN numbers, I used to make a dummy entry in my filofax, like, e.g., Norman West or Barclay Plastics. I would enter a fake phone number, say 0207 314 7654, the last four digits being the PIN number. To make the entry look more authentic, I would also enter another random number for FAX. When I upgraded my Barclaycard, I was allocated a new PIN number. I went to the entry in my filofax to amend the phone number, only to find that my new PIN was precisely the fax number I had invented some years before !!

Words and numbers coincidences.

I should add to my earlier comment about the instantaneous repetition of numbers that these have ranged from single digits to eight.

Breakage coincidence

My wife and I were visiting my elderly mother in Eastbourne a week ago, where she has lived in the same house for 27 years. The house was not new when she moved there, so both her downstairs and upstairs toilets have been there longer than that. I had to take my mother to the local GP's surgery that morning to have a leg wound dressed. Before leaving the house, I used the upstairs toilet but when I flushed the toilet, the handle broke. Removing the cistern lid, I saw that the plastic arm connecting the handle to the flushing mechanism had snapped.

Family connections

About 27 years ago I was working at a software house in London, preparing a bid for a contract with the Navy. The Navy contract officer was based at the Admiralty Research establishment at Portland, near Weymouth. My sister - who I had rather lost touch with and hadn't spoken to for a couple of years was also working at the establishment.


One Saturday lunchtime in 1996, my wife and I (together with a married couple, and good friends) went out in our two MGB's for lunch. it was a remote Inn called the Tan Hill in North Yorkshire - miles and miles from anywhere. 12 years later, and now with a family, we decided to go to the lake district for the day (45 miles away). En-route I noticed the brown sign to the Pub, off the A66. I turned off at the junction and my wife asked why? I said to wait, i had a hunch. When we walked in the door, the couple were sat at the exact same table as 12 years previous.

Random phone call

I was at home trying to recall our old home telehone number from a previous address 12 years before, but not sure entirely why. I could only remember the first three digits and they were 639. The phone rang while I was thinking and on answering I was asked by the lady if I was XX Building Services [my husbands company] I replied 'No you have dialled his home telephone number' and she replied 'Thats odd I have that down as 639659'.....The very number I had been trying to recall.

Presenment ?

I regularly go to the central library i Southampton over 2 years i have had a nodding aqaintance with someone but last year they were more intermitent in thier visits. I hadnt seen them in about 4 months but suddnly I thought that I hadnt seen them around Two days later I walked out of the library and there were police cars and fire trucks this man was threatening to set fire to himself I dont know why perhaps they were going to depoert him. He chose a abd day to get into the paers as a building colapsed in the town centre that had been partly demolished I never heard what became of