Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Two brothers

In the early 1970s when I worked for the Inland Revenue a form came in saying that a David Brown (not his real name) was staring work ina local business. A few days later another form came in saying that David Brown was staring work with the same company. Both young men had been born on the same day so I told a colleague the company had made a mistake and sent the tax office a duplicate form. My colleague told me this wasn't so. he truth was that a man's wife and mistress gave birth to sons on the same day by the same father (the husband).

The Family Home

I am Tom, from Bradley Stoke, just north of Bristol. In 2007, I met a girl at a gig in Bristol - Kirsty, who is now my fiancee. We quickly developed a close relationship and as we did, discovered more about each other. We were both from Bristol - fairly likely considering where we met ! Kirsty told me she was from a reasonably large suburb of Bristol called Horfield. I noted that my mother had been born in Horfield and my grandparents and great-grandparents had lived there - not unremarkable really.

travel coincidence

My father, Dr T Barwell, aged 10 days short of 96, reminds me of this story as he heard the Radio 4 item last week. He was on holiday in Russia in 1937 and met a Danish family which included a teenage daughter called Karen-Else Hansen. The following year he was rowing in a regatta in Essen and on the way home he stopped in Cologne to view the cathedral. He met a crocodile of schoolgirls which included Karen-Else Hansen. They were travelling home after holidaying in the Black Forest.

Long-distance coincidence

My Mum (from the UK) was visiting her brother and sister-in-law in New Zealand. They got chatting about their children, and the sister-in-law remarked on my married surname, Plumptre. Her daughter in Hong Kong had a friend with the same surname. The friend turned out to be my husband's sister.

Re births and deaths

Forgot to mention that my son-in-law Norman who married my daughter Carole-Anne was born 11th May 1952 in Wigan and my daughter Debbie was born 11th May 1961 in Bootle

lose a bracelet, look for a bracelet, find a bracelet but not same one

Mr wife and I were living in Devon and went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in rural Suffolk during which we went for a walk in the countryside. On our return home my wife discovered she had lost an expensive heavy gold charm bracelet so on the off-chance we 'phoned my sister-in-law to see if she had left it there. My sister-in-law found nothing in the house but said she would retrace our walk just to see. A little while later she 'phone with the good news that she'd found the bracelet and would send it to us by post.

Cats then baby

I adopted two cats in the mid-1990s. They became children to me as pets often do. I always had an inkling I wouldn't have children until they were gone. I met the man who was to become my husband. By then as I had had to move a few times, the cats had "retired" to live with my parents. One passed away but the other managed to hang on for four more years until the age of 19, when she had to be put down due to ill-health. The month after she passed away, in the next 'monthly cycle,' if you like, I fell pregnant at the age of 41 and gave birth to my son 9 months later.


One Saturday,2 Months ago, my wife and I watched,on DVD, an episode from' Hammer House of Horror' originally broadcast in the 70s. It was entitled 'The Mark of Satan' and it involved a Mortuary attendant ,new in his job, who becomes obsessed with the number 9.


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".

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.