Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

new and old coincidences with a new aquaintance

I had moved to a small village in North Yorkshire to be near my son after living in Scotland and having grown up in Surrey. One day in church in my Yorkshire village I sat next to a woman I had not seen before and chatted to her. She had just arrived in the village to be near her daughter, coming from 'London'. It turned out that she had been married in the Surrey church where I worshipped in my childhood. The nest Sunday, she brought me a cutting from a newspaper dated 1926, which was a description of her mother's wedding at which my mother had sung a solo.

Phone call

Me and my best friend once ed eachother at the exact same time. The phone didn't even ring for either of us. We were connected immediately. That was strange!

Felicity S

My husband was staying with a friend in New York just before travelling across the US. His friend was expecting 2 other friends to join her who were travelling the US from the west coast over to New York. When he was on his journey, he stopped at a diner. It was pretty empty but there were 2 other English people having their meal there. Being a gregarious soul he stopped to have chat with them. Of course they were the 2 other friends on route to his friend in New York. They then bought a post card and all signed it and sent it to their New York friend. They had never met before.

Meeting an old colleague in Thailand

Whilst on my gap year I travelled to the island of Koh Phagnan. My friend and I found the most remote hostel on the island as far off the beaten track as possible. We were having breakfast and I noticed a guy sitting near by who I found really familiar.... I couldnt resist the urge so I went over to speak to him. It turns out we had worked together in the same restaurant, in the same town just six months before. Small world!

Friend coincidence

About 13 years ago my daughter started a new school and made friends with a girl in her class. I got on really well with her mother who was older than me and we became good friends meeting up and socialising. A while before this I had gone back to university part time in a different part of London and had got in with a group of women who I also made friends with and socialised with. Amongst this group was a woman a few years younger than me. These separate friendships continued for some time and at an event my university friend turned up with her partner and children.

Simultaneous event

20-odd years ago , it was decided that we should play a game of Trivial Pursuit one afternoon. I am not usually a 'board game' person but when I have to, and have a choice, I always opt for the more scientific questions rather than entertainment ones.

Same wavelength - different continent!

We had friends from Australia staying with us for 3 months. I had lent the wife of the couple one of my fleece jackets as they didn't have any warm outer-wear. They returned to Australia and several weeks later I decided to sort through the cupboards in our guest bedroom and underneath the fleece jacket on the same hanger was a lightweight jumper. I knew it wasn't mine and deduced it belonged to our friend who had inadvertently left it behind. At the very moment I had my hand on the sleeve of the jumper, our 'phone rang.

Lucky escape?

Back in 1978/79, as part of my degree course, I was working for a year as an English assistant in French school. I decided to pay my parents in London a surprise visit in the February half-term. I was on a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven in the middle of the night, in dense fog. I struck up a conversation with an Australian nurse in the cafe, over a coffee. After a while we decided to go up to the lounge deck. When we got there, as I opened the door and looked in I felt there was a very eery green light in there, and something told me not to go in.

calling my best friend

As a teenager, I wanted to chat with my best friend during a school break. It was the days before mobiles, and we might chat once a week on our parent's phone in the hall, rather than every day! It had been a while since we'd talked and so I called up her one evening. Her phone was engaged. Five minutes later, she called and said she'd tried to call a few minutes before, but my line was engaged. We'd called at exactly the same time and engaged both our telephone numbers! We are still best friends thirty years on.

Objet trouvé

November 2011. My wife and I were walking home through the streets of Cologne on the night in the month when people can put unwanted furniture and household objects out on the pavement to be collected the next morning by the refuse authority. I spotted a pile of such refuse at the far end of a street and suggested we crossed over to have a look. You are allowed to take anything you want from such 'Sperrmüll'. "We have enough junk," said my wife. "What do you hope to find?" "Who knows?