Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

NC meets childhood friend in Mexico

This happened around 1998. I grew up and still live in NC. My brother was stationed with the Marines in San Diego. I went to visit him one summer and we decided to take a day trip to Mexico. We stopped in Ensenada and walked around the town, not even in a very "touristy" area. I hear this guy yelling "hey buddy do you have a dollar!". Turn around and it's a scraggly bum trying to get money. We keep walking and I turn around again and I tell my brother "hey I think that bum is Nathan". He says who?

Vacation overlap

My family was on a vacation to another province, a place about 2000km from where we live. We only had two days there, and we booked our one night's stay at a bed and breakfast out in the countryside, not a large establishment, and quite isolated, because most places closer to the capitol city were already booked up. While there, we found that a good friend of ours from university, whom we hadn't seen in years and who also lived far away, was staying there with her family.

Dead grandfather mentioned in speech I attended

I went to hear a speech by an indigenous Australian man who had grown up about 500 km from where the speech was given. He spoke of the difficulties in his life and mentioned someone who was instrumental in his success, a white man who had given him a chance and a job in the 40s back when black men weren't even allowed to vote or go to the pub. Previously I had assumed my grandfather was at least as racist as his generation, so I almost fell out of my chair at the back of the auditorium when the man said, "That man's name was Morris Worrall".

Fare Ther Well

I have an acquaintance, or a friend of a friend, that I rarely see.. Maybe once every five years for the past 15 years. He is a German immigrant with a thick German dialect that's hard for me to understand, particularly if he has been drinking. Through social media we both found out we would be attending, along with 70,000 other people, the Grateful Dead's supposedly last concert at Chicago's Soldier Field on July 2016. We exchanged cell numbers and said lets meet up. I called V on the way in in front Millineal Park.

Meeting someone that lived in my bedroom

I grew up on a farm near Hawley MN. Moved to Seattle. My girlfriend invited me to Christmas dinner at her family's home. I sat at the dining room table with her family, including an aunt by marriage. Aunt: "Where are you from?" Me: "Northern Minnesota." Aunt: "Me, too. What town?" Me: "Near Fargo Moorhead." Aunt: "Me, too. What town? Me: "Hawley, my family bought the old Luthi farm." Aunt: "I'm Pat Luthi, what bedroom was yours?" Me? "The northwest bedroom." Aunt: "That was my bedroom."

Reunion with Rose

I worked in a law firm in Los Angeles in the '90s and became friends with a fellow female attorney in our Washington, DC office when we worked on a case today. After leaving the firm in 1995, she and I stayed in touch but our interactions dwindled to yearly Christmas cards. I was married and had a child, she stayed single but adopted two girls from China. I knew that she was now working for the government and living with the girls in Central America. But at some point, we lost touch and even the Christmas card exchange ended.


This isn't my coincidence, but I witnessed it. I've changed the names, including that of the famous actor in the story. We had a party. Two guests were Adriana and Ruthie. Adriana is my wife's friend and Ruthie is a former high-school classmate of mine.

A story about Sam Leve

Sam Leve was a well known stage designer in New York in the 1930s and ‘40s. He was one of my father’s two best friends from childhood. He is now deceased, unfortunately, and I'm leaving his real name in the story in order to honor him. One day, in the 1980s, He told me this story. During the second world war, Sam approached the International Rescue Committee and asked if there was anything he could do to help. The Committee was formed to smuggle Jews out of Nazi-occupied Europe, and today is one of the best known organizations dedicated to helping refugees everywhere.

A malfunctioning auto saved my career from disaster

April, 1978. I was still in graduate school. I had promised the company I had accepted a job with that I would start work on this date. There was only one problem. My doctoral dissertation (in chemistry) was incomplete. I thought, "Oh, well, I'll finish it in the evenings after I start my new job", but secretly I feared that I never would.

A Bluegrass Connection

I love Bluegrass and early country music and am something of an aficionado. I attended the first few multi-day Bluegrass festivals, centered around the career of Bluegrass founder Bill Monroe, in Fincastle, VA in 1965 and '66. A few years later, as an undergraduate, my room-mate and I attended Bill Monroe's "Brown Country Jamboree", in Bean Blossom, IN, one week-end. A surprising thing happened at Bean Blossom. We arrived in the middle of torrential downpour.