Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


In my early thirties and married with two young children I often took the dog for a walk over local countryside in West Yorkshire. One winter's day when the snow was fairly deep I slipped down an approach to a stream I often walked over and didn't think much of it at the time. Later on I noticed my expensive Rolex watch was missing and could not find it anywhere. I cannot remember whether it was the next day or two or three days later I did the same walk and again slipped in the snow and as my hand went deep into the snow I felt something. And yes it was my watch.
Total votes: 869
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 13:57:12 +0000Coincidence ID:3348

A coincidence within a coincidence....

I was pretty amazed by a strange set of coincidences that happened to me a few months ago... With children in tow I set off to see my Ma for some lunch out on a Saturday. On the way there (M1 Leicestershire) we passed a new windfarm. I muttered about "not mentioning to Grandma" (as she is an argumentative so and so and does not approve), and a discussion ensued with my daughter (14) about the merits or otherwise of wind farms, and the fact as she saw it that they "have to go somewhere". "Have you heard of the expression Not In My Back Yard, or NIMBY"? I asked her, and explained what it meant. More later.... On arrival at Ma she had kept for me to read an article from the Telegraph about Marc Almond's latest venture. She thought I would be interested as I lived in same accomodation c. 1981 when Soft Cell went global - and played bass on a couple of tracks. Nothing particularly unusual there. When I got back home however I was catching up on some email etc., and playing music on random play on Windows Media Player. I have c. 39,000 .mp3 files in my library. The playlist was "All Music" and set to random (or what passes for random as I think you dicsussed on the raido this morning - eitehr way there were no preferences or libraries or other configurations). After about 10 minutes a song called "Fun City" came on - this was one of the 2 songs I played on with Marc - and was the first time I can remember it had come on "random" in several years. It wasn't till it got towards the end that I thought "now that's a coincidence, given the article from my mother". I also have a habit of running a "picture wiz" backround in WMP, that rotates a set of images from a folder while music plays. It's unconnected to the music itself, not like album art. From another old "artistic" venture (Rocket Men Of Memphis) I have a lot of pretty random images stored for this purpose, c 50,000, in c. 50 directories, only 1 of which is active in WMP at any one time. I was about to hit pause when an image (I think the only one I have) of Marc c. 1981 popped up (they stay for 8 seconds). This I did think was long odds? c. 50000 x 30000 = 1.5BN to 1? Or is my maths suspect? So, I went downstairs to share with my daughter, as I was more than slightly surprised at this turn of events and needed to share. Having done this I then went to flop in front of TV. The Simpsons was on about half way through an episode (new one I think - certainly one I had not seen before and I watch a lot). Within about 2 minutes, there was a scene with Homer naked in the back garden. Marge appeared. "Homer" she said, "have you never heard of the expression Not In My Back Yard". This really was a bit weird! Or is this perfectly normal? My missus later insisted on me giving her some numbers for a lottery ticket - based loosely on the premise from this wonderful Bilko episode
Total votes: 812
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 13:48:39 +0000Coincidence ID:3347

Driving from airport

I travel almost every week to another city by airplane to do business. When I get back, I have to drive about 10 km from the airport to my home, passing approx. 20 traffic lights along the way. Normally I have to stop for a minute or so at every second one of them (or so it seems). A couple of months ago I had the amazing experience of landing one night, and then driving straight home without stopping at a single traffic light. It seems to me the chance of this occurring must be very small. Best regards, Claus Skaaning PS. Btw. we met many years ago while I was a student in Aalborg under Steffen Lauritzen and Finn V. Jensen.
Total votes: 921
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 13:28:13 +0000Coincidence ID:3345

Family birthdays

My Grandfather,his son (my father) and my fathers younger brother were all born on June 16th.I became a father when I was 28 ,my son was born on the 28th, now my son is expecting to become a father at the age of 28,I am waiting to see if the baby will be born on the 28th of whatever month
Total votes: 876
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:34:10 +0000Coincidence ID:3343

Car Registation Plate

In 1972 I sold an Austin A40 car to someone who lived near High Wycombe, Bucks. In 1976 I bought a second hand MGB from a dealer in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. A month later my wife said that she thought that there was something strange about the number plate of the MGB. She looked in the files and found that it was exactly the same number plate, both letters and numbers that was on the A40 sold 4 years previously. Fearing that that there may be something illegal about out 'new' car I obtained details from the DVLA. This is what had happened. The person who purchased the Austin A40 from me moved to Norwich with the car and sold it to someone in Norwich sometime later. The new owner of the A40 also owned an MGB and legally transferred the cherished number plate to the MGB. That MGB was later sold to someone locally in Norwich who subsequently moved to Chalfont St Peter a few miles from where I lived, and traded the MGB in for a new car. I saw the MGB advertised and purchased it without realising that the registration number was the same as the A40 when I owned it. So some 4 years later and with 3 intervening owners, the number plate returned! What are the odds on that happening? It has to be tens of millions to one! We still have the number plate, we could never let it go now. It has been transferred on every time my wife has changed her car and people often ask what it means, as the two letters are not her initials.
Total votes: 942
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:23:49 +0000Coincidence ID:3341

Family History

When researching my family history I found that two men very closely related to my family line had been transported on the same ship to Australia (the Claudine 1829). One was from my maternal line (Aston, Birmingham) and one was from my paternal line (Udimore, Sussex), in 1956 my parents met in the UK.
Total votes: 988
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:22:03 +0000Coincidence ID:3340

Salmon Farming

This morning I was talking with a work colleague about food scares and we went on at length to discuss salmon farming, a very much off-topic discussion. In fact, I've never spoken about salmon farming before. Later this morning I was researching on Youtube the work of the poet Kwame Dawes, who spoke about a salmon farm as a setting for his poem, Progeny of Air. (35.38)
Total votes: 859
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:20:24 +0000Coincidence ID:3339

birth dates

My brothers' dates are 11/01/49 and 11/07/51 Add up the day and month and you get 22/08 And I was duly born on 22/08/53. Spooky!
Total votes: 967
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:17:54 +0000Coincidence ID:3338

ID and phone number

My father's National Service number was 3138479. His home phone number (which he had no hand in choosing) was 38479 when he first moved in. It has since been updated to 338479, and a 1 has been added to the STD code.
Total votes: 1022
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:11:22 +0000Coincidence ID:3337

Lion King

I have always wanted to see The Lion King on Broadway/in the West End, but could never go for various reasons. After over a decade of waiting, I finally saw it a few days ago. Right after the show, I got home and turned on the tv and a cartoon that I watch all the time that and that as far as I know, has never mentioned the Lion King, was showing an episode about a boy who really wanted to see The Lion King on Broadway but could not go because nobody else was interested.
Total votes: 994
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:01:32 +0000Coincidence ID:3336