Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

my life

My incredible coincidence is in the mode of "unlikely chain of events." 13.75 billion years ago the universe was born. Since that time, the exactly correct sequence of events has conspired to end up with a situation whereupon I am posting this story on your website.
Total votes: 960
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:06:38 +0000Coincidence ID:3327

Last name

The unbocking code for Youtube at my college was my last name
Total votes: 1013
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:04:04 +0000Coincidence ID:3326

Two in the Bush

In 1968 I was a young engineer surveying a route for a road out in the Zambian bush hundreds of miles from civilisation. As I drove through a mud hut village I came upon an up-market hut with corrugated iron roof and a Coca Cola sign. Outside was another vehicle. This was such a highly unusual sighting that I decided to stop and be nosey. I was practising my "Doctor Livingstone, I presume" opening line as I entered but what I saw completely stopped me in my tracks. There was a friend of mine from back home in the UK, large as life and equally amazed as I. It had been many weeks since I had seen a non-African. That the first one I saw was a friend from UK was an amazing coincidence. We had last seen each other three months before back in London and we had not discussed the possibility of going to Africa. I still find it incredible that two friends could meet randomly half way around the world in the middle of a wilderness.
Total votes: 905
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:00:35 +0000Coincidence ID:3325

phone box wrong number was for passer by

In the mid 80s I lived in south Birmingham and after the pub my friends and I would walk home past a row of shops and then peel off to our various houses. One day when walking home the public phone box on the row of shops was ringing (this was about 11.30 at night). One of our group decided to answer it for a laugh and when he answered it the call was for him! His friend had mis-dialled his home number and got the call box just as he walked past. (When we looked into it the timing was partly because his friend had called at a time when he thought he would be getting in from the pub and the two phone numbers were very similar.)
Total votes: 1009
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:53:23 +0000Coincidence ID:3324

Drinks Party

Still recovering from the fact that our respective mother-in-laws had at the age of ten shared a cabin on a banana boat as they were evacuated to the West Indies, we just had to go to Barbados for our honeymoon. A friend of mine, Bill, heard about this and told me he had a house on Barbados and we must come and see him and gave me his phone number. I forget the exact number but let's say it was 26075. Julia and I were sunning ourselves on the beach outside Sandy Lane (in 1978 it wasn't quite so glamorous!) and I said "I'll just go and call Bill and say we're here". I dialed the number from a hotel phone but forgot to dial for an outside line and so got through to room '260' by mistake. Thinking I'd dialed his home number, when someone answered the phone I quite innocently said "Is Bill there". A slightly bemused voice said "Yes". A very perplexed Bill came to the phone and said "How the hell did you know I was here, I'm at a drinks party, come on up". So we did!
Total votes: 917
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:47:41 +0000Coincidence ID:3322

Chance meeting

In about August 1983 my family and I were visiting an aunt who lived in Burngate, Dorset right by the RAC Gunnery School. We were awakened on morning early by the sounds of tanks firing. In those days there was an observation post just down from the bungalow and I took my children down there as they wanted to see the tanks shooting. While we were there a young Army captain wandered over and began chatting. He asked my job and I explained I was an officer in the Merchant Navy. This lead on to discussions of places overseas we had visited, He described his last posting to Belize and a family who had befriended him. He had visited their home on numerous occasions and played golf with them. I asked their names as I was pretty sure I knew them. Indeed I did as I had rightly guessed they were my mother and father-in law.
Total votes: 925
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:44:00 +0000Coincidence ID:3321

Missing petrol cap and shopping coming to exactly £4.00

A few years ago I was shopping at Sainsburys in Bedford and purchased about 5 items including loose bananas ie they had to be weighed, not pre-priced. The bill came to £4.00. Strange? To me it was strange, as I had never before had to pay a round figure for an assortmant of items. I know this must happen but with many items being priced at a figure ending in 99 pence, it did seem odd. I left the store and drove into the Sainsburys petrol station to fill up. When I opened the filler flap I found that my petrol cap was missing. That had never happened before. I am not forgetful and access to the petrol cap was protected by a flap that could only be unlocked from inside the car. I put petrol in the car and went to pay. There on the counter was a box of filler caps for sale - one size fits all. I was about to buy one when the man behind the counter said that he had seen a petrol on the fore court earlier. I paid for the fuel and returned to my car. To my surprise I found a petrol cap sitting on the ledge by the petrol hoses. It was a different make but fitted so I took it. To me the eerie feeling I had was because of the combination of factors:- 1) I had never forgotten to put the cap back in place after filling up before; 2) I had never seen, nor seen seen since, an odd petrol cap left on a petrol pump; and, 3) I had never seen, nor seen since, petrol filler caps being actively promoted on the counter or at the point of payment. When I tell friends they laugh. I stiil find it spooky!!!!! And there was the exact £4.00 bill in the store. Couldn't have done it myself if I had tried!
Total votes: 865
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:38:54 +0000Coincidence ID:3320

off track schoolfriends

I was in Dusseldorf visiting friends in 1996 when the airport burnt down, so rather than fly home I needed to get a train to Holland. Not speaking German, when I got onto the platform I migrated towards English voices. Coincidentally they happened to be 2 schoolfriends from 20 years previously, over on business. (approx 1500 pupils at the school, 300 per year group, 90 per 'county')
Total votes: 865
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:35:52 +0000Coincidence ID:3319

My new landlord was my friend's lodger

My friend Nick was living in a flat owned by his friend Adam. Adam moved to Bath to study, so I moved into the spare room in his flat. Meanwhile Adam found a room in Bath, and his new landlord was Craig, who was was one of my best friends from University. Very strange!
Total votes: 894
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:34:00 +0000Coincidence ID:3318

off track schoolfriends

Derek I was in Dusseldorf visiting friends in 1996 when the airport burnt down, so rather than fly home I needed to get a train to Holland. Not speaking German, when I got onto the platform I migrated towards English voices. Coincidentally they happened to be 2 schoolfriends from 20 years previously, over on business. (approx 1500 pupils at the school, 300 per year group, 90 per 'county')
Total votes: 854
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:33:37 +0000Coincidence ID:3317

Pages