Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Strange Timing, again

Thanksgiving day can be emotional for me. I have lost three important men in my life all within a week of thanksgiving. This year we lost our dog on nearly 17 years the week before. I’d been in good control of emotions most of the day and felt ok with the world. We watch tv a lot in the evenings but always try to be in bed by 10, we are rarely, if ever, up later than 10. Thanksgiving this year, 2020, our daughter left after dinner so my husband and I settled in to watch a couple episodes of new series. It was early enough and we wanted to squeeze in 3, but after 3 it was just after 9 so a third episode would put us around 10 for bed which was ok since we were off tomorrow. We started watching the third episode and about 10-15 minutes in decided I wanted a snack, a Klondike bar, my husband had just been thinking about getting an apple then changed his mind cause my idea was totally better. We pause the show and I get up and open the freezer to get the bars then out of nowhere a grief outburst hit me like a train and I sobbed uncontrollably for at least a half hour. I just could not regain my composure no matter what I tried. My husband sat with me, he held me and comforted me while I sobbed hysterically while trying to eat my ice cream bar. Gross I know, that’s just how outta control and non-swank also it was. I finally regrouped and regained control and we had to decide if we wanted to resume the show which seems totally stupid we are both beyond exhausted and yet we were both also hyped due to my meltdown, so now we’re like whatever, why not we were both off Friday off anyhow. We finished the show at 10:45 and my husband took the dog out and saw that our neighbors across the road’s home was in fire, one side in full flames. He was on the phone to 911 immediately and thank god the house was empty, but it’s weird to think that that if I hadn’t have lost it emotionally like some nutter we’d have been long asleep and that 911 call would not have gone out as soon as it did. It ended up a total loss, regardless, but we were able to get emergency services there and their son earlier to make sure the older couple was out of the other nearby house, it’s an old farmstead that had two homes on it. Additionally, three or four years ago they lost their barn and half their heard of dairy cows in a fire after we’d just moved here. We slept though the whole thing that night, windows shut, air on and our room is in the other side of the house. Didn’t hear a thing til the following morning we woke to see all the lights and devastation. I carried tremendous guilt over that for a quite awhile as I am a huge animal lover. I kept thinking if only we’d have stayed up later that night maybe we could have seen something and called it in earlier and saved some of them. Anyhow, because I started bawling like a baby over an apple vs a I’ve cream bar we were awake this thanksgiving night to be the ones to call the fire in and get the son who lives nearby.
Total votes: 186
Date submitted:Sat, 28 Nov 2020 19:45:57 +0000Coincidence ID:10570

Scientific publication synchronicity

While being a maths graduate student I was enrolled (as a participant) in a phase-3 clinical trial in 2006. Several years later, completely coincidentally, I had become a clinical trials statistician myself. In 2009 I was in charge of the data analysis of my first trial; a phase-2 clinical trial in a completely different field of medicine. The trial's results got accepted for publication in The Lancet in 2010. Reviewing the draft I accidentally discovered the results of the phase-3 trial were being published in the same volume of the journal. So I was in The Lancet at the same time for my first trial as an author and for my first trial as a study participant. Shame that the h-index only takes into account the former: the latter has nearly as many citations. I've not been published in The Lancet since, in either form. As an example of statistical synchronicity, I find this rather amusing.
Total votes: 175
Date submitted:Thu, 26 Nov 2020 16:27:58 +0000Coincidence ID:10569

I know when people will die but at the same time i dont its weird

so lets start with my grandma on my dads side so basically i rarely visited her but i started thinking about her dying for a week straight and i had no idea why i mean i had dreams and visions everything and then this one day on the morning of school i had this dream she passed away and when i got home my stepmother said she had passed and we sat at the top of the stairs crying and my stepmom was like why are you crying im surprised you care about her that much and i just stared at her i couldn't tell her that i was crying because I knew my grandma was gonna die because i had these visions she would have thought i was crazy. so a couple years pass and i visit my Cousin Rob on my dads side and it was his 30th bday and he had diabetes and i never knew he didn't take care of it or anything but anyways a month passes and im home ofc. and the day before he died i had a dream about him it was about me and him and him going to heaven and it was so beautiful and the next day my dad said he died and i cried even harder than i did for my grandma then about a 2 or 3 years later 2020 my Uncle Charles had cancer for a while like over 10 years and I texted my aunt Jeanne (his wife) and wrote them long messages hoping he was okay and a day or two before he passed i randomly broke down crying in my room at like 2 or 3am and praying to god he didn't leave yet and i didn't hear that he died until a couple days later and i counted back and i had cried and thought of him the day before he died and my aunt texted me a beautiful message saying she read him all my messages to him and it made him smile and that he was supposed to come back home but his illness had other plans and caught them all by surprise. Then forward to the most recent ab 2 days ago i was laying in my room when i randomly started thinking about my dead dog Bitts who was a chihuahua and i had her old little sweater she used to wear all the time and i was holding it tight in my arms sobbing really unexpectedly and randomly and i was praying she was i heaven and she would come back then i started thinking about her brother kibbles that my uncle Buck and Aunt Jess have and i started crying and saying I hope they will see each other when they die and kibbles loves her and then now today forward two days later i hear my stepmom over saying Kibbles passed away last night I have no idea what to think about this if its happening to anyone else please reply or something if you can because this has been happening since i was very little and it makes me so depressed.
Total votes: 182
Date submitted:Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:54:22 +0000Coincidence ID:10568

Death and Birth

Our mother died on September 11, 1995, which has since become a national day of mourning. Months after, while cleaning out her home, we discovered a sheet from the International Red Cross declaring that her younger brother, who was unable to leave Germany before the war, had died on September 11, 1942. On checking the Hebrew date of his death, it turned out to be Erev Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. Our first child was born September 16, 1974. The Hebrew date of her birth was Erev Rosh Hashanah.
Total votes: 185
Date submitted:Wed, 25 Nov 2020 20:40:10 +0000Coincidence ID:10567

Death Pattern?

My dad's dad died at 56 yrs old, my dad was 33 yrs old then My dad died at 56 yrs old , I was 33 then. My son was 19 when his dad died and I was 37. My son was 37 when he died and his son was 19 and I was 56.
You voted 2. Total votes: 195
Date submitted:Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:57:55 +0000Coincidence ID:10563

Three consecutive births

The first three children in my family were born on the same day. None were induced or planned. 1945,1949 and 1952. We were from Manson, Iowa.
You voted 4. Total votes: 178
Date submitted:Wed, 18 Nov 2020 01:23:05 +0000Coincidence ID:10560

30 hours and three continents

Not one of the usual ones that spans decades, this is a series of coincidences that lasted only about 30 hours but spread across three continents... In November 2003 I got on a plane flying from Heathrow to LAX, where I was to catch a separate flight form there to the Pacific island of Samoa. I took my seat and a few moments later another person sat next to me. As the flight was long we struck up a conversation. He had been on a connecting flight from his home town in Germany but his English and my German were half-decent and we bonded over the coincidence that we were both called Tom (slightly different passport names of Thomas and Tomas). As the flight settled in we stopped talking and only picked it up again when we were on the landing path to LAX. He asked where I was going next and we both laughed at the next coincidence, that we were flying on to Samoa on the same flight As we both had to check in again and German Tom's English was not great under the pressure of post 9/11 US airport officials, we went to the flight transit desk together, which also meant we were able to choose to sit together again. (Not a coincidence, just a nice thing). At some point during the flight we chatted about where we were going once we landed. I mentioned a fairly obscure beach hut place on the edge of Apia, Samoa's capital, where you pay what you like. That led to the third coincidence as while he hadn't been to Samoa before he knew exactly where I was talking about as he was staying there too. This led to the final coincidence, as along with there being no fixed costs, the other idiosyncrasy about this place is that the beach huts ('fales') accommodate only two people, and if you're travelling alone you may have to share with a stranger. Except by then he wasn't a stranger at all... There was no other formal connection between us, no package deal, no information provided by the airlines to the accommodation, a relatively small but wide range of accommodation to choose from. The place wasn't listed at that point in Lonely Planet, had a very patchy website and SEO wasn't a thing in Samoa at that point. Additionally, while I was a hard up backpacker so looking at a narrower range of accommodation options, he was a pharmaceutical salesman attracted to the obscurity of the lodge. A side note; we became good friends during our time in Samoa and I was able to stay at his friends' place on Savai'i, Samoa's other island, for free for quite a long time. A great thing for a hard up 23 year old backpacker.
Total votes: 204
Date submitted:Tue, 17 Nov 2020 15:37:51 +0000Coincidence ID:10559


my college roommate has the exact same birthday as me and year.
You voted 1. Total votes: 205
Date submitted:Thu, 05 Nov 2020 03:51:02 +0000Coincidence ID:10557

Unexpected Money Postal & Found on the street

In the last 6 weeks, stranger's credit cards and a cheque have unexpectedly been posted to my apartment and also, found in the public streets. Here is the breakdown: 2x On my daily walks, I found someone's credit cards on 2 separate occasions and I've tried to notify them on LinkedIn ( Both strangers kindly declined because they already canceled their credit cards ) 1x my neighbor's cheque was sent to me. I kindly returned it :) 1x credit card directly to my apartment In addition, I keep finding $2 coins on my daily walk. What is the meaning of all this coincidence in a short time frame? I live in Vancouver BC, Canada. I think the obvious is to spend it and yet, I sense consequences. I've attempted to return it and nothing has happened in my life by returning it. I'm left with other alternatives and unsure of what to do... I'm open to hearing your suggestions. I kindly wait for your response and hope you're doing well during chaotic times. Kind regards, Fortunate Financier of Fate
You voted 5. Total votes: 199
Date submitted:Mon, 02 Nov 2020 07:44:43 +0000Coincidence ID:10556

Moved in with my clone

I moved abroad for a study exchange. I was assigned a room in a shared flat. Upon arriving, I discovered that there was a huge amount of mould growing underneath the linoleum floors– clearly visible but impossible to remove. I asked to change flats and moved into another one the next day. When I met my new flatmate for the first time, we were both in shock: our features were disturbingly similar. We had the same hair colour, hairstyle and eye colour; very similar facial features, facial expressions, body language, and laugh. It turned out that neither of us spoke the local language, but we both spoke French. We proceeded to discuss (in French) how strange this resemblance was, and reassured each other that surely there were many differences between us we had yet to find out about. To change the subject, I mentioned that I had visited Scotland recently. She replied that she had, too. We then turned to relationships, and my flatmate told me she had ended things with her girlfriend in her home country the month before. So had I. Later we went to pick up some used furniture, and got asked if we were sisters by two different people. As a final test, we sent my flatmate's mother a photo of me to see whether she would notice it wasn't of her daughter. She didn't. And that's the story of how I moved in with my clone thanks to mouldy linoleum.
You voted 4. Total votes: 215
Date submitted:Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:37:30 +0000Coincidence ID:10555