Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Dr Brian Wood

Two coincidences with a point 1. I was a squaddie in the army in Cyprus during the Suez crisis (just to put a time frame). The others in the tent knew I was a biologist, and brought me in a chameleon they had found. We kept this as a pet and admired its fly catching technique. Later, I was employed as entomologist on a citrus plantation there, and was interested to develop the natural biological control of the pests, rather than spraying vast amounts of insecticide. A famous "mentor" from University of California came to see what we were doing. I also mentioned the chameleon, which I had never since found one. He said he would like one (he had a licence to import "predators" into USA). Walking through a field with some others, we were trying to explain what they were. "Well, they are like this" said Paul, and picked one off of the tree we were passing. I never saw another in the wild. 2. In Malaysia I ran with an unserious running group called the Hash House Harriers (now world wide) . My first such pack was in a rather rural area around a small town called Kluang. Some runners were from a nearby British Ghurka army camp and some were in the Planting industry (like me). When the army left the Far East, we Plantation men carried on and occasionally complained that the record books seemed to have disappeared (time late 1960s). After coming back to live in Devon, UK, I had occasion to visit a village about 20 miles away to discuss a property business matter with a colonel, at his house there (about 1999, this was). After our discussion, he showed us some rooms and I said I see from ornaments here that you must have been in the Far East. He agreed, and said of course most was in Hong Kong, but some was in a place I'm sure you have never heard of called Kluang. He went on to say that as well as the army there, a main interest had been something which surely I had never heard of, called the Hash House Harriers. It turned out he had been the secretary in the years when I had been running. With the passage of time, we did not recognise each other (and had not been colonel then). Not only that, but he said he had assumed that as the army left, the whole thing would fold up, and he had kept the books. Since I still had some Far East contacts, he gave them to me, and eventually I got them back to the present organisers of the Kluang Hash, which still flourishes.
Total votes: 368
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:29:19 +0000Coincidence ID:3691

Faulty car radio?

What are the odds of playing a CD on your car CD-player, switching to the radio and your radio is not working? At least, that is what I thought when the radio was playing the exact same song, at the same time, note for note, word for word as the CD I had just switched from. It wasn't anything in the charts either so not something being played frequently. reply.
Total votes: 433
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:55 +0000Coincidence ID:3690

Mr John Mitchell

There we were in bed having a nice cup of tea (thinking about whether to have a boiled egg or a bacon sandwich) while discussing what time we needed to leave tomorrow to go to a house warming party, and up pops the brother of the party's host on the radio. Bizarre!
Total votes: 451
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3689

Car sale

In 1980 (aged 22) I travelled across the USA from East to West with 3 friends in a 2nd hand gold Chevrolet Impala estate car, a journey of 4 and a half months. At the end of the trip, in San Francisco, we sold the car to a group of German lads who were going to travel from West to East. Over a year later we were still travelling abroad (now in Asia - India or Thailand I think) we met another traveller who had also crossed the USA, but had gone from West to East - we did not tell him about our USA trip, but he told us that whilst in the USA he had hitched a ride in a gold Chevrolet estate car that was being driven by a group of German lads who were doing the West-East trip, and who had bought their car in San Francisco. We then realised that it MUST have been the car we had owned and sold to the German guys!!
Total votes: 425
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:19 +0000Coincidence ID:3688

Three in one

About two years ago, we had an employee move to a new job and although we were all relatively good friends, we hadn't heard from him nearly five months after he left. During a quiet moment on morning, we were sat around talking and I asked if anyone had heard from Chris? "No", was the reply, and then the phone rang... Sure enough it was Chris making contact. After a brief chat, the phone went down. And rang again. "Could I make an appointment to see Chris please?", was the request from the lady on the phone...
Total votes: 410
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:27:52 +0000Coincidence ID:3687

Strange encounter

My late husband, Bill Embery, from Preston, Lancs., shared his unusual surname with his cousin, also Bill Embery. I was born and raised in Middlesbrough and met Bill when he came over to work at ICI in Redcar. We eventually moved to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, where I worked in the office of a school. One of the teachers returned from a cruise holiday where they had shared a table with Bill Embery and his wife Marie, from Preston, Lancs. Furthermore, that teacher had taught in a Middlesbrough school with her Northern husband and had returned to her home town of Milford Haven where they both were again able to work together.
Total votes: 416
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:27:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3686

birthday coincidence

My sister's son Robbie was born on 11 December 1998, 5 years to the day since my own son Luke was born on 11 December 1993. The funny thing is that Luke was not even due until February 1994, but arrived 10 weeks early after I caught salmonella - very nasty. As far as I know my sister's pregnancy was normal and Robbie arrived on time. Luke became an adult and Robbie a teenager on the same day!
Total votes: 378
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:26:41 +0000Coincidence ID:3685

Intimate relations

In the early stages of a relationship with a former girlfriend, we were chatting away and got onto the subject of her bra size, which I correctly guessed. 'ooh you think you know it all dont you?' she said, to which I replied 'Of course, like I also know youve got a big mole on your (........)'. I have no idea at all why I said it, its not a comment i would usually consider making under any circumstances, but it just popped into my head. Her jaw dropped......I had no way of knowing her anatomy, as we had had no physical intimacy prior to that, and had no mutual friends who might have furnished me with the information, but it turns out that she does have a very unusual and prominent mole in the specified area. I wish someone could have videotaped the inquiry that followed......
Total votes: 393
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:26:30 +0000Coincidence ID:3684

Twice on planes

This coincidence occurred in the early 1970s. Following a business visit to Denmark I boarded a British European Airways Trident at Copenhagen Airport. The older Tridents had two rows of seats facing each other halfway down the cabin. As I was about sit on one of them I realised that sitting opposite me was my sailing friend Bill. After several G & Ts we were met at Heathrow by our wives Susan and Jenny who had once been my girlfriend. Six months later I was on a business trip to Australia. I boarded a flight from Perth to Adelaide and as I sat down I saw someone who looked like Bill sitting in a first class seat at the front of the airplane. As soon as the seat belt sign was off I walked forward and to my amazement it was Bobby with Jenny sitting next to him. Later we stayed in the same hotel in Adelaide.
Total votes: 406
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:26:16 +0000Coincidence ID:3683

Italian driving license

This is a small coincidence, but it impressed me. I was working as a PA and my boss was Italian. He lost his wallet containing his Italian driving license, and rather than replace it he decided to swap it for a UK license, as he was now resident in the UK. I was worried about how to do this as it's not a normal situation, so I rang the DVLA call centre for advice (with low expectations). My call was answered by a friendly Welsh woman who heard me out and exclaimed "My husband is Italian and the exact same thing happened to him!" She then gave me a detailed account of the rather complex steps required in order to get legal proof of entitlement to drive from the local Italian jurisdiction where my boss had passed his test, and the many subsequent steps required to have the license swapped for a UK one. Several weeks and documents later my boss's new UK license arrived. I cannot believe that had another person answered my call they would have known the detailed steps required to achieve this. It saved a great deal time and hassle for me!
Total votes: 303
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:25:26 +0000Coincidence ID:3682

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