Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Mr Hugh Coulson

In the aftermarth of the Asian Tsunami in 2004 I had been evacuated from the island of Koh Phi Phi to the port of Krabi on the mainland some 48kms away. This was 56hrs after the waves and I was at the international hotel that had been set up as ane emergengcy centre for people to gather and get repatriated, get help and put their name on a list or check if loved ones had put their name on a list, that sort of thing. I was adding my name to said lists at a group of tables with 8 interpreters working away. As I was going through this process I noticed a young American woman talking to the next door interpreter to mine (on my right handside), explaining she had also been on Phi Phi and had lost everything, her bungalow had been swept away and she had lost her passport, wallet and all her belongings. On my left handside at the same time was a middle aged American woman who had been waiting at the main peir in Krabi for the boats to come in from the island for friends who were still missing. Whilst she was waiting she had seen a wallet floating in the water at the foot of the steps of the peir, which she retrieved and was handing in. The interpreter went throught he wallet and found identification inside which had a driving liscence with a photo of the woman on my right. a sense a immense shock came across all of us as the realisation that the wallet had been reunited with its owner after floating 48kms across the sea, had been retrieved and most astonishing of all been handed in at the exact time the owner was reporting its lost. It was quite overwhelming and tears were shed. The money was still in the water!
Total votes: 642
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:44:03 +0000Coincidence ID:3524

Same dream

My teacher had a dream that he gave a seminar together with his aboriginal friend in Austrailia. He got excited. Then he had the same dream the following night. He rang his Aboriginal friend, all excitedly, to tell him. His friend quite calmly replied. What's so strange? I had the same dream! But this is surely an example of 'synchronicity', which is the meaningful connection between to events, distanced by time and space. [Jung] It's only our Western culture which gets surprised about these things, that indigenous cultures take for granted as a reality of life. [Dream-time]
Total votes: 716
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:44:01 +0000Coincidence ID:3523

simultaneous words - read/heard

I use a computer for both writing and photography and listen to Radio 4 all day!!! I am amazed at the number of times I am reading or writing a word when it is spoken on Radio. Many times my cursor is hovering over a word of even a sign when it is vocalized on Radio. I have even had a word in my thoughts vocalized. This can happen 3/4 times a day. I'm not sure how long this has been happening but can certainly go back at least two years. I would love to know how common this is. Thank you Joy
Total votes: 703
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:58 +0000Coincidence ID:3522

Location coincidence

When I was 21 I was working on a farm on Samsø a small island off the coast of Denmark, all the workers were young and were from all over Europe. We lived in tents but had access to a barn with electricity and cooking facilities, however it got dark at about 9pm and work started at 4am so we'd sit around with tea and chat or play cards. I was there for over 3 months and one conversation would come up every now and then, I guess to stave off homesickness. We used to describe something about home, on this one night we were telling each other what we could see out of our bedroom windows. The first few people had their turn and then I had my go, following me was a guy called Fred and he lived in Todmorden in England, he told us about the view from his window across the valley, and the fields with animals in, the hills and the little farm right opposite his house with the stone outhouses. All the while he had been talking another guy seemed to be listening more intently, once Fred had finished his description the other guy, Ben, asked what colour the front door on the farm was. Then he described what he saw when he lived with his grandparents on their farm, also near Todmorden. What he saw across the valley was a terrace of 4 stone houses above a road, with a pub at the end and a postbox. Every morning that Fred woke up and drew his curtains he looked out on Ben's grandparents farm and Ben looked out on Freds house. They had travelled 600 miles to discover they had started off in the same place. Jen
Total votes: 686
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:57 +0000Coincidence ID:3521


My husband and I were reading in bed together. Totally unrelated books -mine was a book on landscapes, his was a novel by Peter Ackroyd (I think Hawksmoor). I read the word 'palimpsest' and said 'What exactly does palimpsest mean?' He stared at me in amazement, and showed me the sentence he'd just been reading. There was the word 'palimpsest'. He'd been reading that exact word as I spoke it in my question. Whenever I hear the 'palimpsest' (which isn't very often!) it reminds me of that coincidence.
Total votes: 621
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:55 +0000Coincidence ID:3520

Family - again

I was working in London and mid-morning was travelling on the underground from Bond Street to Trafalgar Square. The doors opened and my son, who was living away from home, was standing facing me waiting to get on.
Total votes: 627
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:36 +0000Coincidence ID:3519

old friend

I am from the UK. While I was travleling as a student in Crete in 1970 I met a student from Venezuela and we travelled together but i never exepcted to see him again. In 1974 I was training as a doctor in Chicago. As I stepped from the subway on State St (which has a saying that it the one street where you are bound to meet somone you know) he was there. He had no prior connection to the USA and was there visiting.
Total votes: 697
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:33 +0000Coincidence ID:3518


Met a couple travelling on motorail to Bolognia three weeks later driving on a remote B road in the Voges mountains in France needed to stop we spotted a couple walking up the road towards us--that's right the couple from the train we made many small changes in route and timing over the three weeks remarkable chance. regards
Total votes: 714
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:43:10 +0000Coincidence ID:3517

Inevitability of coincidence

I could recount many apparent coincidences from my life, but thought you might be more interested in this...I should mention that I have had some training in, and taught both statistics and mathematics. First, my example...I want to Sydney from New Zealand for the first time in 1980. I had been relatively prominent in my city (local politics), and looked forward to a couple of weeks of anonymity in a much larger city where I knew less than 10 people. Walking down George Street, the 'main street' in Sydney, I met three groups of people from my home city whom I knew on a personal basis. Reflecting on this, and regretting my exposure, I concluded that the opportunities for such coincidental meetings were many - there could have been hundreds of other people from my city known to me whom I might have met in those circumstances. There would a smaller probability of this occurring in Alice Springs of course. Lines unavoidably cross in space and in time, and must surely cross in space-time because there are so many opportunities for them so to do. How can we be sure there is something called 'coincidence', except in the relatively trivial and commonplace sense?
Total votes: 601
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3516

Arlene England

After graduating from Art School and leaving home in rural Aberdeenshire in 1981 I shared a flat in Stanley Street, Aberdeen with three other girls for a short time before deciding to move to Surrey. I had a small attic room which I loved very much even though I could hardly stand up in it. Many years later, infact just last year, 2011, I started working for a company in London and at an event was introduced to some friends of my current boss and his wife. People always ask where I come from (still have a good Scottish accent) and one of the friends, who is now retired but was a GP, told me that she and her mother has been evacuated during the war to Scotland because her father had been injured at Scapa Flow and was sent to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to recouperate. She recalled staying in a very nice house've guessed it...Stanley Street! and as we both jumped to tell each other where we both blurted out...No. 32!!! Everyone was stunned. It turned out that she, as a young girl, had also slept in my same attic and remembered it well, even though she is now nearly 80. Very spooky.
Total votes: 632
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3515