Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


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: 626
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: 696
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: 712
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: 631
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3515

Death of relative

In 1994, in my capacity as Vice-Chair of my local Royal Naval Assoc. branch, I was invited to attend a commemoration service at St. Mary le Strand in memory of the death of several Wrens on the torpedoing and sinking of the SS Khedive Ismail in 1944. It was a very moving service not only for the dead Wrens but for all who died, some 1500 in all. In 2001 my last surviving Aunt (sister to my mother) asked me if I could find out how her brother, Stanley Birch, had died. He was an able seaman and had died at sea in 1944. Yes, he had died on the way to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) on the troopship SS Khedive Ismail. All unknowing I had been to his memorial service 7 years earlier.
Total votes: 559
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:35 +0000Coincidence ID:3514

School friend on holiday

1967. Met a school classmate (12 of us doing A Level French) in a bookshop in Paris. Neither of us knew we were going to France. 2000s. Torremolinos. I slipped on steps. Someone said "careful" and grabbed my elbow. I recovered my posture, threw a quick "thank you" behind me. Only when I got home did I only found out that it had been a firefighter from the local fire station where I am chaplain - he was one of about 90 firefighters on the watches I visit. He hadn't shouted after me at the time.
Total votes: 752
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:31 +0000Coincidence ID:3513

Birthday Coincidences

My mother and two of her siblings were born in London, on the same day, 30th December, two years apart, My uncle 30th December 1920 My aunt 30th December 1922 My mother 30th December 1924
Total votes: 541
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:27 +0000Coincidence ID:3512

Same password on two mobiles of two friends

Very recently I picked by accident the mobile iphone, (the same as mine) of a friend and ran my 4-digit (not same number and not consecutive numbers) password and unlocked the phone. At first I did not realise because I thought it was my mobile, until my friend sitting opposite at a dinner table who had seen me taking her phone, said to me. "How did you know my password?" to which I replied that "I did not". And ofcourse we then both realised that we had the same four-digit password in our identical iphones. It is interesting, in the first place, that we found that out about this amazing coincidence, but more exciting was the fact that we had the same four-digit password!!! Now what are the chances of such a thing happening?
Total votes: 682
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 08:42:17 +0000Coincidence ID:3511