Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Wrong Name, Right Place, Right Time

At the age of 18, one week after high school graduation, I boarded a bus from Pasadena, CA, to Daytona Beach, FL, hoping to find a childhood buddy of mine, Doug. I wore Dolphin shorts, a tank top, high top shoes, and a headband onto the bus. I stowed my backpack with the luggage. The bus broke down in the South (Louisiana, I think), and we were transferred to another bus. When I arrived in Daytona, my luggage didn't arrive with me. With nothing but the clothes I was wearing--and no address for my friend (I'd figured to get a hotel room, take my time trying to track him down when I arrived)--I looked in the white pages of the phone book for my friend's name. There was a Doug "Last Name" in the book who matched my friend's first and last name, but he had the wrong middle initial. He lived a few miles from the bus station. I figured maybe, just maybe, this guy with the first and last name that matched my friend might have run into my friend, thought it was a huge coincidence that they shared the same name, and remembered him--and maybe where he lived. So I checked a map and walked to the address. It was a condo. I looked through the window ... empty. The condo manager saw me staring in the window and asked what I was doing. I told him, then asked if he had a forwarding address for this Doug. He shook his head. "No," he said. Then he rubbed his chin, and he said, "But I do have a guy by that same name who works for me. He lives right there." He pointed at a condo directly behind him, and in the same second, my friend Doug stepped out the door. My luggage took three days to arrive. Thank goodness for coincidences. Just as a contrast, another coincidence I experienced happened like this. At age 20, my buddy and I were living (camping illegally in a tent) on St. John in the U.S.V.I. One day we each drank a bottle of rum with an Australian guy we'd met and decided to swim a mile to a nearby abandoned island. The Australian's girlfriend freaked out and sent the Forest Service patrol boat after us. The ranger met us halfway to the island. He asked if we needed a ride, told us that we were in shipping lanes, and said the island we were swimming to was surrounded by sea urchins and we might not be able to get ashore. We waved him away. The boat left. And my friend got three urchin spines in his foot as an eventual reward. 17 years later, I was road-tripping with a friend. Earlier that day, at White Sands, I'd called my agent from a phone booth--he told me a script I'd written had sold for a lot of money. We wanted to celebrate. While driving over the mountains before dropping into Tuscon, we saw Christmas lights spelling out "Mr. Easy's" on the roof of a house. We pulled off and found a makeshift bar in a house-- in a very small town in the hills that consisted mostly of small homes and trailers--and took seats at the bar. I got to talking to the guy sitting next to me. Turns out he was a ranger in the Virgin Islands. I said I'd met a VI ranger once--when I was swimming between islands ... "Wait," he interrupted, "were you one of those crazy guys swimming through the shipping lanes! My god, I thought sure you'd probably drowned." Quite a coincidence--yet I've never thought this one was too strange. You do weird stuff (like swimming a mile drunk on a bottle of rum through shipping lanes and then refuse rescue from the US Forest Service), guys are going to remember you. Do it enough, and you'll run into one of those guys somewhere later in life. But seeing Doug at that condo complex in Daytona coming out of his door the second I turned to look at it. That's one I've never been able to explain. ;-)
Total votes: 395
Date submitted:Sun, 15 Dec 2019 05:40:20 +0000Coincidence ID:10383

Time to wake up!

For almost a decade, I used to wake up every other day or so exactly at 6:32 in the morning (checked in the digital o'clock nearby). Maybe there is a physiological (extreme regularity, which knowing myself I hardly believe) or psychological factor (like remembering only the favorable events) going on here, but it was a very weird period for me. Now it is gone.
Total votes: 341
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Dec 2019 18:20:01 +0000Coincidence ID:10382

A unexpected Sighting

I live in the Midwest. During the month of May, my son and I visited my Cousin and her family for a Month in the Orlando area. We spent a day at Disney World. I was certain that I saw my Endocrinologist walk right past me. How could that be? She lives 1,200 miles away! 5 days after my return, I had an appointment. Yes, it was her. She and her family were at Disney World that day. Very weird!
Total votes: 376
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:17:14 +0000Coincidence ID:10380

My son's birthday

I went into labor on July 22, 2002. My son was born 29 hours later on July 23 at 1254 PM. The same birthdate as his deceased Paternal Grandfather. It was certainly an extra special day for his father's family!
Total votes: 355
Date submitted:Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:10:43 +0000Coincidence ID:10379


When I was living in Lilongwe I had a carpool with a certain person. When I moved to Oxford this person's cousin was in my tutor group.
Total votes: 388
Date submitted:Wed, 04 Dec 2019 18:12:53 +0000Coincidence ID:10374

The Planet Vulcan

I went through about a year period of time where I was posting in a local internet forum and I would randomly bring up a topic or a theory I had or anything really, and within a week or two, sometimes days, something directly related to it would happen in the real world. This could be in the form of an article on a mainstream newsite coming out related to it, which most of the time I would find by accident. One of the single craziest ones was while I was doing some reading about ancient gods, I came across the Roman god Vulcan (2018-09-15 ), who I had never heard of. I noticed some similarities to the god of the Bible so I made a little post comparing the 2 (2018-09-19) and unbeknownst to me at the time, several news articles came out that day announcing we discovered the planet Vulcan. They'd be too numerous to name but since they are all posted on a forum, the proof is documented. Well, all the ones I posted about at least. Many more happened that were not documented beforehand. A recent one that comes to mind is I was looking at the meaning of the number 1488 and working on something related to it. I was hungry but I kept putting off getting food for hours until I decided to take a break and went to McDonalds. I usually get the same thing every time but I was really hungry and decided to get an extra burger. The total was $14.88
Total votes: 346
Date submitted:Wed, 04 Dec 2019 10:08:45 +0000Coincidence ID:10373

Place I live

My parents lived in Australia 1968-71 and my eldest brother was born there, they then returned to England and settled in Derby in a suburb named Chaddesden where I was born. Several years after moving there my mother was looking through photos of Australia and found a picture of my brother standing next to the mail boxes of the block of flats they lived in (204 The Avenue, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria) in the background was the entrance to the block of flats and the name above the door was Chaddesden. My parents had never realised and only called it by the number and road name. I have google earthed! Chaddesden and the only places I can find in the world called Chaddesden are the area in Derby that I used to live, some roads in Dronfield Derbyshire that are obviously named after the area I used to live as there are other road names that are the same, and one road in new Zealand which was named after someone who went from Chaddesden to live there. I have tried to find why the flats my parents lived in were called Chaddesden and other than there had previously been a house on the site of the flats with that name have not managed to find why but think someone must have moved from Chaddesden when it was a small village to Australia, built a house and named it after a family connection and by coincidence my parents lived in the flats then moved to England and to the suburb of Chaddesden.
Total votes: 349
Date submitted:Wed, 04 Dec 2019 09:18:53 +0000Coincidence ID:10372


I have so many however this one happened recently. I bought a Crown headphone and the woman who owns the company ran off with my money. I was devastated. 2 wks later a man emailed me, not related or knows of the other Crown headphone company, and said he wants to make me a new best one crown headphone set of my choice. I Sussex him out, found him legit, he made me the headphones of my choice and sent it to me. He had NO idea of my previous trauma with another crown headphone company.
Total votes: 328
Date submitted:Sun, 01 Dec 2019 05:15:47 +0000Coincidence ID:10371

Three grandfathers in my family share a death date in different years

My paternal grandfather died on November 21, 2005. My maternal grandfather died one year later on November 21, 2006. As the only child of my father, I am the only one to share these two grandfathers. This year, my first cousins (my mother's sister's daughters) now have this in common with me. Their father's father died on November 21, 2019. Also, my maternal grandfather was born on 12-12-21 and his great grandson (son of one of my cousins mentioned above who just lost their other grandfather) was born on 12-21-12.
Total votes: 297
Date submitted:Wed, 27 Nov 2019 04:36:50 +0000Coincidence ID:10370

Meeting on a train journey

Paddington Station the evening commute - the train to Penzance was delayed by 2 hours due to a fatality. Suddenly, we had the go ahead to get on a train the line was now open. There were hundreds of people on the concourse and it was a race to get a seat on the train. I travel second class but when there is a delay and hundreds of people boarding the train with no prospect of a seat I just plonk myself down in first class, as I did this evening. In the four seats facing each other there was me (a woman) and three men. Of course, there was a half hour delay before the train began its journey so we four got talking. One was a barrister, one an IT executive and the man sitting next to me said he was Sir ***'s right hand man. Sir *** started and owns a very large worldwide company. "Fancy that", I said. "Well the next time you see Sir *** can you tell him that you sat next to his ex-secretary on a delayed train from Paddington? I was secretary to Sir *** when he and his brother had a smallish accounting firm in Sydney, Australia". The gentleman was amazed and thus we had a very interesting conversation about his work and my work. I have had many coincidences in my life and it is rather alarming. But it could be that I am just a chatterbox.
Total votes: 277
Date submitted:Mon, 25 Nov 2019 10:49:55 +0000Coincidence ID:10369