Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Same Book, Same time

I was in my bathroom and saw a book on the back of my toilet. I had read the book before, and I enjoyed it so I thought I should read it again sometime. I then started running other books through my head that I’ve read that I would possibly want to read again. “Ooo, The Shack! That was a good one, I should read that again.” Then for some reason I thought “I wonder if Haley (a friend of mine) has read it? I think she’d like it. So I texted her and asked if she’d read the shack? She replies almost instantly in as much shock as I was. She was reading the book when I asked her this!! How?? I could have thought of that book at any point, and asked her that question at any point since we’ve know each other (4 years or so) and I happen to ask in the exact moment she is reading the book.
Total votes: 169
Date submitted:Tue, 21 Apr 2020 03:50:28 +0000Coincidence ID:10433

Now Voyager

Now Finale' to The Shore Now Life and Love, Finale' and Farewell Now, Voyager, Depart After listening to a moving choral setting of these new-to-me Whitman lines, by Thomas Ades, I went to the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers to return some books. The first book I saw, on a New Books rack, was a biography of Bette Davis, which had material on her 1942 film Now Voyager, although it turned out that the phrase was from another Whitman line: Now voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find. This was already a same-day coincidence, but the book mentioned that the novel was written by Olive Higgins Prouty, a name unknown to me, and mentioned that she had also written Stella Dallas. Donna and I had watched the 1937 film of that a few nights before. I took out Prouty's autobiography right then and there. Wikipedia has a biographical note.
Total votes: 165
Date submitted:Tue, 21 Apr 2020 01:48:40 +0000Coincidence ID:10432

On the Eve of Thanksgiving

One Wednesday night Donna was baking pies for the next day's Thanksgiving crowd of ten, and the heating-element of the oven disintegrated. In desperation I called Douglass Appliance in Danvers, where I bought parts for household items, on the slight chance that they were still open. Miraculously, someone answered. The shop had been closed for hours, but the owner had returned for just a minute to pick up some papers.
Total votes: 178
Date submitted:Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:36:48 +0000Coincidence ID:10429

Were we meant to be ?

I met my future husband through local politics in London - he was a Councillor and I was a wannabe MP but for different parties. We kept meeting at hustings events and eventually went out for a drink. Anyway, various life things kept getting in the way and we didn't meet again. My day job was working for a corporate firm and we had a few suppliers to help with different things. A few weeks after I had met politucs bloke for a drink I got told by my boss that we were getting a new contract with a different supplier for something and told me the name of the account manager. I thought it was a strange coincidence that he had the same name of the bloke I went on a date with. Turns out it was the same bloke. Cue a few awkward work meetings and he asked me back out for a drink. We got on and started dating. Once it got a bit serious and we met each others families It transpired that his dad and my dad knew each other and had worked together - first meeting 43 years ago and before either of us had been born. Hubby's dad had also been a work associate of my Godfathers and the two were reunited after 25 years at our wedding.
Total votes: 162
Date submitted:Sun, 12 Apr 2020 10:47:24 +0000Coincidence ID:10428

Small world

My sisters live 120 miles apart. Sister 1 went on holiday a few years back and discovered the travel rep lived literally round the corner from sister 2. Coincidence enough, but fast forward to 2020 and sister 2 is currently self isolating due to Covid 19. As she is reliant on grocery deliveries, she called a local voluntary group. The lady who came to help said she was among the first to lose her job and will be the last to return as she works in the travel industry - yes it was the same lady sister 1 had met
Total votes: 176
Date submitted:Sun, 12 Apr 2020 10:08:54 +0000Coincidence ID:10427

Three coincidences

I'm not sure whether I can have three but the first one's very short. My brother, four of my cousins (from different branches of the family) and my late aunt have birthdays on 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of October = different years, obviously! The second coincidence is this. I had a peripatetic life with a father in the armed forces so I attended a lot of schools. I joined the WRAF myself and served as a teleprinter operator. I married an airman in 1972. More moving. In March 1974 he was posted to Cyprus. One day, a month or so after our arrival, I was standing in a queue in the NAAFI store in Limassol when the woman in front of me happened to see me and did a visible double take. She turned out to be someone I'd worked with when I was a teleprinter operator in the UK 2 years previously. I regularly have people recognising me but I never reciprocate because I suffer from a mild form of prosopagnosia. I can't recognise people unless I know them really well and meet them regularly - sometimes even not then - and that is very embarrassing indeed at times! The third is that I finally managed to go to university in 1990 when I was 40 (when my marriage was breaking up). I read Linguistics at Loughborough. I joined the Christian Union there (more for something to do than any conviction) and attended the local Anglican church because I'd always loved singing and had been in a lot of church choirs (the only outlet for someone who kept moving around all the time - there was always a church with a choir somewhere nearby, wherever we were). The University Registrar came to CU meetings fairly regularly and always talked to me. Apart from the fact that he was married, because sometimes his wife came as well, I didn't know much about his personal life. When I graduated and left Loughborough I decided to move to Winchester because my mother's family had come from Hampshire and Winchester was the nearest I could get to the area where they'd lived. In Loughborough I'd shared a house with a couple of other mature students and we'd had to move to a village outside the town when our landlord decided to sell it. I can't drive and I couldn't get to the Anglican church any more but there was a small Baptist chapel just down the road so I went there. When I came to Winchester I decided to continue as a Baptist so I joined the Baptist church. After a few weeks I made friends with an elderly lady during after-service coffee and got chatting to her. It turned out that she was the mother of Loughborough University's Registrar!
Total votes: 179
Date submitted:Sat, 11 Apr 2020 16:38:29 +0000Coincidence ID:10426

Spear carrier

I spoke today to an old teacher of mine, Ron, now in his late 70s. He said he came to the school in 1969. One of the older colleagues who taught games had arrived in the 50s and in idle staffroom chat mentioned that he had once been supervising athletics when a boy caught a javelin in his leg. He had to transport him to hospital with the javelin sticking out of the car window. In the late nineties Ron was on a train and fell into conversation with an older man who, it transpired had been a pupil at the same school 40 years earlier. Ron asked whether there was any truth in the javelin tale. The answer he received was: "I threw it."
Total votes: 161
Date submitted:Mon, 06 Apr 2020 15:49:54 +0000Coincidence ID:10425

Randomly finding old roommates credit card at gas station 90 minutes away

Yesterday on my drive back to Chicago from Michigan I stopped to use the restroom and get gas at a random gas station near Indiana . As I went to put my card in I noticed someone else’s card was left in there so I took it out to take it inside and something told me to look at the name . When I looked at it I couldn’t believe it was my old roommate from colleges card ! I called him and asked if he was still in Chicago and he said no he was on his way back to Michigan and I asked if he had stopped to get gas near Indiana and he said yes about an hour before . Come to find out he had left his card in there and didn’t even realize and some how I went to the same exact pump and was the one to find it ! How odd is that ! We hadn’t talked in months and it’s just so weird ! Then when I was in Florida last month I had asked to speak to the manager at the resort because of an issue I had and it was literally his best friend who I had no clue had even moved to Florida let alone was the manager of the resort my work conference was at !!!! What is going on !!!
Total votes: 165
Date submitted:Sun, 05 Apr 2020 04:39:35 +0000Coincidence ID:10424

Small group of 10

At a small course of only 10 people run by the U3A, by chance two members discovered that they were born in the same room! This was in Brocket Hall. At the same course two people also realised they had gone to the same school, which was over 100 miles from where they both lived now.
Total votes: 184
Date submitted:Sun, 29 Mar 2020 15:13:11 +0000Coincidence ID:10421

Missed a train abroad and ran into someone I knew of, but didn't know personally

My husband and I were traveling through Russia on the Transiberian train. My father had mentioned in conversation that his best friend's sister and her husband were also traveling through Russia at the time and shared a picture of them. We had never met them before and with Russia being a huge country, we didn't think much of it. At some point in our journey, we missed a train and had to book last minute tickets on another train at a later hour. There was only one cabin with two free tickets left, so we booked there. We caught this train on time and went to our cabin. As soon as the couple we were sharing the cabin with walked in, I recognized them from the picture my father had sent me. Much to their surprise, we asked them if they were who we thought they were and we introduced ourselves after explaining the situation. We still can't believe how many coincidences were involved for this to happen.
Total votes: 176
Date submitted:Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:38:01 +0000Coincidence ID:10412