Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Family resemblance

Cousin 1, through one of my mum's sisters, was raised in England. Cousin 2, through another of my mum's sisters, was raised in France. (Both are cousins of each other.) When Cousin 1 was on her gap year in New Zealand, she got chatting to some random French girls. Then one said, "You look a lot like our friend [Cousin 2's name]!"
Total votes: 188
Date submitted:Sun, 10 May 2020 17:48:19 +0000Coincidence ID:10453

Architect of the Union

Take a map, locate South Africa. Zoom in, zoom way way in, locate Zeerust and Swartruggens. This is where it all started David was born in 1972 in South Africa. I was born in 1978 in Zeerust, RSA. For the briefest moment, David and myself were within 60km from one-another when he visited his father in Swartruggens, only to meet more than 30 years later thousands of miles on the other side of the world. September 2010, Las Vegas; on a Friday night I randomly met David in a bar. Through conversation my South African heritage came up, to which he replied that he was from South Africa too. I switched to Afrikaans. He replied that he left there when he was 6 years old, and doesn’t speak Afrikaans. After we met for coffee, I didn’t hear or see David till February 2011. I asked him about his South African connection: “I left when I was 6 years old, and never saw my father again.“ This absolutely peeked my interest. “Did you not want to find your father?” “I was going to look for him before I went to the military, but my mom told me it’s an insult to Mark, the man that raised me”. David and I started a romantic relationship in March 2013 From the beginning I asked David if he minded if I was going to look for his father. He said no, and so the grit, perseverance and determination that has taken my all over the world by myself from the age of 17 kicked in. “This is a mystery I can solve”. I shared the story with a few South Africans, they too were intrigued, and with very little clues we all searched… and searched. Nothing came to fruition. David’s father’s last name was Baird; I spoke with many people in South Africa with the last same name, one even immigrated to the US to whom I spoke. Those I spoke with, proudly spoke about their Scottish Heritage, and assured me that they were related, but didn’t know David’s father: David Wegeling Baird. There was not much to go off from what I found on-line. It all lead to dead-ends. Curiously my mom told me: “I went to school in Swartruggens with a John Baird”. Could this be, could my mom have gone to school with David’s father brother?! 2015 I took David to South Africa. I was proud to show him beautiful South Africa. Prior to us leaving, I asked Martha (David’s mother) whether she had clues for us to find David’s father. Her response was swift: “I don’t have any clues, and you should let sleeping dogs lie.” “Fuel to the fire!”. I knew at that moment, that there were secrets to be uncovered, and I’m the person to uncover them. During our trip to South Africa, we met up with David’s god-mother Lesley. Off the bat, I asked: “Lesley, we are trying to find David’s father, do you have any clues for us?” “You know Margaretha, it’s been 35-40 years, I really can’t remember much, except that we had to drop David off in Swartruggens for visitations.” You could have pushed me over with a feather… The very John Baird my mom went to school with, was in fact David’s father’s brother. As motivated as I was to solve this mystery, I was now even more determined to get it done. As we would find out later, the timing of solving the mystery was not there yet. 2015 With the internet, and all it gives us; has not yet given up its secrets on David’s father. This tiny and remote area where I was from; a short distance from the Botswana border had more in store. This time the connection was with Mark McIntosh. The man Martha married after David’s father and moved to the States with. The story of how Mark’s parents met in South Africa. During the 2nd World War; South Africa was a British Colony, the Queen ordered a cement factory to be built in South Africa. The factory… Slurry. 30km from Zeerust, in between Lichtenburg and Zeerust. Much rebuilding had to be done in South Africa after the Boer Wars, The Depression and now the world was at war again. An engineer from Canada and and Engineer from the United States arrived in South Africa during the 1940s and lived next to one-another in Lichtenburg. Both of them had children: Janet, the American off-spring, and Brian, the Canadian 19-year old boy that was in the Military Police stationed in Northern Rhodesia. On his time off, Brian would come from now Zambia, to visit his folks in Lichtenburg. There he met 22-year old American Janet. The two got married in South Africa, and had the first born in Johannesburg, shortly after leaving to go back to Canada, and then to the United States. Telling Brian and Janet that I was from the very area that their love-story began brought tears to Brian. Suffering from dementia, somehow the memories became crystal clear. He tells of how he climbed up to the highest point of the factory, the rivers where he fished, and the passionfruit he ate. He still remembered the Afrikaans name, grenadella. He told of how he remembered talking to a Boer, that was a quiet man, a man that suffered through the Boer War and the concentration camps. Janet lit up: “Margaretha, we loved it there, it brings up so many good memories.” I took David to the factory his “adopted” great-grandparent’s parents help build. He got to see Lichtenburg too. Back in the US, Brian got a painting of Slurry. Pointing to the highest point of the factory: “I climbed to the top!” Not long after our trip Brian died. The trip was hugely successful. April 2016, my mom (an attorney) came to the US. All 3 of us; my mom, David and myself went to see his mom in California. Martha volunteered a file to my mom that has all the information about David’s father, including information about his birth date, and his full name: David Wegeling Baird born on the 4th of November 1936. I memorized this. This was the clue that I needed to solve the mystery. The divorce decree also stipulated that David was to go for vacations to South Africa. That never happened. Martha then tells us that David’s father refused to give up his parental rights before they left South Africa for Mark Macintosh to adopt him. Not exactly the actions of a man that had the intentions to abandon his son. March 2017 the relationship came to an end. I continued my search, hoping that the internet will catch up and reveal information that can lead to a revelation. We’ve heard his mother’s side of the story; I would like to hear his father’s side of the story. September 2018 on my way to Europe with time to kill at the airport, the internet finally caught up, and revealed a vital clue: The gravestone outside of Krugersdorp, Sterfontein: “David Wegeling Baird: Born 4 November 1936 Died 27 February 1993.” This is the first time in the more than 5 years I have searched that I found something that could truly connect me to some answers. I continued the search. “Maybe his father got married again… maybe he had children… siblings to David”. The search delivered: David’s father got married again to Amelia-May Smit, and she had 2 daughters, Amelia-May and Ingrid. David has sisters. Through Facebook I messaged them in Afrikaans, as they are Afrikaans like myself: “Hello, you don’t know me, by chance, are you related to David Wegeling Baird born on the 4th of November 1936.” 2 Days later, sitting in a cafe in Barcelona my phone pings: “yes, that was my father, how can I help you?” “I know your brother” a pause… Amerlia “can you take a call?” MB: “Yes” Amelia: “We knew we had a brother, but didn’t know how to find him. (He no longer carried his father’s name). He was always a presence in our house. My father loved him, and never stopped looking for him. He always sent him gifts and cards, but they always came back. We don’t know whether the address was no good, or whether they were returned on purpose.” MB “What was your father like?” Amelia: “My father was a magistrate, a game warden and an opera signer. He was a strict dad, he liked his things a particular way, loved cars and bikes. My father build a waterfall for David’s 21st birthday in our backyard in February 1993. A few days later my father was killed on his motorbike. He went to buy flowers for my mother, and was going to take us to get pet bunnies later that afternoon. I was 7, my sister, 4. How do you know my brother” MB: “I don’t want to influence the relationship with your brother, we were in a romantic relationship, but are no longer together.” Amelia “Let me talk to my mom and sister, I’ll get back to you” Amelia continued sending me photos of David’s father, and even of David before he left as a 5 or 6 year old. He was always a presence in their household. David, a spitting image of his father. Two days later I am in England. Amelia calls me: “Margaretha, I’m ready to meet my brother, can you set it up, are you sure he wants to know us?” MB “I’m positive!” I texted David: “David, please take my call, I have vital information to share with you, Sincerely, Margaretha” Once I saw he read the message, I called him: “David this is Margaretha, I found your father, he passed away, he never stopped looking for you, he loved you. David, your grandmother’s dying wish was to see you one more time. David, you have 2 sisters, they are amazing and they are beautiful. Your sister is getting married on December 1st, who knows, maybe you can walk her down the aisle. David, your sister is on standby, she wants to meet you.” David burst out in tears: “Margaretha, how did you do this. I will take this to the grave with me. Let me get composed, and I’ll call her.” David spoke with his sister Amelia-May: “Hello Amelia, this is your brother David…” November 2018 David flew to South Africa and gave his sister away on her wedding day. A beautiful union. I requested videos of their first meetings. This union is my masterpiece. David, or anyone that has crossed his path could have done this, but it was me, my persistence, perseverance and determination that solved this mystery. I knew from the first day I took this on that this would profoundly change many many lives. And it has. Even though the relationship was unsuccessful; I’m happy I could have done this. This is so much bigger than me, and the relationship that I had with David. Should David’s sisters relocate to the US, and their children grow up here ever ask the question of how they got to the US, this would be how they came to live in the United States. The holes in the hearts of the 3 siblings and a stepmother have now been filled. The truth has prevailed.
Total votes: 182
Date submitted:Sun, 10 May 2020 15:23:16 +0000Coincidence ID:10452

What are the odds?

When living in New Zealand, at a small party in a rural, sparsely populated area, I met an Australian woman, born and raised in Australia but now working in NZ. During a conversation which amazed both of us, we discovered that her elderly aunt with whom she'd stayed as a child, and my sister, lived in the same very small Norfolk village (population c.600). Exploring this further, we found that in fact they lived in the same cottage- an old cottage divided into two houses down a remote unsurfaced lane. We were both a bit spooked by this - my reaction was to wonder what the odds were of such a coincidence, hers was to think it was a really significant 'message from the universe'.
Total votes: 227
Date submitted:Thu, 07 May 2020 08:04:15 +0000Coincidence ID:10449

A affair & A murder

My husband did laundry, when I went to fold I found a pair of womans socks not belonging to anyone in my house. My husband was being weird and elusive. He wouldnt let me in his car or phone. We split while hes gone I find a pair of womans shoes hidden in my bedroom. I see a post from wife of friend of my husband where she is talking like me. Things start happening pointing to her as other woman. Her husband dies of blood pressure medicine overdose that my husband takes. And all this in a 4 month period. My husband and the friends wife swear I'm crazy and theres never been anything going on. Also when her husband dies I find video of her on his fb wearing what appears to be shoes i found in my bedroom. I keep being told all this is coincidence. But I don't see how
Total votes: 242
Date submitted:Tue, 05 May 2020 07:42:59 +0000Coincidence ID:10448

Matching Music

I was browsing on my facebook feed and saw a funny video of a man playing the song “informer” on a pan flute and I watched it. Literally as soon as the video ended, I heard the original version of the song “informer” playing on the radio that I leave turned on in the living room.
Total votes: 199
Date submitted:Mon, 04 May 2020 22:29:10 +0000Coincidence ID:10447

My life and likeness are now a smash hit video game...

Please hang in there with me...It's a very long story, but to start out I will introduce myself. My full legal name is Jesse H X, but whenever I can get away with it, I go by Jesse H only, because X is my step-fathers last name, whom I am permanently estranged from. I have blue eyes, colored bright red hair, and have had many extremely strange almost unbelievable coincidences in my life, but this one by far is, well, mind blowing. My therapist agrees with me. </p> <p>I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Unspecified with Psychotic Features about 10 years ago. About 3 years ago I stopped taking my medication and started a downward spiral culminating in a full blown Psychotic breakdown that finally resulted in, among many other repercussions, an arrest. This was the first and only time I have ever had a legal issue. I've never even had a speeding ticket. </p> <p>So, anyway, I'm wandering around the town I grew up in, in an almost complete state of confusion and paranoid psychosis with brief periods of the overwhelming ecstasy of feeling on a higher plane of consciousness, complete and total connectedness with the universe, and access to paranormal entities. </p> <p> I "know" I am being watched and followed by some government agency because I "know" things and they are trying to get to me because of it. I "know" it has something to do with my fascination with everything esoteric, and recent interest/obsession with Pythagoreanism specifically. I felt that I knew a secret that I will never understand and the unspecified government agency wants me for it. I might even have special abilities I didn't know I had. I'm only wandering around town because I "know" the agency has already tapped my phone and bugged my house. I'm not entirely sure they want to hurt me, but I "know" they want to use this information for good or evil and I don't trust them. Along they way of my paranoid adventure on the sidewalk along the road across from my old highschool, I find a discarded t-shirt that says<br /> KEEP TALKING.<br /> I LIKE WATCHING YOUR LIPS MOVE.<br /> which in my mind, fully validates my paranoia. I am dodging every white car and van I saw because I was convinced I was being watched and followed by them. Simultaneously, in a state of extreme mental confusion, it was only natural and rational for me to follow the triangles as a guide or a sign of what to do, who to trust, where to go. </p> <p>Fast forward 3 years. </p> <p>Today, I am being properly treated with therapy and medication and am completely lucid. I still identify strongly with the triangle, not only as a mathematical symbol, but also as a representation of my reverence for related ancient philosophies and esoterica. </p> <p>A couple of months ago, my boyfriend stumbles across a newly released video game called 'Control'. It caught my eye in particular as the thumbnail logo for the game is simply an upside-down triangle. </p> <p>It is the story of the antagonist, named Jesse Faden, who in addition to having an almost identical name as me, also has bright red hair and blue eyes. Below is the summary I have copied from Wikipedia: </p> <p>Control is an action-adventure video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by 505 Games. Control was released on 27 August 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game revolves around the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), a secret U.S. government agency tasked with containing and studying phenomena that violate the laws of reality. As Jesse Faden (voiced by Courtney Hope), the Bureau's new Director, the player explore the Oldest House – the FBC's paranormal headquarters – and utilize powerful abilities in order to defeat a deadly enemy known as the Hiss, which has invaded and corrupted reality. Throughout the game, the player gains new abilities by finding Objects of Power, mundane objects like a rotary phone or a floppy disc imbued with energies from another dimension, that have been at the center of major paranormal events and since recovered by the FBC. </p> <p>I could go on and on about the details though... There are so many aspects to this strange coincidence. </p> <p>An additional coincidence lies within the timing of this story. Although the video game was released August 2019, it began production in summer 2017, right around the time of my psychotic break. </p> <p>The third and final side of this coincidence triangle also lies within the timing, as about a week prior to this discovery I started re-reading a book titled Fluke: The Math and Myth of Coincidence, looking to settle my mind and maybe find some answer to a previous additional unbelievable coincidence- a case of my mistaken identity that still, at times, keeps me up at night, just wondering </p> <p>what are the chances of that?!?<br /> Is someone really watching and listening after all? </p> <p>Now I have another reason to question everything.
Total votes: 191
Date submitted:Mon, 04 May 2020 12:18:58 +0000Coincidence ID:10446

On Broadway

As a teen, I often drove the length of Broadway, a main drag in my small (40,000) city. On many occasions, a car drove by in the opposite direction, with what I thought was a friend driving. I would wave but was embarrassed to discover that it was a stranger. Then, many blocks later, another car would drive by with, you guessed it, my friend at the wheel. This happened many times over the course of a couple of years, then ceased.
Total votes: 177
Date submitted:Sun, 03 May 2020 21:08:55 +0000Coincidence ID:10445

Cobblers!

During WW2, my father served with the RAF in Egypt and Libya. His younger brother also served in the RAF, but due to security restrictions, neither knew of the other's whereabouts. One day, some 18 months into his posting, my father needed to get his shoes mended. He was standing in the queue in Alexandria, when, on looking round, found his brother behind him in the queue.
Total votes: 199
Date submitted:Sun, 03 May 2020 14:59:28 +0000Coincidence ID:10444

Music from the past

When I was young, I played with a cassette tape recorder and typically recorded my brother, sister and me talking, singing, etc. and sometimes I'd record America's Top 40 music show. It was the only way that I got most of my music back in the 70's as a kid. My family wasn't into buying current records. I recently retired in January 2020 and because of the Covid-19 quarantine, I thought it would be a good time to listen to the tapes to figure out which to throw away finally. Some of the tapes were labeled, but because they were something my parents didn't want to spend good money on, they got a lot of re-use and re-recording, so I wasn't sure what exactly was on them unless I listened to them. Well, one tape that I listened to just this past week of April 25, 2020 had one of the America's Top 40 weekly summary recordings that had Kasey Kasum as the show host. I didn't realize it until after I listened to it that one recording was from the show for the week of April 30, 1977. At the time, I thought, I wonder if they even have this in some archive that could be replayed - am I the only one with this recording? And I found it coincidental that it was the same week 43 years later and I was listening to it. So, today, May 2, 2020, we ventured out for one of the first times during this quarantine to pick up some supplies and we have Sirius XM radio. So, we just happened to turn to the 70's on 7 station and while waiting for curbside pickup, I noticed a song that I had really liked as a teen at the time. Then, the announcer comes on and I realize its Kasey Kasum and the station is actually replaying an episode of American Top 40 from April 30, 1977!!! I immediately thought, what are the odds of that happening? Me having the recording at all and me listening to it exactly 43 years later on my old tape and THEN hearing that same recording on the radio around the same time.
Total votes: 159
Date submitted:Sat, 02 May 2020 21:05:10 +0000Coincidence ID:10443

Ice Cream Coincidence

I sent a random Good Morning text to my siblings with a photo of an ice cream parlor we’d frequent as kids. It was a chain called Wil Wright’s that’s been out of business for decades. Four hours later, I’m reading the comments section on an article about weird restaurant incidents when I come across a commentor’s tale about an incident that happened years ago at Wil Wright’s.
Total votes: 154
Date submitted:Sat, 02 May 2020 19:57:58 +0000Coincidence ID:10442

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