Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Fortune cookie

I grabbed a fortune cookie that was sitting on the table. I was watching tv so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention and realized the fortune was in my mouth. I spit it out to read the fortune and it said Warning: Do not eat your fortune

Everyone/everything has the same name

My immediate family has multiple examples of coincidences involving names. Examples: I have three children. My daughter is named Anna. My youngest son’s wife is named Anna. My oldest son’s first serious relationship, lasting eight years, was with a young woman named Anna. He is now married to Jana—finally a different name, but still very close. One more thing: all four of these women are attorneys. Two graduated from the same law school; two worked in the same public defender office in New Orleans. Those connections happened totally independent of the family link. Another example: our family had two dogs while my kids were growing up. We adopted both as adult dogs, and both were already named Jenny when we got them. Not a common dog’s name, btw. My former wife’s parents had a second home in a town on the New Jersey shore called Spring Lake. I now live near the beach in Delaware, in a condo community called Spring Lake. My kids grew up with summer beach vacations in Spring Lake. Now they bring their kids for beach vacations in a different Spring Lake. My youngest son and his wife Anna had the first grandchild on our side of the family.

Same House

I was in a work meeting at a new job with someone I'd never met (who doesn't work for the same company). While we were talking we discovered that she used to live in my current neighborhood. When i asked her the house number, she said my address. She lived in the same house that I live in now. We've become friends and have discovered that we have other things in common.

Dental Appointment

Waiting in the waiting room to be called for my dental appointment, I was joined by a man - a fellow attendee. The receptionist came in and called out “Mr Greene?” I said “That’s me.” The other man said “That’s me.” The receptionist looked at us both and said “Mr Greene with an ‘e’.” I said “That’s me.” The other man said “That’s me.” The receptionist looked even more perplexed and said “Mr K Greene.” I said “That’s me.” The other man said “That’s me.” We looked at each other in amazement. I am Mr Kevin Greene and it turned out he was Mr Keith Greene. We both had a good laugh about this amazing coincidence and went on to have our respective dental appointments. I seriously considered buying a lottery ticket.

"You're on your lonesome, into infinity."

I was reading a Twitter post from Richard Wiseman: it said, "Pick up the nearest book to you, turn to page 45. The first sentence explains your love life." There was a copy of The Hell of It All by Charlie Brooker right next to me, and the first sentence on page 45 was, "You're on your lonesome, into infinity." And it was dead right.

Hotel room numbers

In 2018 I stayed in a large hotel - part of a well known chain - in San Francisco before flying back to the UK and checking into another large hotel - part of a different chain - in the London Docklands area. To my surprise I had the same room number, somewhere in the 400's I think. This has never happened to me before.

Father & Sons identical twins with same birthday

My brother and I are identical twins born in 1949. Our father, born in 1915, was also an identical twin. Our birthdays are the same. What is the probability of that?

Wrong number was for me

In the Summer of 1975, I was shopping in Sutton, Surrey around noon and had parked my motorcycle in a bay in Throwley Way. There was a telephone box on the pavement and on my return the phone was ringing. I thought I would answer it and tell the caller that they must have a wrong number as it was a call box, otherwise they would think the call had gone unanswered. When I answered the call, a voice said “Hello Andrew, can I speak to your mum”. I thought this a coincidence of names and said you must have mis-dialed because this was a phone box in Sutton high street. The caller said “Don’t mess about, I am at Victoria Station and have just arrived from Ireland and only have one more 10p coin, just put your mum on the phone, it’s your cousin Maria come to visit”. I looked around, thinking she must be playing a joke on me, perhaps she had seen me arrive and had called the phone box when I got back to my bike but Throwley Way is wide, there were no houses or other phone box nearby. I said “where are you” and she said “Victoria!”. I said I was in a phone box and held the door open hoping she could hear cars pass by but the traffic was light.

Red Swiss army knife

Back in about 1990 I bought my Dad a small red Swiss army knife for xmas(one of those with a little knife,scissors, toothpick and tweezers). Sadly he died in 1993 and amongst his belongings was the knife which I kept and carried around in my brown leather shoulder "man bag". About 10 years later, one night I was mugged near my home(in Harringay). Despite not losing my phone or wallet I lost my brown shoulder bag and therefore the knife.That was the only thing I was really bothered about. Go forward about 4-6 months. I'm in the Fara charity shop in Teddington, some way from Harringay, but coincidentally very close to where my Dad's family lived (Twickenham, Sheen,etc). I spotted a nice looking brown leather shoulder bag (hold on, it's not the one I lost!). It's nice, but £20-25? (I'm maybe unreasonably tight when it comes to charity shop prices). Not sure. Bit big? Bit expensive? Walk about and think, but go for it. Go down the road and get a coffee and inspect my purchase. I unzipped the little inside pocket out of interest.

Spiritual Coincidences

By coincidence I came across Richard Dawkins' Book 'The God Delusion' in a Charity Shop in Tenerife, a place I would not normally be seen dead in'. I was compelled to buy it for £1. Having read it, I was 'compelled' to consider coincidences in my life (I am 78) and wrote about them as a response4 to the book. I was surprised how many there were. One in particular was a reencounter when I was 23. My father was a captain in the Church Army and from childhood we were close friends staying at Thornbury on the Isle of Wight with the family of another Church Army officer. Both worked in the prison service. We lost touch and shortly before I qualified as an Architect in Leeds I had an opportunity as a student to visit the City of Durham and arranged to visit the family. I only had a rough idea where they lived. Getting off a bus in a housing estate I had no idea which house they lived in and decided to make an enquiry at random at the only house that was lit by an outside light. It happened to be their house.

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