Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

North Carolina Natives

I am a native of North Carolina, USA. After my completing my graduate degree, I worked with a congregation in Greenville, South Carolina for fifteen years. During those years, I had the opportunity to take a group of teenagers to a conference in Germany. On that trip, we visited Dachau. Walking up to the entrance, our group meshed with other people walking in the same direction. I found myself walking beside a family and struck up a conversation with the father, who was closest in proximity. I learned the father was the ambassador to Denmark and lived in Copenhagen - and was also a native of North Carolina. He was from Raleigh and I am from Charlotte - major cities in North Carolina and a little over two hours apart. What are the chances I would meet the American Ambassador to Denmark? In Germany? And he would be a native of my home state?

Siblings Meeting with Siblings

A new person was attending a meeting in my town in North Carolina. We had 5 minutes to talk. She had moved from Georgia where my brother lives. I told her my brother lived in Augusta. Her sister lived in Augusta too. I clarified that he actually lived in a suburb, Evans. So did her sister. We inquired about church membership and found they were members of the same church. When I got home, I called my brother. He had been at a meeting with one sister in Augusta during the same time I was meeting with the other sister in North Carolina.

Ancestors

I was engaged in genealogical research to support an application to Sons of the American Revolution. The material I gathered traced our line back to the mid-1500s in central England, with our first ancestor to the colonies arriving around 1625. His name was Thomas, and he was listed as one of the "Founders of Hartford, Connecticut." He fought in the Pequot War, and lived "on the road to the cow pasture, now Main Street in Hartford." I met with Kevin, a current SAR member here in Indiana, for him to review the application and advise if anything was missing. As he looked over my application, he invited me to view his website where he'd written short biographies of many of his ancestors. I scrolled to the earliest/oldest one. His own ancestor was noted as "coming to Connecticut around 1625, he was noted as a Founder of Hartford, he fought in the Pequot War, and lived on the road to the cow pasture." Kevin's 8th great-grandfather and mine were neighbors and served in the same colonial militia unit -- and 400 years later and 800 miles away, here we were, sitting across from each other at his kitchen table.

From Bargemon to Mill Hill to Eze

I am a painter and author. In 2002 I had an exhibition in Eze on the French Riviera, I had editorial promoting the expo published in an English magazine called New Riviera. The editor suggested I contact someone who was on the same page as me, the gallery owner, Guy Beddington. He lived far from where we were, based in the beautiful village of Bargemon. Unfortunately my work was not suited to his gallery, but as I was leaving he wrote a name on a card. She was a good client of his. I do not want to mention the name, but she lived in a villa in Eze village. Let us call her Mme Smith who lived in Villa Jones. I took the card and months later when I was writing invitations, I looked at this card and thinking it was not a full address, I contacted directory enquiries. There was no Mme Smith at that address. I decided I would send it anyway. Back in London I posted the invitations on a Monday. The following Sunday we went to our friends' daughters' engagement in Mill Hill London. Suddenly there was a scream of surprise from inside the house and someone came out and excitedly took me inside. I was introduced to a French lady .

Similarity in our sons' lives

Two years ago I was in the hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, having knee replacement surgery. The other patient in the room was about my age and having shoulder surgery, We both were sociable people and ended up talking a good deal, telling the head nurse that our stay was turning out to be fun. And as mothers will do, we talked about our children. I told her my youngest son was teaching English in Korea, and she said, "Oh, my son is also teaching English in Asia, but he is in China." That wasn't too surprising as lots of young Canadians teach English for a couple of years in Asia. Then I went on to say he had married a Korean woman and was living there long term. Well, her son also had married a Korean woman; they just happened to currently be working in China. Then I said something about going to visit Ross, and that's when the coincidence became extraordinary because her son was also named Ross. We smiled at the string of coincidences, expecting them to end there, but then one of us thought to ask for the full name of the other's son. They were both Ross Andrew!

Eye Test

I was in my front garden when two elderly gentleman struck up a conversation. One said he was overdue an eye test which he had put off due to Covid etc. That reminded me that I should arrange a routine eye test myself. One hour later a letter arrived from Boots asking me to make contact regarding an eye test.

Randomly meeting people

I did an MA in Belgium where I met a French colleague. After the MA I went to Italy for a symposium where I met a Brazilian colleague. When I added the Brazilian on Facebook, she told me she knew the French one because they were flatmates in South Africa. We are all social scientists with an international bent, but from different fields.

Musical Destiny

I belong to a fraternity in NJ, I had heard of a brother of a friend(John)of mine being on his death bed. Fast foward about 4 to 5 weeks, I don't hear anything, so as I left work one Friday, I said I'm going to call a mutual friend (Daryl) and inquire of the health of Johns brother. Within 5 minutes my own brother calls me and I never make the call to Daryl,. I get home, wife is making dinner, as I often do I try to expose her to the music I listened to while growing up. As I sat down a kitchen table, and asked Alexa to play 1st Stepponwolf, and then Ten Years After, at the moment 'I would love to change the world 'plays, I get a call from Daryl (total 20 minutes from my thought to call him) I look at my wife and say, I have to take this, I solomnly answered the call, and Daryl says 'Tell me your sitting at home on a Friday, with nothing to do'. Being thankful it wasn't bad news of Johns brother , I said sure what do you need. He proceeds to tell me he needs help as he brings in a new member.

Across a train platform

Southern England: I'd walked everyday from school to train station with my friend "S" and then we would split to different platforms, to go in different directions. For about 2/3 years S would stand & chat with "L" , a girl younger than us that I didn't know and she only spoke to on the train trip. I could see them across the tracks everyday but sound didn't carry so I never once spoke to L Skip forward nine years I'm backpacking in Australia and have just taken a ferry to Devonport Tasmania. Randomly got chatting to a lady in the backparker hostel I was staying at. Towards the afternoon, the conversation came round to where we had grown up, and found out she was in a younger year group in the same school. Her name was slightly uncommon so I asked if she knew S and could she be the L I had seen for 2/3 years and never spoken to.

Bollywood, Depression and Suicide

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a college buddy of mine who lives in New Jersey ( I live in Pennsylvania). We were talking about Indian politics which at times is more colorful and entertaining than Bollywood cinema. Out of the blue one of the names that popped up was Sushant Singh Rajput, an up and coming Bollywood star who was having a decent run despite not being "connected" with the clannish Bollywood networks. I did not really know who he was (my Bollywood and Cricket clock stopped in 2005 when i moved to the States). My buddy then explained a little bit about the guy although he also did not have more than a passing knowledge of the guy. Lo and Behold....the very next day the big headline was that this emerging Star had committed suicide. Now what are the odds of that happening!!!!!!

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