Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Smartarse revisited

A louche friend was lying in bed in Coventry, puffing on a ciggie, listening to a broadcast of a concert on Radio 3. It was a fairly 'difficult' composer and a piece not often performed, which was what attracted him to it. The end of the symphony was very sudden, and one audience member anticipated this, clapping loudly (and what my friend thought, ostentatiously) before the rest. My friend took a delicious pleasure in berating this person loudly just as it was announced that the concert had been recorded at Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry and he realised that the Smartarse audience member was himself.
Total votes: 388
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:45:25 +0000Coincidence ID:3728

Sisters, does this count?

My sister, who is 6 years younger, and I have often been accused of being twins as we look very alike. We found ourselves in coincidental situations many times:- 1. I, living in London, had not seen her for three years and went to catch up with her in Nottingham - to find she had the same handbag and shoes. 2. Once I was invited to a barbecue in Sussex, didn't know what to wear, settled on blue silk shirt, jeans and blue flat shoes. When I arrived my sister was dressed identically. 3. My sister had been working in Spain. We met in Italy for a holiday - opened suitcases to unpack identical dresses (M&S!). 4. One Christmas I decided to buy her a blue and white porcelain fretted bowl from a particular shop - but when I went back the shop was closed for the day so I bought something else. But when I unwrapped my present from her, SHE had bought ME that same bowl. 5. I moved to my new home in London about the same time as she moved to hers in Sussex. We 'inherited' blue and pink bathrooms, respectively. We had both purchased small plastic 'pig' nailbrushes - in blue and pink, of course. What's more we had both chosen identical crockery - I well remember her opening my cupboard to exclaim, "What are you doing with my dinner service?!" 6. One Christmas I bought her a small glass bottle with a blue bird on the top. The one she bought for me was a different design - but it was still a small glass bottle with a blue bird on the top. Et cet era
Total votes: 336
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:45:09 +0000Coincidence ID:3727

chain of coincidences

1. In 1987 I was living in London in what was then an unheard of area (now very trendy) called Kensal green. No one knew where it was in 1987. I travelled to Tibet and was staying in a hostel in Lhasa . A young guy was really I'll in our dormitory and I spoke to him to see if I could help. Where did he come from? London. 'you won't know the area' - it was Kensal green. He lived 5 minutes away from me. 2. I work in a small school in Camden in central London . One of my colleagues grew up in Cheshire not far from where I grew up. I grew up in a small village in the countryside near delamere forest - a place people like to visit. My colleague recently told me she used to spend her summer holidays with her granny in a caravan site a short walk from where I lived. 3. My dauhgter's best friend's grandfather is scottish as is mine and he worked for ICI in the same place as my father at the same time. Her mother's partner grew up in the nearest town to my village in Cheshire where my younger brother went to school.
Total votes: 377
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:43 +0000Coincidence ID:3726

Are left handed people more pushy?

After a gathering in a restaurant 5 of us went back to someone's flat for coffee. There was just one sofa, which 3 sat on. The remaining 2, myself included, sat on the floor. I noticed that the 3 on the sofa were all holding their mugs in their left hand. Indeed, the 3 seated on the sofa were left handed, the 2 on the floor were right handed. Could an explanation for at least the seated on sofa v. seated on floor ratio be skewed by the fact that left handed people are more pushy and they all made sure they secured a comfortable seat?
Total votes: 354
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:42 +0000Coincidence ID:3725


Two people came to live in our village from Cornwall and we became friends. They told us they have friends in Cornwall called NEIL and MARGARET who have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE. Guess what. I am called MARGARET, my husband is NEIL and we have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE !
Total votes: 431
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:27 +0000Coincidence ID:3724

Third coincidence

I went to Australia in 1991 to visit relatives who live in Perth. They took us on a trip down south and we went on a leisure boat in the Murray River. It seemed like a very isolated spot. I sat next to a lady I had never met before and we got chatting. I asked her where she lived and she said Busselton which was a small town in Western Australia. I said "I'm going there tomorrow to meet an old friend" (The friend, like my relatives, had emigrated from Devon to W.A.) She said, "What's the name?" and I said, "Perryman". She said, "Oh, the Perrymans. I know them well!"
Total votes: 348
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:44:04 +0000Coincidence ID:3723

One Lump or Two?

In about 1976 I went into hospital to have a breast lump removed ( I was 23). I was stunned to find my best mate in the opposite bed, having had the same procedure on her breast. Mine was my left, hers her right. Although we were best mates she had been living in Holland for some years and had come back home for the surgery as she was unhappy with the treatment she was receiving in Holland and the difficulty of the language as she did not speak dutch. We just happened not to be in touch over that period (I was admitted very quickly following presenting to my GP with the lump) On the day I was admitted she was being discharged. We were both in for two nights. I didn't have a dressing gown so she left me hers. Both lumps were benign.
Total votes: 344
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:43:49 +0000Coincidence ID:3722


I don't know whether this is a coincidence or a prediction. My mother had been widowed for 30 years and for many years now she had said that she knew which day she would die. She didn't know when but she know it would be the 16th of a month. She said that she had worked it out this way...her birthday was the 12th my dads was the 13th they were married on the 14th and my dad died on the 15th so she said that she knew she would die on the 16th. She was so convinced that when she got to 90 she said that she was always pleased when the 16th of a month had gone because she would be ok for another month. She died last year on the 16th September she had had a series of strokes and had been totally unaware of anything or anybody for many days. We all think that this is rather spooky ! Regards Ginny
Total votes: 316
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:43:37 +0000Coincidence ID:3721

Newton abbot

We were on holiday in Antigua and had gone to "the" place to watch the sunset along with a few thousand others. Having failed to find a couple from our hotel we had arranged to meet (it was dusk), I put my arm around the man I then noticed standing right next to me and said "Hi Keith, what brings you here?". Keith was our best man over 30 years earlier and we hadn't seen him in ten years or more (we live in Devon, he, near London). After chatting he mentioned an incident on his flight over where the couple sitting next to him had got into animated conversation as they passed over Devon, trying to spot their house. When he discovered just where they lived, he asked them if they knew us as we lived in Newton Abbot. He said he hadn't previously talked about us for years. We returned to our hotel and a couple was sitting at the bar, the lady of which my wife was sure she recognised but could not think from where. I approached and simply asked if they lived in Newton Abbot and we discovered that the wives had stood outside the same school collecting children, again many years earlier. I then told them that I knew they had flown with Virgin airlines and in which seats. I was right but they were completely flabbergasted. I guessed the chances of there being two couples from Newton Abbot on holiday in Antigua had to match our best man's story.
Total votes: 305
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:43:02 +0000Coincidence ID:3720

House Numbers

Hello David, Myself and 3 friends meet once a week, every week, and have done so over many years to go "ale tasting", walk, play 10 pin bowling or attend the cinema etc. There are just 4 of us in the group and we all live in different streets in Bishop's stortford and Sawbridgeworth and none of us moves house often. Some years ago we discovered that our house numbers were 55, 66, 77 and 88. I heard you on Radio 4 this morning and thought this might be of interest. I would be pleased to hear any comments that you may have. Thanks Robert Stroud ps. Unfortunately now one of us has recently moved to a boring No. 8
Total votes: 332
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:42:43 +0000Coincidence ID:3719