Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


We have two children; at one time both had partners whose mothers' birthdays were on Boxing Day - very convenient as it meant that they always had their big celebrations on Boxing Day, so we could have Christmas Day and everyone was happy. Unexpected Meeting: we were on a cruise in the Baltic a few years ago, and spent Sunday in Helsinki. We went to the Orthodox Cathedral there and stayed for part of the service. When we left we started talking to a young Englishman who had also been sitting down for some time, and found that he came from the same town as we do.
Total votes: 369
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:42:02 +0000Coincidence ID:3718

Mr David Parker

My eldest son, James Harry Frederick Parker, was born on the 21st July 1998. Through a quirk of the UK's education system we discovered that another James Harry Frederick Parker was born on the very same day. We live in Kent and the name sake lives in the Channel Islands. We are not related and have never met.
Total votes: 376
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:41:45 +0000Coincidence ID:3717

Multiple coincidences within 24 hours

I live in Sussex and yesterday I arranged to meet my 20 year old son in Greenwich. We both like old books, and so we went to explore a very ramshackle second hand bookshop. I picked out a couple of books, one for me and one by HG Wells that I thought might interest my son. Having followed different paths round the shop, came up to me and told me that he thought that he had seen a book by HG Wells that he hadn't heard of, but that it had only been a book about him. I then showed him the book that I was holding for him - which was a book by HG Wells that he hadn't heard of. On the train home, he was reading a book by Kurt Vonnegut called "Cats Cradle". On our journey, I was reading a somewhat trashy and not very well written science fiction novel, in which one of the characters drew a comparison between a mysterious substance that had been found with...a mysterious substance in the book "Cats Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut. This morning, I was coming too in bed, and thinking about this coincidence, and that it was a pity that I didn't know of anyone who might be collecting such instances. I turned on the radio, Radio 4 came on and the first item that I heard was your one about collecting coincidences. So I felt that I ought to let you know. Clive Wills
Total votes: 342
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:39:54 +0000Coincidence ID:3716

birthday coincidence

My father lives at No 26. His neighbour at No 28 has his birthday on 16th July. His other neighbour at No 24 has his birthday on 16th July and his neighbour at No 22 has his birthday on - yes, you've guessed it - on 16th July. As I frequently tell people, I am my father's daughter! and although I do not live with him these days, my birthday is on - 16th July! We think this is a pretty good example of coincidence.....?
Total votes: 360
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:39:39 +0000Coincidence ID:3715

I-pod tunes

Some years ago I was working on a project in Ethiopia, travelling backwards & forwards with a colleague who became a friend. We had 4 trips backwards & forwards, lots of hanging about. On one trip, we were stuck in Dubai airport & Dave persuaded me to buy an i-pod as they were so cheap. I got one that stored 800 pieces of music [same as Dave's, but green] which I quickly filled up, using it particularly when travelling. On our last trip, we were waiting for our plane in Gondar airport, sitting on the seats. I was listening to my i-pod on shuffle, as was Dave - we had a conversation about the fun of serendipity. A favourite of mine [First Song, played by Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny] came on & I showed my screen to Dave, as he'd introduced me to the CD. He held out his screen - same piece of music was playing! A few years later I was travelling on a train from London to Sheffield, sitting in airline-style seats. Again, I was listening to my i-pod on shuffle, when a Norah Jones track came on. I spotted Norah Jones on the screen of the lap-top being used by the guy in the seats in front of me - then saw it was the same song. One of the things I listen to on my i-pod is my dad, who was a trumpeter, playing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto 2. He's been dead for 30 years now, so it's nice to hear him playing. 3 years ago I decided to move to Edinburgh, 400 miles from where I was then living by myself. I was lucky enough to sell my house quite quickly to a couple who had recently got together. The man was rather cold & legalistic but his partner [maybe in compensation] was terribly war & a bit over-familiar. I just wanted the sale to go through & wanted as little contact as possible. For instance, during one call the woman told me to be sure I had a supportive friend with me when leaving the house as it would be so traumatic. I felt irritated, as I just wanted her partner to sign the papers, not give me counselling! As I was moving to a smaller place, I gave away lots of furniture & arranged for the rest to be put in storage for a month [until I took possession of new property] so the van came 2 days before the new owners were to take possession. I could do this because I was staying with a friend & driving off from her house with house-plants, etc. So, on the day before the new owners moved in, I went there by myself with borrowed hoover, mops, etc to do a final clean. It was great - I put i-pod [on shuffle] in my ears - CD player was in the van and cleaned away. When I finished hoovering, I put the hoover in the car & finished up by mopping the floors. Kitchen, utlity, dining room & finally, tiled floor in the hallway, out the door & take the keys to the agent was the plan. Just before the front door, on came my dad's trumpet!
Total votes: 363
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:39:23 +0000Coincidence ID:3714

Birthday dates

My parents had four children. The first and third were born on 8th March - in 1942 and 1948 respectively. The second and fourth were born on September 9th - in 1944 and 1953. Only two birthdays between the four of us. The siblings who share the same birthday are facially very similar to each other.
Total votes: 313
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:39:21 +0000Coincidence ID:3713


My Mother, Hilda, a Nova Scotian, was travelling in the Scottish Highlands, with a young Nova Scotian friend (Joan) who was at the time teaching in Germany. She had shipped her car from Nova Scotia to Gemany and they were travelling in it at this particular time. Joan was out of the car recording somebody singing a folk song. Mother was waiting patiently when a second car (UK registration) pulled up. 'Are you really from Nova Scotia?' was the question. Mother answered in a non-committal way that yes, she was. 'Oh, I was there a few years ago. Do you know the Annapolis Valley'. 'Yes', said Mother. 'Do you know the village of Lawrencetown?' 'Yes', said Mother. 'Well, when I was there I dated a lovely young farmer by the name of Clarence FitzRandolph. Do you happen to know him?' 'Yes', said Mother non-committedly again, 'I married him'. And that was the end of the conversation!
Total votes: 299
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:38:42 +0000Coincidence ID:3712

Seasonal birthdays?

Are birthdays hereditary? I take after my mother's side of the family, specifically her father and all have our birthdays in July/August. My mother's brother also takes after his father and fits the pattern. My sister takes after my father's side, and his father, plus his brother, and all of them have February/March birthdays. On asking people which of their parents they look like, then what are their respective birthdays, this pattern is almost always followed. Not to the month but to a couple of months usually. Maybe this research will demolish my theory but if not, is it co-incidence or a biological pattern?
Total votes: 291
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:38:41 +0000Coincidence ID:3711


I buy sell and collect old postcards, I purchased a Louis Wain cat postcard from the continent, which I intended to sell (hopefully for profit). When it arrived I was extremely disappointed to find that it had been tampered with, the back was old but the wrong publisher and it was thicker than usual, I deduced that a Louis Wain front had been stuck to another old postcard, I had been caught. With nothing to lose I carefully peeled off the front layer and to my amazement underneath was an Arthur Moreland card. I have collected Arthur Moreland postcard since the 1960s and this was a very rare previously unseen (by me) postcard. It now sits proudly in my collection. How about that.
Total votes: 452
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:38:23 +0000Coincidence ID:3710

Euston Station

I live in Chester. A colleague lives in Blackburn. In May 2007 he was working in Lambeth, staying in London from Monday -Thursday. I had been doing some research for a contract in Blackpool when I was invited to an interview for a contract in Westminster. My colleague was also interested in the Blackpool contract so I collected some information about the work and loaded it onto a cd with the intention of posting it to him. I was travelling from Chester down to London on Thursday and intended to post the cd on the way to the station. The post office queue was such that I thought I would miss the train so I didn't post the cd but decided to post it once I got to London. On arriving at Euston I was walking across the main station concouse to the tube station when I saw my colleague walking towards me heading for a train to Manchester. Saved me the cost of posting the cd!
Total votes: 320
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:38:06 +0000Coincidence ID:3709