Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Finding family friend in a park on the other side of the world.

I’m from a low-income rural village in the Northern USA. Many people from my hometown have never left the state, much less the country. While traveling to Ireland in 2019, my group decided to walk a little hidden garden path. We walked by two people and my husband pointed out that they had similar accents to mine. I stopped them to ask where they were from. Turns out they were from my hometown and had even worked with my dad for over a decade. They had moved away years before for a job opportunity, which is why I didn’t know them. Just proves that if you are from a small town, you can’t go anywhere without the chance of being recognized (and possibly snitched) on by a family friend.

Twin connection

I was watching a movie on Netflix in bed after getting a flu shot when my identical twin sister texted me to say hi and ask what I was up to. I told her and she said she was watching a movie too, and that she had gotten her flu shot the day before. I asked her what she was watching and it was the same movie I was watching! (Called “Carol,” about a pair of women in the 1950s who have an affair). I was 15 minutes ahead of my sister in the story.

Neighbor I knew so much about but never met

Growing up my mom used to talk about this guy she dated before my dad. His name was Chip. That wasn't a nickname, just his name. She said he was great. I knew lots about his family, even having never met him because of how they went to the same school and grew up visiting each other's houses. After they broke up, she got together with my dad and Chip a girl from a different school. Both new significant others didn't like the idea of ex's hanging out and so they lost track of each other. Over the next 27 years many thing happened. I was born, we moved around a lot. My mom never heard from or saw chip again. When I was 25, my husband and I purchased a house. This house was 3 hours u to the country, away from the city area my mom lived as a kid. We went around meaning the neighbors and one of them was named Chip. Not a nickname, just his name. I kinda chuckled and said I had only ever heard of that not being a nickname one other time, this guy my mom dated before I was born. He laughed and said, well what's your mom's name? Turns out, it was the same Chip.

Had the same card in mind as my classmate

We were playing a game in class during which we are each given a card from a standard playing deck. Before the game began, my classmate (almost no prior connection, we rarely speak to each other) and I guessed the card which we would draw. We both guessed 6 of clubs simultaneously.

Street Number is everywhere

Might just be that I'm noticing it more and more, but last fall I moved away to college. While there, I found a small used bookstore, and didn't notice until I got home that the street number for the place, 1408, is the same as my parent's house back home. It is also, I discovered, the name of Stephen King short story and adapted film, which take place at a house with the same street number. Ever since that day, I keep seeing 1408 pop up constantly. My phone and watch are on military time, and I randomly check the time only to find out it's 14:08. A math exam had an answer listed as 14.08 units on the answer key. Had a video lecture last year run exactly 14 minutes and 8 seconds. All kinds of small, minor events where I'd notice the number in something randomly, and occurs roughly once every week or 2, give or take. I'm not a superstitious person, but this has been weirding me out for a while now.

In the same parking lot as the person in on the phone with

I had a Zoom call scheduled with Vicky to discuss a project. My sister had a doctor appointment I'd forgotten about, and needed me to take her, so I did the call from her doctor's office parking lot instead of my office, without video. I apologized for not having my calendars synced. Vicky mentioned that she'd planned to show me some maps and photos to describe the project better but that she wasn't at her computer, either- she mixed up days and forgot that her daughter had a doctor appt because her calendars are separate, too. I joked "Well, if you happen to be at (location) we could talk in person!" She asked how I knew she was there. I thought she was joking, she thought I was joking (and stalking her?) She was two cars down from me in the lot. We'd never met or seen each other before. This is a small doctor's office, in a small town in Maine. I live in this small town but she lives 30 minutes away. We finished our conversation in person then connected via Zoom later so we could see the visual materials. Pretty good, right?

Small world

I moved from PA to NY to go to college to become a teacher. I was subbing at a nearby school district and the secretary there was so kind. We always made small talk on my way in and out for the day. After a week or so, she asked me for my phone number so I could call me personally if there were any positions. I gave her my number (with my PA area code) and she asked me where I was originally from. Turns out she grew up in the same town as me! We enjoyed talking about that for the next couple weeks. Then I mentioned to her that I was getting married and she asked my soon to be husband’s name. She asked if he had any relation to —— and I said yes! That’s his aunt! She not only grew up in my town, but was my father in laws neighbor, and his sister’s very good friend growing up. So I met someone who knew all the same people I knew in a completely different state!

Dad Injury

I was living at college, and I was woken up in the middle of the night with a repeating voice in my head, “You need to call your dad. You need to call your dad”. It was around 2 in the morning so of course I was not going to call my dad, but after the repeating intrusive thought for over an hour, I sent him a text message that I was thinking about him and for him to give me a call when he gets a chance. I get a call from him at 10 that morning saying he was in the hospital because he had an accident at work where he was cut with a saw from his wrist to his armpit. Thankfully, he was okay after lots and lots of stitches. This was about 6 years ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.