Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

how many words in the bible!!!!

many years ago i was doing a quizword puzzle in the mail on sunday magazine.one question was on the bible and not being a student of this but having inherited the family bible i flipped it open at a random page to find the answer staring me in the face. i do not recall the question but it concerned jail companions and i opened the book on the page relating to shadrach, meshach, and abednego, who i read were in jail together. my answer was confirmed correct in the next issue. is this coincidence, or a random event?

Browns all in a row

Imagine 6 houses in a row. My name is Brown and I live in no 2. Some years ago a Brown also lived in 3, 5 and 6 at the same time. 3 and 5 have since moved and 5 years ago a Brown moved into no1

Who needs a dating agency?

After a decade of batchelor-hood in my 20's I joined a dating agency and through them met my wife (circa 2000). The agency actually broke their normal rules of matching people locally and paired us up even though we lived 120 miles apart. I was working (and always had - from 1991) in Ipswich, having grown up in a small village in the highlands of scotland. She spent early childhood in Glasgow but was soon moved to Corby (Northhamptonshire) where she grew up and still was (from about 1974 onwards). The dating agency (old style paper-based) matched us up and, to cut a long story short, we got engaged. This of course triggered more interest from the rest of the family. What we actually discovered was that my wife's uncle, still in Glasgow, knew of me, working 600 miles away, and of my family in the Highlands. i.e. he could pin-point who I was in his knowledge of friends and acquaintances. (I on the other hand, didn't even know he, or my wife's family, existed). Here's the chain of connection. Her uncle, "G" always worked for BT as an engineer in Glasgow (70's onward?). I also worked for BT in R&D since 1991.

Mr

Imagine 6 houses in a row. My name is Brown and I live in no 2. Some years ago a Brown also lived in 3, 5 and 6 at the same time. 3 and 5 have since moved and 5 years ago a Brown moved into no1

old colleagues

On the same day I received communications from 2 guys who I had been a graduate trainee with 33 years earlier. I had only been in sporadic contact with either since, and they had not been in contact with one another.

my life

My incredible coincidence is in the mode of "unlikely chain of events." 13.75 billion years ago the universe was born. Since that time, the exactly correct sequence of events has conspired to end up with a situation whereupon I am posting this story on your website.

Last name

The unbocking code for Youtube at my college was my last name

Two in the Bush

In 1968 I was a young engineer surveying a route for a road out in the Zambian bush hundreds of miles from civilisation. As I drove through a mud hut village I came upon an up-market hut with corrugated iron roof and a Coca Cola sign. Outside was another vehicle. This was such a highly unusual sighting that I decided to stop and be nosey. I was practising my "Doctor Livingstone, I presume" opening line as I entered but what I saw completely stopped me in my tracks. There was a friend of mine from back home in the UK, large as life and equally amazed as I. It had been many weeks since I had seen a non-African. That the first one I saw was a friend from UK was an amazing coincidence. We had last seen each other three months before back in London and we had not discussed the possibility of going to Africa. I still find it incredible that two friends could meet randomly half way around the world in the middle of a wilderness.

phone box wrong number was for passer by

In the mid 80s I lived in south Birmingham and after the pub my friends and I would walk home past a row of shops and then peel off to our various houses. One day when walking home the public phone box on the row of shops was ringing (this was about 11.30 at night). One of our group decided to answer it for a laugh and when he answered it the call was for him! His friend had mis-dialled his home number and got the call box just as he walked past. (When we looked into it the timing was partly because his friend had called at a time when he thought he would be getting in from the pub and the two phone numbers were very similar.)

Drinks Party

Still recovering from the fact that our respective mother-in-laws had at the age of ten shared a cabin on a banana boat as they were evacuated to the West Indies, we just had to go to Barbados for our honeymoon. A friend of mine, Bill, heard about this and told me he had a house on Barbados and we must come and see him and gave me his phone number. I forget the exact number but let's say it was 26075. Julia and I were sunning ourselves on the beach outside Sandy Lane (in 1978 it wasn't quite so glamorous!) and I said "I'll just go and call Bill and say we're here". I dialed the number from a hotel phone but forgot to dial for an outside line and so got through to room '260' by mistake. Thinking I'd dialed his home number, when someone answered the phone I quite innocently said "Is Bill there". A slightly bemused voice said "Yes". A very perplexed Bill came to the phone and said "How the hell did you know I was here, I'm at a drinks party, come on up". So we did!

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