Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Fancy meeting you here!

On a canal boating holiday in Yorkshire (where I live) in the early 1980s, as our boat glided under a footbridge, I saw a man whom I knew crossing the bridge above us. He was the manager of a small bookshop in Glasgow on whom I called in my day job as a publisher's rep. I hailed him and we had a brief chat.
Total votes: 326
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:14:11 +0000Coincidence ID:3648

chance encounter

Travelling from Cumbria back to Leicester My friend suggested we stop in Lancaster for coffee.On the way back to the car my friend saw a small dress shop and suggested going in.During a conversation with the owner ,it transpired that she and my friend had both lived in Nigeria at the same time and travelled on the same boat.Further conversation revealed that she had owed a public house in a village in SW Lancashire where my friend and I had once lived!
Total votes: 314
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:14:08 +0000Coincidence ID:3647

Car Reversing

Last summer we were on a walking holiday and were walking from our campsite behind Deal/Walmer in Kent towards the coastal path. We crossed over a fairly busy road and then down a residential street with cars parked on the roadway and on driveways. As we were passing one house a gentleman was trying to reverse onto the road and as he was having difficulty seeing because of the parked cars my husband stood in the road and beckoned him out for which he was most grateful. We continued on our walk and later on in the afternoon (about 5/6 hours later) we walked back up the same street to find the same gentleman attempting to back out of his drive so - again - my husband helped him out.
Total votes: 338
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:13:54 +0000Coincidence ID:3646

favourite book

I'd recently got an 18mth old dog that was keen to chew everything when I was out of the house. When I came back one day, she'd started on my books on the bookcase and had chewed my favourite old bible that contained passages of Ecclesiasticus, difficult to find in many old bibles, and the wording of which in older English is very beautiful to me. Picking up the scattered and ripped pages and looking to see just how badly damaged Ecclesiasticus was, I was amazed to see they were the only pages almost completetly intact and readable. That was 11 years ago and the pages are still in use.
Total votes: 299
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:12:23 +0000Coincidence ID:3645

Chance meeting

In the early 1970s, while working in Helsinki, a Russian colleague, noting that I came from London, expressed surprise that I didn't know another person he had met from London, as though it was a village where we all knew one another. Not to mention that the person had a common name, probably held by hundreds of Londoners. In 1977, I went to work in New York. Later, a colleague who had arrived the very same week as me mentioned a trip she had made to Russia. And yes, she was the person the Russian in Helsinki had thought I ought to know. We became friends and still are.
Total votes: 298
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:12:03 +0000Coincidence ID:3644


My husband, plus two very close friends, plus two mothers of close friends of my son all share the same birthday - 18th September. Three other close friends share the same birthday - 13th May, the day before mine! </p> <p>My daughter was on a Gap year in France last year. During the summer holidays, she was one of the youth workers who took a group of young people to a theme park close to where she was based, near Toulouse. Whilst sitting watching them on a ride she heard 'there's Aoife' - it was the family of one of her best friends from school, the friend herself had just left her family to return home earlier the same day.
Total votes: 362
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:11:19 +0000Coincidence ID:3642

Old Friend

In the 1970s when I was 12, I was best friends with a girl called Mary. We both came from expatriate American families and were very close. Her family moved back to America and although we kept in touch for awhile, I last saw her when we were 14. After that we lost touch entirely. 14 years later, having trained as an actress, I was appearing on breakfast television to promote a drama series I was in at the time. During one of the ad breaks, a floor assistant handed me a piece of paper which said "please call Mary your old school friend" and gave a London number. The assistant said that she had called the programme to leave the message for me. I was astonished and called her straight away. It turned out she was now living in London and was in post-graduate training as an actress herself (we had never discussed our future careers when we were 12). She had (unusually) switched on the television to get the weather report at the exact moment the camera was on me during the brief interview. It was pure coincidence she saw me and recognised me. She had no idea i was still in the UK (having assumed our family, like hers, would have eventually returned to the US) and no idea I was an actress. We had an emotional reunion, and our close friendship was renewed!
Total votes: 345
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:11:00 +0000Coincidence ID:3641


In 1982 we moved into a cottage flat and the house opposite was called "Overisje". In 1992 we moved to Brussels and were directed to look for a house in Jesus Eik, which turned out to be in the commune of Overisje.
Total votes: 319
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:10:54 +0000Coincidence ID:3640

lottery coincidence

'On 11 September 2002.the fitst anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center, balls in the city's draw spookily came out as 9.11. Yet nearly 6000 players had selected those numbers.' From my book FATE'S BOOKIE: HOW THE LOTTERY SHAPED THE WORLD Gary Hicks
Total votes: 306
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:10:44 +0000Coincidence ID:3639

Bus in Moscow

In 1967 I was a student who, through a friend of mine, took part in a trip behind what was then "the Iron Curtain". My friend's wife was a student at Manchester, studying Russian, & wanted to travel to Russia. She had no money & worked out that the cheapest way to do it was to organise a student trip going there and this could be done by us all buying places, which included the purchase of a double-decker bus, which would be our mode of transport. 2 engineering students at Manchester, who were to be the drivers of the bus, were dispatched to buy a bus, which they did from a specialist scrap yard. They chose what was known as a "country bus" as it was a bit lower than normal double-deckers, having a sunken walk-way & long bench seats on the top deck. Our route was plotted by the AA to avoid low bridges [they only got it wrong once - which took a chunk out of the top near-side corner of the bus!] & was made easier by the slightly lower than normal double-decker. We travelled for 6 weeks, visiting Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Hungary & East Germany en route. We stayed in hostels & camp sites, often escorted by a "guide" whose job it was to keep us under control. This was the case in the Soviet Union, where we were for 3 weeks of the trip. It was a bit like Summer Holiday only more dishevelled & argumentative. One of the high spots, of course, was Red Square, where we parked in front of St Basil's & sang folk-songs. An Englishman approached and was very friendly & curious about the bus, which he'd heard about from Russian friends [we were a hot news item for a few days] and was gobsmacked to find that it was the very bus on which he'd been a conductor for many years, on a route between Liverpool & North Wales. I forget why he was in Moscow, because I was so taken with the coincidence. Jenny
Total votes: 310
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:10:37 +0000Coincidence ID:3637