Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

On a Bench in Florence

In the summer of 1988 I was living in New York City and had decided (several years prior, during a brief visit to Italy) that I wanted to live in Florence for an extended period after college. The time had come to make good on this promise to myself. I was working in my field and studying Italian in NYC, participating in language exchanges with native Italian speakers, who were attending a program at Columbia University. I met one, Yvonne, who was a blond model of Swiss origin, from the Italian speaking quarter of Ticino.

saw a friend when i needed her

My boss and I were supposed to drive around to a bunch of schools in North Philly, an area that I don't frequent. I had taken the subway there and my boss was supposed to pick me up so we could drive around to these schools. She called me and as we were on the phone, she got in an accident. She was fine but told me she couldn't drive and I would have to visit the schools alone. Fine, but I wasn't sure how to do that since I had no transportation.

Annie Lennox prediction

This happened in the early nineties of last century. I am Portuguese from Lisbon. I was a regular visitor to London. This time I was with my wife and teenage daugther for a consultation with an otorrinologist. We went for lunch at Portobello Road. We saw a nice corner restaurant and decided for it. I jokingly said to my daughter these exact words: in a few minutes Annie Lennox, the Eurythmics lead singer, will come into the restaurant through that door.

"Flotsam and jetsam" or " no sex on the beach"

In the early nineties I was on a surf trip in Costa Rica, traveling from jaco up the pacific coast to tamarindo. We decided to take the old Tempisque ferry above Punta Arenas rather than drive the then dusty roads inland, around, and then back down the Nicoya peninsula. Doesn't matter. Or does it? Anyway, upon landing on the other side we hit the cantina for essentials and met some surfers heading back the other way. Got to talking and it turned out they were from New York . Hey, I'm from New York! Really? What part? The city. Oh, we're from Montauk. Do you know so and so?

Coincidence over time

While being assisted by a psychologist through a difficult marriage breakup, the psychologist recommended a book to me about 'Provocative Therapy," Dr Farrely - he said I would be good at it. The same guy helped a new lady friend also going through a difficult breakup. I ended up marrying her. Many years later, with the advent of internet, she befriended an Astrologer in USA. Meantime, we both achieved arts degrees. I featured some prominent q. physicists and a biologist, Dr Bruce Lipton in a piece of art.

Hitchhiking, 1980

Back in 1980, after leaving high school, a friend and I decided we wanted to spend a few months ravelling around the US. We had very little money and thought thta hitchhiking would be a great way of travelling on the cheap. My parents must have been utterly terrified at the thought of what could happen to us, and just a few days before we were due to fly out, they went to a dinner party where they met an American couple who were over the UK for a short working visit.

2 Layoffs, 1 Date

On June 21, 2011, I was unfortunately laid off from my job as a newspaper editor, where I had worked for 8 years. After six months of job hunting, I landed a position as a marketing manager. I worked there for a year and a half, until exactly two years later, on June 21, 2013, when I was again laid off. Each of the back-to-back layoffs were heartbreaking in their own rights, but the coincidence of losing the second job on the same date loomed over me for years.

The Answer's Always Right In Front Of You

One afternoon, I was trying to remember the word often used to describe a fluctuating economy. I pulled out a thesaurus and looked up the word 'fluctuate,' I read the Wikipedia article on 'economics,' I tried to find newspaper articles; surprisingly, none of these sources employed the word I was trying to remember. The following morning--not 24 hours later--I walked into the kitchen to find a shoebox from a shoe company called Volatile. I could not believe that I received the answer to my question in the most unusual of ways, and in such a quick time frame!

Old flame ignites two stunning coincidences in one day

When I was in college in New York in the early 70s, I dated a medical student for a couple of months, but I broke it off because the love of my life didn't love me. In the college dining room, I sometimes discussed the breakup with my best friend Lois -- the same woman who 20 years later attended my small, San Francisco wedding to a different man and even took the wedding photos. A couple of years later after my husband and I divorced, I told my friend I had hired a detective who had located my old college love who was now living in Los Angeles just 500 miles away.

Reappearing Book

During the 1960's, one of my father's books that I would occasionally read was "Electronics Made Simple" (Jacobowitz 1958). Jump ahead 4 decades. The daughter of a family friend and her husband were renovating an older house that they recently purchased. Behind some drywall they found some old books packed in, probably for sound insulation. One of the books was "Electronics Made Simple" with my father's name and address written on the inside. The odd thing is no one remembers throwing it out or how it got lost.