Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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.

The ring wants to be found

When my (now) wife and I were dating, we were enjoying a stroll in a small park on a footpath that went around an artificial pond in the park's center. At one point, I stopped and looked down, next to a tree by the side of the path. There was a huge mushroom on the ground, and something glinting beneath it. I picked it up, and it turned out to be a silver ring, made to look like a ribbon wound in the shape of a heart.

Two Countries to Tours

In the summer of 2013 I traveled with my family to Spain and Israel. We spent 5 days in Spain and took a wonderful 1/2 day Bike Tour of Barcelona. The tour was great! We then traveled to Israel and toured around the country for two weeks. We spent our last 5 days in Jerusalem. We thought we might take a free tour of the old city of Jerusalem in the afternoon, but at the last minute we decided to take the tour at 10 a.m.

Watch stolen and re-acquired after coincidental re-discovery

In South Carolina, in the early 70's, as a teenager, I made a leather watchband that, by the late 70's, bore a watch given to me by my girlfriend while I was in college. Within a few years, both the band and the watch's face had identifiable scrapes and scratches that I knew intimately. By this point, the watch was kept in my car on a dashboard shelf in plain sight. In the spring of 1980, I finished college and relocated to Warner Robins, Georgia for my first engineering job, taking an apartment in a complex along a street that skirted several complexes.

Running into child's teacher on subway platform in NYC

While on vacation in NYC from SC, I ran into one of my child's school teachers while waiting on the subway in the Upper East Side after visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dead grandfather mentioned in speech I attended

I went to hear a speech by an indigenous Australian man who had grown up about 500 km from where the speech was given. He spoke of the difficulties in his life and mentioned someone who was instrumental in his success, a white man who had given him a chance and a job in the 40s back when black men weren't even allowed to vote or go to the pub. Previously I had assumed my grandfather was at least as racist as his generation, so I almost fell out of my chair at the back of the auditorium when the man said, "That man's name was Morris Worrall".

Fare Ther Well

I have an acquaintance, or a friend of a friend, that I rarely see.. Maybe once every five years for the past 15 years. He is a German immigrant with a thick German dialect that's hard for me to understand, particularly if he has been drinking. Through social media we both found out we would be attending, along with 70,000 other people, the Grateful Dead's supposedly last concert at Chicago's Soldier Field on July 2016. We exchanged cell numbers and said lets meet up. I called V on the way in in front Millineal Park.

Vacation overlap

My family was on a vacation to another province, a place about 2000km from where we live. We only had two days there, and we booked our one night's stay at a bed and breakfast out in the countryside, not a large establishment, and quite isolated, because most places closer to the capitol city were already booked up. While there, we found that a good friend of ours from university, whom we hadn't seen in years and who also lived far away, was staying there with her family.

NC meets childhood friend in Mexico

This happened around 1998. I grew up and still live in NC. My brother was stationed with the Marines in San Diego. I went to visit him one summer and we decided to take a day trip to Mexico. We stopped in Ensenada and walked around the town, not even in a very "touristy" area. I hear this guy yelling "hey buddy do you have a dollar!". Turn around and it's a scraggly bum trying to get money. We keep walking and I turn around again and I tell my brother "hey I think that bum is Nathan". He says who?

Reunion with Rose

I worked in a law firm in Los Angeles in the '90s and became friends with a fellow female attorney in our Washington, DC office when we worked on a case today. After leaving the firm in 1995, she and I stayed in touch but our interactions dwindled to yearly Christmas cards. I was married and had a child, she stayed single but adopted two girls from China. I knew that she was now working for the government and living with the girls in Central America. But at some point, we lost touch and even the Christmas card exchange ended.