Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

link between unrelated "narratives"; a stranger no stranger.

I am the proprietor of Independent Bookshop, Scarthin Books, in Cromford, Derbyshire. From the shop counter one can clearly see the front door, but a part of the shop straight ahead is obscured by bookshelves. Some years ago, a mature lady unknown to me entered and began speaking in baby talk to a toddler hidden behind the shelves. I decided to make a joke out of the apparent absence of any other recipient of her bay talk and said to her "Ahhh, no-one's spoken to me like that in 40 years".

Same password

I logged into my computer one morning and was surprised to discover a completely different desktop. On investigation I found that I was not logged in as myself, but as one of my colleagues, so it was his desktop I was seeing. How could that happen? He'd used my computer the night before, and when I logged in I just typed my password without looking at the user name it was offering me. And I got in because we both had the same password (for no reason of any connection between us). So when he arrived at work I was able to surprise him with "I know your password".

Gas station encounter

This coincidence needs a bit of back story to understand the impact I felt from it. I headed out relatively late one evening to go to the grocery store. The drive to the store from my house basically involves driving south down one road - it's very simple and straightforward, and takes at most 5 minutes (when there's traffic). When I pulled out of the driveway, I noticed that the car was very low on gas. Because my wife was going to take our kids out somewhere the following day, I stopped at a gas station that's not too far from the house to fill up the tank.

Mrs M. W.

our first grandson was born on my 41st birthday July 1997 our forth grandson was born on our 41st wedding anniversary Aug 2015

Finding a t-shirt (yours) in a faraway land

I heard this coincidence story third-hand, from a professor teaching an undergraduate-level conservation course. She was lecturing about Tambopata, Peru, and went on a tangent about a former student who had been studying (or perhaps doing fieldwork) there. The student was at a market that sold used clothing, and while sifting through the piles of clothes, happened to find a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of his youth sports team with his name and number on the back.

A tale of two Elliots

A few years ago, I was dating someone named Elliot Hughes. We had been together for about two years, and I was planning to move to another state to live with him after a four-month internship (for which I had to live on-site). The internship was in an isolated area, with only a few other people my age living there, and I kept to myself throughout the first three months. Eventually, with just a few weeks left in my internship, a young man struck up a conversation with me. He said his name was Tote. Another week passed, and he invited me and another young woman to play board games.

Getting a funny feeling that someone we hardly knew a decade ago had died

In 1994 my husband was thumped by a man in London: the man had road rage, he had gone completely berserk after a minor car accident involving my husband. We had not known or heard of this man before the incident, he was a complete stranger. We later found out his name from the police who investigated the incident. The man was in his 20s, very young.

School Room Sequence

I entered school in first grade, in Room 3. Each year through sixth grade, my sequence of room numbers was 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18. There was no student who shared my room with me for more than 4 of the years, so I was the only student who fit the 3's sequence. When I went to Jr High for 7th grade, there was no room 21, but my homeroom was 210! I dont remember my high school homeroom number, beyond that it was B2??. But B240 doesnt seem right. I believe I used to lie to myself and say it was B240, but...

Flat mate a complete stranger - same great grandparent

I'm a white female from California. While in graduate school I moved into a shared flat with roommates I didn't know to save money. Everyone I met before I moved in was an Asian female, and that's who I expected to be living with. Before term started, some of the women moved out and a guy moved in. Now I was living with a 6'4" guy from New Jersey with a unibrow, the non-Asian husband of the only woman I hadn't yet met.

1001 Nights

I watched two television shows online that were originally aired on different dates. Both shows referenced 1001 Arabian nights. It is thought the protagonist in these tales is "fate" or "destiny" and in the end of each story destiny "disappears". I had separated from my wife a day before. Her name is Destiny.