Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Two near-disasters

I spent a weekend on retreat in a small cabin with no phone, computer, or other communication. I went for a walk in the afternoon. A big storm came up, the sky turned green, I heard a sound like a runaway train, and thinking it might be a tornado, I ran back toward the cabin. As I was crossing a road, a very large tree fell. The trunk hitting the ground ten feet from me made the ground shake; a nearby truck was speared by a branch; but I was not hurt.


Human life came to exist on (probably?) the ONLY planet in the universe that happens to have 2 neighbors, which coincidentally have distance and size so perfectly offsetting, that we have these events where one fits perfectly inside the other, from our vantage point! Incredibly, the cultures that came before us thought of this as profound and formed their entire cosmology around this fact, yet if you ask an average person the trick question, which one is bigger on the retina, the sun or the moon, they will think about it and then make a guess.

An unknown cousin

As a prologue, I have explain that I inherited rather distinctive last name. Chances are, that if we share my last name, we're related. In the 90s, I worked my way through college working in a gas station. Routinely, people would pas for gasoline with a credit card, so I would learn the names of random people. One day, a gentleman handed me his credit card. In processing his purchase, I noted we shared a last name. When I told him this, he didn't believe me. I had to show him my driver's license to prove it.

Foreign Exchange Student

In 1989 I was teaching English at a high school in Istanbul, Turkey. In one of my classes there was an American foreign exchange student. When she introduced herself she told me she was from California, where I am also from! I asked if she was from northern or Southern California...she was from Los Angeles, just like me. I asked her what part of Los Angeles, and she said the Pasadena area, which is where I was from. Then I asked her what high school she attended, and she said she went to a small, girls' Catholic school.

Backstreet Boy Love

I grew up in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s with a group of girls who all love (LOVED) the Backstreet Boys. Of course, the Backstreet Boys never toured the Middle East and it wasn't until our first year of college that we got to see them live in Canada. At that time, I was studying in Lebanon and my friends were studying in Montreal. They implored that my friend and I fly to Montreal to visit them and attend the concert as a reunion and nostalgia fest.

Twice Chance Encounters

I grew up in Virginia and when I was in high school, I had a massive crush on a guy who was a senior when I was a freshman (2003). In August of 2006, I traveled to the south of Italy and we ran into each other on the top of Pompeii. Later, in June of 2008, I traveled to Barcelona and we ran into each other crossing a street near Las Ramblas.

Of Number 3

Number 3 has been following me most of my life. To start with I was born on the 30th and my numerology number is 9 (3x3). Since then most of my addresses had a house or flat number 3. My marriage lasted 3 years. After the failed marriage I found my beloved partner who happened to be my 3rd serious relationship and we only got together for the third time (after the first 2 times we broke up) . That's when I've noticed that his car plate number was in fact 333.

Chance Encounter

I went to film school with a guy named Zack. We weren't super close, but we worked on some films together and were friendly. </p> <p>I graduated August 2005. I moved to Los Angeles for an internship at a small film production company in Beverly Hills. I lived in a house in Hollywood. I did little else at this time besides go to work and go home and do more work. So most of my routine kept me in that small area. The exception was church.

Wait...I know this dog?

I was driving home. As I pulled onto the street toward my house, I noticed in my rearview mirror, something big and black in the road. It occurred to me that it was a dog, laying in the shade of a tree in the middle of the street. I drove over, got out of my car, and walked up to the dog (a lovable black lab) who was all too happy to continue laying in the street wagging his tail. I walked him to the sidewalk, looked at his collar, and called the number. The woman who answered became very concerned, primarily because she lived in Florida, 1700 miles away.

Happy Birthday Randy

My name is Randy. I went to New York for the first time on my 29th birthday. As I was walking down 8th avenue for the first time, I happened to glance down at the sidewalk and saw where someone had scratched in the cement when it was first poured. It said "Happy Birthday Randy."