Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

The Gas Cap

After graduating college, I took a long road trip with my best friend (very long - the Alaskan Highway). We took his car, and traded turns buying gas. At one gas station somewhere in a remote stretch of British Columbia or the Yukon Territory, it was his turn to buy gas, and he discovered upon opening the tank door that the gas cap was missing. There was only one real explanation and it was clear who to blame. We hadn't stopped since our last refueling a few hundred miles before, so I must have failed to replace the gas cap on his car at the last station.

Traveling in Europe

I was in Europe traveling with a tour group. We took a train from Paris overnight to Pisa. On the train myself & some other women on the tour met up, and hung out, with an older woman & her 40ist year old daughter - all partying in the dining car until it closed. We parted ways in Pisa. Our group toured Pisa then traveled to Florence to spend a day or so & tour there. We were then on to Rome for a couple days before we flew home.

Double chance meeting on the other side of the world

On a Saturday in my early 20's, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Tokyo when I recognized a woman walking by as being someone I'd gone to high school with in Connecticut (USA). After I stopped her to say hello, her husband turned as well and he turned out to be someone I had gone to college with in Massachusetts.

German Soldier in Virginia

I was working in Virginia many years ago, with a lot of former military guys. One of them was telling a story about how, while stationed in Germany, he would get a lot of strange looks from locals when he went off-base in his uniform. I interjected -- "wouldn't you find a German soldier, fully armed, walking the streets of suburban Virginia, pretty odd as well?" That same day I went across the street to fill up my car. When I got out, there was a military Jeep being filled up on the same pump as mine, but on the other side. I looked at the man at the pump, and he was...

Housing Chemistry

I attended high school in small-town New Hampshire and graduated in '89. I eventually settled in Boulder, CO. I recently sold my house in Boulder and the purchaser turned out to be my high school chemistry teacher from New Hampshire who I had not seen in 26 years. I recognized him the instant I walked into the closing. It brought back a flood of bad memories...I was a horrible chemistry student.

Where's my plane ticket?

Lost my plane ticket in Salzburg, Austria. Two weeks later I was in line at a hostel in Luxembourg and started talking to two guys in front of me, who I never met before. They recognized my name. They had found my plane ticket and tried to sell it.

Las Amarillas Calandrias

I drew this self-portrait to give to my friend Daniel the last day I saw him, to remember me by, when I graduated from university. I had drawn myself releasing yellow birds from a cage and flying to him and singing along with his guitar-playing, as he sat inside the moon, above a desert night scene. I was purposely doing the picture of myself in the style of Frida Kahlo's magical realist self-portraits.

grandma hawk

My mother passed away in 1999 when my younger child was one and during the mourning period, while friends and relatives were at my house, I took my son outside on my shoulders. Within two minutes a hawk came over and circled approximately 15 feet over our heads. I'd seen hawks in the neighborhood before, but never so close. I said, out loud, "that's grandma Edie hawk," because as children my brother and I often said our mother watched us like a hawk. Fast forward to exactly one year later at the cemetery.

Social Security Number

I dated a woman for 5 years. About 3 years into our relationship, I was helping her fill out financial aid forms for a university program, and saw her social security number. I immediately noticed that the last four digits were the exact reverse of my own (e.g. EHGD vs DGHE). The coincidence did our relationship no good in the long run, but we both remarked at how improbable that must be.

A bit of a darker coincidence

I had an old friend who passed away recently from a drunk driver. When I initially thought about the scenario, I imagined a specific intersection near his house. Yes, since it's near his house the chances are higher than anywhere else, but still it was at that very intersection that he got hit.