Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

strange happenings in Barcelona

I was fifteen ( now 47 ) and staying in Barcelona with my sister and father at his friends house in Barcelona. Pepe had been telling me that about a year previously his motor-bike had been stolen by thieves. He had reported it to the Police but said he had given up hope of it being found. I don't know to this day why I said this but I immediately looked him straight in the eye and said with great certainty ( which I felt ) that he would get it back 'very soon'. The following day I went to visit La Sagrada Familia and when we returned Pepe was very excited.

Minster meeting

We had gone to York to visit our son for Christmas and decided to go to the Nine Lessons and Carols Service at York Minster on Christmas Eve. You have to get there early because is gets filled up very quickly. I began to have a conversation with the man who I ended up sitting next to who I had never met before. He began to tell me that he and his wife were also visiting their children for Christmas and had so enjoyed it two years previously that he wanted to be there again. We chatted further and I found out that he was retired and had worked for the ICI paint division in Worcester.

Meeting after 147 years

Families meet unexpectedly after 147 years and 10,600 miles apart In July 1980 I was with my husband, Philip O, and our thirteen-year-old daughter in the nave of Westminster Abbey, examining the memorial of James O (1715–1769), when we were approached by a couple from Australia who asked Philip if he could translate the Latin on the brass for them. Robert and Addie O were visiting England hoping to find out more about their family.

Thinking about a famous author - and there he is!

Shortly after it was published, I bought a copy of Laurens van Der Post's 'About Blaby'. A couple of days later I had to go to my bank in the King's Road, Chelsea. As I walked on the pavement I was thinking about Sir Laurens, his book and his interest in coincidence which had been sparked by his friendship with Jung. Just outside the bank I looked across the road and to my astonishment saw Sir Laurens talking to a man. For no reason at all and as if by magic the traffic stopped and I thought, 'why not?,' crossed the road and approached the great man himself.

Bulgarian coincidence

We (Karon and Chris) travelled to Bulgaria to buy a property by arrangement with an estate agent in Bulgaria. On the day we travelled there another couple (Karen and Chris) walked into the same estate agent on spec. looking to buy a property. The estate agent had thought this a strange occurance and told us about it. Two days later we met each other briefly at the estate agents and then waved our goodbyes as we set off on our separate ways to view properties.

Mike in Sydney

We were going to be in Sydney, so was our neighbour Mike. He was on business, we were on holiday, so we didn't make arrangments to meet. We didn't stay in a tourist area. I went to a nearby bar (the only one that served anything but lager). I saw a coach draw up and decided to leave as I wanted a quiet evening. On the way out I met Mike, who introduced me to the crowd he had arrived with, they were all oil industry people having an after-conference drink - all different nationalities.

David B

Back in November 2011 I was in my favourite armchair one Sunday afternoon reading the book 'Vulcan 607' - the story of the Vulcan bombing raid on the runway at Port Stanley during the Falklands war in 1982. Part of the way through I read the name of an AEO (Air Electronics Officer) Terry Anning. I wonder...I thought. Back in 1962 I joined the RAF and did my basic training at RAF Bridgnorth. I met a Terry Anning there and we became friends at the time, teaming up, going out for a beer etc.

Edwina Currie gives me a death stare

About ten years ago I was in the queue in The Windmill Pub on Clapham Common, waiting to order lunch, when my brother-in-law, who was also queuing asked me what I was going to have. I replied by saying that I really fancied a curry. At that moment Edwina Currie, who was immediately ahead of me in the queue, turned around a gave me the most withering of looks

holiday and postcard coincidence

My daughter-in-law's parents met my best friend and her husband for the first time at my mother's funeral in Surrey in October 2006. In January 2007 my daughter-in-law's mother was in New Zealand, sitting on some driftwood on a very remote beach which could only be reached by boat. She was gazing out to sea when, you've guessed it, my best friend went and sat down beside her. Just to enhance the coincidence, the two couples chatted for a while until their relevant water taxis picked them up and they both continued on their seperate trips around New Zealand.

a pea in a pod

My second strange coincidence ( after the one in Barcelona ) occured when I was in my early 20's and working with disadvantaged children in Newcastle. We had taken some children on a caravan holiday to Berwick-upon-tweed. I was out walking with one of the children ( J ) when I told him that I had a strong craving for peas in the pod! I then said why don't we scramble down this cliff to the sea ( it was a bit tricky but we both managed it ) Then we saw a small pile of stones that someone had obviously placed there and right in the middle, you guessed it, a pile of peas in their pods!