Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

A French coincidence

On holiday in Paris standing by Sacre Coeur talking about how I wished I had paid more attention in French lessons while at school. Turned around and saw my old French teacher - Madame Laurent!!! Had left school years before and never seen her either before or after this.

Birth and Death Coincidence

I was born on August 17th 1939; my only child was born on August 17th 1968. I remarried in the 70's and my second husband always made a joke of the fact that August 17th was my special day as, being an avid reader of fiction I always pointed out the fact that that date often figured in the plot. He used to sarcastically say that anything important was bound to happen on August 17th. He died suddenly and unexpectedly aged 58, of an Abdominal,Aeortic Aneurism, on August 17th 1996, thus ensuring that that date could never be truly celebrated again.

Meeting a neighbour abroard

I collect fire wood and was in the local woods one day when a man approached me and questioned what I was doing. I assured him I was just collecting dead wood. He actually lived in the same road as myself but some distance away. Some months later we were staying at out flat in the small Spanish town of Santa Pola and having a drink, in a favourire beachside cafe. Four people walked in and sat at the next table. I realised that the nearest man was the man from the woods and asked if he had a brother living in Redditch. We have now become friends.

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.