Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Death of relative

In 1994, in my capacity as Vice-Chair of my local Royal Naval Assoc. branch, I was invited to attend a commemoration service at St. Mary le Strand in memory of the death of several Wrens on the torpedoing and sinking of the SS Khedive Ismail in 1944. It was a very moving service not only for the dead Wrens but for all who died, some 1500 in all. In 2001 my last surviving Aunt (sister to my mother) asked me if I could find out how her brother, Stanley Birch, had died. He was an able seaman and had died at sea in 1944.

Telephone call

My 15 year old son was walking past a telephone box on his way to the local sports centre. The box is half a mile away from our home. The phone rang and being a curious teenager he answered it saying 'hello'. The person on the other end said 'hi Jason (my sons name), is Gina there?' It was a friend of mine. My confused son said 'no not here' and put the phone down. Totally stunned as if in a dream, he hotfooted it home and recounted the incredulous incident! What a coincidence!!

Work coincidences

A few years ago a new neighbour moved into the flat next door to me, the sister of the previous owner and I had only met her a couple of times in passing on the stairs. We have now become firm friends and have shared information about ourselves. We were surprised to discover that we have both worked for the same solicitor, Westwood Morris & Co, Waterloo Street, Birmingham, but several years apart, and were able to share information and annecdotes about those who worked for that company.

Mutual friend identified

My brother-in-law was on a very small commuter plane in Maine when the young woman next to him said (in a Southern US accent) that she had had a professor in England whose accent was just like his. He responded as follows: 'You are a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and you spent your junior year in Reading, England where you took a course in British Politics from Alan Alexander'. He responded to her look of astonishment by telling her he was psychic!

coincidence of radio and singing

My sister turned off the radio, which was playing an opera, and my mother objected that she was listening to it. My sister said she didn't want to listen to... and then say three notes in a mocking high falsetto. When my mother turned the radio back on, the singer say exactly the same notes in the same rhythm.

Meeting a freined abroad

Some years ago I was in Sydney, and wanting to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I was searching for the way to get up onto the bridge walkway. Just below the bridge was a large shop/souvenir store, so I went in to ask directions. There were alot of people in there, so I searched around to find someone to ask the question of. I ended up going to one of the counters and started to ask the girl for directions, when, halfway through my question, I noticed her looking at me oddly. Are you ... by any chance... Jamie D W, she asked?

mutual relatives

A new boy joined my son's class (in Buckinghamshire). He became friends with my son and I discovered that his mother's paternal uncle was married to my paternal aunt so we had mutual first cousins, though unrelated. The mother had been brought up in Ireland, I had been brought up in Zimbabwe.

Traveling to France

Last Summer we set off to France for a camping holiday. While on the boat I bumped into a man who works for a friend, Bob. I said hello and went on my merry way. The next morning as we were queueing on the boat to get onto the car deck, Bob and his partner were behind us on the stairs. We headed off across France towards the camp site. My daughters were getting restless so we decided to stop in motorway service station. After a bite to eat I went to use the gents.

Small world

I was in South Africa researching the possibility of my company promoting an ice-skating show in the country. There hadn't been an ice-show there for more than 20 years. Apartheid had just ended and it seemed the right time to bring a show to the country. Travelling on a small plane (12 seats) I was in conversation with the man sitting next to me and after about 20 minutes, it turned out that he was an ice-engineer who worked on the ice-shows some 20 years previously. He was also very close friends with the female promoter who I had wanted to track down to discuss the subject.

Radio coincidence

I listen to Radio 4 (speech radio) all day most of the time. The number of times that I hear the same word as I’m typing (or saying or reading) is so astonishing that I started to note them until the list got too long and time consuming to keep up. These words aren’t common conjunctions or anything, they are often not the sort of word you’d expect to come across in an average day let alone at the same moment, sometimes several times a day.

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