Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Birthday dates

Many of our family have been born on the same dates as the Royal Family. My sister was the first one to be known. She was born in Hull on the 14th. of November, 1948, the same day as Prince Charles. She was sent a silver-plated teaspoon as a gift. The spoon was known in our family as "the Charlie spoon".
Total votes: 416
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:32:24 +0000Coincidence ID:3694

Mrs Valerie Shaw

Births My step daughter was born on the same date as my grandfather 100 years later and her daughter was born on the same date as my mother 100 years later. I have always thought that remarkable especially as we are not blood related. Telepathy My youngest daughter and I often contact each other just as one of us was thinking of the other. This can be email, text or phone call and it has been like this for years. It happened when we lived close and still continues now that she lives in Australia.
Total votes: 398
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:30:38 +0000Coincidence ID:3693


Dear Professor Spiegelhalter, Sixteen years ago I woke up in my Paris apartment one Sunday morning and immediately thought of Leslie Crowther. Why Leslie Crowther? A figure I had never thought about since last seeing him in revue in Edinburgh 40 years earlier. At one o'clock London time I tuned into the BBC whose newsreader altered her tone appropriately at the end of the bulletin to announce that "the comedian Leslie Crowther died early this morning." I wondered whether I'd left my radio on overnight. I had not, and in any case the Press Association was not likely to have received and published the news until later in the course of the morning, after I awoke. Not long after, I spent several days suffering from that insufferable condition in which one cannot remember a tune. I had heard it in a movie about the German close harmony group, the Comedian Harmonists. The song: "Das ist die Liebe der Matrosen." Then one Sunday morning (again) I awoke early and there it was! "Das ist die Liebe der Matrosen." I sang it under the shower, sang it over breakfast, sang it on my way through the nearby Luxembourg Garden to a news stand to buy my Observer. Then I doubled back through the Luxembourg Garden to meet a friend for lunch, and entered a street called the rue Fleurus. There I witnessed something which I had never seen before, and have never seen since. Someone standing in the street grinding a barrel organ. A young woman. You have one guess which tune was grinding out of her barrel organ. I pondered whether she had maybe been busy at it at six o'clock in the morning, and that I had heard it in the distance through half-sleep. But no. Not a way to turn a buck at six a.m. on a Paris Sunday morning. I can't make much out of Jung's theory of synchronicity. Instead, I prefer to believe that coincidence is like what the poet said about beauty, that it is in the mind of the beholder. Our human minds are surely conditioned or programmed to start drawing strange conclusions from effect to cause about perceived weird phenomena such as coincidences. Animals in the forest do not cry "Good heavens!" when they suddenly stumble on old chums after a long absence. Surely coincidence is just that -- chance. I also found it of significance that I had started noticing strange coincidences so soon after I had retired and retreated to the relaxed pleasures of life in Paris. Perhaps coincidences are actually much more frequent than generally perceived, and working people simply don't notice them because they're busy, sometimes harassed, suffering from tension and anxiety etc, all conditions likely to undermine the state in which one can be more observant about the quirky little detail of the daily round. Still. My two stories make great tales, and I've dined off 'em more than once. Now I send them to you after just hearing you on Radio Four. Hope they might amuse you. Sincerely Donald A
Total votes: 378
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:29:26 +0000Coincidence ID:3692

Dr Brian Wood

Two coincidences with a point 1. I was a squaddie in the army in Cyprus during the Suez crisis (just to put a time frame). The others in the tent knew I was a biologist, and brought me in a chameleon they had found. We kept this as a pet and admired its fly catching technique. Later, I was employed as entomologist on a citrus plantation there, and was interested to develop the natural biological control of the pests, rather than spraying vast amounts of insecticide. A famous "mentor" from University of California came to see what we were doing. I also mentioned the chameleon, which I had never since found one. He said he would like one (he had a licence to import "predators" into USA). Walking through a field with some others, we were trying to explain what they were. "Well, they are like this" said Paul, and picked one off of the tree we were passing. I never saw another in the wild. 2. In Malaysia I ran with an unserious running group called the Hash House Harriers (now world wide) . My first such pack was in a rather rural area around a small town called Kluang. Some runners were from a nearby British Ghurka army camp and some were in the Planting industry (like me). When the army left the Far East, we Plantation men carried on and occasionally complained that the record books seemed to have disappeared (time late 1960s). After coming back to live in Devon, UK, I had occasion to visit a village about 20 miles away to discuss a property business matter with a colonel, at his house there (about 1999, this was). After our discussion, he showed us some rooms and I said I see from ornaments here that you must have been in the Far East. He agreed, and said of course most was in Hong Kong, but some was in a place I'm sure you have never heard of called Kluang. He went on to say that as well as the army there, a main interest had been something which surely I had never heard of, called the Hash House Harriers. It turned out he had been the secretary in the years when I had been running. With the passage of time, we did not recognise each other (and had not been colonel then). Not only that, but he said he had assumed that as the army left, the whole thing would fold up, and he had kept the books. Since I still had some Far East contacts, he gave them to me, and eventually I got them back to the present organisers of the Kluang Hash, which still flourishes.
Total votes: 403
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:29:19 +0000Coincidence ID:3691

Faulty car radio?

What are the odds of playing a CD on your car CD-player, switching to the radio and your radio is not working? At least, that is what I thought when the radio was playing the exact same song, at the same time, note for note, word for word as the CD I had just switched from. It wasn't anything in the charts either so not something being played frequently. reply.
Total votes: 473
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:55 +0000Coincidence ID:3690

Mr John Mitchell

There we were in bed having a nice cup of tea (thinking about whether to have a boiled egg or a bacon sandwich) while discussing what time we needed to leave tomorrow to go to a house warming party, and up pops the brother of the party's host on the radio. Bizarre!
Total votes: 487
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3689

Car sale

In 1980 (aged 22) I travelled across the USA from East to West with 3 friends in a 2nd hand gold Chevrolet Impala estate car, a journey of 4 and a half months. At the end of the trip, in San Francisco, we sold the car to a group of German lads who were going to travel from West to East. Over a year later we were still travelling abroad (now in Asia - India or Thailand I think) we met another traveller who had also crossed the USA, but had gone from West to East - we did not tell him about our USA trip, but he told us that whilst in the USA he had hitched a ride in a gold Chevrolet estate car that was being driven by a group of German lads who were doing the West-East trip, and who had bought their car in San Francisco. We then realised that it MUST have been the car we had owned and sold to the German guys!!
Total votes: 454
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:28:19 +0000Coincidence ID:3688

Three in one

About two years ago, we had an employee move to a new job and although we were all relatively good friends, we hadn't heard from him nearly five months after he left. During a quiet moment on morning, we were sat around talking and I asked if anyone had heard from Chris? "No", was the reply, and then the phone rang... Sure enough it was Chris making contact. After a brief chat, the phone went down. And rang again. "Could I make an appointment to see Chris please?", was the request from the lady on the phone...
Total votes: 450
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:27:52 +0000Coincidence ID:3687

Strange encounter

My late husband, Bill Embery, from Preston, Lancs., shared his unusual surname with his cousin, also Bill Embery. I was born and raised in Middlesbrough and met Bill when he came over to work at ICI in Redcar. We eventually moved to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, where I worked in the office of a school. One of the teachers returned from a cruise holiday where they had shared a table with Bill Embery and his wife Marie, from Preston, Lancs. Furthermore, that teacher had taught in a Middlesbrough school with her Northern husband and had returned to her home town of Milford Haven where they both were again able to work together.
Total votes: 445
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:27:51 +0000Coincidence ID:3686

birthday coincidence

My sister's son Robbie was born on 11 December 1998, 5 years to the day since my own son Luke was born on 11 December 1993. The funny thing is that Luke was not even due until February 1994, but arrived 10 weeks early after I caught salmonella - very nasty. As far as I know my sister's pregnancy was normal and Robbie arrived on time. Luke became an adult and Robbie a teenager on the same day!
Total votes: 401
Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 09:26:41 +0000Coincidence ID:3685