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was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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This is a series of highly unusual and sinister coincidences that, nonetheless, actually happened Back in July 1980 when I was nineteen, I was a wandering soul in the grip of curiosity when I visited a friend in L A ..California .. I had a romantic view of the American ''wild west'' gained from Hollywood and had a primal/atavistic urge to experience it .I could have merely bought a Greyhound Bus ticket or even went on an organised tour but as a natural loner and adventurer with American history as my guide I thought I'd hitch hike around the West, keeping out of the major cities and urban areas , and staying in campgrounds As things turned out I must have hitch hiked at least 4.5 K miles in a nine or ten week period during the long hot summer of 1980 that took me up the Canadian Rockies, down through Montana, Colorado etc and as far east as Galveston Texas . Indeed, Americans were kind and generous and I never had trouble getting a lift , but once and a while, maybe every 20 th person was ''off'' in some particular way ..maybe they were drunk or on drugs, or something more sinister ! Anyway, the ones who were off were memorable and remember them I most certainly did as decades later when watching crime docs on TV I instantly remembered a number of them as they popped up out of the memory hole like a cork ; the first was ''Wee Willie Pickton'' who gave me a lift in Vancouver BC at the end of July 1980 ... he's suspected of being Canada's most prolific serial killer on his pig farm ; he turned his barn into a nightclub for biker types called ''Piggy Palace good times society'' , but some people didn't have a good time there at all ! About a month later I was hitch hiking on Hwy 40 going east through New Mexico/ Texas panhandle when a fellow gave me a ride ; he was an art teacher and collector who travelled around buying artworks at auctions ; he seemed like a relaxed, serene, but aloof hippy type who didn't talk too much as we rode for over an hour into Oklahoma and he surprised me when I got out to go south into Texas by giving me his business card and telling me if I was ever in Kansas City and needed a place to stay , then just look him up ... many years later I found the card in a cupboard and was baffled at how I'd met someone from KC , but the name on it sounded vaguely familiar so I checked it out and low and behold it was ''Bob Berdellla '' A K A ''The Collector'' who had murdered a number of young men and boys in his Kansas City home (shrug) About a month later I was heading back to LA and was given a ride by an air force guy who told me he was going with 20 miles of my friend's apartment in Torrance CA and so I rode along I had intended to catch a bus back through LA cos I knew it was dangerous as the so called ''freeway killers '' had been in the news , but seeing he was going very close to Torrance and it was broad daylight I thought I'd take the risk ; consequently, we arrived during rush hour traffic about 5 PM , the end of September, and when he stopped to drop me off as I was getting my backpack out of his car I heard a car tooting its horn while parked illegally on the hard shoulder and not quite believing my good luck I ran back up the offramp and got in to be greeted like an old friend by a dapper and articulate fellow whom I guessed was a ''holly roller'' cos he was simply euphoric ; however, I thought different after he quickly offered me a beer ... he then asked me If I wanted to stop at a bar for a drink even though I'd told him I was only nineteen ; he was an obvious Homo, especially after he asked if I wanted to go to a party at his home in Long Beach .. I remained calm and polite until my stop came up but when I got out, I couldn't help but notice that his demeaner had changed radically to that of an angry frustrated cat; indeed, he didn't even say goodbye and when I got back in the apartment, I announced that I had just finished an epic journey and my final ride was from an obvious weirdo ; everyone laughed but I wouldn't have if I had known that it was none other than Randy Kraft A K A ''The Scorecard Killer'' responsible for the murder of up to 67 young men and boys ! It seems like an impossible coincidence that I'd ran into exactly the person I was trying to avoid and yet it happened by bizarre coincidence ; nor did I realise at the time that I was a fugitive from the law of averages and had been playing an unconscious form of Russian Roulette and that if you hitch hike enough miles then you are sure to run into a serial killer as they specifically victimise prostitutes and hitch hikers cos they are the only folks who willingly jump into the cars of complete strangers ; but these events just go to show that life is a series of random events, weird coincidences and near misses About 16 months later I left England in the bleak mid winter and flew down to Sydney where I intended to hitch hike up to Queensland and out to Alice Springs to work on a cattle station ; unfortunately, within 48 hrs off arriving, while up in the Blue Mountains, I was given a lift by the future serial killer, Ivan Milat, who was an Oz version of the hillbillies in the iconic 1970s movie ''Deliverance'' ..He was trawling the roads looking for victims that he could abduct and kill for dirty thrills ...I returned to Oz with a major newsnetwork last year and helped make a crime doc about it ..here YOUTUBE SUNDAY NIGHT IVAN MILAT It seems like an impossible coincidence that I'd run into these creeps , but it's just inevitable if you hitch hike enough miles ; they were like land sharks trawling the roads for victims and I was like a hapless surfer passing through ! Furthermore, I am not sincerely mistaken; I didn't imagine it; I'm a sixty year old man , not a teenage fantasist or a paranoid woman ..even though these events were forty years ago they were still vivid !...I remembered each one of them cos they were ''off'' and memorable in some particular way and when I watched the crime Docs they popped up out of the memory hole like a cork ! In a broader sense these events (and many others) have highlighted the part coincidences play in our lives and the unfolding of History ; indeed, I'd go further and say that coincidence and blind chance plays a major part in the process of biological Evolution ; it's why we Humans exist and the dinosaurs don't .. its why life began on this planet (and many others) in fact I'd hazard a guess, just an intuitive hunch, and say that that in some bizarre way the entire universe has sprung into existence through a series of bizarre coincidences over eons of time ... it wasn't ''god wot dun it '' ... it was mathematical coincidence ! PS/ You may well ask why all these coincidences , both benevolent and sinister, have befallen me ? Well, they happened due to a risk taking M O and sense of adventure that I developed as a misbehaving English schoolboy ; moreover, it took a natural risk taker to highlight the coincidental nature of life .. I didn't merely temp fate , I PROVOKED FATE ! .. and in doing so stumbled haplessly onto the solution to the eternal mystery of existence, insomuch coincidence and fluke chance acts as a catalyst , both speeding up events and sending them into a completely different direction ! When given enough time even the most unlikely coincidences will eventually happen ; and let's face it ''Time ''is something the Universe has lots of !
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Date submitted:Thu, 15 Jul 2021 08:53:08 +0000Coincidence ID:11413