06 October, 2015

The Natural Selection Coincidence Of Darwin And Wallace

Charles Darwin

The long arm of coincidence reached out between a sick man in England and another man lying ill with fever on the island of Ternate - that is, between Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

The story begins at Usk, in Wales, where Wallace was born in 1823. Interested in flowers and plants from his childhood, he was introduced to the delights of watching animals and insects by a teacher of English at a Leicester school - H.W. Bates, later to be famous as an explorer and naturalist.

Together they watched and studied insects and plants; carried home their specimens and wrote up their notebooks. When the chance arose, in 1848 Bates and Wallace went to South America as professional collectors.

For four years Wallace travelled through the country of the Amazon and it's tributaries. But those years also brought sorrow. Unknown to Wallace his brother was also exploring the Amazon. Wallace, himself ill with malaria and dysentery, learned his brother had died of yellow fever.

On a journey back to England, the vessel in which he was travelling, caught fire. Forced to take to the lifeboats, there was no chance of saving his collection of skins and specimens. The results of years of work, hundreds of specimens and laboriously written records were destroyed. Wallace never quite recovered from their loss.

It was not until he lay in enforced idleness, recovering from a severe bout of fever, that the answer to many of his questions came to him. His ideas crystallised with the principle of Natural Selection.

Meanwhile In England, Charles Darwin, never well since his voyage in the Beagle, had evolved the same principle. After years of work he had decided to publish the theory. But before he could do so, from the other side of the world - from the island of Ternate - he received Wallace's letter setting forth identical ideas.

Darwin records his astonishment at the amazing coincidence of receiving the notes, agreeing so exactly with his own that the headings of some parts contained practically the same words.

In a letter to a friend, Darwin wrote: "I never saw a more striking coincidence. If Wallace had my MS sketch, written in 1842, he could not have made a better short abstract."

Darwin felt he could not go on with his own publication in the circumstances. However, two other naturalists later persuaded him to have his own and Wallace's papers published jointly and presented before the Linnean Society. Eighteen months later Darwin published The Origin of Species, with which his name will always be associated.

Not so many people know that Wallace, working independently, reached similar conclusions at the same time. He is mostly know today because of  the Wallace Line - described by Wikipedia as: "... a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace that separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia."  His work was recognised by the award of the Order of Merit in 1910. He died in 1913.

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05 October, 2015

Even Doctors Have Incredible Coincidences!

This is another coincidence example from the Daily Mail newspaper by Pheobe Watkins from Kent.

With regards to coincidences, when I was working for a GP [General Practitioner - Doctor], he and his wife went to New Zealand for a holiday.

When he returned, he went to the patient files drawer, removed two and asked me to send them to the local health authority, as they were no longer on out patients list.

When I asked him why, he said that he had been waiting to go on a ferry boat trip In New Zealand when he heard someone call out: "Hello, Dr Brown."

It was two patients who lived in the village but had emigrated to Singapore. They were holidaying in New Zealand too!

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03 October, 2015

A Strange Broken Heart Coincidence

Broken heart

This story is, with thanks, from Audrey T. A broken relationship leads to a strange coincidence.

My long term partner and I parted, it seems he wanted other things from life - including other women.

I was very down but an old friend Julie, who I rarely see as she has moved to Paris, said she would be visiting me the coming weekend. This gave me a lift and I looked forward to seeing her.

I met up with her at London Heathrow airport and she said she was bursting to tell me something.

She told me what had happened. On the plane from Paris she was seated next to another woman and they struck up a conversation. It turned out that she was from Uxbridge, which is where I also live, and Julie asked her almost jokingly if she therefore knew me.

The woman stuttered in an embarrassed way and then stopped talking.

Arriving in Heathrow the woman suddenly turned to Julie and said something not very nice about me, which I won't repeat here. Julie ended the conversation but noticed that the woman was called Anne Burbridge* from her luggage label.

And Anne Burbridge is the name of one of the women who had been having an affair with my ex-partner.

The coincidence quite shocked us. What are the odds that Julie, who I see only perhaps once or twice a year, would be seated next to the woman who was - to put it politely - romantically involved with my ex.

I think that coincidences happen for a reason but I'm not sure of the reason for this particular chance meeting.

* the name has been changed,

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02 October, 2015

The Coincidence Made Her Shriek With Amazement

Woman Shrieks

I saw this coincidence story, from Russell Graham of Leeds, in the Daily Mail newspaper.

As to anecdotes about coincidences this happened to me twice and concerned the same person.

Growing up in the Fifties in Leeds, Mum and a neighbour would discuss their wartime adventures as teenage girls, including their GI boyfriends, and the name of one always stuck in my mind - Bob Bogdanowitz from Denver, Colorado.

Twenty years later, my wife's aunt and uncle were also reminiscing about wartime, saying they were still in contact with a GI they had befriended in Leeds - Bob Bogdanowitz, now a lawyer in Denver. My mother's stories all flooded back.

In 1992, my wife and I were lunching at The Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey, which is not far from Hollywood.

At the next table were two ladies, and we were fascinated by their gossip - one obviously worked in a film studio. But they, on hearing our English accents, were more interested in us.

The studio lady asked where we were from. We told her Leeds, and she confided she wasn't from Hollywood originally but from Denver, Colorado.

I replied that the only person I'd heard of from Denver, was a lawyer called Bob Bogdanowitz.

Her shriek, in a very loud American accent, of 'I know Bob Bogdanowitz!' must have been heard all over California - it certainly woke up the restaurant!

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30 September, 2015

Coincidences Following The Death Of A Loved One

Clement Freud
Clement Freud
Today's story is about death, coincidences and last words. It is the bare bones of an article by Emma Freud, which was published in the magazine, Eulogy, when it launched.

It's about the death of Clement Freud, the grandson of Sigmund, who was well known in the UK as a member of parliament, a knight, chef, broadcaster, author, soldier and raconteur.

Clement Freud died at the age of 84 while he was in the mid sentence of writing an article for The Racing Post. He had a massive heart attack and the last words he wrote were 'and in God's good time'.

His wife has stated that, in his 50+ years of writing, she had never known her husband make any reference previously to God.

At the time of his death his daughter, Emma Freud, was in Copenhagen and she received two calls from her mother trying to tell her about her father's passing. As her phone was switched off she phoned her mother back and heard the news.

Emma says, "I made a noise - a bit like a lion and a bit like a gasp. I instantly felt sorry that my mum had to listen to it."

Now comes the second strange incident. Emma's 13 year old daughter, who was two flights below her in a restaurant, heard her gasp. In Emma's words:

"My daughter incomprehensibly heard it and instantly ran up to me as fast as she could. No one else heard a thing, but something communicated itself down to the basement and she responded in a heartbeat."

In time the funeral and cremation were arranged and Emma decided to sing a song, to her own piano accompaniment, at the ceremony. She chose the classic I'll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places.

Following the cremation, when all of the mourners had left, Emma and her partner decided to walk down to their local ice cream parlour. As they opened the door the speakers were playing Billie Holiday singing I'll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places!

As Emma put it, "Obviously my dad hadn't gone to heaven, he'd gone to Gelato Mio instead. And while he was there he wanted to hear the song sung properly."

It does seem that such coincidences and happenings can be in abundance following the death of loved ones.

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29 September, 2015

The Coincidence Of A Steamer Saved From A Titanic Iceberg

I have published several posts about the ship Titanic and coincidences. Here's a further coincidence story that has connections with the Titanic and it's one I haven't mentioned previously.

There was a young seaman called William Reeves. He was on watch in the bow of a steamer heading to Canada from Tyneside in north-west England. The year was 1935. The month was April - the same month of Titanic's sinking. Reeves became obsessed with thinking about Titanic's downfall. He felt some strong negative feelings about his voyage.

The thoughts of danger took shape in the seaman's mind as he remained on watch. He strained his eyes looking for any signs, but could see nothing but the gloom and darkness. He felt though that something was wrong, but couldn't say why. He felt too scared to shout out any alarm for fear of ridicule.

His feelings of doom, however, became stronger when he realized the date was April 14, the same day the Titanic sank. He risked making a fool of himself and shouted out a danger warning, The helmsman immediately rang the signal: engines full astern.

The ship churned to a halt ... just yards from a huge iceberg which towered high out of the water. There were also other icebergs crowded round the steamer. It took nine days before the Newfoundland icebreakers could smash a clear path for the steamer.

By another strange coincidence the steamer was called the Titanian.

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Titanic Pictures, Posts And Stories
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28 September, 2015

The Lands Where Man Has A Dog's Head

Men with dog's head Nacumera

So, was mankind once crossed with canines? Okay, probably not many readers will believe this to be the case but ...

The Koniagas, a tribe of North American Natives, trace their pedigree back to a dog. And the legends of a breed of men with dog's head is a recurring one in many different civilisation. For example ...

One of the best accounts is by Sir John Mandeville, who wrote ...

Men go by the sea ocean by many isles, unto an isle that is called Nacumera, that is a good isle and fair. And it is in compass about more than a thousand mile. And all the men and women of that isle have hounds' heads, and they be called Cynoceptales (Greek for 'dog heads'). And they be full reasonable and of good understanding, save that they worship an ox for their God. And also every one of them beareth an ox of gold or of silver in his forehead, in token that they love well their God. And they go all naked save a little clout. They be great folk and well-fighting. And they have a great targe [shield] that covereth all the body, and a spear in their hand to fight with. And if they take any man in battle, anon they eat him.

Marco Polo said that these people lived in the Andaman Islands in The Bay of Bengal.

Also in some depictions of St. Christopher in Eastern art he is shown with a dog's head. There is a reason for this though ...

St. Christopher with a dog's head

The legend is that St. Christopher was very handsome and was therefore continually pestered by women - how awful this must have been. So he prayed to be given a dog's head as protection.

Back in ancient Egyptian times there was also the cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis.

Well with all of this, no wonder a dog is Man's Best Friend ...

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