Saturday, October 31

The Biggest Coincidence Of All Is That You Are Reading This

Coincidence meeting

Have been pondering a little about coincidences and fate, destiny and all that sort of thing. I didn't reach any final conclusions - I never do, I'm not sure anyone does. But when you think about such aspects of life it does make you realise the fragility of life and the miracle that any of us are here right now. We are one big coincidence.

If you take yesterday's post as an example. Two people met by coincidence, or whatever you may prefer to call it. As a consequence they went on to marry and have six children, 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. If they hadn't have met that's 32 people who would never have been born - and hundreds, maybe thousands, possibly even many more to come in the future

It's the same with any of us if our grand-grand-grand-grand parents had never met, perhaps by accident - and going backwards in time to many, many more levels - then you wouldn't be reading this now and I wouldn't have written this post. We wouldn't be here - or would we?

Are we all just coincidences, fortunate to be here at odds of millions to one against, or is there something deeper behind why we are here at this time?

I won't ramble on, but our brief existence on earth, at this time, is a pretty remarkable coincidence, to say the least. Or maybe not ...

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Friday, October 30

Fate Or Coincidence Brought Two Lonely People Together

Based on The Lonely Ones 1895 by Edvard Munch
Two Human Beings, The Lonely Ones, Edvard Munch 1895
diamond wedding anniversary coincidence
Here's a little story to make you go ahhhh! Reg and Christine Upton of Anslow in Staffordshire, England say that a 'moment of coincidence' led them to celebrating their diamond wedding.

Over 60 years ago they both had dates in a local park but both were stood up. So, with the help of fate or coincidence, the two wallflowers got together instead - in a perfectly respectable way, of course. And now they have celebrated their 60th anniversary with 140 guests.

Reg and Christine have five sons, one daughter, 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Reg told the Burton Mail, "I am proud to say that we are still as much in love as we were when we first met and we would do it all over again if we could. I still remember when we first met. I was 19 and Chris was 17, and I remember having to pay for everything at the wedding.

After paying for the food and all the bits and bobs, we literally had a few pence to last us a week – but it was worth it. And on our wedding night, I had to go out and milk the cows, so we spent the next morning in bed with a cup of tea and a cream cake.

We still love each other as much as we did then and still hold hands while we are on holiday and we love each others company."

I guess some things are just meant to be.

Nearly forgot: ahhhh!

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Thursday, October 29

How A Good Turn Was Returned By A Remarkable Coincidence

Tin chicken

A quite remarkable coincidence story today seen in today's Daily Mail newspaper, it was from J. Newbigging from Lincolnshire, England. As well as being a coincidence it also demonstrates how good turns are often returned.

In the sixties I was stationed with a British Army cavalry unit in Germany. I was given the task of taking four troopers out on a character building exercise.

This three-date stint involved being taken by truck and dumped somewhere we didn't know with only a compass, a map, a change of underclothes and a sleeping bag.

We had to arrive back at a rendezvous at a given time and were not allowed to carry any cash. We also had to forage for food and were allowed to sleep only in cowsheds.

On the third day, weary and hungry, we arrived at a very pretty village somewhere in Bavaria. We noticed that there was a fountain spurting water, so we rushed to it to fill our water bottles. While we were doing so, we were told off by some very irate villagers. We couldn't understand what they were saying, but we did understand the manner in which they were saying it!

We were trying to sort out the trouble when along came a gentleman who addressed us in very good English and offered us a place in his house, or as it turned out, farmhouse.

We were well fed, wined and dined and given beds to sleep in - this gentleman was very generous.

We got into conversation, and it transpired that he had been a Prisoner of War in the UK and said that he had been held at Oxford.

That was where I once lived and I told him that when I was 11 in the Forties I had made friends with some German prisoners (against Mum's instructions) digging out the ditch at the bottom of our road.

I used to give them bits of wood and tin, and they used to make the most fabulous toys that we children could then buy for pennies.

I told him one German prisoner made a toy called a pecking chicken, and gave it to me for bringing him wood and tin as I didn't have enough pennies to pay for it.

I was astonished when our host told me he had been that prisoner and that he well remembered that scruffy 11-year-old, who was me, 20 years later.

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Tuesday, October 27

Mystery Of The Joseph, Mary And Jesus Caskets Discovery

Jesus carrying his cross, 5th century casket panel

In 1980 researchers in Jerusalem got quite excited when they found three burial caskets, which they dated from the 1st century. Okay no great discovery, but there was another important bit to the find. The caskets each bore a name: Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

The oblong limestone caskets contained no bones, and were excavated from a building site near Jerusalem.

Israel's Antiquities Authority and other archaeologists quickly poured cold water on the find. They dismissed it as a coincidence, saying the names Joseph, Mary and Yehoshua - or Jesus - were common in the 1st century.

The Rev. Murphy O'Connor, a biblical scholar explained: "They're all very common names, perhaps the most common. It would be a statistical abnormality if you didn't find them in conjunction at same point."

He went on to say that scholars believe Joseph was probably buried in Galilee, in what is now northern Israel, and that Mary's body is believed to have been assumed by God into Heaven while the Bible says that Jesus ascended to Heaven.

So what could have been one heck of a find turned out to be a coincidence - with no real meaning ... probably!

I thought that was the end of the story (and my post) but then came across something the Daily Mail wrote in 2012 - to quote their words:

The so called Jesus Family Tomb was only examined; briefly before protests by Orthodox Jews, concerned about the disturbance of a grave site, ended the excavation. It was then sealed up, and a tower block built over it.

However James Tabor, a scriptural scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and documentary film maker Simcha Jacobovici were determined to continue the research. The pair obtained permission from the Israeli government in 2010 to use the robotic arm to drill holes allowing them to explore the surrounding area. This led to the discovery of a separate chamber which they named the 'Patio Tomb', as it sits almost directly below the patio of the building.

 It was inside the Patio Tomb that they found the inscriptions*. The pair claim the inscriptions discovered inside the patio tomb greatly increase the likelihood that the 'Jesus Family Tomb' is indeed, the resting place of Jesus.

The inscriptions* mentioned above and 'seen' by the robotic arm reads; Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up, Human bone was also found.

The mystery will continue because ... because that's what happens.

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Monday, October 26

Do You Know Larry Coincidence

Do you know Larry?

Today's coincidence story is from PeachyLogic.

I moved to Youngstown, OH after my husband and I got out of the Army. My husband is Italian and had an unusual last name and many times in Youngstown (when I wrote a check, or was introduced to someone) I would be asked, "Oh, do you know Larry?" who was, in fact my husband's cousin. He was also pretty popular considering how many times I was asked that question!

I flew home to see my sister in Sacramento, CA about a year after I moved to Youngstown, OH. We were outside in her front yard when her next door neighbours pulled into their driveway. She called them over and introduced me.

Immediately the husband said, "Oh, do you know Larry?" I remember actually feeling dizzy and faint I was so shocked. It turned out that this man had lived in Youngstown years before and knew my husband's cousin!

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Sunday, October 25

The Striking Coincidence Of Dates From 1853


I found this story in a newspaper from September 10, 1853, so it's not exactly up to date news! But it illustrates that the media have been noticing coincidences for many, many years. I've copied the following word for word.

On the 18th of June 1815 the English and French were engaged in desperate conflict at Waterloo.

On the same day of the same month in 1853, the English and French fleets were at anchor off the Dardanelles, engaged in a common cause.

On the 14th of June, 1807 Napoleon conquered the troops of Alexander of Russia at Friedland, and the two monarchs at the subsequent interview at Tilsit, took counsel as to whether, together, they could not humble the naval power of England.

Forty-six years later, day for day the navies of England and France are united to resist the encroachments of the Muscovite. The brother of Alexander and the nephew of Napoleon do not act in concert, but in hostility.

That a half century, however, should produce such changes is not surprising, but the coincidence of dates is striking.

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Friday, October 23

Getting Drenched With Water Was A Pleasure - Coincidence

Mountains of Spain

Not sure what made me remember this - the time I attracted water when I didn't have any! Though you'll probably say it was just a coincidence.

We were in the south of Spain on holiday (my son was 10 or 11, so it was a while back!). We set off in a small hired car up into the mountains. I can't remember exactly where we were headed but the roads became narrower and narrower as we went higher and higher. We hadn't seen another car or vehicle for over an hour ... then our car suddenly decided to grind to a halt.

Luckily there was a space where we could pull over, opposite was a sheer drop. The car had overheated and the radiator was empty. I wasn't too sure what to do. We needed water to fill the radiator and I then figured we could just about turn round and head back to civilisation.

Only problem was the mountains were completely parched and it was very hot. I went off for a walk to try and find some water, perhaps a small stream but no such luck. There was nothing about and no villages for many miles according to the map.

Strangely I felt very relaxed about the situation. I went off again in the other direction and after a few hundred yards sat on a big rock looking at the wonderful view. I then started to think about water - lots of it, gushing everywhere and asked - I'm not sure who - to help me.

I wandered back to the car and my wife and son were getting quite anxious. I told them not to worry as we'd get some water soon. Not sure if I believed this fully, especially when asked, "Yes, but how?"

Moments later a lorry was coming down the road towards us. The first vehicle we had seen for ages and ages. The lorry pulled up and the driver said something or other. I don't speak Spanish so, with hand signals and random words, I indicated that we wanted water.

It was then I noticed the back of the lorry held a big circular tank and, yes, it was filled with water!

The driver beckoned me to the back of the lorry and I stood there with a small bucket he had given me. He turned a handle at the back of the drum and suddenly a powerful jet of water gushed all over me and virtually knocked me over. I was drenched from head to toe but couldn't help but laugh - as did my wife and son.

To cut a long story short the lorry had been delivering water to some of the small homesteads high in the mountains. Our car engine cooled, I filled up the radiator with water (plus a bottle for emergencies), just about turned the car round - though very apprehensive of the sheer drop - and then slowly drove down the mountain until finally we reached where we were staying on the coast.

My 'request' for water gushing everywhere certainly came true. It was as if the universe - or whoever, whatever - was playfully saying, "So you wanted water ... I'll give you water!"

Some will say that the lorry was heading in my direction anyway, but to me - and the way it felt at the time - it was like my request had been granted.

"Ask and it will be given to you ..."
"If you don't ask, you don't get ..."

Or any other quotes you can think of!

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Thursday, October 22

The Australian Tea Dance Coincidence

Tea dance clip art

Here's a short coincidence story I saw in the Daily Mail newspaper from B.H. Faulkner of Chellaston, Derby England.

Many years ago, my wife and I went on holiday to stay with an aunt and uncle in Adelaide, South Australia.

They lived in an elderly persons' retirement complex that had a community hall, where we were invited to a tea dance afternoon to meet some of their friends.

The lady who was serving the teas approached our table and asked if we were Mr and Mrs Stanway's relatives.

When we told her yes, she asked where we were from and when we replied 'from Derby', she told us that she was originally from Derby too.

Then we added that we were from Chellaston and she was amazed and so were we. And to add to the coincidence, she said she had a friend in Chellaston who kept a shop.

My wife said: 'I used to work for her in the shop!'

What a coincidence all those miles away.

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Wednesday, October 21

Is A God Pulling The Strings Of Coincidence?

God pulling the strings

There are numerous opinions as to what coincidence or synchronicity really is. Today we look at the religious stance as to why they come about. The following is by Robert Schuller.

I met my travel agent and made plans for a world tour. At the same time another minister 2,000 miles away from my home made plans to take the same trip.

Neither of us knew at the time we would be travelling together. And by pure "coincidence" we were joined in a journey around the world.

We lived together, day after day and week after week. We rode camels together, croseed deserts together, grew weary and half-ill in Africa together,

Little did I know at that time that this man would later be a minister of evangelism in my church. Coincidence? No God's guidance!

Sometimes God guides us through a sudden impulse or intuition by coincidence - which is to say, by no human intervention something happened to determined a destiny. Paths crossed. Strangers met for the first time. An encounter took place which was destined to change the entire course of a life, or a family or a nation, or a world.

Some people call it coincidence. I call it Divine Providence.

So is there a God pulling the strings of coincidence ...

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Tuesday, October 20

The Ghost Has Followed Her For 12 Years

Ghostly reflections

Further to my post yesterday June Raymond told me of her experience of seeing a ghost. She has only seen the one, but has seen it on and off for 12 years. June writes:

A ghost has been plaguing me on and off over the last twelve years. I even saw it when on my honeymoon, which slightly spoilt the mood!

The ghost does speak to me but only says, in a whispering voice, "Elizabeth, Elizabeth," while staring at me with glaring eyes. She is dressed in Victorian clothes with a full skirt,

Recently, while staying in a hotel, I saw the ghost again. It was about 15 feet from me, it gave me the willies. I'm not into spiritual things. I'm a normal married woman with a family but for some reason I do see this ghost. It's not my imagination.

The first time I encountered the ghost was when I went to stay with friends at a vicarage for a holiday. My friend told me to pick a bedroom from the ones they had free, The room I chose was quite cold, even though it was a summer day. Suddenly I heard a voice whispering, "Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth." I panicked and ran from the room. None of the others could hear or see the ghost.

Since then the ghost has been with me on and off. It disappears for a few months, but then returns and I see it for a while. Nobody else sees or hears anything.

It doesn't frighten me any more. I ignore it and after a few days it goes away. I'm not aware of anyone called Elizabeth in my family tree.

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Monday, October 19

The Ghost Or Spirit On My Stairs

Vist from a ghost

I must admit I have never seen a ghost or spirit myself, but I have felt a presence and have noticed a lingering smell - such as my dad's blend of tobacco following his death. I've also experienced things like my father's watch stopping at the time my son was born. I think I may have heard something as well ...

This happened when my wonderful mum was near to drawing her last breath. She had only days to live so it was a very emotional time. Two days before she died I was in the bathroom having an early morning shower when my wife called out that she was popping down to the local shop for something. "Won't be long," she said.

Ever near us, though unseen ...
the fair immortal spirits tread;
For all this boundless universe is life;
there are no dead.

~ Bulwer-Lytton
I finished my shower and all was quiet as I dried myself, when I heard someone slowly coming up the stairs, their footsteps slow and precise. I took no real notice as I presumed it was my wife back already.

I got dressed and made my way downstairs for breakfast when I heard my wife at the front door. She told me she had just returned. "But I heard you come up the stairs," I said.

"Well it wasn't me," she laughed.

Puzzled and a little apprehensive I searched the house and felt quite relieved that there was nobody about! It would have been impossible for anyone to get in as all of the doors and windows were locked - and yet I definitely heard someone coming up our stairs and passing the bathroom.

My wife did say that it was perhaps my mum paying a last visit. Then I remembered another incident from when I was a child of probably five or six.

I was home from school as I hadn't been well. At the time we lived upstairs in a flat (apartment). Suddenly my mum and I heard slow footsteps coming up the stairs. I remember being terrified listening to the steady tread continuing towards our living room.

The door opened and it was my grandmother! The front door was unlocked so she had just walked in. This was the one and only time she ever visited our flat, even though we lived there for nearly thirteen years - I won't go into the reasons as to why.

I remember vividly to this day how, when she came through the door, I was shaking with fear because I didn't know who it could possibly be.

The steps sounded exactly the same as those on my own stairs that morning.

It may seem fanciful to some, but could it have been either my mother or her mother on the stairs that day?

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Saturday, October 17

My Short Police Career And The Freemasons

This is just me rambling on. I was talking to someone today who was going on about how much influence the Freemasons have within many countries, including the UK and USA. He said not to be fooled by their charity work, as there is a lot more to the organisation than that.

I guess I knew this myself as I have published a few post about the Freemasons including Freemasons: The Solemn Obligation Of A Master Mason. Strangely though, talking to this man, rooted out a long distant memory.

When I left school at 16 years 9 months I went into Police College in London. After some training I was given a police cadet's uniform and a chain with a whistle and a key to open Police Boxes - like Dr Who's Tardis - and was attached to a Police Station. A naive boy in the big, wide world!

 I got on okay, at least I thought I did. There was a panic one day as the Police Commissioner (in charge of London policing) was arriving. I was told I would have to offer him tea when he arrived. "Okay," I said. The old sergeant looked at me, shook his head, and said, "You'll make a good copper one day, because if I'd said Jesus Christ was coming you still wouldn't have been bothered" That was the nearest I ever got to any praise or compliment.

Then they posted another cadet to the Police Station. We often had to work on things together but, to my mind, he never knew what he was doing! I worked very hard on one particular project but when it was finished the Superintendent in charge praised the other cadet for a job well done.

I was a bit miffed as I felt I had done all the work. The old sergeant noticed this and took me to one side and explained that the Superintendent's attitude was because he, and the cadet's father were at the same Lodge. I didn't know what a Lodge was, let alone who the Freemasons were. The sergeant went into great detail and explained that if I wanted to get on within the Police I should somehow join the Freemasons at the earliest opportunity. According to him this was how to get rapid advancement, and was why he, who wasn't a Freemason, never made it further than sergeant.

Okay, that was all a long time ago, but it makes you wonder ...

As for my police career. it ended at 18 years 9 months when I failed the eyesight test in a medical and was told I would have to wear glasses. This meant it was the end of the police for me and my wish of becoming a detective!

Looking back, though, I'm very glad things worked out as they did!

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Thursday, October 15

Free Beethoven Music By Coincidence


Here's another coincidence story, though not my own. This one is from parapsychologist Alan Vaughan.

While Alan was a student he wanted to posses the nine Beethoven symphonies, which had recently been released as a deluxe box set of records by the N.B.C. Orchestra. Being a student he couldn't afford the record set.

At the time, to help with his studies financially, he had a part time job in a public library and (by coincidence?) someone ordered the very set of records he desired through the library. When they arrived Alan was amazed to see that two sets had been sent but the bill was for one. The spare set he considered to be a gift of providence to him, an impoverished college student, who loved music.

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Tuesday, October 13

The Pizza Answered A Question From Her Dead Mother!


Today's coincidence is from author David Richio, writer of such books as The Five Things We Cannot Change. What the coincidence illustrates is (perhaps!) how questions can be answered by the most basic of every day items - in this case a pizza!

"One evening, my friend's cousin, Concetta, a middle aged woman, whose mother died recently, was sitting with her father in the house where she had grown up. Her husband would be coming later to pick her up to return to their home.

As her father dozed off, Concetta was reminiscing about her mother and was wondering if their was a heaven or any afterlife. Suddenly she found herself saying, "Ma, if there is another world, send me a slice of pizza."

Shortly thereafter, Concetta's husband called from a pizzeria to tell her he would not be able to pick her up but that her brother would come instead. She said, "That's fine," and was about to hang up when Tony added, "And, by the way, he's bringing you a slice of pizza."

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Monday, October 12

Identical Twins Meet By Coincidence After 21 Years

Clip art twins

Mistaken identity led George Cain to meet Brent Tremblay, his identical twin brother after being separated for 21 years.

George and Brent met at Carleton University in Ottawa where the other students repeatedly confused them, calling them mirror images of each other,

After becoming good friends, they decided there must be some sort of connection. Blood tests revealed they were long-separated twins.

A lawyer, Garry Watanabe, representing the mother of the twins said, "It's a pretty interesting coincidence, even that they ever met."

When the boys were infants their mother, Laura Cain, temporarily placed her twins in foster care,when she had some difficulties to work through.

Two months later she married the boys' father, Randy Holmes, and asked for her children back. She got one of her babies, George, but incredibly was also given another child, instead of her other twin, she had named Marcus.

Following blood tests it was shown that Marcus was not related to Randy Holmes, and established that Brent and George were in fact the real twins.

Brent was mistakenly adopted and raised by Carol and Jim Tremblay.

The twins must have been fated to meet up again.

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Saturday, October 10

A UFO Forced Him Into The Bus Lane - So He Had To Pay A Fine!

UFO in bus lane

Here's an unusual excuse for driving in a Bus Lane.

When police caught him driving in the wrong lane he told them that he was forced to swerve into the Bus Lane to avoid a spaceship that was hurtling towards him. Yes, the old UFO excuse!

He launched an appeal about his fine and said how he would never normally stray into a bus lane, but he had to take avoidance action as the UFO approached him.

His excuse didn't impress the Southwark Council. Officials said that the camera used to record his misdemeanour did not show any UFO. He was therefore fined £120 (about USA $200).

A council spokesman said, "UFOs unfortunately do not count as legitimate reasons for overturning a fine."

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Friday, October 9

Creepy Coincidence Of The Indian Idols

Hindu Idols

Here's, what is described as, a creepy story. It all goes way back to 1910 and it's about the reports of a curious series of coincidences in connection with some Indian idols in possession of a Leicestershire vicar, who inherited them from his father. In the main I have copied the words as they were written in 1910.

In 1900 the reverend gentleman's brother was accosted in the New Forest by a Hindu, and asked the whereabouts of the idols. The native seemed thoroughly acquainted with the family history, but when he saw that his mission was unsuccessful he said that bad luck would accompany the idols, though he would not renew his demand for ten years.

Bad luck, according to the vicar, has certainly followed the idols and their owner, formerly his father, and now himself.

However, the plot did not begin to thicken till the ten years expired. Then the brother received two letters by the same post - one from India, simply saying, "Remember the judgement of the gods," and one from London, containing news of his wife's sudden and serious illness.

He had a bad fright, and, for the first time, divulged the story of his forest interview to the vicar. As for the latter, he attributes the events to the long arm of coincidence, but, as most people would feel in his place, he is anxious to be rid of his perilous possessions. Examples of the art of former periods, even 500 BC, may be preserved at too uncomfortable a cost.

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Wednesday, October 7

The Ghost Of Grandma Takes Her Revenge

rocking chair

A ghostly tale from Julia Roberts - no, not that Julia Roberts - but still a pretty woman

"My grandmother was born and bred in the house where she lived all of her life in Cornwall. She was a friendly but firm old soul with a large family and therefore had lots of grand and great-grand children.

From the age of about seventy-five, until she died at the ripe old age of ninety-eight, she always sat in the same corner of her living room, from morning until night, gently rocking herself in her old, wooden rocking chair.

Eventually granny went to where all good grandmothers go, after they have had their fill of rocking and life in general.

As the house was now empty, my father, after much negotiation with the rest of the family, decided to move into granny's house. He soon set about modernising things but somehow couldn't get rid of the old rocking chair which remained in the corner of the living room.

Finally my mother flipped and said the chair had to go. It didn't fit in with the other, more modern furnishings. Dad agreed to chop up it up. Not sure why, as he could probably have sold the chair, but that was what he decided.

Mum and dad were in bed the following night and heard strange creaks and noises from the attic immediately above their bedroom. In the morning, when dad had gone to work, mum plucked up courage and went to investigate the attic.

As she looked inside there was the old rocking chair and, as she watched, it started to gently rock backwards and forwards. It sent a chill up mum's spine.

In the evening dad admitted that he hadn't been able to throw the chair away for sentimental reasons and had therefore stored it up in the attic.

Mum reluctantly relented and the rocking chair was placed temporarily back in the corner of the living room, it's rightful place.

A couple of weeks later mum moved the chair to another room. After doing so mum and dad found that the chair would start to rock when anyone entered the room. Dad said it was just a coincidence, or the wind from the door being opened, but mum felt it was granny's ghost at work. She didn't feel comfortable and the rocking, when entering the room, went on for days and days.

Dad was under pressure from mum to sort it out. In a moment of bravado, or madness, he took the chair into the garden and started to break it up into pieces. Mum and I were horrified when we saw what he was doing, we rushed outside, but it was too late to stop him.

Nothing immediately happened, until we returned to the house and the living room. There, lying on the floor, was the new fireplace which had been recently fitted. It had come right away from the wall and lay shattered. Dad said it was Granny's Revenge.

Nowadays, when all is quiet, there is still sometimes a creak to be heard from the floorboards, in the corner where granny used to gently rock her chair. It's a constant reminder never to mess with granny because her ghost is always watching."

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Tuesday, October 6

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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Monday, October 5

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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Saturday, October 3

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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Friday, October 2

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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