The Coincidence Connector

  • The Timely Editor June 16, 2015

    It was early May, 2015.  The July 1 deadline for getting my book to the publisher was approaching fast. Connecting with Coincidence needed other minds to evaluate it. 

    On May 9, I received an invitation from a coincidence colleague to join her on LinkedIn. She knew coincidence studies very well. And ... Read more »

  • The Psychosphere May 21, 2015

    Angie emailed me on May 8, 2015:
    “I am struck by the uptick in media-related coincidences as suggested by your Weird Coincidence Survey results. (See Blog Post Weird Coincidence Survey Results.)  I wonder if the increasing prevalence of electronic communication has some unique quality as it relates to our connectedness.  ... Read more »

  • Mom, the Wizard of Oz and Popcorn May 7, 2015

    Saundra wrote:

    I texted my sister to tell her that the Wizard of Oz was on television.  She responded to me by saying she remembered that when we were younger, my mother would fix popcorn and sit with us to watch the movie.  I told her that I remembered that ... Read more »

  • A Letter to Dr. B April 23, 2015

    On March 25, 2015 Angie of HAPPY Reading wrote:

    Hi Dr. B

    I was just thinking of you on Monday when I went to visit a possible site for a camp I’m holding this summer.  On the way there, I saw a church marquee with the same last name as ... Read more »

  • Weird Coincidence Survey Results April 9, 2015

    By the end of March, 2015 more than 1500 people had visited the site and 200 (13%) had taken the Weird Coincidence Survey. 

    57% were women and 43% were men.

    Fifty percent of those surveyed were between the ages of 46-65. The following diagram illustrates the age distribution.

    AGES ... Read more »

  • Aesthetics of Coincidence March 26, 2015

    After the initial surprise evoked by most coincidences, the person usually considers one of two meanings—explanation or use. Sometimes there is no good explanation and no obvious use.  Yet with some coincidences, there is a simple beauty in the synchronizing of the two events.

    We are fascinated by synchronization in ... Read more »

  • Oedipus at the Cleft Way March 12, 2015

    Coincidences serve the narrative thrust of many stories.

    The ancient Oedipus myth is sprinkled with dramatic coincidences. It was popularized by Sophocles in 429 BCE and reignited in modern times by Sigmund Freud and his Oedipus Complex.  The plot caught Oedipus and his father, Laius, in ... Read more »

  • Meaning in Randomness February 26, 2015

    Many people believe that coincidences are random events. Because they are random events, so the reasoning goes, coincidences cannot have meaning.

    Not true.

    Coincidences come into our lives with two prominent and very different kinds of meaning—usefulness and cause/explanation. Just as we use smartphones without knowing how they work, ... Read more »

  • Tennis Basket February 12, 2015

    On June 7, 2014, I went out to play tennis. As I started warming up, a woman with two preteens started practicing two courts down. She shouted instructions and compliments to the boy while the girl hit off the backboard. After about 10 minutes, Will, my tennis partner drove up and called to me ... Read more »

  • U.S. Network TV Does Coincidences February 5, 2015

    CBS News got into the coincidence debate on October, 12, 2014 by introducing Bill and Hillary Solomon who attribute their 16 year marriage to coincidences. Hillary believes that they would not have been married if not for this string of coincidences. Bill’s mother and Hillary’s father were out-of-touch high school friends who reconnected through a ... Read more »

  • Dennis the Menace and the Statistician January 30, 2015

    As of 1/29/15 , on the website for his book The Improbability Principle, statistician David Hand starts with the story of the simultaneous publication in the US and England of the cartoon character Dennis the Menace in March, 1951. Cartoonists in both countries introduced audiences to a trouble-causing little boy named Dennis, each of whom ... Read more »

  • What is a Coincider? January 21, 2015

    A person who regularly experiences coincidences is called a coincider. Previous terms have included “experiencer,” “percipient,” and “synchoner.”

    The term implies someone who shares an inside view with others as in co-insider. Coinciders are part of a developing group of people who find coincidences important, useful, and intriguing.

    There are several stages in the coincider spectrum:

    1. A major ... Read more »
    2. The Problem and Promise of Probability January 15, 2015

      Many people believe that randomness , chance and probability provide the best explanations for coincidences. Their belief is strongly supported by an almost unassailable axiom: In Large Populations Low Probability Events Must Happen.

      Read more »
    3. The Elephant, the Statisticians and the Faithful January 11, 2015

      David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University and David Hand of the Imperial College of London are among several statisticians who believe that they have solved the coincidence problem. Probabilities! Any event that can happen will happen given a large number of instances. If a coin is flipped an infinite number of times, there will sometime ... Read more »

    4. The Timely Old Friend January 8, 2015

      Erica Kosal desperately needed help. She wrote her story in Lois W. Stern’s Tales2Inspire: The Emerald Collection, one of several books in this growing series. Erica’s very ill husband was incapacitated by Lyme disease. She was trying to balance caring for him and their two young children with working as a professor at a ... Read more »