A man decides to end his life.

As a train approaches he throws himself off the platform onto the tracks.

Just at that moment, someone in one of the carriages mistakenly pulls the emergency stop lever. The train comes to an abrupt halt. Unwittingly, this person thwarted the man’s attempted suicide.


A young man’s father visits from overseas. He wants to go to a koala park. The young man doesn’t want to. It’s a long drive. But the father is insistent. They have an argument. Still the father is insistent. The young man can’t understand why.

They go to the koala park, and there he meets a girl who becomes his wife, and life-long partner.


Anthony Hopkins, the actor, commits to a role in a film based on a book – The Girl from Petrovka. But the book is out of print. He goes to several bookstores in London, and can’t find a copy.

Dispirited, he goes to Leicester Square tube station to get a train home. He sits on a bench and there beside him is a discarded book. It’s The Girl from Petrovka.

Later, on the set of the movie in Vienna he meet’s the book’s author. He tells the writer of the coincidence.

The writer informs him that he lent his book to a friend in London. They check the book that Hopkins picked up off the bench, and inside are the writer’s handwritten annotations. It’s the same book the author lent to his friend.


These are incidents detailed in a feature article published last weekend in The Weekend Australian Magazine. There’s an interesting quote in the article: Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous.

It’s a cliche now: There are no coincidences. But if not, then what is it?

I say it’s PGS. I believe that young man’s father had a strong intuitive impulse to go to the koala park, perhaps not knowing why, certainly not anticipating the outcome – that his son would meet his future wife.

Anthony Hopkins and the book? Same thing. I would say it was his PGS directed him to that bench in that tube station. And it was PGS at work which made the previous owner of the book leave it on that bench for Hopkins to pick up.

Why didn’t someone else pick it up? Why didn’t Hopkins get a taxi, or go to another tube station? What are we talking about here? What’s at work here?

Last week while I was working up at my university, out of the blue a professor handed me a book to read. The book was on synchronicity. At the time I was completely flummoxed as to why he would lend it to me. We hadn’t been talking about synchronicity. And this was the first book he’d ever lent me. But he wanted me to read it.

Here is the magazine article, if you’re interested. It makes fascinating reading –


24 thoughts on “Coincidence?

  1. I am a believer! Happens frequently. For example my best friend and I have known each other for 48 years. She lives in Denver, I am about 1170 miles away. I’ve been a big reader of non-fiction all my life, she rarely reads. We talk maybe 2-3 times a week and NEVER EVER talk about books. About 10 years ago I was reading one of the Dirk Pitt Clive Cussler books. Fiction. At that time I’d read all the Dirk Pitt Clive Cussler books. During one of our “hey what are you up to” conversations, reading came up. I told her I was reading a Clive Cussler book (and not one that had been recently published and sitting out front on the store shelves). Hmm, Betsy was reading a Clive Cussler book too. Ended up being the same book I was reading and we were withiin a page of each other, the pages facing each other (not the back to back pages)!!

    If you want a whole ‘nother paragraph I have one between my husband and I.


      • Here’s one of those stars aligning things. Sorry more than one paragraph when I write it down.

        Part one) My Dad was born in 1929 in NW Washington State. When he was 3 his father was a merchant seaman in Alaska. His Mom, needing more adventure in her life than raising 2 kids put my Dad and his sister in the Seattle Orphanage and mailed a letter to F. saying if you want the kids you’ll find them at the orphanage. The letter took 4 months to reach F. on his ship. It took another 4 months for F’s return letter to the part of the extended family that was still in Minnesota to receive it. My Dad’s great aunt and uncle were running the store in a tiny town in Minnesota and offered to take the kids. My Dad went to a one room school house until he was a high school freshman and then he and his sister and great aunt and uncle moved to Whatcom County WA. When my Dad turned 18 he took their last name. We lived just south of Seattle until my Dad got transferred to Denver in 1963. I escaped Colorado (never did like it there) and moved back to WA in 1979.

        Part two) My husband was born in Rapid City South Dakota to an unwed mother who put him up for adoption at birth. A couple from a tiny ranching community 200 miles away adopted him to join their other adopted son. His adopto-Mom outlived 3 husbands. I meet my husband at a bus stop, we were taking the same bus to the work site 30 miles away.

        Part three) The first time I met the my mother in law’s husband #3, we stayed at their new house in Spearfish South Dakota. Husband #3 and I were enjoying a pot of thick black Norwegian coffee (actually probably pot #3). N. said so you kept your maiden name? Yes, because I liked it much better than my husband’s. Why i asked? N. said just asking because my Sande was my mother’s maiden name. Hmmm. We laughed saying ha ha we’re probably related. So I asked Minnesota? And he said yes. Nervous laughter. I asked what county? He said Otter Tail. Gulp. He told me his Mom’s maiden name was Ragna – ever heard of her he asked? No. So I said – Hey my Dad has a copy of the family tree, let me give him a call. Dad, can you please check on N. born 12/25/1917? Sure enough N. was on page 13!!! I don’t have it in front of me but we ended up being cousins a couple times removed with the common person being my great great grandfather. (and oh do I have stories to tell concerning N’s funeral!!!!!!!!!)

        Hope any of this made sense but what are the odds?? Hope this counts and just isn’t a long winded small world story instead.


    • Bill I love the topic.

      Kitkatknit I love these stories. Please do tell more.

      I work with a lady that has avoided four major catastrophes where had she not been guided elsewhere she most certainly would have died in all of them. She, and I, believe her purpose here hasn’t been fully realised.



  2. Susan, I love your story. Things like reading the same book, meeting people who turn out to have grown up two blocks away from me,have been the story of my life.I’m not at all surprised to find this is yet another thing you and I share!Please keep sharing your stories.I know I love reading them, and I am positive I’m not the only one feeling that way!


  3. Speaking of “coincidence”, I’ve just last night met a girl, living on the ground floor of this very building, who has walked the Camino de Santiago from Paris.

    We were unable to have any real conversation last night, but it is rather unusual, but in another way totally unsurprising, that the ONLY other person I have ever met to have walked from Paris lives in this building.

    This next Camino is going to be a strong one.


    • Yes, it sounds as though this next Camino is going to be very important to you Julian.

      What are the odds having someone in your building having walked from Paris? Very very slim, I’m sure.



      • I think it’s about a 1 in 500,000 chance, given the number of people in the building, the number of people having walked from Paris, and the world population … ;o)


      • ah no, sorry, that’s wrong — that’s the probability of one person having walked from Paris living in a building of this size.

        The probability of two people having walked from Paris living in that same building is much smaller ; it’s 1 in 25 trillion


  4. This is actually a post from Sister Clare, who is having troubles with her computer at the moment. She has asked me to post this on her behalf… (a great story!!!)

    I’ll try to condense this a little. When I was 14 I spent a magical summer at a cottage with my parents and boyfriend.A beautiful place on the water.

    One day we spent in a small motorboat and pulled up into the harbour of a small town for lunch.I never knew the name of that town, or exactly where those cottages were, and I spent many years hunting as an adult, hoping to go back.

    No luck. I gave up, finally. About 15 years ago the lease on the farm where I lived ran out unexpectedly, and I needed to find another place to live, fast.There was only one house for rent in the paper and I drove miles through back roads and woods to find it.

    It was so perfect-sitting on the edge of a meadow, forest on three sides and a marsh down the road, and secluded, the way I needed it to be. I moved in in six weeks, and followed my landlord’s map into the closest town to buy supplies.

    When I was finished at the grocery store I decided to take a walk and explore a little, so I went over to a small park and down to the waterfront….and realised I was in the town we had pulled our boat into all those years ago for lunch. Westport! I had unknowingly moved to the town I had searched for for nearly 30 years.

    And that’s only they first of many coincidences that have happened since I moved here.Some of them would raise the hairs on the back of your neck!


  5. Bill –
    I found the Camino to be filled with coincidences. Too many to list actually but recognize that, while very important to me, they might be small beer for others. So instead I present a couple of my more dramatic ‘coincidences’. BTW, I am a trained scientist and reasonably competent with statistics and probability. The following two, taken together, fall outside the realm of meaningful calculation.

    1. Early June 1972, my brother and I are taking a driving tour through the West having both just finished graduations of personal significance. Our plan at our Black Hills (South Dakota) stop was to camp in an area just out from Rapid City. Upon arrival at the campground, we just could not find a spot that seemed to “speak to us”. It was early in the day and we were ahead of schedule so we just pushed on.

    That night, torrential rains hit the area and a dam or two failed as I remember. If memory serves there were few or no survivors from that campground as the surge came through in the middle of the night. We did not know any of this until we called back home to wish my Mom a belated Happy Birthday. From the schedule that we had left at home, they thought we were gone. So, it was a really nice call – – my dad wasn’t even complaining about long distance charges.

    2. August of 1975, a buddy and I are taking a “last camping trip before classes start” in a small mountain range in Montana. On day one we discover a beautiful cirque, teeming with rainbow trout and decide to make camp. After a fine tramp around the lake followed by a trout dinner, we think maybe it is time to put the kettle on for a pot of tea while we watch the sun slip below the mountain.

    As the kettle just comes to a simmer, he looks at me and I return the favor. I said something to the effect of “Wouldn’t it be better viewing if we set up over across the lake? That’s likely where we’ll catch breakfast in the morning anyway.” He agreed enthusiastically and we were across the lake with a new camp 40 minutes later. Let’s face it, nobody likes to move camp once you are settled after a long day – and yet we both thought this a splendid idea.

    About 2 am in the morning, we were awakened by what sounded like a freight train which we regarded as remarkable as there were no tracks nearby. Upon waking the next morning, we discovered that the entire hillside above where we had been camped had come down in the night. Our original campsite was buried under at least a couple of feet of rock and mud.

    And, yes, to the un-asked question – it does still make me think… often.



    • Brendan both are remarkable stories.

      Truly remarkable.

      And what’s interesting about both of them is that they involve natural phenomenon, in the wilds too, and the breaking or bursting of man-made (dam) or geological (hillside) constraints. A strong similarity to both incidents.




      • I had not thought about it in that way before, Bill, but I am often “late to the party” so to speak.

        What struck me as coincidence (at the time) in both cases is that you have TWO people taking the same decision, at the same time, with NO real discussion… just “sounds good!” and then acting on a vague impulse. None of the three characters involved – moi, especially – ever acted on less than a well-defined plan at that point in our lives.



        • That’s true – unlike the story I quoted about the father wanting to go to the koala park and the son not wanting to go.

          Also, the motivation to shift camp in the second story, to have a better view of the lake, is very unusual. I know how much a. Pain in the butt it is to pull down a camp and set it up again somewhere else.

          You’ve got to really want to do it – it’s an effort, particularly after a hard day hiking.

          In both instances you quoted though, you have the bursting of water and rock out of constraints – dam/gravity wanting either to take you out, or make a point early in your life that, to quote Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy… ”



  6. Remember when your mother always told you, just as you walk out of the door… “be careful- take care”, one of those things mothers tend to say. Usually goes in one ear, out the other. Because of certain sensibilities I have been gifted with all my life, I took great care NOT to overuse such phrases. My children knew, whenever I would utter those words, they mend something and they should be more alert that day. Each time, they would come home with at story that would start: “guess mom what happened…….”.

    Fast forward to my son spending a semester at the University of Bergen in Norway. We correspond via MSM… I would see by that fact that the little light was on, that he could/should be safely in his dorm room. I did not abuse the privilege to nag him everyday (well maybe every other day) ;-). So one day he tells me, that a whole group of them were going to go up north to the glacier for sightseeing. It was a bit late in the season, so I got my usual vibes and more like a joke said: Have fun, but please don’t fall into a crack. I spend an uneasy day and was so happy when I saw the MSM on again.

    “Hey Mark, how was your trip, I see you managed not to fall into a crack! Hey Mom, ya, we had an awesome time, I guess I better not tell you about the avalanche!.”… WHAT!… so he tells me, that the guides weren’t too happy for the group to go onto the glacier, because the lateness of the season, but go they did. Somehow my son decides to stay by the hut and videotape his friends. He notices something moving way up high, and shouts to his friends to get the h…. outa there, which they managed to do. He keeps filming and the avalanche spray hits his video recorder!

    I get goose bumps every time I remember that video. That year, twice more, Mark was in a situation that could have gone horribly wrong. Somehow, my hugging him tighter good bye, was enough for him to get my message and both other times he and his friends were safe.

    Times like that I am so grateful for my sight, other times however, not so much. There is always shadow were there is light, it is the nature of all things.

    Light and love Ingrid


  7. Soooo, I just sent Sister another big long winded synchronicity small world story for her to read (with links to pictures..) involving an old village flour mill that I used to fish from when visiting my aunt and uncle. Her reply? She’s driven past that mill a hundred times.


  8. Hi everyone –

    Another story of coincidence …

    In 2003 Steve and I decided to sell our home of 21 years which was at Brighton-Le-Sands so we could be closer to my Mum, who lived alone in the family home at Cronulla, Dad having passed away back in 1982 way too soon.

    We were about to put our house on the market – a very stressful exercise as most of us know – Steve had been working interstate and overseas on Qantas (airline) business and was tired and run down. He had flown in from Adelaide during the evening and he really looked ill – he said he just wanted to go to bed.

    In the middle of the night he woke me and asked me to call “000” (emergency) to get an ambulance – he thought he was having a heart attack. Within 10 minutes or so the ambos were at our house – two beautiful men and one truly had the face of an angel – his name was Michael Wilson. They ran an ECG and did some other checks and decided Steve should go to hospital. Our home at Brighton was a really pretty house (Janet will attest to this – she called it ‘the gingerbread house’!) and Michael commented – hey – I really like your house. Steve told him it was for sale so Michael asked him where we were moving to. Steve said “Gymea Bay” and Michael said “Really? I live at Gymea Bay.” Steve asked “Which street?” – Michael said “Barraran Street”. Steve said “What number?” – Mike said “No. 26”. Steve said “We’re moving into No. 25”!

    Michael, Kelly and their beautiful family went on to be wonderful neighbours. We saw them often and in the five years we lived at Gymea Bay (before we bought our family home after Mum died in 2007) we saw their kids grow and their dog grow old.

    So very sadly, Michael lost his life on Christmas Eve 2011 in a tragic accident when, as a Helicopter Paramedic, he was trying to save the life of a canyoner in awful weather conditions.
    He’s much missed by all who knew him. Steve and I will remember him with admiration and affection always.



    • Jenny that’s an incredible story.

      Really, quite amazing.

      And so tragic that Michael lost his life, and in such circumstances.

      How do you figure these kind of coincidences?



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