Jurassic Coincidence

Last summer I read a string of books that I didn’t enjoy – all from my self-imposed “lists”. I beat myself up for a bit and then went to the library website and typed in “dragon”.  All kinds of books came up, from all the Ann McCaffrey books to The Black Dragon River (a book on a journey down the Amur River) and then Dragon’s Teeth by Michael Crichton.  I’d never read anything  by Crichton (not sure how I managed that) so I put it on my waitlist.  This was the book that his wife found among his papers and published posthumously.

I just finished it and really enjoyed it. The postscript shed light on which characters were fictional and which were historic.  Charles Marsh and Edward Cope were real people – famous in paleontology for their 19th century rivalry.

Fast forward 24 hours. I just started A Brief History of Almost Everything by Bill Bryson (about the only Bryson I haven’t read yet – but that’s another blog).  As I got to Chapter Three, suddenly he is talking about Marsh and Cope and their rivalry.

I understand in my head that coincidence is just coincidence, but sometimes in my heart I wonder how I can go six decades and never discover something, then within a day or so, run across it again. And we’ve talked about it here before – including pointing out that it is common enough that there is a phrase for this – Baader Meinhof.  We’ve even put this phrase in our Baboon Glossary.

But it still amazes me when it happens.

Any coincidences in your life lately?

20 thoughts on “Jurassic Coincidence”

  1. That’s funny. I was at Half Price books just last week looking for a book on the bone wars.

    Not a Baader-Meinhof, but I did run into a remarkable coincidence recently.

    As a consequence of our taking the Ancestry DNA test last November, I occasionally receive emails from individuals that Ancestry has identified as distant relatives. I received one such contact from a woman who knew very little about her Nelson line and thought that might be how we were related. We compared notes and quickly determined that our connection wasn’t through Nelson, which had always been doubtful since before he emigrated, my grandfather had been a Nilsson.

    We finally determined that our connection was back in Sweden and hers was through a female relative with a different married name. But in the process of researching her line, I discovered that her grandfather as a boy lived in the same house in Minneapolis that Robin and I rented shortly after we were married.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    While sitting in the Living Room of my High School Band Teacher (Joe) in Colorado last week, I was griping about my son’s High School Band Teacher (Steve) in the late 1990s in Eden Prairie.

    Me: I did not like how that guy, Steve, treated the kids.

    Joe: What’s his name? I think I hire him to judge marching band competitions. I love those guys from Minnesota.

    Me: His name is Steve.

    Joe: That’s him. Sorry your son had that experience with him.

    Who’d a thunk it?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have dreamed two nights in a row about close friends. I rarely dream, and when it is about people I know, it usually means I should see if they are ok. I hate it when that happens.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Coincidence is a way of life for me, but right now, because you ask, I cannot for the life of me think of one.

    Of course the easy ones are finding bizarre connections with people who know the people you know from very small towns in Iowa, or even know the very small towns you also know (which usually means they know some people you know).

    Baader Meinhof is a special category of coincidence, and I think has to do with the convergence of various time/space continua. But you have to believe in such stuff for that explanation to work for you.

    Why a left-wing West German group of militants from the 70s (also known as the Red Army Faction) ended up giving its name to this phenomenon escapes me at the moment, possibly because I have never really found a good explanation that sticks in the brain.


    1. Something about running into a reference to something, in this case Baader-Meinhof, for the first time ever and then almost immediately, in a different place, running into another mention.

      I remember running into the word “animadversity” for the first time and then within a day running into it again somewhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. See what I mean, totally unsatisfactory explanation bound to not stick.

        As the phenomenon suggests, this happens all the time with a wide variety of things. One wonders why the actual Baader -Meinhof was so worthy of note.

        It always sounds like the name of a German Tekhnopop band to me.


    2. The phenomenon was named in the Bulletin Board column in the Pioneer Press. Someone wrote in describing the experience of having come across the name of this rather obscure militant group twice, in completely different sources, within a 24-hour period, having never heard of the group before that day. They asked if there was a name for that particular kind of coincidence, and it was dubbed the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon by Bulletin Board.


  5. Coincidence? I just recently read (and we discussed at bookclub this past Tuesday) The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro…which chronicles characters searching for a female dragon they believe is causing a mist that causes them not to remember the past. Setting is 6th century Britain during a time the Bretons and Saxons were at peace between massacres and wars. The dragon was female.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries all. We don’t have to cough up our coin until February. I know a couple of folks were going to give me cash at Blevins.


        1. I’ll try to remember to bring some to blevins – do you think you could post a reminder closer to the day? email or here on the trail would work.


  6. It seems like I frequently find that someone I’ve just met knows a far flung person from my past, but I can’t think of a specific (of course) right now when I need it.

    One fun one I’ve mentioned here before – we had just moved into this house a year and a half ago, looked outside and saw that the next door neighbor was an old folk dance friend from when we were here in the early 80s. Also, the house we ended up buying is exactly 2 1/2 blocks from where our house was back then. Just “regular” coincidences.
    I’ll try thinking of others.


  7. This is not a recent coincidence or a particularly surprising one, but my house in St Paul is next to the exact same house my aunt had in northern Minneapolis.

    At the fine I realised this, having coffee in the kitchen, that house was owned by a woman of about my aunt’s vintage who was, like her, the original owner of the house.

    Like coincidence, deja vu is a regular part of my life. I suspect I have the kind of mind that wants to make connections.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure I understand this, mig. Was your aunt’s house moved, or are you saying that the house next door to you is identical to the one your aunt lived in in northern Minneapolis? I’m guessing the latter, but just want to be sure I’m understanding this correctly.


      1. You are correct, it is the latter.

        I’m sure a lot of those little houses were built post-WWII for vets (my uncle was one of them). It has a feature I was really hoping to find when I was house shopping, a walk-up attic.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. A friend told me just yesterday that a month or so ago, she had been coloring and the side of her hand was rubbing on the color. She picked up a random piece of paper from her (extremely cluttered) work area to put between her hand and the colored page. When she looked at the paper a little later, she realized it was a page from her deceased mother’s address book. The entry on the page was a family that her family had been very close to when they all lived in Green Bay when our generation were kids, but had lost track of. She thought about the family, particularly a daughter who was closest to her age, and wondered about trying to get in touch with her. The next day the woman she had been thinking about 12 hours before, who now lives in Huntington Beach CA, called her. My friend has since been to visit her California friend and her family, had a wonderful time, picked up where they’d left off years ago, and have plans for future visits in the works.

    Liked by 4 people

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