Tag Archive: Dallas

We’ve got a special three-story set for you guys this time. Enjoy. Or don’t. We’re not going to force you.

(Submitted by reader Tracy McFadin)

In 1972 I was driving along a major street in Dallas, TX. and saw two young girls, maybe 17 or 18, hitchhiking (a rather common sight in those days) and stopped to give them a ride.

They were headed to one of the girls’ homes, and said it wasn’t too far from where we were. Having grown up in that area of Dallas myself, I said “Well where is it, because I know this neighborhood?” But the one giving me directions didn’t really know the street names, so she just kept saying “Turn left here, now go a block…take a right” etc. etc.

Well, amazingly, where she ended up directing me to, was the house that I had grown up in for the first 10 years of my life! My family had moved from that house some 11 years earlier.

Of course I was completely blown away by the coincidence, and excitedly was telling them how I had once lived there, and how crazy that was, but they totally thought I was full of it, and that I was making up some wild tale to somehow impress them.

Maybe one of them will read this, and say “Hey! That was me! That is so amazing!” Of course, no one will believe her ; ) …But crazier things have been known to happen.

(Submitted by reader Dave)

I grew up in Moses Lake, WA on the eastern desert side of the state. A couple blocks from us lived one of my best friends Adam. Our families were also close as his dad was our family doctor.

When I was about 5 years old Adam moved away out of state, and shortly after my dad got a job in state government and we moved to the capital Olympia on the other side of the state. Several years later we moved into a new house and I started going to a new school. When I entered my new fifth grade class I recognized a kid but I couldn’t place him. We found out we live a couple blocks away from each other so we started hanging out.

It wasn’t until our parents met and remembered each other that we found out that Adam and his family had settled in a new house the same distance from ours as our houses were back in Moses Lake!  What are the odds?

 (Submitted by reader R L Fletcher)

I was driving my grandchildren back home to Birmingham, AL after a week long visit at our home in a suburb of Dallas, TX.  About 200 miles into the 650 mile journey, we stopped at a Starbucks in Shreveport so the grandson and granddaughter could use the restroom and I could grab a cup of joe.

As we were walking back to my car, someone yelled out my grandson’s name. It was my wife’s brother and his wife! Unbeknownst to me they were driving from their home south of Dallas to Chattanooga, TN, and we just happened to cross paths at that Starbucks!

Below are the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 189. Take a look and leave your comments below.

I don’t find the first story remarkable at all, although I am sure it felt that way to the author. While a lot of houses fit in a reasonable radius for hitchhiking, they number in the hundreds, not hundreds of thousands and the author probably frequented the area.
The second story is eerie, but it would be more impressive if the distance both families moved was much greater.
The third story seems less coincidental, given that there are a limited number of routes between major cities, but there is an additional element which makes it much less likely to occur: timing. A Starbucks pit stop is very short, so crossing paths there is indeed crazy odds.

Party Lines

(Submitted by reader Tracy M)

In the early 1970s I was working for a large telecommunications company in Dallas, as was my friend Rick with whom I shared an apartment. During that time my brother had recently been discharged from the military service and we had celebrated his homecoming with a party at our apartment which lasted until the wee hours and involved way too much indulging of alcohol. When my brother left the party that night, he told me that he might need to borrow my car the next day and asked me what my phone number was so that he could reach me if he needed the car, so I gave it to him.

The next morning my friend Rick woke up with a bad hangover and, though it was a Saturday, he was scheduled to work that day. Feeling very groggy, he decided he would rather walk to work instead of drive since it was only about a mile, and he thought that it would make him feel better; so off he went. When he got to work though, he was still feeling quite bad, and since he was the only one there, he made as comfortable a spot for himself as he could and curled up on the floor and went to sleep.

About a month later, Rick and I again threw a party which my brother attended. We all got around to discussing the last party, and how bad we had all felt the next day, when Rick said “I was so sick that morning that I curled up on the floor at the office, and then your brother calls and wakes me up asking if you were there. I told him that you were at home, but he really ruined my nap!” My brother looked confused, and said “I didn’t call you at work, I called him at the apartment at the number you gave me.” We all seemed confused at this point, and I asked Rick “What line did he call on?” He said “Well that’s the weird thing, he called on a test line.” (Being a telephone central office, we had banks of test lines.)

Well, it took a bit of unraveling. It turns out that the test line at the office was coincidentally one digit off from my home phone number, and my brother had accidentally misdialed the number, thinking he was reaching me at my apartment, but instead waking my hungover roommate. Now,what are the odds?

[EDITOR: Many of us have had the experience at some point in our lives of being just one number off (or reversed numbers, or something similar) from a popular number, such as a pizza place, a security company, etc. Wrong numbers aren’t at all uncommon, obviously. But it’s a pretty unique event when the wrong number still happens to be directly connected to you (or someone in your direct circle) without you even knowing it. But this is another one of those examples of a coincidence that’s freaky enough to stand out, but meaningless in the end. Which means when enough of these happen (and they do), they’re bound to occasionally add up to something more meaningful for a select few. – Jarrett]