Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Boreham on Coincidence (1)

Just By Coincidence
Do you ever think much about the coincidences that have happened in your life?

F W Boreham wrote an article about some of the amazing coincidences that happened to him and said:

Commit Coincidence to Paper
“No person should think seriously of dying until they have committed to paper a list of the most striking and extraordinary coincidences that have come under their personal observation. I do not mean those of which he has read. As I have tried to demonstrate in A Reel of Rainbow, the stately coincidences of history are tremendously impressive and dramatic. But they are common property: anyone can collate them.”

Coincidental Capital
“In the course of each person’s personal pilgrimage, however, they encounter a few combinations of circumstances so arbitrary, so fortuitous and so bewildering as to be almost freakish. Were a novelist to weave them into the web of their romance, the reviewers would charge the novelist with having transgressed all the bounds of probability. The plot would be condemned as a flagrant outrage of the literary canons. Yet these things actually happened! If each person were to recall and record such surprising experiences whilst it is still in their power to do so, some very valuable and practical purposes would be served.”

Coincidence in the Carriage
“Let me crystallize my abstract doctrine into concrete example by a few instances of the kind of thing I have in mind. I will begin with my wedding day. We were married at Kaiapoi, New Zealand, early in the morning and caught that day's express for the south. A friend, knowing of our movements, sent a congratulatory telegram to the train. The guard handed it to me—opened!
`Very sorry, sir', he murmured, `but there's another young couple of the same name in the next carriage!'”

“In view of the fact that my name is not a particularly common one, an involuntary doubt sprang to my mind; but, later on, we met our namesakes, who were most profuse in their apologies.”

If you would like to read more of this article containing Boreham’s amazing coincidences and his reflections on them, these stories will be posted on this web site over the next few days.

This entire essay will be included in the forthcoming book, The Best Essays of F W Boreham.

Source: F W Boreham, ‘The Long Arm of Coincidence’, I Forgot to Say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 87-96.

Image: Train at the Dunedin Station, NZ