I have been teaching statistics for many years at the university level - but this question is beyond my understanding - due to the variables involved.

Several years ago, I was entertaining a relocation to a different area and a different way of life. I was very unsure and skeptical - as the change would have followed my heart - but not the rational practicality of my head.

Then a sequence of events took place - none of which were of my own choosing. I want to know what the statistical probability is of these events occurring by chance alone. They are as follows:

1) The property I had wanted to buy was already under contract, yet came back on the market on the anniversary of my father's death.

2) My immediate offer to purchase was accepted by the sellers (two days later) on the anniversary of my grandmother's death.

3) My loan was approved by my bank on the anniversary of my late grandmother's birthday (7 days later)

4) Our closing date was set by the title company on the anniversary of my late, great-aunt's birthday.

5) The permit for our business (for which we brought the property) was approved and issued on my parent's anniversary.

Can the probability of these dates be statistically determined?


1 Answer 1


That the "probability of some event $A$" being a meaningful concept, we need to know some context. In probability and statistics, we do that by defining a sample space. A more informative name could be possibility space, that is, a space containing all the possible results in our chance setup. But you forgot to tell us about what was your chance setup!

For your questions, there are many possibilities. For instance,

My immediate offer to purchase was accepted by the sellers (two days later) on the anniversary of my grandmother's death.

One possibility is that you where always very interested in this event, and anxious to see if it could happen. You talked eagerly about this possibility for years, even with complete strangers. Then, yes, the probability of its happening might be low (but not very low, maybe even your decision to buy a few days before this anniversary was influenced by your deep want!).

But, I do doubt this possibility. One other possibility is that you where eagerly searching to find some "coincidence" and searched eagerly. Your long list indicates this possibility. In that case, the probability that you would find some coincidence is very close to one. Only hindrance is fantasy. The exact coincidence you would find do not matter. As an example, as of today, 26 mars 2018, I have been living for 21059 days (outside of womb), and that is a prime number!!! What an interesting coincidence! I just found another interesting coincidence: today is the birthday of the former owner of my house! Two coincidences in just one day, but I am sure you can do better ...

The probability that I would be unable to find some interesting coincidence happening with me today is certainly very close to zero ...


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