Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Why? By recording your coincidence stories here, you can help him build a picture of what kinds of coincidences are out there and which ones seem to ‘get to’ us the most. Your coincidence stories can also help him explore the scientific explanations which may account for them – whether by doing the maths to calculate the chances of a coincidence, or speculating on the weird and wonderful workings of our brains.

Coincidences tend to be ‘surprising matches’ – sometimes they are lucky, sometimes unlucky, sometimes just mind-boggling. To help you recall the coincidences that have happened in your life, here’s a list of some common types of coincidence:

  • Surprising repetitions: for instance when you’ve had not contact with someone for ages, then find two connections to them very close together in time. Or when over several years multiple members of the same family are born with the same birthday. Or even a repetition of a really rare event – like winning the lottery twice, or your life being saved twice by the same person!
  • Simultaneous events: for example when two people phone each other at exactly the same time.
  • Parallel lives: such as when two people in a small group find they share a birthday or an unusual name, or when two people discover their lives match each other in bizarre details.
  • Uncanny patterns: imagine picking letters in Scrabble that spell your name.
  • Unlikely chains of events: perhaps you lost your false teeth overboard and found them inside a fish you caught twenty years later?

If anything coincidental has happened to you - anything that made you stop and say "well, what were the chances of that..?" - then please record your story in the form below! Please try to keep your story personal - about you or someone you know. The only thing we'd ask you to steer clear of are premonitions or déjà vu, purely because - whilst fascinating - they're quite common and also difficult to analyse.

You could also tell us about coincidences in the news, but please provide a link to a reliable source!

Title: two or three words that give a simple description of your story, eg ‘old friend’ or ‘birthday coincidence’
Coincidence: tell your coincidence story - and please include plenty of relevant detail (places, dates, numbers etc.) and include your first name if you want.
Email address (optional): please leave an email address, as then we can get in touch to find out more!

All of the information entered below except your email address will be published on this website when you press save

By ticking this box you agree that your email address can be forwarded to Wingspan Productions Ltd, who are making a BBC television programme about Chance and would like to feature Professor David Spiegelhalter's coincidence collection. In doing so you agree that the producers of the programme may contact you directly to ask you more about your story, though whether you decide to help them is entirely up to you. Your details will not be forwarded to any other party or used for marketing purposes.

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Flat mate a complete stranger - same great grandparent

I'm a white female from California. While in graduate school I moved into a shared flat with roommates I didn't know to save money. Everyone I met before I moved in was an Asian female, and that's who I expected to be living with. Before term started, some of the women moved out and a guy moved in. Now I was living with a 6'4" guy from New Jersey with a unibrow, the non-Asian husband of the only woman I hadn't yet met.

The Scotts

My brothers name was Scott. My best friend for many years was Scott. He was friends with another Scott who I have been friends with for years. We met a guy who went by his middle name, Scott. Strangely enough none of them were allowed to go by Scott and were not referenced as Scott. It was Scotty, Pookie, D.Scott. I gave my daughter the middle name Scott just to honor the coincidence.

1001 Nights

I watched two television shows online that were originally aired on different dates. Both shows referenced 1001 Arabian nights. It is thought the protagonist in these tales is "fate" or "destiny" and in the end of each story destiny "disappears". I had separated from my wife a day before. Her name is Destiny.

Everyone That comes into my life has the same name.

I have this thing about me that seems to attract people with the same name to me consecutively. It has happened to throughout my life. Most of the people I meet have the same name. Growing up I had five best friends all called Carly, one after the other. The first three guy I dated when I was a teen where called Ben Then I dated or became close friends with seven daniels,Dans or Dannys. I have five friends named David, They all do the same job.I have met five peoplen named Paul, all of the pauls have been or are still in the armed forces.

Three wives - same birthday

My husband has had 3 significant relationships in his life 2 wives and one live-in girlfriend and we were all born on August 23rd (different years).

Unusual friend connection

For context, I grew up a super geek in Albuquerque, NM. At age 16 I discovered a new technology called a BBS, or Bulletin Board System, a predecessor to web based chat rooms. It was a direct modem dial chat and simple text game environment. This opened me up to a much wider social circle where I could nerd and geek out to my hearts desire with other people my age and adults that were also on the board. It was an excellent social environment, especially for someone like me who didn't fit easily into standard categories.

Winning run at the craps table

I graduated college in May of 2003 and attended Navy OCS August-Nov of the same year. Christmas of 2003 I was in Las Vegas, NV, at one of the casinos in the old downtown off Fremont Street. I was with family including my father, step-mother, step sister and her husband. My step-brother-in-law (lots of hyphens) goes on a "run" at a craps table. It's fairly late at night, perhaps after midnight, the casino was nearly empty, but when someone begins throwing winning rolls one after the other the universe can get really weird.

OCS and family friends

I grew up in NM, very distant from extended family in Flint, MI. Shortly after graduating college I was entering Officer Candidate School for the Navy, having been enlisted and going to college. While speaking with my aunt in Flint, she mentioned that her best friend's son was also going to OCS. This friend of hers had been her maid of honor 30+ years before and was still in constant contact in Flint. When I reported to OCS he was in my class, and later also in my class and specific section of long term training over the next almost two years.

Same HS, Same nuke sub

While standing an "under instruction" (apprentice) watch as Officer of the Deck of a USN nuclear submarine in the Pacific Ocean, my over instruct and I talked about why we seemed familiar to each other. Short version: We were one year apart from the same high school out of New Mexico, a state that has about 1.5 million people in it and had been on the varsity track team together although we had competed in different areas (he was a distance runner, I was a shot/discus thrower). Additionally, his younger sister married my best friend's supervisor several years later.