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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Total votes: 0
Date submitted:Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:50:53 +0000Coincidence ID:10759

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Date submitted:Fri, 26 Feb 2021 03:50:15 +0000Coincidence ID:10758

Car without plate

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Total votes: 3
Date submitted:Tue, 23 Feb 2021 16:31:57 +0000Coincidence ID:10740

Fisherman's Friends

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Total votes: 17
Date submitted:Mon, 15 Feb 2021 21:44:56 +0000Coincidence ID:10697

White hat

We lost our son's white hat last year. We looked for it for a while and asked around if anyone had seen it or if we had left it at someone's house but couldn't find it so forgot about it. We hadn't thought about it for months but last week I saw a picture of my son wearing it and said to my husband that it was funny it never turned up, we agreed it must have fallen out of the pram somewhere and been lost for good. 2 hours later I video called my mum and she was wearing the white hat! She had just found it down the back of a sofa in the room where my son had slept when he stayed at their house months earlier.
Total votes: 15
Date submitted:Mon, 15 Feb 2021 21:37:19 +0000Coincidence ID:10696

The football game.

My brother, who lives in a different city than me, had two tickets to the Buffalo Bills football game and he asked me if I wanted to go as I lived close to Buffalo at the time. I said yes, and we agreed to meet outside will call and then we would go in together. Well, I waited until kickoff and he hadn't shown up so I waited some more. He was nowhere to be seen so I thought I'd buy a ticket from a scalper and just go in and watch the game. I found a reasonable ticket and bought it and headed into the the game but right before I went in he came running up winded and said he was stuck in traffic. So my brother gave me his ticket and I proceeded to sell my other ticket cheaply to someone looking to get in. I asked the guy I sold my ticket to if he was a Bills fan and he said, hell yeah, and we laughed. My brother and I found our seats and sat down. Then I noticed someone sitting down right next to me and it was the guy I sold my scalped ticket to! He had the ticket right next to mine! The game was nearly sold out so everyone had to sit in the seat the ticket said. It seemed a very weird coincidence.
Total votes: 23
Date submitted:Wed, 10 Feb 2021 03:56:39 +0000Coincidence ID:10670

Jeopardy & English Class

For my English class, I had to read Robinson Crusoe. I listened to the audio book with my family, and we finished the book around 8pm. About 30 minutes later we started watching the episode of Jeopardy that had recorded at 7:30pm, and, lo and behold, there was a question pertaining to Robinson Crusoe. This wasn’t the only coincidence, though. This often happens when we watch Jeopardy, but it was even more strange that, along with the Robinson Crusoe question, there was another question that directly related to something my mom and brother were talking about earlier in the day.
Total votes: 21
Date submitted:Tue, 09 Feb 2021 06:08:08 +0000Coincidence ID:10665

Amazing Grace in Croatia

Summer 2018. I was travelling through Croatia with a friend, and we had arranged to meet my flatmate at the time, Seamus (I was living in London) and his friend in Split. We arrive in Split, meet Seamus and his friend and all go check in at a hostel. After a few days, my flatmate and his friend decide to leave Split to go to some music festival in a nearby town. My friend and I stay in Split and we meet this American girl, Grace, who had just checked in at the hostel. She’s really nice and we spend the evening with her. My friend and I were supposed to leave Split the next day to continue our trip, so we say bye to Grace and exchange each other’s numbers. Fast forward 2 weeks, I’m spending the rest of summer in France, where I’m from. One night, I get a text from Grace, saying she’s in my house in London!! Turns out, a few days after I left Split, Seamus and his friend came back from their music festival, checked in at the same hostel again, met Grace. Then, 2 weeks later, she was flying back from Croatia to New York, with a connection in London, but she missed her flight in London. So she texted my flatmate to ask if she could crash at his house (not knowing it was also my house). They got talking that night, and Seamus mentioned he had a french flatmate called Laurentine (me). She was like “wait, I met a french girl called Laurentine in Split!” ! During all this time, I had no idea my flatmate had met Grace, and now she was staying in my house in London !!!
Total votes: 33
Date submitted:Tue, 02 Feb 2021 20:24:16 +0000Coincidence ID:10628

The bird, the leaf, the key

I was living in New York. My roommate let me borrow his car to drive up to southern Vermont to go hiking alone in the mountains amid the fall colors. The car key he handed me was loose, not on a ring or chain, and when the drive ended, I put it in the back pocket of my jeans. Some miles into the beautiful walk I felt my back pocket and experienced an awful feeling when I realized the pocket had a hole and the key was gone. The car was parked at the end of a dirt road about a mile from the highway, and the highway itself was far from any town. I knew I was in for a long day of walking, hitchhiking and looking for help. But there was nothing I could do to make the key appear, so I did what I could to enjoy the beautiful day. On the way down one particular scene got my attention. A lone bird was singing on top of a tree which had only a few leaves left. I stopped to listen and watched a single yellow leaf make loops as it fell to the ground. The key was there, near where the leaf landed.
Total votes: 31
Date submitted:Sun, 31 Jan 2021 16:43:54 +0000Coincidence ID:10611

A Meeting in West Africa

When he was a junior at the University of Wisconsin, my brother did a year abroad in Sierra Leone. One day he went to a sandy beach, and as he liked to do, he got to work making an elaborately decorated sand castle. An American couple happened to be on the beach and they struck up a conversation. The couple mentioned they were on their way to Israel where the man had business meetings and my brother mentioned that he had relatives there. The man was on his way to meet our uncle, a bank executive.
Total votes: 32
Date submitted:Sun, 31 Jan 2021 16:23:52 +0000Coincidence ID:10610

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