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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Birth/Death Date Coincidences

Over the years I have often thought, hmmm, isn't that weird: so and so was born the same day so and so died. It wasn't until I started documenting the actual dates, that I realized how many in my family there are.

Photo of home town York appears on karaoke machine in Arctic Circle when friend sings Finnish song!

My girlfriend & I are currently on holiday in Finland visiting her parents (my girlfriend is Finnish). Over the weekend we took a 1500KM round trip North to visit a friend in Rovaniemi (the "official home of Santa" & boarder of the Arctic Circle). Last night we went to a karaoke bar in the city.

Birthday coincidence

I am in a sketch comedy group with four other people that has been active for several years, and throughout that time we have joked about titling one of our shows "A Death in the Family" due to the streak of tragedies in our lives: my mother's suicide, another's father's murder, the accidental slaying of a third's close friend, the childhood loss of yet a fourth's brothed, and a pair of difficult prognoses that will hopefully be disproven but bode ill for the parents of the last. Here's the kicker: I have the same birthday as the brother; the last has

Mexicans

In 2012 I was in The Cavern in Liverpool and met a 2 young Mexican couples who were travelling Europe. A week later I was saw them again at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Repeating Series of Numbers

For the past couple of years, two number sequences having been appearing quite frequently: 911 and 917 on my clocks and watch. The former is obvious, the latter is the month and day of my birth. I don't know enough about numerology to accept its answers, but my first response would be it's not credible. The situation clearly does not seem to be a coincidence, so what is it?

Cheap sneakers

I was just commenting on Facebook upon a story about a girl who got beat up for 'wearing the wrong trainers' and remarked that I was once laughed at for wearing trainers that were not one of the top brands by my neighbour. Mine were cheaper and outlasted his. Then Billy Joel came on TV and sang 'You get more milelage from a cheap pair of sneakers'.....!

It happens often and there a loads I can tell you.

someone looking at a book with over 3,000 films - I asked the person if he had seen the Limey - he was reading about it when I asked. I was across the room and could not see what he was reading. Said something and it appears on the TV - this can happen several times a week and then it won't happen again for months. There are a lot more.

Recurring name

As a journalist who writes about business and cars, I was at my office in a downtown Dallas high rise surfing the Internet about 10 a.m. when I came across an article in a British newspaper that seemed particularly well written (I think it was about the Iraq War). Scrolling up to find the byline, I looked at the name: "Jonathan Steele." At that EXACT moment, the phone rang and I picked it up. The caller introduced himself as "Jonathan Steele" and said he was calling to see if I was interested in using Monster.com for ad listings.

Miss Reynolds

A place I worked at a few years ago I was surprised to find that I and two other women all had a daughter who shared the same birthday. Not that unusual, except our daughters were all born on Christmas Eve.

The same macaroni everywhere

I asked my girlfriend to get some fancy pasta for me to use to enter a cooking contest party of her co-workers. She got farfalle (bowtie macaroni). I had a temporary job making deliveries, and within a few weeks of getting the macaroni, I made a delivery to a bar/restaurant. In the parking lot I noticed a box that had broken open, and the contents were sealed in a plastic bag that was sticking out of the box. Inside the bag was bowtie macaroni.

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