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.

Type the characters you see in this picture.

Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.

Vertical Tabs

birthdate dd mn cc yy converts base 27 my rsrch Archim A=PI .Xsq.

Archimedes BC proposition 41~43 sphere cylinder show Area of Compass circle on sphere. A=PI Xsq. I look my birthdate 23031948. my habit ADZ = 1,4,26. base 27. I do article cover NZ new Zealand mathematics magaz method of Eudoxus. formula. A=PI ) CXC. my birthday and formula really match. then I discover car number license plate and my birthdate at friends house. PIU CAI. expiry 23032014. photo

ph num xxx-yyy in 2 towns my namesake.

received overseas call. is that McDonald? yes. Stuart? my middle name, yes. what number were you calling? 89-6820. yes. what town? Dunedin South Island. OOOh! this is ISD +644. Wellington new Zealand. apparently stuart is isd +643 the same number. verified both names and numbers are listed in respective directories. This was about 15 yrs ago and soon after 6-digit numbers were upgraded to 7-digits. wrong number likely consequence of directory assistance match stuart with don s. in different island. but few enquiries to 018.

tmrw date attached to lottery numbers

Photo. Results of kenonz 20/80 lottery disp tvnz teletext abt 15-16 octob. Lucky nums are triangular nos. Draw date/time be switched to nxt day. So I bet 10/10 correct! Poor ticket print. Rod donald green die in office. Donald Stuart MacDonald. 1 letter mac than my name.

Neighbors with same named baby

In May of 2013, my family moved from Seattle to Chicago and set up in a Lincoln Square Condo Association. We discovered that our new neighbor, across the hall, had an infant with the same name as ours, Astrid (6 months). Although she was one month older we found this to be an incredible coincidence.

same name

When I was a graduate student at Stanford University in the mid 1970s, it was still common for schools to publish directories with the names of faculty, staff and students. One day, I idly opened mine and found and undergraduate with a rather uncommon (but familiar to me) name from my home town of New York City, across the country from Palo Alto.

Of all the books in all the libraries in all the world, she picks mine.

I was in the Bodleian library being inducted into the cataloguing system, about 15 years ago. The induction was being given by one of the staff and there were about 15 people in the group - people from a wide variety of humanities disciplines including languages, history, philosophy, theology and the Arts. She demonstrated us how she moved through the layers of cataloguing organisation on the computer, down through ''Literature'' through "English literature", and so on through the genres, each time choosing at random the next menu item to click on.

birthdate and high school coincidence

I met a women in a meet-up group. I liked her comments, thought we were about the same age and of similar ilk, so being relatively new to the area (Portland, OR) asked her to meet for coffee, suspecting a new friendship could be developed. She is not a native Oregonian either. We did and got to talking and she mentioned growing up in Phoenix, AZ. I lived in Phoenix for just a few months as a teen, so she asked where I went to high school. I told her Thunderbird HS, to which she replied that was her alma mater.

Exact Match

The Numbers Game is a lottery game where you pick 4 digits and hope the numbers that are drawn match your choice, either in exact order or in any order. So, the four winning numbers in the midday drawing on Thursday, August 14 were, in order, 4821. The coincidence? If you placed a one dollar bet to get all four of those numbers in that exact order, you would've won exactly \$4821, i.e. the number drawn is an exact match to the prize amount. And just so we're clear, this is not how the prize money is determined, i.e.


Just as I finished reading astrophysicist author Carl Sagan's novel Contact and was closing the back cover, the radio news announced his death at that precise second.

Birth dates and death dates

Different family members have birth date and death dates (never the same year) that are the same. 1. I was born on May 22 which is the same day my great aunt died years before 2. My sister was born on April 16 and my great-grandfather died on her first birthday 3. My father was born on August 24 and my 2nd cousin was born on the same day 4. Both of my maternal grandparents died on August 12 - one in 2012 and one in 2014 5. My step-son's birthday is Nov 4 which is the same day my paternal grandfather died 6.