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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Independence Day

Paste from Wikipedia , 4th of July. In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day.

Time coincidence

For the last year or so almost every day I check my phone and the time is 14.04pm. I look at my phone randomly maybe five times during the day but always just happen to look at this time, It's not a significant time i.e a lunch hour as I am a stay home mum and always doing something different at that time and I don't subconsciously think about it untill it happens. My birthday happens to be 14th April.

same names

I'm not sure where to start so ill start with the Daniels, when I was 16 every boy I met, dated or went out with was called daniel, after 7 Daniels I met as follows:- 3 Ben's 2 Tony's 2 Jamie's 3 Ian's 4 David's I had two best friends called carly And currently at the moment I'm meeting Paul's and so far I have met 5 pauls. Also most men in my family have John as their middle name, including my son.


Read this word in a story for the first time yesterday and then today heard it several more times in a movie I was watching today.

Fourth foreign student killed in Brisbane in five months

This is a 'coincidence' in the news. Whilst undoubtedly a tragedy for the families and friends of the individuals involved, I'm appalled at the way the Australian media (including the ABC) are 'linking' the four separate murders of foreign students in Brisbane over a five month period. Especially since as far as I can tell the three previous murderers have been apprehended (or at least charges laid against three separate suspects). I was reminded of the analysis in The Norm Chronicles.

Same name

Ok when I was younger every man I met in a romantic sense was called dan or Daniel, after a lot of heart ache I decided I'd never date a dan again, after that every man I met was called Steve! After yet more heart ache I decided no more Steves and now currently I only meet men called Paul! This drives me insane, I have No idea why it happens but I can pretty much tell you know if I decide no more Paul's ill meet men all with a new name which will be the same until I decide no more. I find it really baffling.

Occurrences at inopportune moments

Driving down a little travelled country road, I see a runner is on the side of the road to my right. I go to swerve a little into the oncoming lane, to draw a little away from the runner, but just then another car is approaching in the opposite direction and I have to instead slow down as we meet three abreast, the runner, the other car and me. Then after passing the runner there isn't another car in sight and the road is once again empty of traffic.

Land and Sea around St Kilda

Back in the late 1960's I was in the British Army and was posted to the Royal Artillery rocket range in the Outer Hebrides. As a part of our duties we were expected to serve on Hirta, the major island in the St Kilda Archipelago, which is about 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides. After a six-week stint on Hirta, I returned to Benbecula (the outer Hebridean island where the army camp was) and then immediately went on leave to my parent's home in Southampton.

An Eye for an Eye

Dear Professor, Hello. -I was fishing off Ardmore, on the coast of Ireland around 1976 with my Australian cousin. The seals had chased the mackerel in so instead of casting our rods and just waiting, as we'd normally do, we cast the rods and immediately reeled them (the rods) in; called strawk hauling (sp?), knowing that the German sprat ('a metal bait that swivels and glimmers when drawn through water') would affix itself to something, given the high number of fish who were just jumping out of the water. Sure enough it did, catching the eye of a mackerel.

4 same digits

I discovered that 2 of my friends use the same 4 digit number but in different sequence. Julia: 7211 Kasia: 2117 Alex: 7121 We are all from different countries and are close friends. What are the odds that we would all pick the same 4 digits? Thank you,