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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In response to post #8206

I've experienced that kind of coincidence so often, for so long that I began to get the feeling they happened for a reason. The content is very personal usually, and is specific. Theodore Reik wrote that his little granddaughter exclaimed "He says he loves me so." when she heard a song on the radio. I'd never heard or read about C. G. Jungs' ideas about 'synchronicity' and a process of individuation, but I had read F. David Peats'' book about synchronicity as the bridge between mind and matter.

Ms

I live alone & usually read or write instead of watching the television. So when friends come over, a lot of times the TV will be on in front of me & it is loud enough for anyone around to hear it. As most people do while visiting a friend, their discussions are usually a priority over what is on the TV. This particular experience has happened to me many times and when it does, it comes in clusters. It may happened often in a week or may not happen at all for awhile, then happens again in clusters of time.

Gone but not forgotten

Tonight on Quest TV the episode of SOLVED was subtitled 'Gone but not forgotten' whilst at the same moment Moviemix was broadcasting a Lou Diamond film of the same name. With so many TV channels such simultaneous events are likely, but this just seemed a relatively rare selection of words to use as a tv programme title.

Mother and stepmother

My father married my mom, Vera Becker. She was born on May 22, 1949. She has a sister, Helena Becker. My parents divorced 7 years later. A few years after that, my dad got married again, with another woman, from another family (not related with ours, we are catholics, they are luterans) who was born in a different town: Helena Becker. She was born on... May 22, 1949! And she has a sister called Vera Becker! What are the odds?

Elizabeth Theory

Me and my best friend have the same middle name, and almost had the same first name. We repeatedly say things at the same time without even knowing it, we get hungry and our stomachs growl at the same time, we have the same favorite things, like not liking nuts on our muffins, but loving banana muffins.

Cards

In holdem, everybody is dealt two cards face down. These are known as hole cards. And I am experiencing a pretty amazing coincidence regarding these hole cards, as pocket pairs--that is two of the same rank. It's not that I get more than my share of pocket pairs, but when I get a pocket pair, odds are like close to 100% that the next pocket pair will be the same as the last one--repeating one time. Then I will get another pocket pair, and the next time I get a pocket pair it will be the same one--but AA, KK, QQ, and JJ are not part of this. The repeats will be of 22 through TT.

Congo/007

I was watching the film CONGO which is based on a story by Michael Crichton. That same evening I went to the local store in an impromptu visit to pick up some items to enhance the dwindling weeks shopping. As I often do, I checked out the reduced price shelf only to find Michael Crichton's novel CONGO was reduced to £1. Off to one side was a dumpster containing multiple copies of the same book. In a similar way, tonight I was watching 007 James Bond in Casino Royale whilst flicking through Ebay online.

An Encounter with the law, pi and impulsive decisions

This event is connected to the coincidence #8191 I was sued for specific performance, its too long a story to tell so I'll skip over the details except that the property I wanted to sell didn't get financing until the wonderful river front home I had contracted to buy was sold to a back up buyer. The contract my buyer and I had was expired but it was desirable property so they hired a lawyer who told me "contracts don't mean a thing'. I was outraged so I went to a lawyer that took my case to the State Supreme Court.

Birth Coincidence

I always knew my mother and I shared a birthday, but today I found out we were also born on the same day of the week (Tuesday). She was born August 24th, 1954 and I was August 24th, 1982. Both Tuesdays, but roughly 28 years apart. I've been trying to find out what the odds of that happening are, but can't figure it out. Also, I was actually born two weeks late, so it's kind of spooky, if I had been born on time, we never would have shared such a connection.

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