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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only person I know in Norwich

Shortly after I left University one of my friends got married in Norwich. I went to the wedding and this was the only time I had ever visited Norwich. About ten years later, having lost touch with this chap, I had to go to Norwich for a work thing, my second ever visit. I went out to lunch at a cafe and found myself wondering what had happened to my old friend, and just as I did he walked in and sat down at the next table.

Alphanumeric serial number ends in my Name

About 4 months ago I purchased a standard replacement 2TB internal hard disk drive for a spare PC. This drive failed suddenly and completely a few days ago. Wanting to claim on the 12 months warranty offered by the computer store I noted down the 12 character alphanumeric serial number and was surprised to find the last 5 characters were.... PAULJ. My name is Paul Jxxxxxx. Now I wonder whether some three-letter organization wanted me to have that particular drive in my PC?

5 year anniversaries happening at once

In the last few days my facebook newsfeed has been seemingly full of 5 year anniversaries! Several couples I know who met 5 years ago, and several people I know who have children whose 5th birthday it is. This feels like a cooincidence, leading me to think - "wow, what happened in March 2010?". But it is probably not statistically that unlikely, since we are only talking about 4 5 year anniversaires, and I have about 900 facebook friends.

Matching Birthdays

Me and my partners family birthdays all seam to cross over on the same days, e.g my uncles and my partners both on the 20th may. There are about 8 that cross over on various dates in the year. The strangest one is, my partner had a brother who died when he was a baby, he was born 9th January, when we found out we was expecting a baby the due date was 8th January, our daughter came into the world on 9th January same day as her uncle!!

Helicopters

I went outside for a cigarette with some guys on my college course who I don't know very well, I happened to ask for a fag because I was pissed off with college, but generally don't smoke. Anyway we walked outside and I was talking about some shit, but a helicopter above was interrupting me, I thought in the back of my mind that what I trying to say was so unimportant and crap anyway I stopped trying to speak over it.

its about talking with my friend on a certain topic and getting that thingbin front of us

me and my friend use to share a room at a place far from our homes due to jobs in the same company .we use to talk over many topics no matter on any topic may be related to work or other stuffs ,when i say other stuff it use to be any topic the best example was watching tv and then talking about a specific movie or person or character and next time when we use to put tv on and yes the very next time we use to see that movie or that person or that character in a tv channel just while we were browsing through channels.these type of incidences are really common and we have also noticed that these

Hospital patient

In 1981 I was working on a urology ward as an auxiliary nurse I got a patient out of the bath it was his second time on the ward but his visit was one year later from his first. He explained to me he had come out in a rush and only managed to pick up a small towel, so I went to see if the linen trolley had arrived that morning with new sheets and occasionally it would have a towel. I picked a towel up and took it back to the patient who gasped and said that was his towel that he had lost a year earlier.

People Coincidences.

Very often a random person comes into my thoughts...it could be a relative or a past, or current friend or acquaintance...someone I do not normally think about. Very soon after this...they either get in touch or I hear news about them. Example 1..My Sister in Law fosters several children and also has children of her own. Last night I asked my wife how one of the kids were doing..as I thought about Her..out of all of the extended family. Within two minutes our phone rang to let us know She had been rushed to hospital. Example 2...More and more when I unconsciously think of a person I

Password Coincidence

I use a 6 digit and 2 letter password as my general password I use for all of my logins, e.g. 664544TJ Today creating an account with a company for the first time. I was calling from Australia and the phone operator was in the Philippians and she randomly generated a password for my new account. It was exactly the same as my general password 664544TJ.

Two men killed together in WWII, their grandchildren date the same girl.

My grandfather, a Sergeant, was killed April 13, 1945 in Germany. Their platoon was ambushed by the Germans while on a scouting mission. He and his Captain took cover in a ditch and returned fire while most of the other troops were able to escape. One other soldier was killed and some were taken prisoner. My Grandfather and his Captain stood up and sprayed machine gun fire to cover the platoon, knowing they had no chance of escape. They were found the next day dead, embracing eachother.<br /> My brother dated a girl in High School in 1987 in New York who was from the Philippines.

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