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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cousins hiking in Wyoming

My brother Jay and wife are in their 60's and vacationing in Alaska earlier this month and then headed south into western US for hiking....There was a family reunion in NY 7/4th weekend with my cousins....including cousin Marti and her family.......They headed west after that weekend....My brother Jay and my cousin Marti had no idea they were both headed to western US.....A couple of days ago Jay and Laura were walking down a trail in Wyoming and said to a young man "go Steelers" since he had a Steelers shirt on....That family of 5 was going up the mountain trail....As they pass

An immediate answer.

I was making coffee this afternoon when I decided to open and vote the mail-in ballot that's been laying on the counter about 10 days. I marked my choices but when I tried to put the ballot into the envelope, it was sealed. I wondered aloud what I was supposed do so my ballot wouldn't be disqualified or mailed back. Then I heard the television report a news bit that a different glue had been used on the mail in ballots and that it was ok to open the envelope, insert the ballot and tape the envelope.

Two coincidences while holidaying in Hawaii

While on our way from New Zealand to Flagstaff Arizona to attend the 9th International Conference On Teaching Statistics (ICOTS9), my wife and I had several days' holiday in Hawaii staying at the quiet end of Waikiki Beach near the Honolulu Aquarium. While swimming on the beach we got talking to another tourist who told us that he lived in Winslow Arizona, just 60 miles away from Flagstaff, and that his surname was Winslow.

777 7. 7.

In reference to "Birthday plain crash" ( posted 18. July ) I would like to mention that last year´s "San Francisco Boeing 777 Crash" occurr ed on the 7th of 7th .

My one and single pen friend

I have had only ONE pen friend in my life. (By "pen friend" I define a single partner in a continuous communication whom I have never met personally. ) I was reading "coincidence stories" in a web portal and HER story had the strongest appeal to me... We exchanged several emails and lots of coincidences occurred, some of them I would qualify "extraordinary"..., but it is only recently that I caught sight of her birthday on her Facebook: exactly the same es mine.

Impossible simultaneous occurrence

My friend was telling me how well she can braid hair on facebook messenger, so I asked her if she would braid mine and she said she'd do them anyway I want. We stopped talking, then about 45 minutes pass and we both apparently searched for pictures of intricate braids on google and sent each other the exact same picture simultaneously.

? odd

My Cousin was born ( Natural Birth ) hours before my Grandfather died ( old age / natural causes ) 1977. A year later on the same date, August 26th my Cousins Sister was born, also by natural delivery. They lived at the time in ( my Cousin still lives in ) my Grandfathers house.

Holiday friends and friends of friends of friends

Whilst on a weekend break in Berlin with friends I meet a couple from Manchester, we became good friends and discovered we would both be in Ibiza at the same time later that year, so we exchange numbers and said we would meet up in Ibiza. Two months later off I went to Ibiza. On the first day I met a girl from Newcastle and we went everywhere together (I miss her). On the third night, I told my new Geordie friend I'd arranged to meet the Manchester couple in a club and she said she would come with me.

Birthday Plane Crash

The Malaysian Airlines MH17 (remember the 17 there) that crashed on 17 July 2014 first flew on 17 July 1997. I was born on 17 July 1997 so of course, it crashed on my birthday and was technically the same age as me, 17 years old. Take the date 17/07/97, way too many 7's, and the plane that crashed was a Boeing 777. Massive and unsettling coincidences, especially for an aerophobe. RIP to the 298 people who died yesterday and condolences to their families

Music Mystery

3 days in a row, I encountered some strange coincidences. I'm beginning to think they're not. And strangely, they all had to do with music. Day 1: It was a school morning and I was entering my school listening to one of my favorite songs The Ballad of Mona Lisa by Panic! At the disco. My friend stopped me in the hallway to show me his new phone case. (Also he was listening to music). In the beginning he was showing me the back of his phone case. He turned his phone around and happen to be listening to the Ballad of Mona Lisa by Panic!