Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Meeting with a countryman

About 14 years ago me and my father went on a trip to London, during the spring, not on regular tourist dates that is, while there we went sightseeing all around and found a small boardgame store located in a cellar on some odd street. We decided to go inside, the room with tye games was no larger than 5x5 metres. There was one other customer in tye store. Me and my father started talking to eachother and after a while this other person comes up to us, speaking swedish. Apparantly all three of us were swedish tourists, in this small store.

Men meeting on a beach

Several summers ago, in north western Scotland, we were on Clashnessie beach. This being in Sutherland, there was no-one else there. We only went to this beach once that summer. We saw a man walking across the sand, looking very purposeful, not looking at us. My partner John said something like "that's David, what is he doing here?!" He then went across to him and chatted.

20 years and 500+ miles

In the early 90s I dated a guy for a few months in Cork, Ireland, where we were both from. I emigrated to the US and we lost touch. 18 years later I moved to Cambridge and within a month I had a message on Linked in from my ex. I had popped up as somebody he might know and he was living in Cambridge too. We are now a very happy couple! We would love to know the mathematical probability of that happening.

interrupted transmission

Sitting at work during a quiet period on my own listening to the radio, I audibly passed wind, and at that very moment the radio lost reception for a few seconds!

Randomly reunited

My best friend as a little girl was named Jeni. We went to the same church, and, when we were old enough, the same school. Then her family moved and we no longer went to the same school, but coincidentally a year later my family moved to a house only two houses down from her family. We were now neighbors and classmates once again. Then her family moved across the United States to Pennsylvania and we were pen pals and I traveled to visit her. Later her family moved to California and I continued to write and went to visit. Then her family moved back to our town and we lost touch.

Finding a lost object

When I was a child I was staying with my family at an Aunt and Uncle's house in Clacton, Essex. They took us to a beach barbecue being held by the Gunfleet Boating Club. Part of the activities included a tug of war competition. While participating in the tug of war one woman fell over and put her hands out into the sand to save herself. She felt something hard in the sand and pulled it out. It was the engagement ring she had lost (and diligently searched for without success) on the beach a few years before.

Meeting someone in an unlikely place

In 1979 I went on an inter-school coach trip from the UK to eastern europe. I knew none of the other people on the trip (I was the only person from my school) before I went and didn't keep in contact with any of them afterwards. In 1994 I was in London (I live in Norfolk) on a day-trip with a psychology evening class. We were travelling on the tube and boarding a tube train I bumped into one of the people who had been on the eastern europe trip, in the same carriage. He didn't live or work in London and was also just on an unusual visit, to do with his work.

Unlikely rescue

Catherine Proctor of Wells Sailing Club (Norfolk) was wearing contact lenses (in the 1970s, early days of contact lenses – they were expensive!). The wind was quite light and the sea was quite calm. She rubbed her eye and a contact lens popped out and flipped onto the surface of the sea. She yelped and exclaimed her distress to her fellow sailors. A sailor in a following boat spotted the lens floating on the surface of the water (!) and as his boat sailed past, managed to scoop it out of the water (!!). Not exactly a coincidence but surely an extremely 'unlikely' event.


My daughter has the same birthday as my best friend from school; my son has the same birthday as her husband!

Stranger on a train

I was on the tube in London when I noticed that a man kept looking at me when I got of I made sure he wasn't following me as his stares had worried me. The following Sunday I went to my young nephew's birthday celebration which was taking place at the hospital where my Dad was. This man was there. He is my nephew's godfather and had been staring at me as he thought he recognised me. (We had only met once or twice some time before.) Had this event not taken place or had I not gone I would never have found out who the 'strange man' was.