Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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.

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.

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.


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.

Number coincidences

A work project involved extracting 3 items from a list of 1754 numbered items. Two of the extracted items were numbers 1749 and 49 [i.e. they have 2 digits in common]. The 3rd was number 617 and I noticed that 1749 is an integer multiple of 600 MINUS 17. [3 x (600-17)=1749]

Two people share same intials

The end result of a 3 month project at work (large global corporation) was purchasing several products. The purchase orders were issued by 2 different people, both with the initials L.M.

Nearly missed dentist appt

4 jan 2012: I woke up early to do some chores before going to work. I was making good progress tidying my desk which had been neglected for about 8 months and so I decided to take the day off work to carry on [probably the only time I have ever done that; something I'd been planning to do over the xmas break]. One of the last items I handled at 2:50pm was a dental appointment card for my annual checkup at 3:45 the same day. I hadn't entered this into any diary or calendar and so nearly missed my appointment.