Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Lucky escape?

Back in 1978/79, as part of my degree course, I was working for a year as an English assistant in French school. I decided to pay my parents in London a surprise visit in the February half-term. I was on a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven in the middle of the night, in dense fog. I struck up a conversation with an Australian nurse in the cafe, over a coffee. After a while we decided to go up to the lounge deck. When we got there, as I opened the door and looked in I felt there was a very eery green light in there, and something told me not to go in.

calling my best friend

As a teenager, I wanted to chat with my best friend during a school break. It was the days before mobiles, and we might chat once a week on our parent's phone in the hall, rather than every day! It had been a while since we'd talked and so I called up her one evening. Her phone was engaged. Five minutes later, she called and said she'd tried to call a few minutes before, but my line was engaged. We'd called at exactly the same time and engaged both our telephone numbers! We are still best friends thirty years on.

Objet trouvé

November 2011. My wife and I were walking home through the streets of Cologne on the night in the month when people can put unwanted furniture and household objects out on the pavement to be collected the next morning by the refuse authority. I spotted a pile of such refuse at the far end of a street and suggested we crossed over to have a look. You are allowed to take anything you want from such 'Sperrmüll'. "We have enough junk," said my wife. "What do you hope to find?" "Who knows?

Long distance small coincidence

I had to fly from the UK to Beijing China for a few days on a business trip in 1998. It was a direct flight with air china. I had to fill in a check in form at the hotel. I reached for my pen and found it had leaked inside my pocket (maybe due to the flight air pressure changes). It was a basic retractable / disposable ball-point type pen. The guy behind the desk gave me his pen to fill in the form....It was exactly the same make / type of pen.

wrong number, but identical name

I needed to have a Gas Certificate for my tenanted property and asked a local Corgi registered person to call my tenant, Will J, to arrange a convenient appointment time. I gave the Corgi man the name and mobile number of my tenant. A day later, the Corgi man rang back and said he'd come to inspect the flat but my tenant was out. He'd then called the number I'd given him and spoken with a Will J who said did not live in that town and had never heard of me.

Morogoro, Tanzania

My daughter was born in Morogoro, a small township l50 miles inland from Dar es Salaam. We returned to UK, and 30 years later ended up in Ilfracombe in North Devon running a small restaurant. My daughter was waitressing one evening and talking to a family of Asians, and the talk got round to birthplaces. They asked where Claire was born, and when she said Morogoro, Tanzania, the patriarch of the family slapped his knee in complete disbelief. His family ran the hotel in Morogoro. Coincidence?

Prayers answered?

Six years ago I was going through a rough patch,shall we say, and got down on my knees and just asked the universe to give me a good,well-paid teaching job and someone to share my life with, who I could really get along with. The next morning I was flicking through the small ads in my local paper and there was the tiniest advertisement saying that a local grammar school needed a French and Spanish teacher to start IMMEDIATELY. I called them the next day ( a Friday), went along straight away for an interview and was asked to start that Monday.


My cat Penguin died a few weeks ago and on new year's eve we were playing a boardgame called the logo game for the first time. There are hundreds of cards (400) in the game and to try and get an understanding of the rules I picked a random card. It had a Penguin logo on which freaked me out a bit. I then picked another card and it also had a Penguin on....two in a row.


I was on holiday and had run out of books to read and the only book in English that I could find in the hotel was "Hotel du Lac"The main charcter goes to a hotel and is given room307 I thought that seemed familiar and it was because i was sitting in room 307.Incidentally while lookig up the book to recall the number yesterday a page fell open at"A cold coming i had of it"which is a paraphrase from TS Eliot and I realised I could hear a play being broadcast on Radio 4 about T.S.Eliot. Another holiday I took 2 books with me to read .one was A Diary of a Nobody and the other

Holiday Coincidences

Coincidences We have had three increasingly amazing holiday coincidences. 1.On holiday in a hotel on the east coast of Yorkshire, in which county we live, we joined a couple at a table round the dance floor. We spent a pleasant evening together but other than learning that they came from the south coast we did not exchange personal details. However, after we had gone up to bed I remarked upon the uncanny likeness of the man to my father who had died only 18 months before.