Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Meeting in Boston

Our only trip 'en famille' to Canada and the USA was in 1987. We had been to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia before driving down to Boston where we stayed with friends near by. While there, we went into Boston by underground and at one station, the train made to move off but stopped and the doors opened again for a few minutes. A few more people got on and the train moved off.

cup and saucer.

I received a cup and saucer from an Aunt who used to own a sweet shop,it was used as a display item,It was very large and used to sit on a dresser.An accident happened and the saucer was broken.The next day while walking to work I went a different way passing a junk shop,in the window was an identical saucer,I asked the owner if I could have a look at it,she replied that it was not valuable without the cup! after buying it I explained about how I had broken one the same the previous day and still had the cup,she then explained that she had only put it in the window the day before.

Flat hunting coincidence

Two years ago my fiancée and I, newly engaged, moved from London to Sussex so could study for a masters in experimental psychology. We were struggling to find any suitable flats in budget and on our third trip down to view houses were ready to give up and look elsewhere. As a last ditch effort, we had emailed a private landlord on gumtree about a flat that looked totally unsuitable but had no reply. Before our final house hunting trip down there, I had been googling jewellers in the vicinity as we still had no engagement ring and wanted to have one made.

right place right time

On holiday in a small fairly remote cottage in south wales with great dane. Good hols but midway after a day on beach the dane seemed distressed and wanted to be sick. 15 mins later looked really poorly. Rang the local vet provided by the cottage owner and got to his surgery 15 mins later. When he looked at Prince he told us it was "bloat" generally terminal in danes (gastric torsion) and that he couldn't help as he was a large animal vet.


I live in Ireland, but went to Uni in Scotland. By chance I was placed in halls of residence with another Irish girl (from a different county). 5 years later, we were best friends. We decided to go backpacking in Australia and got our tickets. I said i'd sort out the visas and needed both of our passport details. Turned out that both Irish passports were 8 years old, both printed on 22nd April 1999, and our passports had only 1 digit separating them, so were printed 1 directly after the other. This was before each of us knew of each other !

old friend USA

In 1978 (aged 27) after living in upstate New York for 6 months, I went to visit an old school friend from England who lived in San Francisco. The day after I arrived, we went to see Van Morrison performing in a tiny bar in a town called Mill Valley, north of the city. Van lived nearby and it was a 'local' gig for him, so was not advertised widely. The bar was packed and towards the end of the evening I exchanged comments about how brilliant the gig was with the person standing next to me.


Travelling through Perth I was listening to an audio book (a Smiley Spy story, I think) when I looked at my watch to see the time at EXACTLY the moment the same time was read out by the audio book. Obviously the time in the book was nothing but a passing reference in the plot but it coincided exactly with my time (but not necessarily the actual exact time... though it may have been).

Small world.

My friend and I was on the way to a snorkelling boat trip in Sharm El Sheik Egypt in a small coach in April 2003 when on the way the coach picked up a couple from another hotel. They caught our eyes immediately as they were quite an attractive couple. The guy was wearing a kikoy (a Kenyan sarong) and a bandana around his head. We said hello to make conversations and to be as welcoming as we could be. We found that they were in thier late twenty, his girlfriend 'Erika' was born to a Kenya mum and an Austrian dad.

Lucky ticket!

My two sons - one in the army, one at university - arranged independently to got to a pop festival a couple of hundred miles away, each with their own friends. They both had the tickets sent to my house. The student set off a day early to stay with friends but realised as he arrived that he'd forgotten his ticket! He rang me and I was able to locate the ticket and give it to the soldier in the hope that they'd meet up. No need to worry, as they both turned up at the same gate at the same time before they'd had a chance to arrange anything!

"Chance" train meeting

In October 1981 I travelled from England to Germany I got off the night ferry at the Hook of Holland and boarded a long train for my onward journey to Heidelberg I chose a carriage at random,it had 6 seats and the only other occupant was a female student from Manchester We chatted and had a pleasant journey,sharing lunch in Cologne and boarding the same train for our onward trip,saying our goodbyes at my destination In May 1982 I did the same journey (for the first time since the previous October) I chose a carriage at the Hook of Holland,it was empty......and then in walked the same girl