Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Same people again

A few years ago I saw 2 people I knew on the same day in different towns. I had worked with both these people in the same office 15 years previously and hadn't seen either of them since..........


My daughter died in December 1992. At her funeral we sang Jesus loves me. On Christmas day we opened the gifts she had bought us the week before she died. She had bought the records I will always love youngish starts when I must go leaving only memories behind ... On the reverse Jesus loves me. She also bought the record from a distance by Cliff Richard . Her funeral was 3 days before Christmas. Are our lives mapped out for us, I believe everything happens for a reason. Sandra

Identical circumstances

I was a police officer and was part of a firearms team in the City of London police. Our driver was born in 1936, some 10 years before me. He told a story of how he, as a 10-year-old, had entered bombed premises, a block of 'flats', about six stories high, and started a fire on a tin tray in the middle of a top floor room, not the fireplace for some obscure reason. There was no intent to damage property, merely keep warm. A police officer had entered the building, they had run out.


I have had the DVD 'The Reader" for 3 weeks and haven't got round to viewing it. Last night I packed it in my overnight bag to watch it with friends i am staying with tonight. I checked the TV guide for tonight, and 'The Reader" is on TV tonight, first airing/!

A friend made by a coincidence

My wife and I were visiting a small town when we decided to have a cup of tea before catching the train home. There were several cafes in the town centre and we chose one at random. On the counter, there were several old magazines and I chose one at random. In it was a letter from a man in Canada who wanted to be put in touch with me - I'd written an article for the magazine earlier. I got in touch with him and we corresponded for a while. Seven years later my wife and I were planning on a Canadian holiday.

Telephone advice

When I was a teenager in South Africa in the late '70s, I was travelling to England on holiday with my sister. We were waiting for our flight at Jan Smuts airport in Johannesburg when I decided to phone my best friend in a suburb of jo'burg called Bryanston. Whilst I was chatting to her from the telephone booth, I noticed that the man in the booth next door was struggling to use his phone so I asked my friend to hold on a minute whilst I helped this man(who I did not know!).

Experience and Language

I have thought extensively over the subject of 'Co-incidences' and have examples in all sorts of contexts and variations. They range from the instance when travelling from Trinidad to Barbados and sitting next to a lady from Trinidad we were given landing forms to complete - and on doing so noticed that we shared the exact same birth date; more complex and perhaps not quite so coincidental (or actually in a greater depth) concerns a current project I have in hand: I am marking my late father's hundredth birthday this year with a concert at St.

Radio mingles with reality

I was trying to sleep in late one summer morning after a late shift (I'm a Radio 4 announcer) but the cat in my neighbours garden was scaring a nesting blackbird who was emitting a non-stop high-pitched screeching alarm call. It was driving me mad so I got up, slammed the bedroom window closed and turned my bedside radio on at full volume in the hope of drowning out the noise. I thought I was going nuts. The blackbird call continued - on the radio. Radio 4 was broadcasting a Natural History Unit programme on how to recognise garden birds from their calls!


In the early 1980s, my husband and I and our 4 small children had a camping holiday in Middleton-in-Teesdale, (in County Durham and visited all the local sights. On a visit to Raby Castle, we were spoken to by a lady who had heard me calling to two of my sons, Matthew and Adam - she asked the name of the third son, Stephen and told us that she had three grandsons with the same names. They also had a younger sister. Some years later, my Aunt, who lived in North Wales, decided to move up to Chester-le-Street, County Durham, to a retirement flat, to be nearer to her nephew.

Matching keys

My wife is an actress and it is her habit always to keep a small memento or keepsake from every production or play she has participated in. When she moved in with me to my London house in 1998 she was unpacking a box of her stuff and I asked her, "Why is my cottage key here?" "That's my key," she said, "it's from a play I was in." I went and found my actual key - one of those large, old-fashioned types - and holding them together we found they were identical. So identical, in fact, that it actually opened the door to the cottage.