Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

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.


In 2002 I was driving my brother and his girlfriend to Dublin Airport as they were leaving to live in New York indefinitely, with no guarantee of a job. As we approached the airport, Sting's song 'Englishman in New York' began playing on the car radio - really freaked me out as I hadnt heard that song in years!

Genealogy connection - 4th cousin, different families !!

I am interested in genealogy and was researching my son's partner's tree when I came across a person in that tree that was also connected to my family tree ! A first, I thought that I was on my family tree. I emailed her and it turns out that she is my 4th cousin on my tree, but ALSO my son's partner's 4th cousin on her fathers side of the family !!!! What a co-incidence that is !!!! Also, when I found a new sister I didn't know I had 11 years ago, her son's birthdate was same date (different year) to my son.

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!

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.

Traffic situations

I have observed this as a jogger/walker/cyclist and driver. When on a fairly quiet road the frequency with which two vehicles travelling in different direction cross at the exact place where there is a walker/runner/cyclist, often necessitating one vehicle to slow down, is much greater than I would expect. On occasions one can travel miles with few or no other vehicles coming then at the very moment there is a slow moving individual on foot or on a bike a vehicle appears. I know this does not fit your categories but I am curious to know if there is any basis to this intuitive belief of mine.


My coincidence was that i got hit of my moped in the 90s and slid along the road into the path of a bus,luckily for me someone had just stepped onto the zebra crossing stopping the bus which would have otherwise ran over me,unfortunately a few weeks later i was sat reading the local Bristol eveningpost paper and i read that a man had been killed in a road accident on the same part i had and the coincidence was he had the same forename and surname as myself. RIP Matthew S.

Surprising meeting abroad

In 2000 we took our daughter to Disneyland in Orlando. We stopped for lunch in a themed restaurant and joined the queue for a table. Immediately before us in the queue were one of my daughters schoolfriends and her family. None of us knew that both families were there at the same time.

Old car coincidence

As a child my parents used to send myself and my two siblings away for a two week summer holiday and we used to be dropped off at a London station to meet the party we were travelling with. This time we pulled up to park behind our old car, a Morris traveller, which we had sold some years previously locally in Norwich.