Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Making friends at Uni

When I moved into university a year and a half ago, I made friends with a guy (let's call him Chris) who lived on the same floor as me in halls. Chris and I remained friends, going out and having fun, along with the rest of our group. But it was very strange when we found out that we actually lived 10 minutes apart back home and our schools were rivals, yet we had never met.

Dealt full suit of cards

When I was younger my parents used to play the card game Solo ( a whist type game where all the cards are dealt, 13 to each of the four players). My mother was dealt a complete suit of hearts. Even she managed to make a Royal Abundance !

Identical random pin numbers

I ordered a credit card from Santander and when the new pin arrived it was identical to my existing RBS debit card! An easy one for your students to work out the odds :-) It sticks in my memory because the next day I randomly decided to pull in a Cafe on the A1to make a call and I pulled alongside a container lorry which just happened to have my first and surname (and it's not Smith!) in massive letters emblazened on the side!

Finding money

Whilst walking down the road past the entrance to a school I felt a sharp pain in my foot. Stopping and inspecting my foot, I found that I had stepped on a drawing pin. This had pierced my trainers, as I looked on the ground attempting to remove the pin I noticed a pound coin, I can't recall ever before or since having a pin pierce my trainers and I can recall very few times that I've found money on the ground.

Reserved seat!!!

My mum lived in Brigjton and my Granny in London, both hardly ever used the train for travel. My mum decided to visit her mum in Yorkshire (she'd always previously taken her van but decided to take the train for once). </p> <p>My mum brought a ticket and sat in what she thought was an available seat. </p> <p>As the train passed through London, more people got on. An old women (who had previously reserved a seat) approached the reserved numbered seat to find my mum in it.

A chance Paragraph

Dear Mr Spiegelhalter, I just watched the documentary "Tails you win", on television. I must say I found it extremely interesting, as a free lance musician I am destined to have performances where despite the years of honing my craft, I play less then what I am easily capapble of. Anyway, after finishing the documentary, I began to read my book, 2666 by Roberto Bolano.

Unlikely meeting

In October 2011 my wife and I traveled to Auckland, New Zealand for the rugby World Cup. We were independent, not part of an organised group and on the day of our first game we took a public bus from our hotel into Aukland city centre. We obviously didn't know the city or the bus stops so we got off at a stop we felt was near the centre. There were other people on the bus and some got off before us, as I stepped onto the footpath and turned to my right I was confronted by two ladies walking towards me.

Malt Whiskey and Christmas Trees

Last Wednesday (3rd December 2015), whilst working in Speyside, Scotland, I visited a local shop where I bought a bottle of relatively unheard of (at least by me and possibly outside of Scotland) bottle of Malt Whiskey called Glendronnach. When in Rome?! I am not a particularly frequent whiskey buyer or drinker which makes the following even more coincidental. I returned home to Swadlincote, Derbyshire on Friday 5th December and on the Sunday afternoon called a friend to enquire as to his general health and to catch up on news.


Hi David Have just watched your excellent program on BBC4 and wanted to share my chance/psychic? /unknown? experience with you. I have had many coincidence stories, even as many as several a day when I was younger. But this is the most recent and stuck in my mind . I regularly visit Kensal Green Cemetery ( where my parents are buried). I also take an interest in the notable people buried there. The only notable person I couldn't find the plot for ( square/grave number) was the late clothes designer, Ossie Clark ( despite asking staff on a couple of occasions).

Ambigram All Around

I am in the hospital right now, being kept overnight for observation. I have a nurse and a tech. The tech was showing me her tattoos, including one that reads the same backwards and forwards. I told her I have been doing this for people for decades, before they had a name (they're called ambigrams). Then the nurse comes in and he starts talking - completely without having heard the earlier conversation - about how someone once wrote his name out so it reads the same upside-down as right-side up.