Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


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).

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.

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.

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.


I was born high school I started using a pager. The code I used for people to recognize me was 307. 307 was the closest to Joe I could get, which is my first name. Years later I had used 307 many times over, tagging and writing 307 in different ways..I even tagged a shirt in numbers on the back which read 43078 representing my birthdate..I never realized until that moment how 307 was in the center of my birthdate when written in short.

telepathy and einstein

My old friend from Oxford emailed me recently a passage from Life and Fate by Grossman, "There is nothing more difficult than to be a stepson of the time; there is no heavier fate than to live in an age that is not your own. Stepsons of the time are easily recognized: in personnel departments, Party district committees, army political sections, editorial offices, and on the street. Time loves only those it has given birth to itself: its own children, it own heroes, it own labourers.

My brain made the coincidence

Once I had a new L reg car which was 10 years old (new to me, not an oxymoron). Just by naturally observing all the cars passing me (when on foot) it seemed that about half of them were an L reg. Obviously it was impossible for half of all cars to be exactly 10 years old, so I started to pay attention to every car that passed: AN LREG, no, no, no, no, no, AN LREG, no, no, no. This illustration shows how my brain noticed all the L reg cars and ignored the rest. I never did measure the actual frequency, I just established it was well below 50%.

Can't be a coincedence type of coincedence

Let's say you meet a service person (person working a register) at a gas station, you see them twice a week every week and you talk to them for a few minutes as you pay for your gas and items. This goes on for 6 months or so. Then you move to another city. Two years later, you see them again, lets say now it's at your bank in your new city (they are a teller) still providing a service for you, and they remember you from two years ago. Is that coincidence or has that happened for a reason? This happened to me.

Small world coincidence

On my Gap year I did Raleigh international in Malaysia. On my expedition of 80 people, three had been to Cambridge, one was a geographer and one was at Downing college. After I left the expedition, I was at a cheap hostel in KL and got talking to a fellow traveller who had done Geography and been at Downing and knew those two people (one well, one not very well).

Black Pearl and the Minions

I was just in the middle of making cartoons with speech bubbles using the Minions characters from Despicable Me whilst watching Pirates of the Caribbean:Curse of the Black Pearl. I had just entered the text into the bubble for one of the Minions to say which read 'Did it work?'. At that very second one of the characters in the Pirate film uttered the words 'Did it work?'.