Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Rings a bell?...... Phone Calls

In the town where I live, I have two friends one with a telephone number 896535 and the other 893535. I had to contact them about two separate issues on the same evening. Later that evening, I had to contact a woman I'd never rung before about an article she'd submitted for a newsletter I compile. I looked her phone number up and what should it be but 897535!

Triple Births

Back in 1985, my wife was pregnant with our second son, David. At the same time, my boss too of that era was pregnant with her son Matthew. David was born two weeks early at 17:54 on 6th. November 1985. Later, I found out that my boss had given birth to her son Matthew at 17:55 on the same day; the boys were born just a minute apart, both in the Hull area but at different hospitals. Some years later, David was at school and befriended a girl called Zoe in his class who was born at 10:00 on 6th. November 1985.

Connection across the continents

I've travelled a lot during my life and had lots of coincidental meetings. This is one of the most random! After living for a few years in Japan, I moved to London where I met up with one of my best friends from New Zealand. She was working in a pub in London and invited me out for drinks with some Irish friends she'd met there. One of the Irish guys had also been recently living in Japan.

Future husband connection

My (now) husband was the friend of my friend's husband's cousin - so a very distant connection, or so we thought. The day we met, here in New Zealand, we talked about where we grew up. I told him I was born in the UK and lived in a small town, Harston near Cambridge. He shared that his mother took him and his sisters to live in the UK when he was a child - and he went to a school in a small town, Sawston near Cambridge. Sawston was where my father worked - just 5 miles or so from Harston, where I went to school!

Friends across the world

I am English. In 2011 I was living in Glasgow, Scotland, with a previously unknown flatmate, she was from Crieff, Scotland and was telling me she had a friend she had met while living in Palma, Majorca. He friend was from Luderitz, a small town in Namibia. So we called her "Nim". Anyhow, her friend Nim came to stay with us and we became good friends, I helped her get a job and to work in Scotland and she stayed with us for 3 years. Eventually we all moved on, and I moved to a house I bought in a small town in the other side of Scotland, called Forres.

In 1946, a teenager, my newborn daughter was adopted. I was not married. I signed away all rights of contact. I did however know the phone work number of her (adopting) father and just on forty years later for the first and only time I rang his office with some anonymous and neutral enquiry. Two days later, I learnt that he had died the day I rang.

Reading a newspaper article and relevant music plays in background

Two coincidences.. I watched Tails you win last night was living abroad during first showing .Today I was reading an article in the i newspaper about the Chancellor's announcement to close various prisons when in the pub the music playing was 'Band on the run' Wings... how uncanny is that


Playing Scrabble against my wife, we were nearing the very end of a game. I had seven letters left on my rack, as did my wife. I found a seven letter word ('Bingo') among my letters and could see just one place where I could put the word down on the board. But it was my wife's turn and I was hoping she wouldn't spoil my move (and end the game) by putting letters down which would stop me from playing my Bingo.

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.

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!