Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Why? By recording your coincidence stories here, you can help him build a picture of what kinds of coincidences are out there and which ones seem to ‘get to’ us the most. Your coincidence stories can also help him explore the scientific explanations which may account for them – whether by doing the maths to calculate the chances of a coincidence, or speculating on the weird and wonderful workings of our brains.

Coincidences tend to be ‘surprising matches’ – sometimes they are lucky, sometimes unlucky, sometimes just mind-boggling. To help you recall the coincidences that have happened in your life, here’s a list of some common types of coincidence:

  • Surprising repetitions: for instance when you’ve had not contact with someone for ages, then find two connections to them very close together in time. Or when over several years multiple members of the same family are born with the same birthday. Or even a repetition of a really rare event – like winning the lottery twice, or your life being saved twice by the same person!
  • Simultaneous events: for example when two people phone each other at exactly the same time.
  • Parallel lives: such as when two people in a small group find they share a birthday or an unusual name, or when two people discover their lives match each other in bizarre details.
  • Uncanny patterns: imagine picking letters in Scrabble that spell your name.
  • Unlikely chains of events: perhaps you lost your false teeth overboard and found them inside a fish you caught twenty years later?

If anything coincidental has happened to you - anything that made you stop and say "well, what were the chances of that..?" - then please record your story in the form below! Please try to keep your story personal - about you or someone you know. The only thing we'd ask you to steer clear of are premonitions or déjà vu, purely because - whilst fascinating - they're quite common and also difficult to analyse.

You could also tell us about coincidences in the news, but please provide a link to a reliable source!


Title: two or three words that give a simple description of your story, eg ‘old friend’ or ‘birthday coincidence’
Coincidence: tell your coincidence story - and please include plenty of relevant detail (places, dates, numbers etc.) and include your first name if you want.
Email address (optional): please leave an email address, as then we can get in touch to find out more!

All of the information entered below except your email address will be published on this website when you press save





By ticking this box you agree that your email address can be forwarded to Wingspan Productions Ltd, who are making a BBC television programme about Chance and would like to feature Professor David Spiegelhalter's coincidence collection. In doing so you agree that the producers of the programme may contact you directly to ask you more about your story, though whether you decide to help them is entirely up to you. Your details will not be forwarded to any other party or used for marketing purposes.



Vertical Tabs


MEETING IN FARM LANE

We go clay pigeon shooting from time to time at Fyfield about an hour's drive from our home. The first time we took the wrong lane having missed the (rather small) direction sign, just short of the club. We arrived at a farm house and my wife got to ask the way. To her amazement the woman who greeted her was an old friend from her horse riding stable, who she had lost touch with some years ago. (So, we remained there for some while as they chatted).

SAME STORE ROOM

When I worked for the BBC it had a large collection of firearms used in drama productions, and retained a small team of retired police officers to deal with security, safety, licensing etc. These were in an armoury with a huge steel door in the basement of the TV studio scenery block. Later these were "outsource" to an agency and we took the, now empty, room to use for storing our IT Network spare parts.

JGR is walking in

When I was a student (many years ago), I spent a year in France as a teaching assistant in a school. During the Christmas break I travelled to Italy (Milan) to visit a fellow student who was also spending her year abroad. During my visit, we often talked about one of our lecturers (JGR I'll call him after his initials) whom we both liked and she had a bit of a 'thing' (intellectual rather than romantic) about him. He was of part Mediterranean background and could easily have been taken for Italian in looks.

UNIVERSITY FRIENDS

I was at university in the late 1980's and after I left I noticed one girl who I knew well by sight, walking around London several times in the course of a few weeks. Later my director of studies got on the Underground train right next to me on one of her few trips down to London and another girl on my course was sitting right next to me at a touch typing course that I paid to go on the following year, back in London.

UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR

When I was a student at Cambridge in the late 1980s one of my professors was Timothy Smiley, who had several daughters. I found out in the early 1990s, after I'd returned to work, that one of them was the girlfriend of the person who sat in front of me in the office!

Another UK/Australia link...

Circa 1980: I took the car from home in Nottingham down to London, to attend a concert on the South Bank. Arriving late morning, I parked near the British Museum and spent some time there before doing some shopping. Returning to the car I wondered whether to leave the car there while I went to the concert, or to take it to the South bank. I decided on the South Bank. Once there I had to decide where to park: on the street or in the National Theatre car park? I headed for the NT.

Tyneside-to-Sydney...

August 2004: Our son having finished his GCSE exams, we took the opportunity to have a long holiday in far-away Australia, our tour ending in Sydney. We went to the Opera House Concert Hall for a matinee concert by the Sydney SO of Brahms and Bartok. The piece played as an encore was unfamiliar to me, and afterwards on the quayside I approached another middle-aged couple and asked if they knew what the piece was.

The Specials

On the way to work one day, I played a one track live mix CD in my car. It was made several years prior by a friend of mine who is an MC /DJ. I put it in the CD player as I was leaving my driveway and it played for about 5 minutes before I stopped and turned the car off at a local petrol station where i picked up a car-sharing colleague and bought a coffee. Got back in the car and hit the motorway. It was late winter and was snowing for the first time that season.

flat hunt - same flat

About 17 years ago, I lived in a great 3-bedroom apartment with my erstwhile partner and small child. When we split up I was really upset (amongst other things!) at having to leave behind the flat where we lived. I even considered buying out my partner and taking in a lodger so I wouldn't have to move. It was just perfect in terms of layout, location, light, quiet, privacy... I ended up having to move into a much smaller two-bedroom. Finally, seven years ago, I was in a position to look for a three-bedroom apartment for myself and my son.

We both live the same life

am from Chennai,India. i was introduced to this girl named priya in start of the year......we started talking and months went by........slowy we started realising that we had tons of stuffy in common....but then these common things went beyond explanation.

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