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.

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Vertical Tabs

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Schwinn Twins

As I sat in a nearby park talking on the phone, a man approached asking for what I thought was a ciggarette. He sat down next to me in a socially invasive manner and began fiddling with his bicycle. When my call ended, we conversed. His bicycle was a very unique sea foam green Italian road bike that I have never seen before. The man told me how he previously had toe clips and gave a few other details of his history with this cycle.

German Shepards

I use Uber to get almost everywhere. My last four consecutive Uber drivers complemented my toy poodle and each one mentioned a shared affinity for dogs. I asked each driver exactly the same questions starting with,"do you have any pets?", every driver answered the similarity that they had a dog, three currently and one when he was younger. I then asked "what kind of dog?" To this each of the four drivers respinded that they had German Shephards, except for the man whom did not have a dog currently but previously in life.

Time and distance

In Christchurch NZ, in 2008, my father was throwing a party for his friends and as usual my family was invited. I asked to take a colleague from work. He had arrived in new Zealand in June 2006, a couple of days before my return from being away from NZ for 20 years. We had met through school (kids in the same class) and then later at work - same department at the Christchurch City Council.

Funny Coincidence involving Brett Micheal's Birthday

I am a teacher and I celebrate a birthday every day with my students. Very rarely (a handful of times a year), I am observed by outside people. Last year, on March 15, I had a visitor just as we were celebrating Brett Michael's birthday (an excuse to play Every Rose Has its Thorn ... not a terribly educational moment). We all had a good laugh after the visit. Last week, I was told that a higher up at our organization would be visiting next week.

Black Hills of Dakota

This morning I woke up early and when I did I had 'The Black Hills of Dakota' from Calamity Jane in my head. My class had sung the song as part of a variety show in primary school 24 years ago, when I was about 8, and while I remember it well I do not think about it often and nothing that I can think of, either waking or dreaming, had prompted me to have it in my head when I woke up. Not thinking much of this I got up, went to the bathroom, walked back into my room and turned the radio on, to RTE 1, Ireland's state broadcaster's main station.

Snail watching in life and on Radio 4

In May 1992 after attending a module of my Buddhist-based psychotherapy training in South Devon I spent a couple of days near the coast. I walked on the coast path and noticed a large snail crossing the bare earth in front of me. Its feelers were fully extended and it seemed vulnerable; a little bit like me after the training. I crouched down and watched it as it crossed the path, feeling protective of it. As I watched it a party of bird-watchers came by me, and seemed a bit surprised I was there, crouching down.

synchronicity with words

Multiple times a day, I hear a word right as I read it. For example, i would be reading an article and read the word "address" and at the exact same time, I will hear someone say "address." This happens with any and all kinds of words, common and rare. Sometimes it will happen 10 times in a day, sometimes 0 or 1. It freaks me out and i don't think of them as coincidences. Not sure what it means, because the words aren't notices close to each other like 10 seconds apart. It happens at the exact moment I read or think the word.

Mi casa es sous casa

I lived with my boyfriend in his mother's house in Florida in 1998 while it was in the process of being sold. We broke up and I eventually moved to Ohio, where my sister and her family had moved. Years later my sister and her family moved back to Florida and had been living in a relative's house and had to suddenly find a new place to live. They went through a rental agency and ended up in the exact house fifteen years later without having a clue until I asked for their address to send them a card. At first I thought it was a joke and then she sent me pictures.

Meeting someone I know on the London Underground

I got on a crowded tube in Central London on Saturday (ie a non-work day) and found myself standing next to someone who works in the same open plan office as me - there are about 40 of us in this space. Neither I nor this person live in London so it was also very unusual for us to be In London on a Saturday nor were we anywhere near our shared workplace.