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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Long Lost Cousin

Growing up my parents used to tell me that my moms cousins wife loved the name they gave me (Lea). I was born in December and they were expecting a baby in June. They asked my parents if they could name their daughter Lea. My parents do of course. They also asked how they spelled it (Lea with no H is not common) Fast forward to a few years out of college. I started dating a guy I went to college with who just happened to live down the street from me. He had a roommate named John that he had met post college. John dated a girl named Lea. I hadn't met her yet but asked how she spelled it.

Boyhood friends/birthdays

In 1956/7 I attended a secondary school called St Michael and St George's (I think) near a town Iringa in Southern Tanzania. There I formed a close friendship with another 16 year old, David Leonard. His father was a miner on a small gold mine near Mwanza in Tanzania and we (my father was in the colonial administration) lived some 150 miles away in the same area. We both left the school in 1957, I joined the British army and came to the UK and he followed me to stay with relatives a little later.

Queen of Coincidence

Randomly rented an old movie once....thriller type and everyone in the movie had the same birthday May 10th. I was thinking to myself I'm glad its not May 10th today. Then I started calculated and thought what a coincidence it is May 10th. A smidge scary. The next day I was telling the story about the eerie coincidence and he says hey my birthday was yesterday....I looked at his ID, and yes it was true.

Saving a stamp on a christmas card

I was travelling in Vietnam with a few days left on my visa in December 2013. I bought a ticket to get me through to Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, via a short tour of the Mekong basin. I received an email from an old friend who I hadn't been in contact with very much for many years, asking me for my latest address, "otherwise you wont get a xmas card ...". It turned out he and his partner were about to fly out to Phnom Penh for a winter break. I told him to save the postage and bring my card with him.

The Extra I Ching Coin ?

Many years ago I went to Denmark to work as an engineer. I soon met a Danish girl, and we moved into a flat together. She was a student of Chinese at the university in Copenhagen. The flat was almost derelict and needed much repair; its previous (and then deceased) occupant had no connection with the university. In seeing her collection of books I learnt of the I Ching. This involves tossing three Chinese coins for a series of heads and/or tails for purposes of divination. One then consults a book with one's obtained series.

Cornish Love Match

Miraculously, we found each other late in life… we had raised our families, had our careers. I did not even know he existed, (though he did know of me) but on the Venn diagram of our lives, we had been treading adjacent paths and circling each other through all my growing up years. But the big miracle – call it karma – had us both, 400 miles apart, independently turning on our computers on the same day, at the same time, and using the same dating site – one that enabled us, finally, to meet. He spotted me 'watching' his dating profile...

Why am I Simon

In 1962 my father won a KelIog scholarship to study at Michigan State University and I spent a year at junior school next to the campus village. In 1975 I was studying at Liverpool Uni and travelled to Hebburn for a job interview. To save money I decided to hitch back to Liverpool. I caught a bus out to the Scotswood Road and stuck out my thumb. I was picked up by a guy about my age driving a much too good car. He wouldn't take me very far but it was a start and so I got in & began to casually chat.

Mother dies in house fire. Two weeks later daughter dies in house fire in the same house.

Mum and daughter die in house fires, only days apart Jim Cusack PUBLISHED 08/05/2011 | 05:00SHARE Tragedy struck a Drogheda family for the second time in less than a fortnight yesterday after the daughter of a woman killed in a house fire died in a second fire in the same house. SHARE A second daughter who had also returned for her mother's funeral, which was due to have taken place today, was also in the house and is seriously ill in Drogheda General Hospital. The dead daughter was named as Susan Krings, 34, whose mother Alicia Krings had been found dead in the front room of th

same room at university

I studied for my undergraduate degree at Manchester University 1990-93. There were about 10,000 students at Manchester Uni when I was there. A similar number at the Poly and a similar number at UMIST , more at the business school etc. I lived in student accommodation in my first year, a place called Oak House. Many years later I was working in the city. We had summer interns every year and one year an intern said he also went to Manchester Uni.

Mr Mark Greig

I I live in Doncaster, I purchased a 1958 VW Beetle, I only purchased it to remove the super rare number plate VLF9. I sold the number plate and then resold the Car. 3 year later I had a VW Golf for sale on eBay, a chap from Nr London called my number and asked about the golf, he asked if he could leave a deposit on the car until he sold his 1962 Vw Beetle , I said that would not be a problem. I then told him that 3 years ago I owned a 1958 Beetle but I only purchased it because I knew the number plate had a value.