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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A very unromantic love story lol.

Back in May 2011, I had been going through a very rough time in life, was a single mom & had gone thru a rough breakup to man I had been with for 2 years & was generally over anxious & not sleeping right. My doctor put me on a sleeping med called Ambien to help me get some rest a night. It was later found that this sleeping med had caused people to do "weird things" in an unconscious state & eventually stricter rules were placed on its miligram distribution.

QY20 Persuaders

Recently I have been watching THE PERSUADERS which are re-running on TV,but not managing to catch all episodes,I took to looking them up on Youtube,and tried to watch them in passing. Today, I played back the episode 'Death in the Family' on Iphone whilst browsing Ebay on laptop. In this episode,all of Brett Sinclair's relatives feature,including Denolm Elliot as one. On ebay I came across a QY20 sequencer which was being sold as spares/repair,I noted that the seller was Australian.

Chance Meeting

While stationed at Wiley barracks in Neu Ulm, Germany, in the US Army, in 1975, I and some friends were walking back late at night to the base. We were returning from a Beerfest celebration in town. We were quite inebriated. Other soldiers were also walking home. A fight ensued over some supposed indiscretion between we friends and some other soldiers. I tried to end the fight by threatening the other soldiers with a broken glass beer mug. End the fight it did, when one of those soldiers tried to disarm me from the menacing object.

Same phone number

When travelling in Thailand with a Thai friend I bought a sim card for my mobile phone over the counter in a department store. The corresponding mobile number was my Thai friend's old mobile number from years before.

A family connection with a stranger

I moved to Scotland, several years ago, from the North East of England where I was born. I lived much of my childhood and adult life in South Tyneside. In 2013, a friend came to visit me in Edinburgh during the Festival and we walked up the Royal Mile, watching street performers and weaving our way through the Festival crowds. At one point my friend walked ahead of me and I when I spotted her, she was talking to a man who was giving out flyers for a show that evening. When I caught up with her, my friend said, ‘This lad is from South Shields!’ (our home town).

Man calls from a familiar place

I work for a very large insurance company as a Quality Analyst for the service center. You know when you call whatever 800 number and ask to speak to a live representative? I listen to those phone calls all day long and make sure those representatives are doing the right thing. Our service center services insurance policies from all 50 states in the United States. We take over 2,000 calls a day total. One of the departments I quality check sits at about 800 calls per day and I have to listen to 25 of those per month for my quota which I pull at random.

Swimming lessons?

My friend and I were driving on a fairly deserted interstate heading home. We were discussing whether or not we should put my 2 year old in gymnastics or swimming lessons this summer when not even 10 seconds later a truck advertising preschool swimming lessons passes us on the road.

Marlon Brando

This may seem more in the vein of the supernatural but involves a coincidence nonetheless less. I am a huge Marlon Brando fan and have read all there is to read about his life and his work and I've seen all of his movies and tv appearances (that I could find). One day after finishing a particularly interesting biography on the man I sat in silence on my sofa to think about what I had just read. After a few minutes I began to smell the faint smell of cigarette smoke which grew stronger and after maybe two minutes dissipated into thin air.

Triple Dip Pink Slip

My third engagement just fell apart and hopes of being a husband and father seem to be slipping away. I have an affinity for news not readily prominently published (RTTM feeds, textbook updates, farmer's almanacs, etc) for various reasons unrelated. I live north of Atlanta and made a career at CNN until a recent tense parting of ways. While on a stroll with my bloodhound I come across a painted birdhouse looking repository of books, about forty titles in all just there to be shared.

Power Theft

Over a year ago at my home in Texas, a work crew repetitively took power from my outlet between my garage door and my front door while they worked on my neighbor's house.