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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Shopping coincidence

My daughter and I went into a supermarket together, she got all her stuff (just a few items) and I carried on shopping, I got lots of things (as much as I could carry) when I got to the car I said I had spent £27 (27.32). She sent me a photo of her receipt this evening, she had spent exactly £27.32 too.

Amazing Holiday Coincidence

Nearly 30 years ago now, when I was mid to late twenties, I went on hokiday with my then husband to Singapore and Bali. I live in the UK, Birmingham to be precise. A few days before we flew, I friend, who I worked with, was on maternity leave and given birth to a baby boy. I went to visit her and took some photos. On arriving at Singapore, I finished off the film in my camera and had them developed. After being in Bali for a couple of nights, we got talking with a couple from New Zealand who were originally from Birmingham.

Danny's Song

Was in the car on a long drive 8 months pregnant with my first child, and hadn't felt him kick all day. I was becoming overcome with fear. I'd gotten this old song stuck in my head earlier in the day - Kenny Loggins, Danny's Song. It had been released several years prior, and was by no means a top 40 hit at that point. The line, "You bring a tear of joy to my eyes, and tell me, everything is going to be alright" had been repeating in my mind. I don't pray, but I was starting to panic, and I thought, "if I just had a sign.

meeting in a wood

some background: we live in a comparatively small country (2 million; furthest trip under 500 km), my family and my brother with have apartments in the same house in the capital (under million). we are no under frequent communication and the like, and neither had we communicated before this event. we, with a child a bit over one year, decided to go to the seaside. like 150 km away from home. spent some days in a hotel and on the seaside. then on Saturday we decided just to drive around and see (or rather show the child) what else interesting is there. one site, another.

The Hawaiian Shirt

Me and my friend like a boy. We were going to a Halloween party where he was attending as well. We constantly made assumptions about his costume. We jokingly said, "imagine if he wears a Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned with his abs hahaha that would be so hot!". As we arrive we see he is not wearing that costume. What are the odds of him wearing the costume simply created in our joke? Later that night, we look over and TO OUR SURPRISE he is wearing the unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt! Out of the infinite amount of costumes he ended up wearing the own, we constantly imagined.

Spousal Connections

Years ago my wife & I started noticing multiple coincidences in our lives. Both of us come from families with five children: three boys and two girls. We both have an older sister born in 1951 with two children named Eric & Jill. Both of our mothers --- born weeks apart --- had one brother and four sisters. We are both into numerology and both our birthdays add up to 11= 2; both our social security numbers add up to 38=11=2. Even weirder, the first three digits of her SSN are 038.

What Is Going On?

The amount of coincidences that has been happening in my life lately has been so unbelievable that I barely even believe it myself, which is why it will be hard to get anyone else to believe it. One of the biggest ones that I think helped me the most was the other day I was feeling very down, like the whole world is against me and didn't know who to turn to. While I was on my lunch break I had to go to the bathroom so I stopped at a supermarket on the way. When I walked into the bathroom there was a stranger in there, he asked how I was doing.

2 Dads/2 Aarons

I had been treated by a physical therapist for a couple of years and started asking her about her background after years of minor chit chatting. We found out that her dad and uncles knew my dad and uncles and that she had even worked at my uncle's business 38 years ago. I then mentioned that my dad's birthday was coming up, July 2nd. She said that her son, Aaron, was born on July 2nd. We both thought that was a bit eerie and a moment of silence fell between us. Then I thought to ask about her dad's birthday. He was born on May 4th, just like my son, Aaron.

Birthday Lovers

I never went to my high school reunion because I thought it was just a launching pad for those that wanted to toot about their accomplishments. I graduated in 1974 and never went to any of them at all. I had to be talked into the what I thought would be the final one in 2014. So reluctantly I went with a friend. I sat in the old school and there was no order or reason for the sitting. I found myself at a table with the friend who convinced me to come. I then found she was interested in talking to everyone except me.

Backlash against big data

While I was listening to the Calling Bullshit in the Era of Big Data lecture series, specifically the one that discusses the Google Flu Trends overestimating the number of cases of flu, I knocked some paper on the floor. It came from a pile of papers that I had found when tidying up and handing over the archive for a volunteer role I had just given up. After the lecture had finished I picked it up. It was called 'How to preprocess a simple paragraph of text'.

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