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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Terry no mates

I just caught the end of one of the episodes of 'The Likely Lads' where Thelma and Bob are throwing a surprise party for Terry. As usual he spoils it all and is told 'it is no wonder you have no friends'. The episode ended,and I switched channels,where Jim Belushi was part way through an episode of 'According to Jim'. In this episode the sister-in-law is pregnant and speaking to her partner about children.

body worlds exhibition

I was having dinner with a friend and we started arguing over my eating habits. As I was getting angry I tried to bring up another theme of conversation and remembered that my friend have recently told me that she wanted to visit the Body Worlds Exhibition, a very strange exhibition of plastinated corpes arriving to my hometown in Uruguay. Later, at home, I started to classify the comic books I have in my computer.

TV show and music coincidence

Hi David, My name's Lizzie. Two coincidences have happened to me just this morning within the space of 30 minutes. I'm pretty used to coincidences happening to me, but often they're just as black and white as a lot of coincidences that happen to others - I wish mine were as simple as the birthday coincidences! Here's my story. This morning I decided to watch an episode of one of my favourites TV shows, New Girl.

Clutching at straws

I just turned over the TV from 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' where Chris Tarrant was asking about a bag with no handle,giving car-related answers such as accelerator bag,brake bag,clutch find Ed China on 'Wheeler Dealers' was opening a Lamborghini Uracco clutch mechanism.

Sad Story Santa

Just before my first Christmas with my ex and his parents, I went to the post office to mail gifts to another Province as I do each year. Instead of one of the gals whom I had done business with many, many times, there was an older gentleman who came out from the back room after I hit the bell a couple of times. I get a type of slow motion feeling when I'm about to have a "coincidence" and sure enough, there it was. He was gentle and looked just like Santa Claus and proceeded to ask me if I needed insurance. I said yes as there were many Christmas gifts for family in the box.

Meet Carla

I recently met a colleague whose name is Carla from the US and had coffee with her yesterday for the first time. Today I started a conversation with a lady in the subway whose name is... Carla and she is also from... the US. Coincidences like this have happened quite a lot among my life which makes me wonder why those events happen.

Birth date coincidence

I helped a stranger in Orly airport carry her bag from the bus to the terminal. On the way she asked me about my star sign. In the exchange that followed we determined that we were born on the same day, month, and year, and this was confirmed by our passports. I find this very surprising because not only did we have the same birthday but we discovered this fact during our short meeting.

Six Flags Visit

On opening day (around April 2017) of Six Flags in Gurnee, IL I was in line with about a thousand people and there was a lady with her son in front of my son, nephew, and me. We talked for awhile until we entered the park and then went Are own ways. Forward 6 months later (October 2017) I take my son, nephew, and myself back to Six Flags in Gurnee, IL for Freight Fest that was planned a couple months ago. Well guess who I see at the park??? Exactly The lady and her son that I talked to in line for an hour on opening day.

lost two relatives on the same day 200 miles apart

On 28.11.96, my maternal grandmother passed away in the morning. At 7pm that evening, my father passed away, 200 miles away. I then met a man in 2010 who'd lost his mother in the morning and his father in the evening through unrelated events.

Some coincidences take a long time

When I was around 15 or 16, I'd listen to Radio Luxembourg in the late evenings. I didn't care much for the music, but the news reports by an IRN reporter from El Salavador were gripping. A few years later, I met the love of my life, who, incidentally, lived in the house next door to the one I'd been born in and grew up in, although I'd moved away by then. One day, one of us raised how impactful listiening to the IRN El Salavador news reports by one particular news reporter had been, and the other said they too had listened to them and remembered them.