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.

Vertical Tabs

Mexico Argentina connections

In 1999, my business partner and I opened an office in Mexico City. Almost immediately I was hired to work on a full time consulting job to overhaul a company in the northern city of Saltillo, near the Texas border. I left my partner in charge of the Mexico City office, and one of the first things he did was hire an assistant. She was very competent but (and this is germaine to the story) had no prior experience or contacts in our industry. Meanwhile in Saltillo, I was having trouble filling positions.

Surprising wrong phone number

I was at work trying to call another company in a different state. I was working on getting a report for them and I had some information I needed to request first and I couldn't wait for an email. Since I was in a hurry, I forgot to dial 1 so I dialed the number, but locally 804-523-4304 when i meant to dial 523-430-456. When someone answered it was a co-worker in the same 50 person building on his cell phone. I thought I dialed his extension accidentally, but it was really his cell phone. What are the chances?

God brought us together

My husband and i met in Tennessee in a store parking lot witnessing an altercation. He and I started talking and ended up dating. Found out we stayed in the same apartment complex, we share the same birthday, his father and my mother share the same birthday, and we both lived in the same town in north Carolina when i was a child. We both were at the same military base in south Carolina but at different times.

How I Met My Partner

My coincidence is a rather long story, and it has its start long before I was born. I write this, of course, understanding that it can really only be considered a coincidence given how it has resulted in finding my current partner. If it had not had this result, it simply would have resulted in nothing more than an interesting story. And so I take you to the very beginning, which is post-civil war Spain. The government is currently taken over by Dictator Francisco Franco who was the leader of the Falange movement.

David Foster Wallace Haunts Me

I was both listening to an interview with Zadie Smith and scrolling through Tumblr. At the exact same time, Smith referenced Foster Wallace and a picture of Foster Wallace appeared on my Tumblr. At the exact same time, down to the second. Incidentally, I was reading a piece on Foster Wallace two days ago. It's been a weird couple of days.

DX so handsome

I'm so handsome

Same ancestor

Everyone on this world has the same ancestor

August 4th

My uncle (quadriplegic) was born on 08-04-1952. My husband took care of my uncle until he (my husband) committed suicide on 08-04-16. I just found out that my new boyfriend's parents were married on 08-04-1969.

In Sicily the name is as common as is Jones in Wales

I'm Alan Merryweather and have lived in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England for 26 years and on 4 or 5 occasions when having been asked by motorists for directions I’ve offered to get in the car and take them there as it’s easier than trying to describe the route.<br /> About 2 years ago an American leaned out of his car asking for help. We drove there, and later I walked them around to view the best houses.<br /> I’m a keen family historian so am very nosey about names, occupations and places.

Grandad"s house sale

In 1976, in Brownstown. Country Kildare, Ireland. My grandfather JJ Coy sold his house. When the buyer came to purchase. He signed his name on the purchase documents. It was also JJ Coy. It transpired that he was a distant relative. The house in question was quite an ordinary little bungalow ie not an old family homestead. Also we believed that there were no other male Coys in the area with the exception of my uncle Edward ( Eamonn)