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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Just when I needed a new cable

I keep a USB cable to charge my phone at work. The cable did not seem to be working anymore, however, and I thought to myself one day that I should get a new one. The next day I was walking to the bus stop when I found a cable on the sidewalk!

Down and up

I'd been having a lot of trouble with my boss at work. One morning I arrived to find that a diamond had gone missing from a ring - I was devastated. That same day, however my boss was let go. One loss was worth the second!

Reunited with lost item

In the 1980s I was into spiritual healing and always carried a small pouch of semi-precious stones which meant various things to me. I realised one day I'd lost it and it could have been some distance away, I rode a motorbike and went away for weekends, so I never thought about it further. A couple of years later a new guy started working in the company I worked for. He realised I was into the spiritual stuff and said 'oh, my daughter found a bag of stones, would you like them?' - I said yes. He brought them into work - and it was my bag of stones, intact.

Hole in one, twice.

I play regularly on a small country golf course on the Coromandel in New Zealand. On a regular golfing Saturday, about two years ago I stood up on the 7th, a short par three and in front of my three playing partners I hit the ball straight in the hole for my first ever "hole in one". The following Saturday on the same hole, with three new playing partners and with a certain amount of banter, "show us how you did it Al etc" I took my stance, and talked them through it.

Probably being saved from serious car accident

I had a Volvo V50. Although it's by far the most common volvo model in my country, you don't see one very often. I owned it for 3 years and always took great care of it. However, few month prior to selling it, I did not pay much attention to the maintenance anymore. One day a weird sound started coming from the front right wheel. I was somewhat busy at the time so I did not pay attention to it thinking that I simply care too much about everything all the time. I thought the tire did it, it happens.

Thoughts into Actions

I coach gymnastics and we had a competition coming up that weekend. it was in a city that started with an “A”. There were two cities that i kept getting mixed up thinking it was in one then the other and i had to keep checking where it was. I thought “what if i go to the wrong place and the right one is a half hour away.” the night before i look up the location to make sure it’s all set. the next morning i confidently put it in the GPS and go. when i get there it was the wrong place and i put in the wrong town. when i put in the right town the GPS said “28 minutes”....

Barcelona market

My son bumped into my sister in law in a market in Barcelona (and they recognised each other!). Neither had any idea the other was visiting.

HURRICANE EYE DEE and the EMERGENT SYNCH HOLE- Some Coincidences Worthy of Immortalization- Entry #2: 10/9/2017

HURRICANE EYE DEE and the EMERGENT SYNCH HOLE- Some Coincidences Worthy of Immortalization- Entry #2: 10/9/2017 By: Michael Wolfson and Eva Gustley Greetings modest, but hopefully growing, readership. I wish now to introduce you to Eva aka Dee now IDed as coauthor for Entry #2. Since she missed Entry #1, and I do suggest you begin there, I thought she might contribute a comment (risky given her perkiness). Here then is rapper, flapper and inspiring whippersnapper Eva Gustley: Eva: Woo Woo, I just got back from the Columbus RR concert and wow, nice one. Entry #1 too.

POCO SYNCHRO PROFUNDO- Some Coincidences Worthy of Immortalization- Entry #1: 10/7/2017 By: Michael Wolfson

POCO SYNCHRO PROFUNDO- Some Coincidences Worthy of Immortalization- Entry #1: 10/7/2017 By: Michael Wolfson I must admit that I am no stranger to coincidence, although my intended co-author remains an inspirational skeptic. I would guess that even Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, whose life was saved by assassin John Wilkes Booth’s brother on a train platform and who went on to be present at three presidential assassinations (and one for a lesser political figure to boot) would be impressed by certain of the bizarre event couplings I have endured.

Hugh Hefner

For a couple of months now, i have been watching the hit TV show, Sex and the City. The shows has six seasons and i was currently in the middle of season 3 (season 3 episode 14 to be exact) when Hugh Hefner made a cameo appearance in the episode, as this particular episode was set at a party at the Playoby mansion. This is the only episode of all 6 seasons where Hugh Hefner makes an appearance and literally while i was watching this episode, i receive a notification from People Magazine that Hugh Hefner had died that very day.