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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Repeating Initials

When I was around 8 years old I discovered my favorite band and quickly started to develop a crush on the main singer whose initials are J.M. To this day, EVERY SINGLE GUY I've come to have a crush on or had a relationship with has had the same initials. It's not like i look for them, but once I'm already into them or dating them I discover their last name or simply realize they to, in fact, have the same initials.

my doctor appears when I need to speak to him

I live in a city of approximately 0.5 million people. I saw a new doctor last week, and now I needed to speak to him (I was going to call him tomorrow morning when he would be at his surgery). But this afternoon I needed to buy some pillowcases, so I travelled across town to ikea. I arrived at the pillowcases, and there was my doctor!

all in a name

I stated posting these previously that my experience most often tends to be the simultaneous occurrence of seeing and hearing random uncommon words. I was sitting on a bench considering whether to reach out to my friend Wanda. Just then I got up and turned to immediately see her name on a personalized license plate. Yesterday I was playing Wordscapes and the moment I traced the word 'sale' on my phone, Chris Sale's (MLB pitcher) name was spoken on the TV, though not because he was pitching in a game which would obviously make the mentioning of his name less coincidental.

Same hospital bed, same name

About 10 years ago I was having an operation in a London hospital I arrived during the afternoon and when it got to tea time the staff handing out meals claimed that I had cancelled my meal which I vigorously denied, telling them truthfully that no-one had asked me anything about my meal preferences. The next morning a group of nurses on the next shift congregated round my bed and the lead nurse said, "This is Mrs ....". One of the nurses interrupted and said, "No, she went home yesterday morning." I interrupted and confirmed that I was indeed Mrs ...

timing

During a commercial of Sportscenter, I reach over to my phone to start playing Wordscapes Uncrossed where you trace letters in a circle to identify the words those letters might form. These five letters made the word "blimp" and just as I traced them to form the word, the word "blimp" was spoken on the TV synchronized exactly to my tracing.

The same ship name

My Uncle Jim, with whom I share my name, was torpedoed and sunk twice whilst serving in the Merchant navy in WWII. He never talked about this but my father mentioned it briefly once and I knew nothing of the circumstances. Recently I was researching our family history and after help from the National Archives I at last discovered the ships he served on. The second sinking was of the ms ADDA, an Elder Dempster passenger liner which in the early hours of the morning of 8 June 1941 had been the lead vessel of a convoy which had been dispersed en route to Liverpool from Africa.

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad

I worked for many years as a conservator of rare books and manuscripts, and one afternoon in the October 1985 was working on a manuscript volume of harpsichord sonatas by the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti, one of about 20 volumes of many different sorts of music sent to my workshop for conservation by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. As usual, my radio was tuned to Radio 3, and I realised after a few minutes that the music I was listening to was not only by Scarlatti, but actually the same sonata that I was working on within the volume at that moment.

Twins?

I met X on a dating site a few years ago.

Love Beyond Borders

I had a spiritual awakening since years ago and it led me to a man I held particular bond with that was unique. Some years later a met a man who was identical in bond but eventually drove me to my current partner. I started seeing sjgns and strange things happened everytime i went away. The last attempt i made i totaled my car after hitting a tree. I gave up trying to leave. He did also because he experienced similar things. The night after i hit a tree my cousins husband(close friend) hit a tree and was killed.

Garfield's

I was in a car with new friends heading south on Lake Ave in Pasadena. I had never been to this area of Pasadena before. The conversation led to me telling a story of travelling in London many years earlier. I was telling of how I'd gotten sick from eating at a restaurant called Garfield's. At the exact moment I said "Garfield's", my eyes landed on a sign we were passing "Garfield's Tax Service". This type of coincidence has happened to me so many times over the years that I rarely remember them.

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