Cambridge Coincidences Collection

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Depth Of Coincidence

i and a friend of mine were on the phone in two different places i was downtown and he was on the east side we had started seeing a reoccurrence of numbers (1, 3, 5 and the number 2 events has happened in crazy coincidences within the past 3 days i have had 2 seizures we were on the phone for 1 hr 26 minutes and 35 seconds we looked at stories on his Facebook and we seen alot of clips that were 25 hours or 5 hours away it was a pack of cigarettes on the table that had the number 2 and number 5s on it a pack of 5 cigars with 2 left he left at 11:30 pm i was downloading music and i downloaded a 2pac song and a notorious b.i.g song and while listening to the notorious b.i.g song i was watching the martin lawrence tv show on live tv and the episode with the notorious b.i.g was the episode that was coming on also i watch 2 episodes of wwe wrestling every week Monday and Friday its a Friday here in Indianapolis now because its after midnight and the actual time is after 5 am

A letter to the wrong person

Background information:When I moved to Atlanta at age 19, my first job was working in the mailroom of Gulf Oil credit card center. The mailroom was huge and the address actually had it’s own USPS ANNEX. Credit card payments were received in envelopes that were inserted in with the billing. So 95% of the envelopes returned with payment were the same and could be opened on an automated machine a where the payment was processed. However, there were people who didn’t use the enclosed envelopes and chose instead to use their own which varied in size and couldn’t be opened by the machine. For these envelopes there was a group of older ladies that worked in a back room opening them by hand. One day as I was carrying on with my job, one of the ladies from the back approached me with an open envelope. (No one paid attention to who they were addressed to and they were opened without checking so that the money could be processed quickly). She handed me the envelope and said…isn’t this your father? Yes, it was addressed to my dad who had NOTHING to do with Gulf Oil Credit and had an address in a different part of town.

A number coincidence

I have a six digit lock code on my phone. I forgot the 4 digit code for my bank card so requested a new pin. On receiving the new pin code. The new pin code was the middle four numbers of my phone lock code in the correct order...

House being finished on the day I was born

About 15 years ago I bought a house that was completed on the same day as I was born in January 1977. I am interested to know what the chances of this happening are?

European camping coincidence

In the late 1970s when I was a 2nd year student, I went hitch-hiking round Europe with a friend in the summer vacation. We arrived in Paris in the dark, and went to the very large campsite in the Bois de Boulogne (approx 400 pitches available in those days). We put up our tent in the dark (and rain) and went to sleep. Got up the next morning to find someone I knew from my school in the next tent. So I guess there is the compound chance of me choosing Paris to go to, the chance of going to that campsite and the chance of me pitching my tent next to the tent of someone who I knew, who had chosen the same week to go on holiday. There were probably about 300 people who had been at my school who would would have been about the right age to be on holiday by themselves in those days, and I suppose they would have had the same sort of chance of picking Paris/camping etc as I had. I estimate maybe 1 in 1200000 chance.

Salcombe holiday

We had a short break in apartments in Salcombe, Devon. On our second day, I met a gentleman who was just leaving. I asked if he had a nice break and how did he find it? All was good but he was leaving a day early due to his son having to play rugby. As I'm a rugby follower, I asked him where he was you going. He was travelling to the North midlands to drop his son to an important England youth game. He was an ex player and I asked him who he played with as a youngster. He told me he used to play for Coventry, which was a coincidence as my manager at work played there a while back. It turned out he knew my manager! I live just outside Bath and he was from the midlands and I thought it was just one of those things. What are the chances of having a link when we live well away from each other, plus, the journey to Salcombe is 147 miles for me and around 250 mile for him

I have had 69 coincidences about a fictional character, and it's still going.

So, I have been having synchronicity about a fictional character for about 5 months. The character is from a kids show called Gravity Falls, and is named Bill. I started to track these occurences, and I am currently at 69. These coincidences have been everything from hyper realistic dreams to clothing items that were gifted to me ( I guess I own a cartigan now..). It is still going on, and it's become an inside joke between me and my friends. Whenever someone hase a reoccuring dream or coincidence, we call it Cipher Disease. The funny thing is that is still going it on, and does not seem to be slowing down or stopping. If anything it has become more and more frequent. So, yeah.

Fourfold coincidences

What is the probability of people experiencing four coincidences: 1. They had taken the same type of food. 2. They died within six months after ingesting the same food. 3. They died with the same symptoms. 4. The food was prepared within the same year and not yet expired.

A Gruesome Break

For many years I have been a GCSE examination marker and back in the day, we were sent hundreds of actual exam papers. It is a substantial undertaking and needs decent time management and perseverance. I generally marked about 5 papers, took a very short break and went back to it. I completed marking the last of a small batch and turned on the TV, switched on Ceefax (quite some time ago!) and read the tragic story of the death of a young actor from the children’s series, Byker Grove, by the name of Duncan Ford. I went back to my marking and the last paper I had completed was for a student called Duncan Ford and the frank mark on the batch of exam scripts was a school in Newcastle, where Byker Grove is set. There would be several students with the same name taking that exam, that year and I’ve always hoped that it was a different one that I marked.

Argos

I once went to Argos to buy a replacement shower curtain. I filled in form, paid and waited at the collection point. My number came up and watching the collection shelf I noticed they had picked 2 curtains and I was about to alert them to the mistake when a women came forward , she had picked the exact same curtain. I was amazed and said so, she said yes it was a good price seemingly unaware of the chance of this happening. At the time Arhos claimed to have 250,000 items in their catalogue

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