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!

Hot water left on

I live in Vermont and own a seasonal business that is heated in the winter. It has an LP gas heater mounted to the ceiling and I check on it a few times a week but daily when the temperature drops to 0 or below. A few days ago as I walked in my business, the heater came on for 3 seconds and abruptly stopped.I thought this was odd so I walked to the thermostat and turned the temperature higher so the heater would start itself…..nothing. First time in 20 years this happened. That worried me so I went outside the building to check the tanks to see if they forgot to give me gas. The 2 tanks had 70lbs of gas in them. I suddenly heard water running on the other side of a wooden fence the tanks sit near. I had to go around to the other side to the gate to see what the noise was. Someone had turned on the outside hot water faucet and didn’t turn it off . I would have never gone out there if the heat didn’t come on when I was standing inside. The heater has been fine since then??? Coincidence? Or did someone up above lead me back to show me the hot water was left on?

My home purchase

I found a house I really liked and used an agent through Zillow to pursue the purchase. This house was exactly what I was looking for (a coincidence in itself). The agent and his broker, however, did not want to sell me the house. Months went by while my agent hemmed and hawed. There were repairs needed and they just thought it was too risky, so the agent bailed on me and referred me to the listing agent. I finally got an offer in through the listing agent and the exact same day, another party put a a cash offer on the house (I was getting a mortgage) for $1K higher than my bid. When I found out their offer was accepted, I thought all hope was lost for me to obtain this house. But about a week later, the couple pulled out of the deal, finding a more suitable property for them out of state, and the seller signed my backup offer. I'm happily living in the house now, but find it very strange that on the EXACT DAY our offers were submitted to the seller, after MONTHS of delay in my attempt to obtain the property.

name out loud

Im still learning about coincident. I've always experienced them and i liked them. I have some personal strange ones. I was at work. i picked up a phone to get information (a name) i had the phone on the left side on my ear. Someone next to me waiting for the information said the name out loud as i received it and before i could convey the message. Another similar one ive had at work today-actually. Contractors came in and asked me to help a open a door. i said okay and on my way there with the contractors to open the door i see an other staff member in the hall way who tell me the coms room is that way. He was not present when it i was talking to the contractors

mother and oldest brother

My oldest brother did not show up to help me, my Father and my other two siblings with my Mother who was in hospice. We could not locate him so I went to his home to find out why he was not answering. He was found dead from a ruptured aorta. My Mom died about two hours later from cancer. Before she passed, Mom was mumbling about my brother. At the time we did not know why since we had not found my brother yet. Now we know. We buried my Mom and her oldest child on the same day.

The Black Keys

A couple of months ago I was with a guy whom I thought was amazing and played open mics occasionally. We were at my apartment having some beers listening to mostly songs from the album El Camino by the Black Keys. We’re jamming out waiting for our Uber driver and it arrives. It’s a lovely old man who had the FM radio playing at first. 2 minutes into the ride he pops in a CD, El Camino by The Black Keys. First song that plays is one we were listening to out the door to catch the Uber. “How ironic,” the driver said. I had to end things with the guy recently, wish it went different.

So weird and of no consequence

Two days ago my daughter and I were on a drive to a little insignifant Belgium village. I go there frequently to buy lottery tickets so I knew certain landmarks. Out of the blue and for no reason at all I said "oh there is Cranenbroek" (known to me only through googling for garden furniture). My daughter said " who and what is Cranenbroek." I explained in short and we chatted about other things. We did our shopping which also was quite weird because here we were in a "one horse town" and the shop had absolutely everything we needed. Now on our back to The Netherlands (we live close to the Belgium border) she said "mom, here is another Cranenbroek." I explained that the one in Belgium was the distribution centre, the one in Holland where goods could be personally collected. All rather insignificant really (just idle chatter). Now here is the weird coincidence: the next evening my daughter and her partner were dining out (first time after lifting of Covid restrictions) with a lawyer friend. Suddenly he started talking about a high profile case he was occupied with at the moment.


My friend who NEVER comes to see me came to my house and in our conversation, made mention was her husband who is pigeon-toed (and whom I am always defending against her verbal accusations against him). After much faulting him (about not taking physical care of himself), she yelled out, “He can barely even walk!” My response was, “Because he’s pigeon-toed…” (and NOT lazy, as was her hostile belief). The next day I see a homeless man in sandals, barely able to walk. It was a sign. So I buy him a pair of shoes. Later after leaving HER house (in having attempted to visit her so to tell of the eerie coincidence, only she was still at work so the visit did NOT happen), I see a younger boy, late teens, also pigeon-toed, but walking better than the first sighting of the homeless man. Thank you for reading this.

The Other Dianna

In 2014 I was going to take a train from Ardmore Oklahoma to Fort Worth Texas to visit a friend of mine. My friend had purchase my ticket online and emailed my ticket confirmation number. On the morning of my departure my husband drove me to the train station. That way I did not have to leave my car parked at the train station. Neither of us had ever taken the train before, so we were unsure on how to proceed. Did we need to get my ticket printed? Should we wait for the train to arrive? We had no idea. As we pulled into a parking spot I noticed an older Ford pickup pull up to the right of us. An older man and woman occupied the truck. The man was driving and woman was practically leaned into the windshield. I suffer from anxiety and for whatever reason a couple in the pickup truck set my anxiety off. I told my husband the back out it's at trucks just didn't seem right it was causing me to have an anxiety attack. I put it in reverse I noticed that the truck began to back out. I told my husband never mind. He put the car in park and we got out of our car and went into the train depot. We didn't see anyone but we heard the train approaching.

Job Opening and New Friend

My husband and I live in Toronto- a city of close to 3 million people. Five months ago we went to an arranged meetup, where we spent some time talking to a man who had a similar job role as me, but in a different company. Recently, a former colleague who live in Australia got in touch and asked if I might be interested in opportunities at his company. My husband mentioned that the man we talked to at the meetup also worked for that company, so I looked him up and we had a chat. It turns out that one of the positions that my former colleague had in mind for me was the man from the meetup's job as he had just left this company!

40 years later

While holidaying in France my husband wanted to show me a house of a Swiss friend of a friend in a village in which he'd spent a memorable time in his youth some 40 years ago. We got lost on the way and had difficulties finding parking space. After getting out of the car, I walked ahead and entered the village by one road but my husband said that we should turn around and take the other parallel road, which was closer to the house. To his disappointment, however, he couldn't recall which of a small row of houses it had been. We stood there for some time, but he finally gave up and we decided to explore the village. Just then, a priest in a cassock appeared ahead of us, followed by a cat close at his heels. We turned to watch that unlikely couple walk by and, at that very moment, saw a woman leave one of the houses my husband had been looking at and enter a car. My husband thought he recognised her and immediately ran back: it turned out to be one of the original owners who was just about to return to Switzerland after a short stay at the house.