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!

Stolen wallet Finds Its way home

This is a story that happened to me back in the early 80s. I was about eighteen years old at the time. It takes place on a lake in Ontario Canada, about a hundred miles north of Toronto. The lake is called Gull Lake, and it can be found in Haliburton County Ontario Canada. It's a long narrow Lake, about 2,500 Acres[2] it's about a mile wide and several miles long. And about 160 ft deep in most places. Back in 1983 my family had a cottage on this Lake. A vacation home, a place we went to on the weekends and summer holidays. During that summer of 83 our next-door neighbour had decided to rent out his cottage for the very first time to a couple who planned to explore parts of the lake. They were avid scuba divers. For their very first dive they chose a Rocky island in the middle of the lake, an Island locally known as Gull Rock. It was nothing more than a bunch of Boulders poking out through the water. There was no life on this island other than a couple dozen seagulls that permanently made it their home. No one visited this island because of those seagulls.

Mind-boggling Scrabble prediction

The night before my girlfriend and I were going to see our favourite band called suede, we were chatting about it on WhatsApp. She was playing Scrabble online and sent me a photo of her first go, where she got the letters for SUEDE, which she played on the board. I had some sort of feeling or premonition that if I opened the Scrabble app and started a game then I would get the letters for her favourite suede song, called HEROINE. I began the game and, guess what, I could play heroine when using the N of my opponents word, which was WOVEN. This happened yesterday and I have photographic evidence. Also odd was that my girlfriend's opponent's next word was this all a coincidence or just weird?

Coincidence of my neighbour

Today, my neighbour called me for this coincidence: "I was a guest in a house, when I checked the What3words app and found I was in edit.epic.roof! The day after, the house I was guest in removed the roof! And what did they find? A piece of paper from October 1997 saying "EPIC!" and a website! Since then, the numbers 0, 1, 6, 7, 10, and 97, has started coming all over the place! I was at a quiz show the other day, and the answers evening visitation sessions were plus, guess, and found! I put those numbers into What3words after the show, and I got 1096 Fillmore Avenue at Buffalo, New York! And one of the people on the quiz show was born on 09/07/01."

Two coincidences in Depew

The first coincidence: In 1997 I was in Depew. While walking I found this old picture from 90 years ago at the time, in 1907. The picture looked familiar to me. When I went to my house the same picture was on my wall! The picture on my wall was a reproduction, but I had the original one in my hand! Here's the second coincidence: A few years ago, my neighbour went to my house and gave me an invitation to a birthday party. The next day, I attended the birthday party, and I realized that the house number was 789. But the next day, I was on TV then a news story about an expedition in 1228 aired! That was 789 years ago at the time! Then, I was driving and I saw a sign with 789 on it! When I got back, the TV showed a picture of a man born in 1789 on the 78th day at 9 am! And that man died 24,789 days later! 789 days after that, I moved to a new house! And its house number? 789.


My wife, Jacqueline, was in our family group playing bingo last summer at the Manor sports hotel, on Dartmoor. There were three evening games that week. On the Monday she won first prize, a bottle of Prosecco for a full house. On the Wednesday we all sat elsewhere and we won nothing. The person in her seat won third prize. Therefore on the Friday we moved back to our same seats and she won first prize again, with the same final winning number. There were about 120 participants each evening.

Family birthdays share same numbers

In my family, we share the same numbers for birthdays and are always in 3s. Different years and sometimes different months but always the same number and always in sets of 3. (no twins in my family and no planning) 3 people born on 13th- Jan, July, Dec 3 on 29th- Aug, Sept 3 on 22nd- Jan, May 3 on 21st- Sept, May, June? I believe there are other dates but those are the ones I remember.

Across Nations and Time

My junior year in college, I left rainy Seattle to spend winter term in Mexico City where I lived with a family along with six other young women from universities in different parts of the U.S. Several were from Ohio. I had lived in Ohio for a year during high school, and one of my friends had gone on to OSU. I asked one of the Ohio girls if she knew him; she responded yes, he was a high-profile musician at OSU, known to almost everyone. “Tell Jack hello from me if you see him!” I said. —Interlude: When I returned to Wn State at the end of the term, my Ohio roommate’s Mexican boyfriend asked if I would mail a package for him when I got back to the states. He explained that it was the wristwatch left behind by a former roommate, and he was concerned about mail theft in Mexico. “Sure - out of curiosity, where is it going?” “To a little town called Sequim, in Wn State.” I couldn’t believe it - it was going to my hometown of 1,200 residents! “Who is it going to?” I asked. “BD,” he answered. “Oh my goodness! He’s my next-door neighbor! His family and mine share a driveway! I’ll just give it to him,” I said. And I did.

How terribly strange

How terribly strange!. Something strange happened as my 70th birthday approached. I'm sure that will have had that annoying experience of having a song go round and round in your head and you can't get rid of it. You may have heard it on the radio or TV or blaring from a car at traffic lights. I've heard it referred to as an "earworm". You wake up in the morning and there it is again. Back in the 1960s I was quite a big Simon and Garfunkel fan. I had most of their albums and my friends and I played them over and over. One album, Bookends, is a particular favourite. I didn't own a copy but my friend John did and he was later to be best man at our wedding. He still lives in Belfast where I grew up and though we rarely see each other we have long phone conversations every 6 months or so. Now you may be wondering how, if at all, these two paragraphs are connected. A few days before my birthday I woke up with an earworm. The words and tune of a Bookends song were going round in my head. But I couldn't think how on earth it had got there. I had not heard that song for as long as I could remember.

Follow the White Rabbit

I found interesting vintage mars chocolate box. Later i went on my bicycle, there was mars paper next to a tire. I had a decision to take it in carbage or leave it on ground. I went in shop and had some spare coins in my pocket, it was the same amount as mars chocolate bar cost. I had decision to buy mars chocolate or not buy it. As i was sitting and eating mars chocolate, i found butterfly effect in my life.

Grasshopper story

I lay in bed in an upstairs bedroom in a house of Suffolk thinking for the second time that day, and probably in a decade, of the artist Edward Hopper after looking at pictures on the wall downstairs. As I did so I felt something brush against my arm, turned on the light and it was a grasshopper, which I unfortunately found dead near the washbasin the next morning. Insects rarely if ever brush my arm at night, and certainly not grasshoppers in England, and the coincidence convinced me of animal intelligence.