Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Hotel room numbers

In 2018 I stayed in a large hotel - part of a well known chain - in San Francisco before flying back to the UK and checking into another large hotel - part of a different chain - in the London Docklands area. To my surprise I had the same room number, somewhere in the 400's I think. This has never happened to me before.

Father & Sons identical twins with same birthday

My brother and I are identical twins born in 1949. Our father, born in 1915, was also an identical twin. Our birthdays are the same. What is the probability of that?

Wrong number was for me

In the Summer of 1975, I was shopping in Sutton, Surrey around noon and had parked my motorcycle in a bay in Throwley Way. There was a telephone box on the pavement and on my return the phone was ringing. I thought I would answer it and tell the caller that they must have a wrong number as it was a call box, otherwise they would think the call had gone unanswered. When I answered the call, a voice said “Hello Andrew, can I speak to your mum”. I thought this a coincidence of names and said you must have mis-dialed because this was a phone box in Sutton high street. The caller said “Don’t mess about, I am at Victoria Station and have just arrived from Ireland and only have one more 10p coin, just put your mum on the phone, it’s your cousin Maria come to visit”. I looked around, thinking she must be playing a joke on me, perhaps she had seen me arrive and had called the phone box when I got back to my bike but Throwley Way is wide, there were no houses or other phone box nearby. I said “where are you” and she said “Victoria!”. I said I was in a phone box and held the door open hoping she could hear cars pass by but the traffic was light.

Red Swiss army knife

Back in about 1990 I bought my Dad a small red Swiss army knife for xmas(one of those with a little knife,scissors, toothpick and tweezers). Sadly he died in 1993 and amongst his belongings was the knife which I kept and carried around in my brown leather shoulder "man bag". About 10 years later, one night I was mugged near my home(in Harringay). Despite not losing my phone or wallet I lost my brown shoulder bag and therefore the knife.That was the only thing I was really bothered about. Go forward about 4-6 months. I'm in the Fara charity shop in Teddington, some way from Harringay, but coincidentally very close to where my Dad's family lived (Twickenham, Sheen,etc). I spotted a nice looking brown leather shoulder bag (hold on, it's not the one I lost!). It's nice, but £20-25? (I'm maybe unreasonably tight when it comes to charity shop prices). Not sure. Bit big? Bit expensive? Walk about and think, but go for it. Go down the road and get a coffee and inspect my purchase. I unzipped the little inside pocket out of interest.

Spiritual Coincidences

By coincidence I came across Richard Dawkins' Book 'The God Delusion' in a Charity Shop in Tenerife, a place I would not normally be seen dead in'. I was compelled to buy it for £1. Having read it, I was 'compelled' to consider coincidences in my life (I am 78) and wrote about them as a response4 to the book. I was surprised how many there were. One in particular was a reencounter when I was 23. My father was a captain in the Church Army and from childhood we were close friends staying at Thornbury on the Isle of Wight with the family of another Church Army officer. Both worked in the prison service. We lost touch and shortly before I qualified as an Architect in Leeds I had an opportunity as a student to visit the City of Durham and arranged to visit the family. I only had a rough idea where they lived. Getting off a bus in a housing estate I had no idea which house they lived in and decided to make an enquiry at random at the only house that was lit by an outside light. It happened to be their house.

wartime coincidence and present day

i am a london cab driver, one of 24,000.shortly after a death in my family i returned to first job on a friday morning a hand goes up one of 20 million, destination not in london but just outside Kettering,extremely unusual.i drove the person to a little place just outside the town, Cranford st Andrew,which is where my father and his 6 siblings were evacuated during the Blitz ww2,,what are the chances of that,,,my father spoke to me fondly of the village as he had been billeted with a lovely old gentlemen who had plenty of books, an educated man who launched by dad into a life long passion for education and reading,,,my father was the person who had died recently,,coincidence ?,what are the chances of that


This is a series of highly unusual and sinister coincidences that, nonetheless, actually happened Back in July 1980 when I was nineteen, I was a wandering soul in the grip of curiosity when I visited a friend in L A ..California .. I had a romantic view of the American ''wild west'' gained from Hollywood and had a primal/atavistic urge to experience it .I could have merely bought a Greyhound Bus ticket or even went on an organised tour but as a natural loner and adventurer with American history as my guide I thought I'd hitch hike around the West, keeping out of the major cities and urban areas , and staying in campgrounds As things turned out I must have hitch hiked at least 4.5 K miles in a nine or ten week period during the long hot summer of 1980 that took me up the Canadian Rockies, down through Montana, Colorado etc and as far east as Galveston Texas .

Final farewell

My wife & I went on holiday in Scotland in June 2021. We planned to tour the West & North coast for 1 week & spend 1 week on Orkney mainland staying in Stromness. It was my wife Ann's intention to scatter her father Tony's ashes on a Scottish mountain during our trip as he was a great lover of the mountains & had climbed almost all the Munros. We picked a suitable location & on Saturday June the 12th as we were driving there, listening to Record Review on radio 3, they played the Cavatina from Beethoven's string quartet opus 130 & the music finished exactly as we drove into the car park at the foot of the mountain before our ascent. We were stunned as that transcendent piece of music was the one that was played at Tony's funeral.

Meeting coincidence.

I live in Chislehurst. Once I visited a friend in Milton Keynes. Another friend of his was there, from Southampton. When he heard I lived in Chislehurst he said he knew somebody there. After further conversation, it transpired that the person he knew was my next-door neighbour! This was about 35 years ago.


I'm a diviner and pretty good at it. I prefer bibliomancy with a dictionary, because it's more random. While channel hopping I caught the last half of your programme about random chance (the last thirty mins or so) and decided to use it as a challenge. While watching the programme I randomly pointed out the word 'Lucky' and also the word 'Unlucky'. Then afterwards I liked the meaning of your name, so I set myself the challenge of picking out some sort of synonym at random. Then I randomly identified the word 'Looking-glass'. I use this particular dictionary quite a lot and so now all of the pages are jumbled up and out of alphabetical order. I could bore you to tears with the many thousands of times that I've done this type of thing (it doesn't matter which dictionary I use, or what language it's in). Anyhoo - welcome to my world Muggles x