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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The Starfish Arrives

Many years ago, I traveled to Egypt with my sister. This was a trip that had many adventures, many highs and many lows. There were also several interesting coincidences. The most coincidental coincidence occurred in Cairo, near the great pyramids and the Sphinx. In a cab on our way to the historical landmark, for some reason we were discussing what animal we could be, if we could be any animal in the world. After I dimly suggested I would be a lion, my sister answered that she would be a starfish. "Why a starfish?" I asked. "I think because they seem so peaceful, as they float through the ocean." Interesting, I thought. A couple days later, we were in a bad spot. I had lost something of value the night before, and I was desperately trying to find it. A cabbie pulled over in the middle of the road, when he saw us frantically arguing about it. He offered to help. The item, though was lost at a bar, and none of the bars were opened.

Birth/Death Family age coincidence

My Grandmother was 45 when my father was born in 1908. When she died in 1953 at the age of 90, my father was 45. My father was 45 when I was born in 1953. When he died in 1998 at the age of 90, I was 45.

grandsons

I was at school in the early 1960s with Eric and Chris, and we stayed in touch over the years. In our mid-60s we all became grandfathers - in the same month; we all had grandsons - and my grandson and Chris's grandson were born on the same ward of a London hospital.

Same apartment

I planned to move to Sydney from Canberra to pursue a career in magazines. It was very difficult to even get an interview with a Canberra-based home address. My partner, who knew of my magazine career aspirations, had already moved into a nice two bedroom apartment in Wollstonecraft on Sydney's lower north shore. To understand the magazine business and perhaps build contacts, I interviewed three editors for a newspaper feature article. One of them edited Total Girl, a magazine for tween girls. When a job was advertised at Total Girl, I excitedly applied, putting in the address of my partner’s apartment in Wollstonecraft where I would soon join him. At my job interview the editor told me she stopped cold when she saw the address and even rang her husband to check: she and he had lived there, in the same apartment, many years before. Years down the track I became editor of Total Girl and in its history, there haven’t been very many editors. But two of them would live, at different times, in the same Sydney apartment.

Matching names

I always have a “Yusef”, “Yosef”, “Yusuf” in my life, at any given time, however, there’s never more than one in my life at the same time. None of them share the same ethnic background.

Born at exact same time

Both my children were born at 8:08 pm Different dates and year though.

My name in the lottery ticket letters

My fiancé bought me 3.00 lottery tickets price is 3000.00. The winning word for 5.00 was Blink I have not cashed it in because the letters that scratch off have my name pretty much spelled out. My name is BYLLIE JO K the letters on my ticket are “BYLJO K” The letters LIE are MISSING. - LITERALLY A MESSAGE OF “NO LIE” 30,000 for BYLLIEJO K soon. I have the ticket as inspiration that something somewhere will win 30,000.00 for me one day. NO LIE.

Yellow

Seeing lots of yellow everywhere is a sign that I need to be mindful of my thoughts because something good about to happen. After my fiancé died we became homeless and living in a new state. We were driving and The song “yellow” by Coldplay was was playing I looked up his name was on a yellow sign. All the arrows were yellow on the street lights and a yellow bumper sticker on the car next to me. A few blocks up only yellow flowers filled the green grass in businesses. A woman with a yellow jogging suit and then a few yellow semi trucks. About an hour later My daughter was getting sick. I had to pull over and let her throw up. COVID crossed my mind but I had to remain positive and not allow fear to take over my day. I kept remembering the vitamins she took in the morning before we ate. I stayed positive, my dreams were manifesting and if I allowed fear to take over… the house I was manifesting might not have come through a couple hours later. She drank some tea that evening and was better. I was thrilled to find out that I would be getting housed in less than a month. 3 years of free rent while we get out life back together. Yellow is Gods way of saying “Yellow!

Ralph and Susan

Originally Ralph was living with a girlfriend who practiced future-seeing. As he was leaving for an afternoon in the Harvard library, she mentioned that something extraordinary would befall him at two-o'clock. While there he fell while carrying a lot of books down a staircase, and pretty Susan, who was walking up, helped him gather the books and regain his composure. He noticed then that it was two-o'clock. He invited Susan for coffee, and while there he reached across in a sudden impulse, took her hand, and said "Will you marry me?" After some months of happy marriage the two were exchanging stories of their earlier days, and Susan mentioned that five years before she had hiked the Appalachian Trail, going North and carrying her large Japanese musical instrument. Most notable was the time she was accosted by a naked man decorated as a Native American and chanting a Native American hymn as he danced South. Yep. It was Ralph. Susan, he then realized, was the girl he had passed on the Trail who was "carrying a bedpost".

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