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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Reading through the collection of coincidences here it's clear that most are frivolous and trite, but it's only when a coincidence leads to something sinister and evil do they gain gravitas and when these coincidences happen they result in terrible consequences For example, Hitler was a very fortunate individual who was a habitual risk taker and escaped death on numerous occasions in WW1 as a ''trench runner/'message carrier'' ; so much so that he was awarded a number of medals, including the Iron Cross, First Class, that was very unusual for an enlisted man Even after the war in his rise in politics he was very fortunate indeed, such as during the Beer hall Putsch in Munich, November 1923, when he was shot at by German police and a comrade next to him was shot dead .

What in the World Wide Web is Going On?

I'll try and keep this short. I live in Mississippi. I have a PC and often watch Youtube videos. Years ago, I fell in love with a Christian Theologian by the name of Boyd. Boyd has a church in Minnesota and they record the services each sunday; you can download them from the website. I did not know about the church website at first but found a person who was posting these sermons onto his youtube channel. This person's name is Chris. Over the course of a year or so of watching these sermons, Chris and I would get into discussions about them. I never told him where I lived or gave him any info about myself other than my first name. So we were distant friends of sorts, having the common interest in Dr. Boyd's messages. At some point along the way he tells me that he met and fell in love with a girl in his town, which turns out to be in Idaho. They get married. Chris is still posting the sermons and we continue to discuss them. Now comes the thrilling part. He and his new wife, both living in Idaho, are taking a trip to her hometown to visit and let Chris meet her parents. Guess where she is from?

Reminders of an old friendship.

In 1997 I moved to Durham, around two hundred miles away from Norfolk. In 1998 I remember walking seeing Darren’s old red Cavalier car in a side street as I walked by. We used to travel together in this car in Norfolk perhaps about five years earlier. In 2018 I starting to see a customer in Durham through work who revealed to me that her son worked with Darren in their place of employment. It was quite uncanny!

Weird relationship coincidence

I met my boyfriend on holiday in fuerteventura. He is from Germany and I am from the UK and we met in august 2017. We discovered a year later that my sixth form college in the UK and his high school in Germany had a partnership and he was invited to go and study and work in my hometown (Preston) in England for a month. Neither of us knew anything about this when we met and we wonder whether we would have met anyway, just a year later in my hometown?!

Movie duration coincidence

I was watching a movie, and my dad wanted to see the beginning because he didn’t see the beginning. I allowed him to pause it and go to the beginning, and when he paused it, it was at 12 minutes and 6 seconds (12:06). And the time was 12:06 pm. Go to please.

Eating with a stranger 3 times in 3 different European cities

My family and I were travelling in Europe in the summer of 1976. We stopped to eat in Utrect, The Netherlands. I stayed to lock up the car while the rest went to find a table. When I entered a bit later and stood in the entry scanning the room, a man seated at the bar sized me up and said "your friends go that way". I guess we Americans all dress alike. Two days later, after a morning of wandering Amsterdam (about 50 km away), I met up with my mother in a cafe. As I started to order, this same gentleman walked up and said "Oh, we eat in same place". We got a chuckle out of it, but thought that was the end of it. Not quite. Three months later, as we settled down for the school year in Aix-en-Provence, France (1200 km away), we decided to visit the university cafeteria for the first time. And there in the buffet line, unbelievably, was this same guy! Well, naturally we had to sit together and share our stories. Later, as, we parted, I joked "Well, I guess we'll see you around". The whole year living (and eating) there, we never saw him again. Or, I suppose he could have just decided he'd seen enough of us.

Young dolph died today.

I thought about young dolph today in the morning. And found out later today that he died. I was a fan of his music and his motivational mindset. He will be missed RIP. Also this is not the first time I thought of someone and they died. The number of examples is numerous I’d rather not list them.

absent from school

Every time my dad comes home(which he doesn’t do often) once or twice per week I wake up late so i don’t leave for school , keep in mind that i never skip school , only when he comes home i’m skipping school on the same day.

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?