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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Total votes: 0
Date submitted:Fri, 05 Mar 2021 10:37:19 +0000Coincidence ID:10801

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Total votes: 0
Date submitted:Fri, 05 Mar 2021 10:35:34 +0000Coincidence ID:10800

Nans funeral - watch stopped working

So today was my lovely Nans Funeral. My family were all waiting outside my Nans for the funeral procession to arrive. That morning I put my watch on, and notice it was half an hour late, on checking again the second hand wasn’t working. It had stopped at 10.30am. I thought “oh well I’ll leave it on”. While waiting for Nan to arrive my Sister who was standing next to me checked her watch to see how much longer we had to wait. My Sister started tapping her watch, and then said “my watch has stopped working”. I laughed and said “so did mine at 10.30am this morning”. My sister looked at her watch and then told me, “oh my god mine stopped at 10.30am as well”. I’ve no ideal what this means if anything at all. But what are the odds. I would love this to have been a message from Nan, but feel stupid even thinking that.
Total votes: 4
Date submitted:Wed, 03 Mar 2021 20:48:24 +0000Coincidence ID:10789

Meeting someone

I was taking the lift and this woman was waiting beside me. At the same time both of the lifts stopped at the level we were waiting at.I went into the lift at the left and the woman chose the left lift.Both of us alighted at the same level,going our seperate ways after reaching.I went to a bookstore and shortly after,the woman came to the bookstore too.I stayed put at the place I was while she went further back in the store.I decided to go to another section of the bookstore and saw her again,she was right beside the section where I was.However right after I went,she had got her items and left.After I decided to leave the store after a long time , I walked out and creepiest part is that I saw her again as she was walking towards my direction.This is just too scary because the probability of both of us leaving at different times and crossing paths at the same time is just too low but it happened.
Total votes: 5
Date submitted:Mon, 01 Mar 2021 05:45:50 +0000Coincidence ID:10767

Cursed First Love was Foreshadowed for a Decade

Finally, after being fed up with dating I met someone online. INSTANTLY, I felt extremely comfortable in his presence. That was rare for me — extremely rare. Chemistry was insane and we fell for each other very quickly. Two weeks in we discovered our link. When I was a child, my family went through this extremely messy affair/divorce with my aunt and uncle. She cheated on him and I had been used toward it, babysitting my cousins while she snuck off. My parents/grandparents strongly believe it all had been influenced by my aunt’s best friend in the neighborhood, who was also divorced and thriving in the single/divorced life. This woman had become a household/cursed name. I only knew the first name, not the last name. I heard awful things about her. Nothing ever ever good. I had met her once when I was babysitting and remembered her Polish accent. As for my aunt, it was a messy divorce. My aunt is now estranged from the family. I haven’t seen her, my uncle, or my cousins in over a decade. Two weeks in, this young man I was dating tells me that he had lived in this specific neighborhood. I told him the last name of my family members and he INSTANTLY knew who I was. “You’re her niece?” He had been able to see my cousins grow up because when I hadn’t been allowed to babysit anymore because of the family cutting off my aunt, the young man took over as the babysitter. That wasn’t all — when I was 17 I had participated in music at his old high school as a guest artist and ended up befriending people that he had dated, not knowing he had dated them til after we had broken up. During my time at the high school awful rumors were going around about him but I never knew the name, only knew the face from Facebook of the girls he dated and all the stories about him and his family. He wasn’t involved in the music project at the high school, but he must had passed me during those times when he picked up his then girlfriend (whom I was friends with and went to lunch with, she must have talked about him at lunch). He and I never spoke. Not until 6 years later. I walked on eggshells around my family trying to not tell them who he really was. Because my family HATES his family and I believe his family feels the same way. He and I didn’t feel that way about each other though. It truly was a Romeo and Juliet romance. He was the worst person I could possibly date. What makes it worse is that he was my first love at age 22. We knew of each other’s existence at ages 12/13 and collided a decade later at ages 22/23. Eventually, I caved and my mother confessed she had already figured it out because of knowing where he lived and the fact that he was Polish. Thankfully, she wasn’t upset but secretly did not like that we were dating. When my grandma found out she swore...she never swears. Before the breakup, things seemed fine. I ended up meeting his mothers several times. It’s no surprise though that he was the one who ended things. My whole adolescent life had revolved around his presence so it only made sense that our connection was instant. His family name will always be a part of the story my family tells with all the estranged drama that occurred, and sadly for me, that curse of his family name shall continue because he was my first love. Now he’s gone — just like his family had done to mine time and time again. I can’t seem to let go either, even though he proved to me time and time again that he is a terrible person. I’m trauma bonded in a way. You’d think that out of a decade of awful family things, this was the one thing that could make it all worth it. I feel like it’s not over. If we circled each other for a full decade who’s to say it’s not the end? Time will only tell. What a small small world.
Total votes: 8
Date submitted:Sun, 28 Feb 2021 05:52:36 +0000Coincidence ID:10764

Car without plate

I was on the phone with someone who had just gotten a new car and I wanted to know if he has his license plate but didn’t wanna ask and be nosey. As we spoke on the cell he got stopped by a cop and left me on his Bluetooth. I can hear the cop ask him about his temporary plates. The phone call, My curiosity of wanting to know about his plates, and the cops stopping him all happened in about 3 minutes. My question was answered by the universe.
Total votes: 12
Date submitted:Tue, 23 Feb 2021 16:31:57 +0000Coincidence ID:10740

Fisherman's Friends

We just watched the film - Fishermen's Friends on DVD, a film about Cornish fishermen. It finished and the TV switched from the DVD player to live TV and the programme that is currently on is a documentary about Cornish fishermen! - 'Cornwall: This fishing life'
Total votes: 22
Date submitted:Mon, 15 Feb 2021 21:44:56 +0000Coincidence ID:10697

White hat

We lost our son's white hat last year. We looked for it for a while and asked around if anyone had seen it or if we had left it at someone's house but couldn't find it so forgot about it. We hadn't thought about it for months but last week I saw a picture of my son wearing it and said to my husband that it was funny it never turned up, we agreed it must have fallen out of the pram somewhere and been lost for good. 2 hours later I video called my mum and she was wearing the white hat! She had just found it down the back of a sofa in the room where my son had slept when he stayed at their house months earlier.
Total votes: 19
Date submitted:Mon, 15 Feb 2021 21:37:19 +0000Coincidence ID:10696

The football game.

My brother, who lives in a different city than me, had two tickets to the Buffalo Bills football game and he asked me if I wanted to go as I lived close to Buffalo at the time. I said yes, and we agreed to meet outside will call and then we would go in together. Well, I waited until kickoff and he hadn't shown up so I waited some more. He was nowhere to be seen so I thought I'd buy a ticket from a scalper and just go in and watch the game. I found a reasonable ticket and bought it and headed into the the game but right before I went in he came running up winded and said he was stuck in traffic. So my brother gave me his ticket and I proceeded to sell my other ticket cheaply to someone looking to get in. I asked the guy I sold my ticket to if he was a Bills fan and he said, hell yeah, and we laughed. My brother and I found our seats and sat down. Then I noticed someone sitting down right next to me and it was the guy I sold my scalped ticket to! He had the ticket right next to mine! The game was nearly sold out so everyone had to sit in the seat the ticket said. It seemed a very weird coincidence.
Total votes: 26
Date submitted:Wed, 10 Feb 2021 03:56:39 +0000Coincidence ID:10670

Jeopardy & English Class

For my English class, I had to read Robinson Crusoe. I listened to the audio book with my family, and we finished the book around 8pm. About 30 minutes later we started watching the episode of Jeopardy that had recorded at 7:30pm, and, lo and behold, there was a question pertaining to Robinson Crusoe. This wasn’t the only coincidence, though. This often happens when we watch Jeopardy, but it was even more strange that, along with the Robinson Crusoe question, there was another question that directly related to something my mom and brother were talking about earlier in the day.
Total votes: 25
Date submitted:Tue, 09 Feb 2021 06:08:08 +0000Coincidence ID:10665