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, 14 May 2021 03:10:38 +0000Coincidence ID:11152

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Date submitted:Thu, 13 May 2021 23:35:57 +0000Coincidence ID:11150

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Total votes: 17
Date submitted:Sat, 08 May 2021 01:52:38 +0000Coincidence ID:11120

Learning it to Living it

I am not one to give too much credit to the weird coincidences in my life but a couple of events have always pestered me well into my young adult years. The first event occurred in 6th grade (2007). Our science teacher had just finished our section on certain illnesses and diseases. I was assigned to do my project on Bronchitis, and this was the first time I had ever heard of it. The following week, I got sick— more so than the typical cold I got every couple of months. From my project, I thought it was Bronchitis— though I knew it was probably just me latching onto what I had just learned. However, when I got diagnosed, they confirmed my suspicions. Though it was a strange correlation, I didn’t give it too much energy, because Bronchitis is common among those with asthma— the timing was just weird. But then, learning it to living it happened again. The next year, 7th grade, my history teacher taught us about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. We were assigned books to read about that time period, and the one I received talked a lot about Dust Storms. Though I live in a desert-type area (Western Colorado), Dust Storms are quite uncommon and most of the residents I spoke to had never seen one before. Until I read that book. For the first time in, I believe, 50 or so years, my area experienced a Dust Storm that turned the sky red and rained mud. And that was the last time we had ever seen one. I could go on and on about different coincidences that struck me as strange—every birthday weather I’ve wished for has come true (even a blizzard), or knowing random small events that were about to happen, or even strange dreams that result in déjà rêvé/déjà vu. But I know these can’t be observed through an empirical lens. The “learning it to living it” has been the most prominent in my life, though I didn’t dedicate much thought to their occurrences after the initial two. Because they’re just coincidences, and as one statistician said, just a misunderstanding of probability.
Total votes: 15
Date submitted:Fri, 07 May 2021 19:02:05 +0000Coincidence ID:11116

Richard Brautigan, The One who flew over the Cuckoos Nest and Ratched

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Total votes: 26
Date submitted:Fri, 30 Apr 2021 18:32:21 +0000Coincidence ID:11084

My birthday

I was beginning to date someone and was looking for a sign if I should continue it further. Funnily enough, she shows me a polaroid picture with my birthday scribbled on the lower portion of the polaroid. The polaroid was from 2 years ago but it was taken exactly on my birthdate. I remember connecting it with so many meanings just because it felt like a rare ocassion; it happened when I least expected it but also just as I was looking for a sign. Anyway, we aren't dating anymore. That experience taught me never to overvalue coincidences.
You voted 4. Total votes: 99
Date submitted:Sun, 11 Apr 2021 19:22:33 +0000Coincidence ID:11007

Date de naissance

Ma seconde fille est née le même jour à 12h d'intervalle et x années d'écart que le frère décédé de mon futur mari qui était à l'époque un ami. La meilleure amie de son frère décédé s'appellait Christelle et sa sœur à elle s'est mariée plus tard après son décès aussi avec un homme portant le même nom que moi. Mon mari est né le même jour que mon père. Mon mari est né le 03 12 1974 à 3h33 Là où emménageons à chaque fois il y a une bonne raison... Un ami en phase terminale à accompagner une mamie en fin de vie à accompagner un parrain qui chute et qui faut prendre en charge une maison encore une fois qui comme par hasard se trouve à 6 min d'une futur école d'équitation proposant du sport étude et pour qui ce projet permettra à 2 enfants à retrouver leur maman que nous n'avions pas vu depuis longtemps.
You voted 1. Total votes: 101
Date submitted:Sat, 10 Apr 2021 21:48:18 +0000Coincidence ID:11006

My sister and friend are in different city/state at same time

I’ve been thinking about a friend in a romantic way lately and I asked the universe for a sign this morning if he and I were meant to be. I just scrolled through Facebook and saw that he is at a small amusement park in a state 14 hours away. As I’m looking at his picture my sister texted me. She has been traveling across the country in an RV. She is in the exact same amusement park. At the SAME time!
You voted 3. Total votes: 108
Date submitted:Sat, 03 Apr 2021 01:51:14 +0000Coincidence ID:10968

Near Death Experience

During the summer of 2015, at the beginning of August, I was walking around downtown while on a break from work. As I was about to pass the newly opened donut shop, a man and woman walked by; the man had one of his arms around the woman's shoulders, and he did not look like a bum. As he walked by, he said to me, "You are going to die." I never saw him again, nor did I ever experience a stranger saying something like this to me again. Towards the end of the month, I got sick. I took time off work and stayed in bed. But as things were getting worse, we finally decided to go to the hospital. I was admitted into the emergency room, and the staff took a blood sample and were horrified. I had the blood profile of someone who had suffered a massive heart attack. I was moved to the ICU the following morning, and my condition began to deteriorate. It was atypical pneumonia, and the doctors pumped me full of antibiotics. Every movement of my body would skyrocket my pulse not to mention be extremely agonizing, so I just laid there for a few days and focused on breathing. After about a week, I was released. When I visited my family doctor to follow up, he told me, "You were as close to death as someone your age can naturally get." I was 25 at the time. This is was the first "coincidence" that I experienced but it wasn't the last by a large margin.
You voted 2. Total votes: 125
Date submitted:Sat, 27 Mar 2021 00:08:51 +0000Coincidence ID:10928