Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


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

Series of Coincidences

Story 1 In my early 20s I moved from the Midlands to London for a job in a city of 9 million people, I normally took the tube, but there was a problem with the tube on that day, and as there was no direct bus route home, I took the first bus going in the general direction and in those days they had an open back, so if the bus turned off from where I wanted to be going I would simply jump off the back and find another bus going in the right direction.

Volvo Estate 760

About July 1999 we had seen an advert for a Volvo Estate 760 and were thinking of buying it. Whilst considering this (and praying about it) my husband did the weekly shop in the middle of the night at our local supermarket in Sutton, Surrey. On emerging from the store the huge car park was empty except for a Volvo Estate 760 parked right next to my husband’s vehicle. That same week, on arriving home from work, my husband could not park the car on the yard because a visitor had parked across the front of the house in her Volvo Estate 760, the visitor had never visited us before, and we never saw her again, she had come to bring a gift for our new baby. At the time a Volvo Estate 760 was a very unlikely car to see on our (largely) council estate, St Helier estate, Carshalton, Surrey, England.

Triplets birthday coincidence

Triplets and father born on the same day. My three boys (triplets) born on May 6th 1998 and I (father) born on May 6th 1961.

Random photo

I was on a group walking holiday in a USA National Park when I came face to face with someone I was having regular meetings with at home in England whilst working on a project. He was also on a group walking holiday with a different company. At our next meeting at home, he passed over a photograph of me taken on the holiday. After our brief conversation, someone in his group approached, showed him an image on her digital camera and asked if that was the person he was just talking to. He said yes and asked her where the photo was taken. She said three days previously and 200 miles away in a different National Park, and that I had walked into view just as she took a photo of something else. My face rang a bell and she searched through her photos whilst we were talking, but I had left before she found it. She could not explain why she had not deleted what was purely a wasted shot.

Passport Data

My girlfriend and I went to what is now Slovenia on our first foreign holiday together in 1974. We compared passports. My passport gave my place of birth as London and was issued in Glasgow on her birthday. Hers gave her place of birth as Glasgow and was issued in London on my birthday. We married the following year.

A communication?

I was emptying coins out of a money box onto a table. At the same time thoughts of my Dad (who had passed away 25 years earlier) entered my head. One of the coins (a penny) dropped off the table, landed on it's side, then rolled all the way round the table & landed at my feet. My Dad used to like a bet on the horses so I looked to see if there was a horse running with a name that might mean something. There was one called "Bygone Coin". It was a complete oursider but I put a bet on it & it came in third. I didn't win much money at all but the day the coin rolled off the table was the day my Dad had his heart attack & the day of the race was the day he passed away.

Bob Hoskins

Many years ago, the year the film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was released, I went to a butchers one day with my dad and in front of us in the queue was the actor Bob Hoskins. This became a rather legendary meeting in our family. About 20 years later, I was in a butchers in north London and in front of me in the queue was Bob Hoskins! I nearly collapsed. I only ever saw him twice and for both of those times to be behind him in the queue of a butchers, in completely different areas of the country, seemed extraordinary. It seemed such an unlikely place.


My National Insurance numbers (not the letters) match my bank account number in exactly the same order (apart from the lasting digit).

car parking coincidence

I was staying at the HF Holidays house in St Ives last week. The car park held 18 cars in 3 lines. Two lines were adjacent, so it was necessary to provide reception with your number plate in case your car was blocked in. Mine was, so on the free day I had ask the people blocking me in to let me out. They just happened to be sitting in their car as I made for their room. We exchanged a few words and they drove off. I set off for St Just, about 12 miles away and found the town car park. It held about 100 cars and was virtually full. I drove round until I found a space and backed into it. The car directly behind me was the same car as at the HF house, and the couple emerged from it at exactly the same moment as me. We stared at each other in total disbelief and said 'What are the chances of that happening?'