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.



Vertical Tabs


A man in Connecticut

In 2014 my school in Melbourne Australia was holding an art exhibition. The curator of the exhibition was American, partner of a former student of the school. We were chatting about where he came from in the US. I mention I had a friend who was Head of a school in New Hampshire. When I mention the school, he said they used to play sport against the school. I asked him which school he attended. It was Deerfield in Massachusetts. I said the only person who i knew who worked there was a person called David Dun***. It turned out this fellow had David as a teacher.

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Reconnected 30 years later

In the 1980's, my 1st husband & I were working and living in a caravan park in a Perth suburb of Western Australia. At the time I had a 2 yr old girl. One day I was in the Laundry of the van park when a young man apparently was there to do his laundry as well. This man asked me how to work the washing machine, which I apparently showed him, we spoke very briefly,(no flirting, I was happily married then)!

Dreams on the same day

I've been keeping a dream diary for several years. There is a very specific (sexual) subject that I occasionally dream about, and I noticed that two instances of it occurred in September 12th 2015 and September 12th, 2016, so exactly a year apart! I record the date of the dream on the day I wake up, so the dream took place in the night between September 11th and September 12th. And no, it has nothing to do with September 11th 2001, completely different subject-matter. For full honesty, though, the next instance occurred in October 21st, 2017, however, so not as impressive.

Darth Vader

My kid was playing with his Darth Vader towel yesterday - I jokingly asked if he wanted a ‘Darth Vader Impersonator’ for his birthday party. I thought I was so clever I tweeted it. Later that day a neighbor kid was wearing a ‘Darth Gator’ T-shirt from the zoo. Sure - little kids love Darth Vader - but the other kids shirt was a gator doing an impersonation of Darth Vader These happen 2-5 times a day to me.

My Adopted Father's Story

My dad was born in the United States and adopted as an infant by an American couple. When he was in grade school, his family moved to Germany for his father's work in the foreign service. He lived there through high school, becoming fluent in German, and adopting many aspects of German culture as his own. His adoptive parents were not German. As an adult, he found out who his birth family was, and it turns out that his birth mother was a German immigrant. Also, his mother had an identical twin sister who also had a son, and he had the same name as my father!

Sisters intertwined

I went to Australia and met two people who work on different projects at a big American company, but spend time working with other stuff they're passionate about. Two years later, one sister who went to my uni in the US reached out to me because one of my professors told her I might be able to help her on a project that combines two disciplines not many in my field are familiar with. We have dinner together and she has her husband and daughter join. she wants me to join a project with one of the people I met in Australia.

Family resemblance

Cousin 1, through one of my mum's sisters, was raised in England. Cousin 2, through another of my mum's sisters, was raised in France. (Both are cousins of each other.) When Cousin 1 was on her gap year in New Zealand, she got chatting to some random French girls. Then one said, "You look a lot like our friend [Cousin 2's name]!"

Architect of the Union

Take a map, locate South Africa. Zoom in, zoom way way in, locate Zeerust and Swartruggens. This is where it all started David was born in 1972 in South Africa. I was born in 1978 in Zeerust, RSA. For the briefest moment, David and myself were within 60km from one-another when he visited his father in Swartruggens, only to meet more than 30 years later thousands of miles on the other side of the world. September 2010, Las Vegas; on a Friday night I randomly met David in a bar.

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