Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


I booked a trekking holiday in Nepal. I live in Cambridge and went to school there. I had a really good school friend called M*******. She moved to Birmingham with her parents after we left school. She worked in Birmingham central library. On the trek we were talking about our backgrounds and three trekkers were from Birmingham. One had been a librarian. In Birmingham central library. And knew M****** really well!

July 9th

July 9th 1995 my brother casey was taken off life support after an accident that would have left him in a vegetative state. July 9th 2005 My uncle Bobby was found with a self inflicted gunshot thru the chin. July 9th 2021 My youngest son, Casey, who just had a baby on the 29th of may and the baby being born with a hole in his heart passed away. It all just seems too coincidental and made it more difficult to accept the death of my grandson.

Three names/careers the same.

I was randomly seated at a restaurant bar. There was an empty seat to my right, then a young couple, female next to the empty chair, and her male friend. About 10 minutes later, a couple came to the empty chair, the woman sat beside me. I was waiting for my meal, so we talked a bit. Turns out she was a nurse, who worked in the same town I did. Then, my meal came, so she started talking with the young woman on her right. Turns out, she was an R.N. They exchanged names. The woman next to me was Lora, the young woman was Laura. My name is Lori, and I'm an R.N. Felt sort of creepy.

Coincidence Coincidence

This is going to sound like a bad joke, but the fact is that I got pointed to this web-page twice independently in an hour after never having heard of it before. (In order to understand the anecdote below it might be worth noting that I am a fairly new academic in the field of statistics. So perhaps the really surprising thing is that I hadn't heard of David Spiegelhalter before this sequence of events took place.) First I was having a chat with a colleague about a very strange data set that had come out of an experiment I had been carrying out for a while (which I will post as a separate coincidence), and she suggested have a look at David Spiegelhalter's work, and his web-page for reporting coincidences. So I went and had a look at the web-page before going to a catch up with a different colleague where we ended up talking communicating comprehension of probability, and he suggested I should look up a guy called David Spiegelhalter who has a web-page where people can report coincidences.

Books a plenty

Two weeks ago I went into a used book store to sell some books and look at what they had in stock. While I was browsing the fantasy section, I came across a book-- The Name of the Wind. I was shocked to find that my eyes lit on it almost as soon as I went into the aisle. The reason It hit me was that I had just learned about this book from an online store that I came across while trying to find the only US distributor for a game I had just bought that week. The writer of that book was the person who created that organization and apparently that was the book he was most famous for. Before I left the aisle, though, a more shocking coincidence hit. I saw an out of place book on preaching in the section-- a non-fiction advice guide in the middle of the fiction area. I usually get dread picking these up because of the striking, well, coincidental messages I find in them. I was confident though that a how-to guide wouldn't have one. I was so wrong. The page I randomly opened to compared the Gospel story to fantasy and fiction yet how it was true.

Pokémon coincidence

On July 4, 2020, I first watched Pokémon. 1 year later, today, I started watching Pokémon Journeys. I also posted it here:

A long way from home

My wife and I were travelling in southern Ecuador with my wife's brother and his wife. In a Panama hat factory the guide told us she had once been to England. Me: "Whereabouts?" Guide: "You won't have heard of it. It's a little village called Brinklow." Me: "Between Rugby and Coventry?" Guide: "Yes." Sister-in law: "I was born there."

Burning Man spiral and Polish ancestry

So I went to the Burning Man festival (north Nevada, US) in 2013. One night I went out taking photos on my own in the desert and, at dawn, hitched a ride on an art car that dropped me off by the Hookah Dome. I ran straight into my friend from England who I'd travelled with, which, although it is a large site and there were 68,000 people at the festival and it was a good catch, was nothing to write home about in the context of these coincidences... However. My friend was with another of our campmates, Dirty Dave, who had, not 10 minutes before bumped into someone he hadn't seen since childhood and we were all chatting away, watching the sun rise while drinking tequila and Kahlua and I'm talking to the wife of Dave's long-lost friend... turns out she's Polish. My surname is Polish but my ancestry is complicated Russian/German and we had a long conversation about the fate of the Polish nation in the 20th century. Totally not off my head. Honest. Long story short; we ascertained that our grandfathers fought in the same battalion in WWII. She also kindly told me the derivation of my surname in Polish as well.

Meeting a monster actor by chance

When I was ten or eleven years old, I remember watching a movie about cops busting some corrupt laboratory where they brought people back from the dead, a sort of modern day frankenstein. It's called “Dead Heat” made in 1988. There is this scene in the movie that never left my memory, it’s forever embedded. This huge re-animated biker monster with multiple eyes, noses and mouths gets loose from the lab while the cops are scoping out the lab and they get into a fight. I was immediately fascinated with the monster, his makeup and costume and gruesome appearance was the coolest thing ever in my mind. I loved it so much that I remember thinking, “wouldn’t it be so cool if one day I got to meet this actor?” I don’t know why I thought that, but I did and soon forgot about it. Fast forward a few years into the future, I was thirteen years old and our family moved to the tiny town of Ardmore, Oklahoma where I had no friends and people were close minded and weird. I finally made a fast friend at church when a new family moved to town. Jini Bannister quickly became my new best friend and since we wanted to have a sleepover, our parents had to meet and they invited us over for dinner.

Me and a friend played the same drum beat on a table.

Me and my best friend were sitting at a table alone in high school. I was being silly and I looked at him with wide crazy eyes and played a drum beat on the table. It wasn’t a “normal beat” if that makes any sense. The weird part about this is at the EXACT SAME TIME, my friend did exactly what I did. While I looked up and widened my eyes, he was doing the exact same thing. Than he played the SAME EXACT BEAT. We stared at each other after that and both said something like “omg, that was really weird”. We were both freaked out and told all of our friends about it. But nobody understood how insanely weird it was.