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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Moved in with my clone

I moved abroad for a study exchange. I was assigned a room in a shared flat. Upon arriving, I discovered that there was a huge amount of mould growing underneath the linoleum floors– clearly visible but impossible to remove. I asked to change flats and moved into another one the next day. When I met my new flatmate for the first time, we were both in shock: our features were disturbingly similar. We had the same hair colour, hairstyle and eye colour; very similar facial features, facial expressions, body language, and laugh.

Random phone number was the right one

Deadlines are always hairy in the newspaper business. In an extreme rush, I reached for the phone book to look up a source as Chuck was hurrying by. Kidding, I asked, "Chuck, what's the number I'm looking for?" Chances are he would guess one of the three local exchanges - 372, 373 or 375 - and he blurted out 7 digits as he rushed by. About 10 seconds later I found the number I was looking for in the book and it was exactly - exactly - the number Chuck threw out there. I never even told him who I was trying to call.

My hometown detailed in foreign diary

I bought a 1930's German diary from the Ephemera section on Ebay. Struggling with the language, and to read the handwriting, i was astonished to come across the word 'Bradford' (where I live). I thought I must have misread it, but soon found many references to placenames nearby me. It turned out that the diarist had visited here many times. From Carol sherrardcarol@gmail.com

Mom and aunt passed on the Exact same day - different year

My mom passed June 12,2015 and her sister passed June 12,2020. Out of 365 days in a year, is it just a coincidence that they both passed on the same exact day?!

Family coincidences

My parents were both the same age. High school sweethearts. Both had rheumatic fever when they were children. Both parents had heart valve replacement surgeries. Both parents went blind in their right eye. (Moms was from a blood clot, dads was from an explosion) both parents had the same auto immune disorder, both parents had a parent that was a twin, my mothers grandmother was born on December 6... and two of my parents grandchildren were born on that same day. My father was born on December 5th. His mother died the same day that her father died, many years later.

Glowing Lights

I was doing so online browsing - "window shopping" - when I came across car accessories. These accessories were LED lights that you can put on the valve stem (where you air up the tires). When the tires spin the LED lights flow. This was the first time in my life I heard of these little lights that can go on your tire. So naturally I told my dad and friends that I thought they were super cool and I wanted them. The very next day my brother, dad, and I were driving home on the expressway when a car passes us with those lights on the tires. I couldn't believe.

highschool crush

1979 Edmonton. Crush fierce on Lori. She invited me to a house party so of course I am going. I rang the front door bell and introduced myself to Lori's parents and younger sister who was keen to know what was going on. Then went downstairs to the party. At the party Lori made it clear to all that she and Darren were going out. Damn! I moved to Calgary the next year. 6 years later I move to the west coast for Uni. I am there for 4 years and am working a summer job at a shitty mall restaurant before my final year.

Chance encounters

Recently I met up with a guy from a dating app. We've crossed paths, online, over the last few years. I don't remember exactly when, but at least 5 years ago must've been the first time. I don't think we spoke, or if we did it was brief. We were working in the same area, but never crossed paths. I was on a casual contractor basis, and on one day I was asked to work at a site, which happened to be the one day that week that he visited that site. I remember recognising him. While the chances of that happening were small, it was still in the realm of possibility.

More dates

A good friend of mine while growing up, was the next door neighbor in high school. After getting married, my husband and I purchased property and the older sister of that friend was now my neighbor at my new property. Thought it was kinda funny. What’s really strange is that on my grandmas birthday, she gave birth to her son. On my nephews birthday, she gave birth to a daughter. And on my younger brothers birthday, her third child was born. And then I found out a bit later that the youngest sister of my high school friend had a daughter who was born on my birthday.

Bizarre

I am the only girl, in the middle of brothers. Our father died, we were trying to prepare for his funeral- I was putting myself under a lot of pressure to get everything completed by the funeral day. My brothers aren’t inclined to even know what to do in this type of situation so basically, everything was on me. I was rushing around for nearly a full week, getting things printed, picture boardS, cooking and baking, renting the building and setting up tables and chairs and preparing everything there etc. along with grieving for my father.

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