Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Red Swiss army knife

Back in about 1990 I bought my Dad a small red Swiss army knife for xmas(one of those with a little knife,scissors, toothpick and tweezers). Sadly he died in 1993 and amongst his belongings was the knife which I kept and carried around in my brown leather shoulder "man bag". About 10 years later, one night I was mugged near my home(in Harringay). Despite not losing my phone or wallet I lost my brown shoulder bag and therefore the knife.That was the only thing I was really bothered about. Go forward about 4-6 months. I'm in the Fara charity shop in Teddington, some way from Harringay, but coincidentally very close to where my Dad's family lived (Twickenham, Sheen,etc). I spotted a nice looking brown leather shoulder bag (hold on, it's not the one I lost!). It's nice, but £20-25? (I'm maybe unreasonably tight when it comes to charity shop prices). Not sure. Bit big? Bit expensive? Walk about and think, but go for it. Go down the road and get a coffee and inspect my purchase. I unzipped the little inside pocket out of interest.

Spiritual Coincidences

By coincidence I came across Richard Dawkins' Book 'The God Delusion' in a Charity Shop in Tenerife, a place I would not normally be seen dead in'. I was compelled to buy it for £1. Having read it, I was 'compelled' to consider coincidences in my life (I am 78) and wrote about them as a response4 to the book. I was surprised how many there were. One in particular was a reencounter when I was 23. My father was a captain in the Church Army and from childhood we were close friends staying at Thornbury on the Isle of Wight with the family of another Church Army officer. Both worked in the prison service. We lost touch and shortly before I qualified as an Architect in Leeds I had an opportunity as a student to visit the City of Durham and arranged to visit the family. I only had a rough idea where they lived. Getting off a bus in a housing estate I had no idea which house they lived in and decided to make an enquiry at random at the only house that was lit by an outside light. It happened to be their house.

wartime coincidence and present day

i am a london cab driver, one of 24,000.shortly after a death in my family i returned to first job on a friday morning a hand goes up one of 20 million, destination not in london but just outside Kettering,extremely unusual.i drove the person to a little place just outside the town, Cranford st Andrew,which is where my father and his 6 siblings were evacuated during the Blitz ww2,,what are the chances of that,,,my father spoke to me fondly of the village as he had been billeted with a lovely old gentlemen who had plenty of books, an educated man who launched by dad into a life long passion for education and reading,,,my father was the person who had died recently,,coincidence ?,what are the chances of that


This is a series of highly unusual and sinister coincidences that, nonetheless, actually happened Back in July 1980 when I was nineteen, I was a wandering soul in the grip of curiosity when I visited a friend in L A ..California .. I had a romantic view of the American ''wild west'' gained from Hollywood and had a primal/atavistic urge to experience it .I could have merely bought a Greyhound Bus ticket or even went on an organised tour but as a natural loner and adventurer with American history as my guide I thought I'd hitch hike around the West, keeping out of the major cities and urban areas , and staying in campgrounds As things turned out I must have hitch hiked at least 4.5 K miles in a nine or ten week period during the long hot summer of 1980 that took me up the Canadian Rockies, down through Montana, Colorado etc and as far east as Galveston Texas .

Final farewell

My wife & I went on holiday in Scotland in June 2021. We planned to tour the West & North coast for 1 week & spend 1 week on Orkney mainland staying in Stromness. It was my wife Ann's intention to scatter her father Tony's ashes on a Scottish mountain during our trip as he was a great lover of the mountains & had climbed almost all the Munros. We picked a suitable location & on Saturday June the 12th as we were driving there, listening to Record Review on radio 3, they played the Cavatina from Beethoven's string quartet opus 130 & the music finished exactly as we drove into the car park at the foot of the mountain before our ascent. We were stunned as that transcendent piece of music was the one that was played at Tony's funeral.

Meeting coincidence.

I live in Chislehurst. Once I visited a friend in Milton Keynes. Another friend of his was there, from Southampton. When he heard I lived in Chislehurst he said he knew somebody there. After further conversation, it transpired that the person he knew was my next-door neighbour! This was about 35 years ago.


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.