Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Are left handed people more pushy?

After a gathering in a restaurant 5 of us went back to someone's flat for coffee. There was just one sofa, which 3 sat on. The remaining 2, myself included, sat on the floor. I noticed that the 3 on the sofa were all holding their mugs in their left hand. Indeed, the 3 seated on the sofa were left handed, the 2 on the floor were right handed. Could an explanation for at least the seated on sofa v. seated on floor ratio be skewed by the fact that left handed people are more pushy and they all made sure they secured a comfortable seat?


Two people came to live in our village from Cornwall and we became friends. They told us they have friends in Cornwall called NEIL and MARGARET who have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE. Guess what. I am called MARGARET, my husband is NEIL and we have a SPRINGER SPANIEL called ROSIE !

Third coincidence

I went to Australia in 1991 to visit relatives who live in Perth. They took us on a trip down south and we went on a leisure boat in the Murray River. It seemed like a very isolated spot. I sat next to a lady I had never met before and we got chatting. I asked her where she lived and she said Busselton which was a small town in Western Australia. I said "I'm going there tomorrow to meet an old friend" (The friend, like my relatives, had emigrated from Devon to W.A.) She said, "What's the name?" and I said, "Perryman". She said, "Oh, the Perrymans. I know them well!"

One Lump or Two?

In about 1976 I went into hospital to have a breast lump removed ( I was 23). I was stunned to find my best mate in the opposite bed, having had the same procedure on her breast. Mine was my left, hers her right. Although we were best mates she had been living in Holland for some years and had come back home for the surgery as she was unhappy with the treatment she was receiving in Holland and the difficulty of the language as she did not speak dutch. We just happened not to be in touch over that period (I was admitted very quickly following presenting to my GP with the lump) On the day I was admitted she was being discharged. We were both in for two nights. I didn't have a dressing gown so she left me hers. Both lumps were benign.


I don't know whether this is a coincidence or a prediction. My mother had been widowed for 30 years and for many years now she had said that she knew which day she would die. She didn't know when but she know it would be the 16th of a month. She said that she had worked it out this way...her birthday was the 12th my dads was the 13th they were married on the 14th and my dad died on the 15th so she said that she knew she would die on the 16th. She was so convinced that when she got to 90 she said that she was always pleased when the 16th of a month had gone because she would be ok for another month. She died last year on the 16th September she had had a series of strokes and had been totally unaware of anything or anybody for many days. We all think that this is rather spooky ! Regards Ginny

Newton abbot

We were on holiday in Antigua and had gone to "the" place to watch the sunset along with a few thousand others. Having failed to find a couple from our hotel we had arranged to meet (it was dusk), I put my arm around the man I then noticed standing right next to me and said "Hi Keith, what brings you here?". Keith was our best man over 30 years earlier and we hadn't seen him in ten years or more (we live in Devon, he, near London). After chatting he mentioned an incident on his flight over where the couple sitting next to him had got into animated conversation as they passed over Devon, trying to spot their house. When he discovered just where they lived, he asked them if they knew us as we lived in Newton Abbot. He said he hadn't previously talked about us for years. We returned to our hotel and a couple was sitting at the bar, the lady of which my wife was sure she recognised but could not think from where. I approached and simply asked if they lived in Newton Abbot and we discovered that the wives had stood outside the same school collecting children, again many years earlier.

House Numbers

Hello David, Myself and 3 friends meet once a week, every week, and have done so over many years to go "ale tasting", walk, play 10 pin bowling or attend the cinema etc. There are just 4 of us in the group and we all live in different streets in Bishop's stortford and Sawbridgeworth and none of us moves house often. Some years ago we discovered that our house numbers were 55, 66, 77 and 88. I heard you on Radio 4 this morning and thought this might be of interest. I would be pleased to hear any comments that you may have. Thanks Robert Stroud ps. Unfortunately now one of us has recently moved to a boring No. 8


We have two children; at one time both had partners whose mothers' birthdays were on Boxing Day - very convenient as it meant that they always had their big celebrations on Boxing Day, so we could have Christmas Day and everyone was happy. Unexpected Meeting: we were on a cruise in the Baltic a few years ago, and spent Sunday in Helsinki. We went to the Orthodox Cathedral there and stayed for part of the service. When we left we started talking to a young Englishman who had also been sitting down for some time, and found that he came from the same town as we do.

Mr David Parker

My eldest son, James Harry Frederick Parker, was born on the 21st July 1998. Through a quirk of the UK's education system we discovered that another James Harry Frederick Parker was born on the very same day. We live in Kent and the name sake lives in the Channel Islands. We are not related and have never met.

Multiple coincidences within 24 hours

I live in Sussex and yesterday I arranged to meet my 20 year old son in Greenwich. We both like old books, and so we went to explore a very ramshackle second hand bookshop. I picked out a couple of books, one for me and one by HG Wells that I thought might interest my son. Having followed different paths round the shop, came up to me and told me that he thought that he had seen a book by HG Wells that he hadn't heard of, but that it had only been a book about him. I then showed him the book that I was holding for him - which was a book by HG Wells that he hadn't heard of. On the train home, he was reading a book by Kurt Vonnegut called "Cats Cradle". On our journey, I was reading a somewhat trashy and not very well written science fiction novel, in which one of the characters drew a comparison between a mysterious substance that had been found with...a mysterious substance in the book "Cats Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut. This morning, I was coming too in bed, and thinking about this coincidence, and that it was a pity that I didn't know of anyone who might be collecting such instances.