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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Uncanny Pattern

My dog hit my roommates keyboard while she was in the middle of writing a paper and the dog spelled out my roommates name "Minh"

Birthday Coincidence

At my first fancy art show, I (an artist) was randomly placed right next to a gallery owner. Then we realized we were born on the same month & day (Sept. 9th).

My birth date

My birthday is 6/7/89

My Colleague's Party

This happened maybe 20 years ago now. I used to commute from my area, a city of around 150,000 people, into a big city of around a million about an hour away (depending on traffic) for my job. One weekend a colleague was having a party at his house in that big city.

Lost contact

A few weeks ago I had a lot of excess energy from a work call, decided to schedule some catch-up calls with friends I haven’t spoken with in 5-10 years. Thought if I had the number of an ex from (almost exactly) 2 years ago, would reach out to him as well; it was nice catching up with old friends, maybe it’d be nice to catch up with him as well, but I didn’t have it, so oh well. I had deleted his number and text chain/photos a while ago - no contact.

Hemachromatosis coincidence

My boyfriend was diagnosed with a condition called hemachromatosis, ie iron overload. Upon receiving this knowledge, I began researching the condition on the Internet, and came upon two helpful looking books, one of which was a cookbook. I need to buy these for him! I thought to myself. Then I began to wonder who the authors were. I googled them. They are leading naturopathic doctors that deal with this condition, and they live here in the town that we live in, and their office is literally less than a mile from his house. I was able to pick the books up in person.

College Coincidence

I live in NC, but went to school in VA. My school is a very small women’s college. I decided to plan a reunion for alumni who lived in my city. I picked a location in downtown, and then found out that the owner’s mother and best friend were alumni of the same school. So, I guess, serendipitously enough, out of all the bars, restaurants and meeting places in the city chose the right one!

The Girl on the Promenade

My name is Martyn Lee, . I live in Straford upon Avon. In June 1953 my parents booked a family holiday in Devon. It was in a caravan at Looville Holiday Park in Goodrington, Torbay. It’s now a housing development but in the early 50s it was a busy little holiday park packed with static caravans.<br /> I was 6 years old and in my third year at my Infant School in Birmingham. I was in a mixed class of about 36 children. A big class, but these were the height of the Baby Boomer years. My parents plan was to take me out of school for two weeks in term time.

Horse Story

I was visiting Charleston, SC. Where I was staying, there was a beautiful equestrian center. The horses were in the pastures and as I walked down the alleys between the fields, they all started coming up to the fence line. I was struck by the similarities many of the horses bore to the horses of my childhood. I grew up riding at a barn in Maryland called Columbia Horse Center; my barn memories are my favorite memories. Later that evening, I was drinking a glass of wine at the Lodge, and I began chatting with a couple. Where were they from? Maryland.

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