Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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


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.

Random photo

I was on a group walking holiday in a USA National Park when I came face to face with someone I was having regular meetings with at home in England whilst working on a project. He was also on a group walking holiday with a different company. At our next meeting at home, he passed over a photograph of me taken on the holiday. After our brief conversation, someone in his group approached, showed him an image on her digital camera and asked if that was the person he was just talking to. He said yes and asked her where the photo was taken. She said three days previously and 200 miles away in a different National Park, and that I had walked into view just as she took a photo of something else. My face rang a bell and she searched through her photos whilst we were talking, but I had left before she found it. She could not explain why she had not deleted what was purely a wasted shot.

Passport Data

My girlfriend and I went to what is now Slovenia on our first foreign holiday together in 1974. We compared passports. My passport gave my place of birth as London and was issued in Glasgow on her birthday. Hers gave her place of birth as Glasgow and was issued in London on my birthday. We married the following year.

A communication?

I was emptying coins out of a money box onto a table. At the same time thoughts of my Dad (who had passed away 25 years earlier) entered my head. One of the coins (a penny) dropped off the table, landed on it's side, then rolled all the way round the table & landed at my feet. My Dad used to like a bet on the horses so I looked to see if there was a horse running with a name that might mean something. There was one called "Bygone Coin". It was a complete oursider but I put a bet on it & it came in third. I didn't win much money at all but the day the coin rolled off the table was the day my Dad had his heart attack & the day of the race was the day he passed away.