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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DIY Tool

A couple of weeks ago I started doing some DIY - building some walls using plaster board fixed to a metal framework. I'd been told that I needed to get a special tool to crimp the sections of metal frame together so I looked on the internet for it. I live in France so was searching in French but didn't know the correct name of the tool and had a stab at various word combinations and eventually came up with pince à expansion; From the picture of the tool it was clear that it wasn't the one I needed although it said it was for plaster board.

Birthdays

My mother gave birth to me, June 12th. My mother Expected to give birth to my brother on my birthday, but delivered 4 months early exactly on February 12th. My oldest sister gave birth to her second daughter on her fathers birthday. May 18th. My my second oldest sister gave birth to her oldest son, March 20th exactly 1 year later she gave birth to another son, March 20th. I gave birth to my son on my 18th birthday. June 12th. My second oldest sister gave birth to another boy, sharing his birthday with his older brothers. March 20th. March 20th is my nephews fathers fathers birthday.

The T Shirt

I belong to a group who puts on a folk music festival (the South Country Fair) the 3rd weekend of July every year in a relatively small town (population less than 3,000) in Southern Alberta, Canada. The festival is not huge by some standards - lets say 1200 attendees or so a year - but we have our own merchandise which includes SCF shirts for our attendees and one in a different colour for our volunteers. In the summer of 2010 my future son-in-law silk screened a batch of SCF T shirts for the directors, let's say 50 or so shirts.

Name on a brick

I have an allotment, in Edinburgh, and of the eight which surround mine (including the ones that touch just at a corner) two have water taps. I've been there for 10 or more years, and filled a bucket or attached a hose more times than I could count. In April 2019 there I was, idly filling a bucket, my eyes wandering over the adjoining plot next to the tap. Some tidying up... some weed-suppressing matting weighted down by bricks. And on the old bricks (an allotment area is full of them - making paths, walls, props, movable weights) are the brick-makers names.

Christmas incident

One year my horrid in- laws were going to visit for Christmas dinner. I had really tried hard and pulled out all the stops. Bought a little picnic table that could fold up into a carry case. I’d put the table up which folded out into two benches and a table with an umbrella. I was in South Africa then so it was warm at Christmas. Well that table looked great in the garden and my small daughter was so excited with the decorations from the middle umbrella to the house roof. And I had put the lamb leg roast and ham out with the vegetables on the table.

Scoot on as scooters do

When I was 11 years old I was over a friends house playing. I rode my razor scooter over to his house that day which was one of my favorite toys. At some point his dad came home and yelled up the stairs that he’s sorry for whoever’s scooter was out front because he had ran it over.

Angie Arcila

2019 has been a rough year for our family ever since my dad’s passing Memorial Day 2016 life has gotten very complicated financially and emotionally so this month October/2019 has been hard I’ve Been out of work due to our disabled child being sick so am out on ny pfl “payed family leave” and my husband has been out of work for almost a year so money has been tight and am just going back to work in three days so unfortunately my gas was shut off and we are bathing with water I heat up in a microwave so then my microwave went dead and about two days go by then on Columbus Day we went out for a

Gut feelings

Met this person for the very first time at a social event just as I was about to leave, they left quite an impression on me and I ended up staying longer, running late to some other place I had to go to. Then, as I left, I had this very strong feeling that they might come to the same place as I was going (there was an event scheduled there too, but it was a very niche kind of event). Two hours later they showed up to event 2 and we crossed paths just as they entered the main room. I was very surprised and almost said "I knew you were coming".

Lost friend's location on front page

In the early 1980s I was in Stockholm and was soon going to go to Paris where an old friend from high school used to live. It had been a few years and I didn't know if she still lived there. I thought I would need to call my parents in Chicago to ask them to call her parents (also in Chicago). That day I missed a train and had to wait an hour for the next one so I bought a Wall St Journal. On the first page (column one I think) the first sentence was "Ellen S...

In Memory of Bruce "Crazy Horse" Hardy

For the last month or so I've been watching "High Way Thru Hell" series on Netflix. The last three days been watching S3 Ep 10 and just didn't watch it right through like I would usually. But today on the 10th of October I did and at the end of the Episode saw that it was dedicated to Bruce Hardy. So curious me goes and Google's his name to find out a bit more regarding when he passed away. I came across a Facebook Group "In Memory of Bruce Crazy Horse" Hardy where someone just posted 2hrs ago that he died on this day 10th of October 2014.

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