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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"My boat is so small"

After 13 years of sharing my life with him, including a long term illness, my husband passed away. His passing had caused a lot of turmoil and I found myself completely left alone, grieving. After the funeral, there was literally nobody in my direct environment (neighbours, family, old study friends) who showed unselfish compassion. Everybody seemed to have a hidden agenda, whishing me as a baby sitter (study friend), a health carer (family) investment banker (family/neighbours) or worse, potential wife. I struggled everyday to set boundaries, reinvent my life and find meaning.

Dream Scene

Last night I dreamt about a friend from university who I hadn't spoken to in a while. When I woke up this morning, I had a long text from none other than the same friend.

GN

Where to start? I've logged nine pages of 'synchronicities' so far and counting. Many seem to have a playful bent, such as passing driving the Stirling monument in Scotland as the Braveheart theme tune played on the radio.

"Star Wars" Coincidence

I share the same birthday (April 10th) as Daisy Ridley, the actress who plays “Rey” in the Star Wars films, and my mother's middle name is Raye.

names

An article came out in my news app that Gwyneth Paltrow had some sort of skiing accident, I don’t exactly remember what it was. I began reading a crime novel later that day , I distinctly remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s name mentioned in the first few lines of the book.

playing music in the shower - totally normal

I was playing by red velvet playlist in the shower ( kpop genre) . While I was dancing around in the shower , I suddenly felt the urge to check the song that was playing . It was titled ‘Russian Roulette’. I usually never touch my phone when I’m playing music in the shower so that was out of the originate . When I came out of the shower , there was a documentary on Trump’s political campaign playing on on the TV by Channel News Asia. An author wrote a book and was being interviewed on the campaign .

Meeting in far off place

Back in 1970 as a 20 year-old I did the Hippy Trail, setting out from London where I lived, across Europe, Middle East to Nepal with two friends in a VW van. As we drove from Kathmandu in Nepal down the mountains back to the Indian border and were stopped by the roadside, a local bus suddenly stopped 50 yards past us and a figure jumped off and ran towards us. It was my good friend Antony Farrell from Ireland. Neither of us had any idea the other would be there, or were planning to visit India/Nepal at the same time.

Margaret Bondfield - from obscurity to two mentions within a day

Last night I was reading Chris Renwick's book 'Bread for All'. I remarked on the fact of the first female Cabinet member being Margaret Bondfield - a name I'd never heard of before. Then whilst reading the Guardian this morning (Saturday 8 June 2019), lo and behold - everything (almost) you wanted to know about Margaret Bondfield, who entered the Cabinet 90 years ago today. Cracking coincidence I reckon.

Seeing them again

When I was much younger (13 or so) my friend and I were in myrtle beach S.C and on our last night of the trip we were on the boardwalk (an hour from where we were staying) when a group of cute baseball players about our age came up and asked to take a picture with us. We were so excited by the event and kept talking abut it. All the next day I kept joking and saying “look there they are!” Just to get my friend excited- probably 20 times that day. That night we left our hotel and started driving back home up north. About 5 hours into the trip we pulled over to stop for dinner st Carabas.

Avoiding someone

Back when I was in high school I had a crush on a random older boy in school. Randomly he got my number and we startred texting and never actually talked in person but it eventually fizzled out. Fast forward a few months and it was my moms birthday. She wanted to go for dinner at a restaurant where she worked in college. I knew this boy also currently worked at this restaurant so I spent an hour convincing her to go somewhere else instead because I really really really didn’t want to see him there (I didn’t tell my family this so it was even harder to change there mind).

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