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.



Vertical Tabs


Spear carrier

I spoke today to an old teacher of mine, Ron, now in his late 70s. He said he came to the school in 1969. One of the older colleagues who taught games had arrived in the 50s and in idle staffroom chat mentioned that he had once been supervising athletics when a boy caught a javelin in his leg. He had to transport him to hospital with the javelin sticking out of the car window. In the late nineties Ron was on a train and fell into conversation with an older man who, it transpired had been a pupil at the same school 40 years earlier.

Randomly finding old roommates credit card at gas station 90 minutes away

Yesterday on my drive back to Chicago from Michigan I stopped to use the restroom and get gas at a random gas station near Indiana . As I went to put my card in I noticed someone else’s card was left in there so I took it out to take it inside and something told me to look at the name . When I looked at it I couldn’t believe it was my old roommate from colleges card ! I called him and asked if he was still in Chicago and he said no he was on his way back to Michigan and I asked if he had stopped to get gas near Indiana and he said yes about an hour before .

Small group of 10

At a small course of only 10 people run by the U3A, by chance two members discovered that they were born in the same room! This was in Brocket Hall. At the same course two people also realised they had gone to the same school, which was over 100 miles from where they both lived now.

Missed a train abroad and ran into someone I knew of, but didn't know personally

My husband and I were traveling through Russia on the Transiberian train. My father had mentioned in conversation that his best friend's sister and her husband were also traveling through Russia at the time and shared a picture of them. We had never met them before and with Russia being a huge country, we didn't think much of it. At some point in our journey, we missed a train and had to book last minute tickets on another train at a later hour. There was only one cabin with two free tickets left, so we booked there. We caught this train on time and went to our cabin.

Two Nutria Encounters

Went to the library, did some browsing, and selected a book to take with me on a business trip. Can't recall the title, but it was probably something in the action/adventure genre. On the plane, it caught my eye that the book mentioned an animal called a nutria. I had to pause for a second, but then remembered that it's a sort of swimming rat. I was pleased that I was able to recall that. Got to my destination (a university in south Texas) and my contact picked me up at the airport and took me out to dinner.

same bowlegged jeep in front of me twice

driving south on a highway in Detroit in the evening I notice a green jeep with bowlegged tires in front of me I commented that it must have been in an accident and i pull alongside it to confirm and notice the dings and the driver, the next morning I see the same jeep in front of me eastbound in the morning so I pull alongside to confirm the same jeep

Sister Died

It was Christmas day back at around 2005. It was mid afternoon and we were getting organised to get my wife's grandmother (who is called 'Nana" in the family) back home. Nana was ushered upstairs to go to the toilet before the car journey back to her home. I also needed to go to the loo, but of course allowed Nana to go in first. As soon as she came out, I went into the loo. It was the tiniest loo possible - probably three feet wide, and just long enough to fit the toilet at the end so that the door could open and close. In other words, a very small loo!

3 children with the same birth date

My daughter Ally was born 14.11.2000 My twins were born naturally on 14.11. 2013 For our family it's a cool coincidence.

Just weird coincidences and freaked out by too many!!!

I met this girl through work we became friends (I’m married but we connected)<br /> 1 I saw her surname on the back of a temporary roadworks sign.<br /> 2 her parents wedding anniversary is the same date as mine.<br /> 3 her Facebook name code has the year I was born in it.

Comment event and time matched

Listened to Robin Ince interviewing Claudia Hammond on the Book Shambles podcast. Claudia talks about going to an 0840 GP appointment and the GP having already seen 7 people already. I was, at that moment, locking up my bike so I could check in for my own 0840 GP appointment. I had no idea they were going to raise that concept when I had downloaded the podcast that morning. The coincidence raised a smile. Claudia Hammond liked my tweet about it, but the GP didn't seem bothered...

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