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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Cousins

When I was living in Lilongwe I had a carpool with a certain person. When I moved to Oxford this person's cousin was in my tutor group.

The Planet Vulcan

I went through about a year period of time where I was posting in a local internet forum and I would randomly bring up a topic or a theory I had or anything really, and within a week or two, sometimes days, something directly related to it would happen in the real world. This could be in the form of an article on a mainstream newsite coming out related to it, which most of the time I would find by accident. One of the single craziest ones was while I was doing some reading about ancient gods, I came across the Roman god Vulcan (2018-09-15 ), who I had never heard of.

Place I live

My parents lived in Australia 1968-71 and my eldest brother was born there, they then returned to England and settled in Derby in a suburb named Chaddesden where I was born. Several years after moving there my mother was looking through photos of Australia and found a picture of my brother standing next to the mail boxes of the block of flats they lived in (204 The Avenue, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria) in the background was the entrance to the block of flats and the name above the door was Chaddesden. My parents had never realised and only called it by the number and road name.

Headphones

I have so many however this one happened recently. I bought a Crown headphone and the woman who owns the company ran off with my money. I was devastated. 2 wks later a man emailed me, not related or knows of the other Crown headphone company, and said he wants to make me a new best one crown headphone set of my choice. I Sussex him out, found him legit, he made me the headphones of my choice and sent it to me. He had NO idea of my previous trauma with another crown headphone company.

Three grandfathers in my family share a death date in different years

My paternal grandfather died on November 21, 2005. My maternal grandfather died one year later on November 21, 2006. As the only child of my father, I am the only one to share these two grandfathers. This year, my first cousins (my mother's sister's daughters) now have this in common with me. Their father's father died on November 21, 2019. Also, my maternal grandfather was born on 12-12-21 and his great grandson (son of one of my cousins mentioned above who just lost their other grandfather) was born on 12-21-12.

Meeting on a train journey

Paddington Station the evening commute - the train to Penzance was delayed by 2 hours due to a fatality. Suddenly, we had the go ahead to get on a train the line was now open. There were hundreds of people on the concourse and it was a race to get a seat on the train. I travel second class but when there is a delay and hundreds of people boarding the train with no prospect of a seat I just plonk myself down in first class, as I did this evening. In the four seats facing each other there was me (a woman) and three men.

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.

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