Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Mrs Denise Walker

I went to Malta on holiday 25 years ago and we went out on a boat trip for the day. The boat docked at a lovely sandy beach and my husband and I sat there enjoying the sun running our hands through the sand when my husband came across a tooth on a dental plate. He went to throw it into the sea and I stopped him and took it and placed in on a rock at the top of the beach. That night we were in a restaurant and we got friendly with a couple from Yorkshire and we were having a really good laugh but she kept putting her hand up to cover her mouth.

Nannies in America

In the 80s I was looking after a little boy called Tom in London. I took him with me to the American Embassy to get a working visa. Two New Zealander girls were behind us and they talked to Tom while I went up to the desk. A few weeks later I was working in New York, and my employer's friend came to tea with her little girl and their new nanny, one of the New Zealanders.

A Spanish Coincidence

In the early 1970's my wife and I were driving down to Spain in my (British Leyland) Triumph GT6 car and we were within a few hours of reaching our destination on the Costa Brava. Suddenly the car engine started stuttering and lurched along intermittently.We were tired by this time and quite worried about the car.It was a Sunday and we found ourselves going through a small spanish village and being the weekend all the locals were out on the village square. The car had virtually stopped by this time and i decided to pulled over.

Arriving in sync

My future wife and I were moving from rented accomodation in Clapham, south London, to the same in Nottingham. The idea was to get all our meagre possessions in an old Renault. We did, but unfortunately there wasn't then room for the future wife. She went back in the house to get her handbag, etc before going to get the tube and a train, without knowing what the train times were. I set off to drive across the river and up through a busy London on a Saturday early afternoon and then negotiate the M1 up to junction 25 and into the centre of Nottingham.

My chance meeting!

Hi david, my boyfriend read the article in the Daily Mail and asked me to respond. About 2 years ago i was working at the NEC at a show as the line of work i do is promotions, the show was a 4 day event but i was only to work the first 2 days and the go onto the IDH show in London however events occured and i ended up doing the full 4 days. On the evening of the last day i caught my train from Birmingham to London ready to work on the show the following day.


My wife Sue, when married to her first husband inherited a stepson named Jason born on 11th Dec 1969. When she married me she inherited a step son named Jason born on 11 Dec 1969. My wife's first husband had a first wife called Sue who, when she divorced, remarried to a man called Alan. My wife Sue is now married to a me and my name is Alan.

Co-incidence at the Doctor's Surgery

I had booked an appointment to see female doctor at 4.50 pm. At the correct time, a male voice called my name to come to his room. Puzzled that it was not a female voice, I went to his room, only to find a patient already in there. I spoke to Reception, to find out what was going on. It transpired that another patient with exactly my name had booked an appointment at 4.50 pm that day!

Call Arthur Koestler

Back in the '80s I ran a research foundation set up by Arthur Koestler and Brian Inglis to look at areas in science which lie beyond the bounds of orthodoxy. Koestler had already written two books on the subject of coincidence: "The Roots of Coincidence" and "The Challenge of Chance". Brian Inglis and I went on to collaborate on a book on intuition: "The Unknown Guest". I gathered the case studies -- rather as you're doing we developed a scheme for classifying them.

A hitchhiking coincidence

My sister was living in Perth, W.A. and wanted her sewing machine from our parents home in the Cotswolds. She heard of a girl in London who would be> returning to W.A. shortly and suggested she should have a weekend in the> Cotswolds and in exchange bring out the sewing machine: there was no response. However, a few weeks later my parents set off in the car for a day at the seaside and on the way stopped to pick up two hitchhiking girls - one of whom was the girl who had been asked to bring out the sewing machine> (but who had been short of time and had not responded).

my father's birthplace

Dear Professor Spiegelhalter, . I would like to offer you a remarkable experience from my life which I tend to view more as an example of what Carl Jung would have regarded as synchronicity rather than something which can be explained away simply on scientific grounds. Please bear with me while I describe the background to all this. I was born in Britain in 1935. My father was a veterinary surgeon but during the war he worked as a radar technician on the South Coast of England. We lost our home in a German bombing raid in 1942.