Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

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

Unlikely meeting

Aged 17, I set off to hitch-hike to the South of France from Manchester with a friend, to the consternation and anxiety of my mother. My parents were due to set out a week later with the rest of the family by car, and were due to meet me by the Med. I had made it as far as an obscure mid-France town called Tain l'Hermitage after being dropped there by a ride. My parents, having had no contact with me since my departure, had to pull off the Autoroute due to an unexpected need for fuel.

Mobile phone coincidence

When shopping in a local supermarket I bumped into a friend whom I hadn't seem for some time. While we were chatting, my mobile phone, which was in an inside pocket of my jacket, began to ring. Before putting the phone in my pocket I must have forgotten to lock the keypad and, reacting to my movements, the phone had set itself to the Contacts list. As I took the phone out to silence the ringtone, I glanced at the screen. It was displaying the contact details for the friend to whom I was talking .

double Hastings visit

Having never been to Hastings before I got a job (I'm a photographer) there to do a business portrait. While driving there, I got a call from another client to do a job in Hastings the following day. There was initial confusion because I assumed that the two jobs must be connected - they were not connected in any way. Instead of driving back to London, and returning the next day, I booked into a lovely old hotel, and spent a great evening eating in a very nice restaurant, and visiting the castle. I have never been back since.

Dog Friends

We own two dogs, both West Highland Terriers, one called Maggie the other Vanilla. I made friends with someone on our street who also owned a (at that time 6 month old) Westie - coincidentally called Maggie. Little Maggie and Vanilla grew up (although not much as both are small for the breed) and were the best of friends. Sadly my friend, Kasey, moved back to San Francisco taking little Maggie with her and our long dog walks ceased. Six months later Kasey's sister came to London and wanted to visit Portobello where we live.

Birthday coincidence

My uncle, two cousins and I all have the same birthday - Christmas Day. I have a large family so maybe not that much of a coincidence - I have 11 aunts/uncles and 43 cousins

Sarah Kelly

My 18 month old son, who was already a very chatty soul, was travelling in his pushchair across the nave a Gloucester Cathedral. Two women were walking towards us, one approximately mid sixties, the other around 50. Both had light hair. OH....exclaimed my son, pointing, in a really animated fashion... "NINA....NINAA!!!...Look mummy, NINA!" ( My sister in law WAS called Nina but she was dark skinned and dark haired, 36 years old and of Asian descent.) I replied "No, my love, THAT's not NIna".....and continued walking.

Bank PIN Coincidence.

I was sent the same 4 digit PIN by unconnected banks. One was for a credit card, the other was a savings account cash card. What are the chances of that happening?

Seeing the future

Many years ago, when I was about 21, I picked up a hitch hiker. We had been driving about 25 minutes and begun to get to know each other when he became agitated. I asked him what was wrong, and he explained that he could see crashed airplane debris all around us.

life coincidence

I live in Turkey. A few years ago I met a lady who was at the same school as me, a year behind me. This school took in boarders of the local boarding school. I lived in the place I went to school. This lady lived in The Hague (I'm Dutch). We still both live in Turkey to date. Not only did she go to the same school in Zeist and we had never "met", but my grandfather was an artist and we had many artist acquaintances in common; memories from when we were very young. This was because her grandfather owned a museum.


In 1960 I began teaching in Lordswood Boys' Technical school. One of my colleagues there was Tom Davies. I left the school in 1963 and in 1968 took a post in up-country Kenya. Our nearest European shop was 35 miles away, in Kisumu, and one day in 1969 I looked along the counter only to see Tom standing there! He was teaching in Nairobi at the time. After retiring in 1991 I came to France to live and organised French lessons for the English there.