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


Crick in the neck

One morning my friend wrote me about a crick she had developed in her neck and asked how she might treat it. Later that day, around 330pm, I was watching an episode of Hell's Kitchen in which a chef contestant named Jonathan developed a crick in his neck and couldn't help the others with preparation for supper. Then later that night, around 5pm, I watched as my son practised Jiu jitsu in class, and had his neck twisted hard enough for him to cry and need the application of ice. He had a stiff neck that evening.

Lucky Conversation

It is early morning, one day in Spring 1969. I am ten years old and it is a big day in our family. I am going, with my parents, to the school where I recently sat the entrance exam. In a couple of hours, I will have an interview with the headmistress.

Random calls from 2 people of my Past from same time period

I received a very random text from a women I did a yoga training from 12 years ago. The text was a mistake she was looking for a different Nancy in her life and then she accidental called me. The same day I received a facetime call from a teacher of yoga from that time period. This call was very random and not a number I have in my phone and it was also from Australia and not the US where I reside. I ignored it and went on about my life, later that evening I got a weird text from that teacher asking why I had called him. I re-looked at my phone and it was a definite incoming call.

Random calls from 2 people of my Past from same time period

I received a very random text from a women I did a yoga training from 12 years ago. The text was a mistake she was looking for a different Nancy in her life and then she accidental called me. The same day I received a facetime call from a teacher of yoga from that time period. This call was very random and not a number I have in my phone and it was also from Australia and not the US where I reside. I ignored it and went on about my life, later that evening I got a weird text from that teacher asking why I had called him. I re-looked at my phone and it was a definite incoming call.

Mexico Argentina connections

In 1999, my business partner and I opened an office in Mexico City. Almost immediately I was hired to work on a full time consulting job to overhaul a company in the northern city of Saltillo, near the Texas border. I left my partner in charge of the Mexico City office, and one of the first things he did was hire an assistant. She was very competent but (and this is germaine to the story) had no prior experience or contacts in our industry. Meanwhile in Saltillo, I was having trouble filling positions.

Surprising wrong phone number

I was at work trying to call another company in a different state. I was working on getting a report for them and I had some information I needed to request first and I couldn't wait for an email. Since I was in a hurry, I forgot to dial 1 so I dialed the number, but locally 804-523-4304 when i meant to dial 523-430-456. When someone answered it was a co-worker in the same 50 person building on his cell phone. I thought I dialed his extension accidentally, but it was really his cell phone. What are the chances?

God brought us together

My husband and i met in Tennessee in a store parking lot witnessing an altercation. He and I started talking and ended up dating. Found out we stayed in the same apartment complex, we share the same birthday, his father and my mother share the same birthday, and we both lived in the same town in north Carolina when i was a child. We both were at the same military base in south Carolina but at different times.

How I Met My Partner

My coincidence is a rather long story, and it has its start long before I was born. I write this, of course, understanding that it can really only be considered a coincidence given how it has resulted in finding my current partner. If it had not had this result, it simply would have resulted in nothing more than an interesting story. And so I take you to the very beginning, which is post-civil war Spain. The government is currently taken over by Dictator Francisco Franco who was the leader of the Falange movement.

David Foster Wallace Haunts Me

I was both listening to an interview with Zadie Smith and scrolling through Tumblr. At the exact same time, Smith referenced Foster Wallace and a picture of Foster Wallace appeared on my Tumblr. At the exact same time, down to the second. Incidentally, I was reading a piece on Foster Wallace two days ago. It's been a weird couple of days.

DX so handsome

I'm so handsome

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