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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Vacation coincidence

Two summers ago my husband and I were going on a tour of Germany and at the end of the summer we were taking our family to Siesta Key, which is right outside of Sarasota, Florida. I had made the arrangements right before we left for the tour and had searched things to do in Sarasota several times. While touring Germany we went into a restaurant which had a huge patio area in the middle. We walked around looking for a table, which people were sharing, and sat at one with this single guy who looked very German with his blonde hair and light eyes.

Word of God!

Last night I was listening to an internet radio show that a friend makes. He had technical problems so instead of his usual mix of chat and tracks from multiple genres he put on a playlist of ska and reggae. One track was ‘Let your yeah be yeah’ performed by The Pioneers. The title is a biblical reference. I asked my wife, whether it was a reference to Ecclesiastes like The Byrds’ song ‘Turn, turn, turn’ which is an almost direct quote from the opening lines of Ecclesiastes 3. Actually it is not, the phrase is New Testament, but it had prompted comparison with Ecclesiastes.

STRANGE MEDICAL COINCIDENCE

One of my aunts runs a Rare Breeds farm in Gloucestershire. Some years ago she was gored by one of her long horn cattle for no obvious reason (nothing like this had happened before) and suffered serious abdominal injuries. She was air lifted to hospital where the surgeon who treated her was Spanish and announced that he knew what to do, because he worked in Seville and often treated Bull Fighters who's been gored. The chances of finding a Spanish Bull Fight surgeon in a small UK hospital, for just such an injury must be very small.

Family dying same day, different years

My Mom passed away April 28, 1992 My Dad passed away April 28, 1997 and his Mom, my Grandmother followed him three years later and passed On April 28, 2000. This date has become one that I dread.

Eerily bizarre unlikely place meet... twice !

I am from a small town in a small country in Central America, which many people get surprised and often tell me you are the first one for you country Ive ever met ! So imagine me running to catch a metro in Barcelona, Spain when suddenly I saw a friend with his family in the same metro station!!

Starbucks Run In - ESP?

I looking to return to the workforce after a very long "maternity leave". Today was the first day in some time that I was able to find a babysitter so that I could get out of the house to prep for an interview. I usually go to the Starbucks down the street from my house to work, but I decided last minute to stop into a consignment shop that was a few doors down from a Starbucks further away. While waiting for my coffee, I had this strange feeling that I was going to bump into my former colleague in that very Starbucks. I knew who he'd be there with.

Godwin's Spongebob

Whilst discussing 2 threads on Facebook,one concerning animal rights and the incidence of Godwin's law (the potential to mention Hitler, I happened upon a mickey take of the ' Don't tell him,Pike' sketch from dad's Army - and posted this to my thread,as it mentioned 'Hitler is a twerp'. At the exact same moment,the remoaner who was on the other thread said 'Are we going to do this dance again?' and posted Spongebob dancing. Perhaps there should be a new law of the potential to use Spongebob Squarepants.

Time to Shine

Just home from shopping, I decided to play the track 'SHINE' on Amazon's Alexa. Part way through the song the advert for Wrigley's chewing gum came on which uses the tag line 'Time to Shine'. I know we're in the age of targeted marketing -but that is ridiculous!

meeting in a Marrakesh suburb

While on holiday in Marrakesh, I got a little lost and ended up in a nondescript area north of the centre. I sat down at a cafe and spied a work colleague (around 100 of us). We couldn't quite believe it. When this happens at Euston Station, it's not a coincidence; but if it happens in the Moroccan equivalent of Kilburn, I think it's quite a good one.

Words come together

While riding in the car, I turned my head to the right and saw a sign which read, “Wildfire,” at the exact instance that a radio news correspondent said the word, “wildfire.”

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