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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A Lucky Magical Coincidence

In my early twenties I decided to break free of university life and travel from Sydney, Canada to Sydney, Australia. I went backpacking along the east coast, directing my life trajectory with full autonomy for the first time. I anticipated meeting friends along the way and soaking up each new experience without hesitation. About half way into my travels I was hit a heavy wave of homesickness. I had not felt this feeling before and so was confused and disoriented. As a result this made it challenging to continue calling the shots all on my own.

Discovering Lost Family

DISCOVERING LOST FAMILY by Lauren Agnelli of Chester, CT My father’s side of the family, the Agnellis, were by nature not an outgoing or friendly bunch, so by the time my father died in 1974 at the young age of 43, we never heard from any of them except our beloved great Aunt Toots and Uncle Ambie -- who had always been regular visitors. So the only other Agnellis we knew of were our father, his two brothers, his dad and his mom, our grandparents. By 1974, half of them were gone, and the two brothers never stayed in touch after grandpa’s death and so. . .

"Jennas," "Jennifers," Etc.

I. Jenna Dewan 1. Shortly (I believe around five minutes or less) before the television show The Late Late Show with James Corden aired on July 30th or July 31st of 2018, I oddly (admittedly without any need to go into further detail) and inexplicably (arguably in my opinion without going into further detail) “hugged” my television set by putting my arms around it. Similarly, near the beginning of that show during a guest introduction, the celebrity Jenna Dewan seemed to put her arms out in a gesture as if she were hugging someone. 2.

chance meeting

My friends and I went to Toronto for spring break because it’s much cheaper than going somewhere warm. While we were there, we ran into 2 other students who also attend our university who were also there on break. We already knew these 2 from school, so we decided to meet back up and go out to the bars on a Monday night. Obviously, bar crawling on a Monday night is kind of pointless. Most places are entirely empty if not closed by 8pm. So, it’s 1am and we’re in a bar with probably 10 people in it. The bartender asks if we’re on break and we say yes.

Birthdays

My childhood best friend was born 2 weeks late and I was born 2 weeks early. My due date was December 29 but I was born December 11. Her due date was December 11 but she was born December 29.

Guessing game

One time a new friend was talking about how she tries to write down all of her friends’ birthdays and asked for mine. Joking around, I told her to guess. Lo and behold she guessed it right without any hints. Then she told me I had to guess hers and I also guessed hers right! We had never had conversations about birthdays before and there was no way for her to find out my birthday before this conversation. We didn’t even know each other’s star signs or birth seasons and we both randomly guessed each other’s birthdays right within a minute of each other.

Childhood game

As a child, my friends and I came up with this very specific make believe world for us to play pretend at recess. It had something to do superheroes and each villain we fought had a backstory etc, etc. Cut to 20 years later, I was talking to my girlfriend at the time and she mentioned playing a game that was way too similar to mine to be an accident. It turns out that, even though we went to different kindergartens a town apart, she had a friend who played with my group one time and brought the game to their playground too.

hometown

I go to an out-of-state college and, while my hometown has it’s own university, it isn’t well-known and the attendance is very low. Only 2 people from my entire hometown go to the college I attend currently, which has something like 60,000 students. That being said, no one has heard of my hometown unless they’re a professor. At my first college party, I walked up to a random person and started talking to her. She said she had just transferred and I asked from where. It turns out she transferred from my hometown college!

Too many dates, numbers & names! Not Coincidence & want some understanding

me & my daughter both at the same time were dating guys birthdays June 3. one was born in 1962 & the other was 1985. My mothers b-day is April 9,1953 my boyfriends friend which is my enemy, his b-day is April 9th as well. My father died on April 18,1981 a day before easter My daughters dad died April 17, 2017 a day after easter. We became good friends with a guy before my daughters dad died, his name is Sean. My name is Shawn. His sisters name is Donna, So is mine. They both live in the same town. His dad also past away on Easter 2002.

Ms

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