Why do coincidences happen? © Getty Images

Why do coincidences happen?

Chances are they're happening all the time, you might just not recognise it.

Asked by: Tracey Damico, London

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There’s nothing spooky going on. Coincidences are actually all around us all the time; it’s just a matter of looking for them. For example, if you’re together with four other people and you ask which month they were born in (or what astrological sign they have), it’s odds-on that at least two will coincide.

That said, some coincidences do seem truly amazing – such as cases where someone is walking past a phone box when the phone rings, and on picking it up it turns out it’s for them (as happened to Jason Pegler in Dover in 1992 when a colleague mistakenly dialled Jason’s employee number, which happened to be the same number as that of the phone box). In those cases, we’re forgetting that even rare events do happen, but they only seem amazing if we choose to ignore the zillions of times when, for example, people walk past a phone box and nothing amazing happens.


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