Do you have a brother or sister that you couldn't imagine being separated from? Typically, your siblings are the first friends that you have and a lot of people tend to remain close with their siblings throughout their entire life. Now, imagine being separated from the person that you shared your mother's womb with? That's right, imagine being separated from your twin. Most people can't fathom that happening to them and it sounds like it's just a made up story that you'd find in a tabloid, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Surprisingly, there is an overwhelming number of stories about twins who were separated from each other at birth. Keep reading to learn about 12 different sets of twins who were taken away from each other before they could even walk.
Imagine looking for your birth mother, only to find out that there's a bigger secret. Elyse Schein was 35 when she contacted the adoption agency that handled her case. She was looking for information about her birth mother, but she discovered that she actually had a twin sister! The agency contacted Paula Bernstein and gave her Elyse's contact information. The twins met and eventually wrote a book together.
"Identical Strangers" is about their journey of meeting someone who had the same exact DNA. To write their book, the twins met with the psychologist who purposely kept them separated so he could study them. It would turn out that the psychologist wasn't apologetic whatsoever for keeping them apart. Fortunately, New York state began requiring that adoption agencies kept siblings together in the early 1908s.
Can you imagine scrolling through a popular website and finding someone that looks exactly like you?
Thanks to advances in technology, social media is playing a huge part in reuniting family members who were separated from one another. Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier were born in South Korea, but they were adopted by families that lived in two completely different countries. Anais, who was living in London at the time, was spending time watching YouTube videos when she saw a video that changed her life.
Anais had been watching Samantha's YouTube channel when she noticed that they looked remarkably similar. Samantha was an actress, living in Los Angeles, California, when she was contacted by Anais. After doing a bit of digging, Anais found out that they shared the same birthday and were both adopted shortly after they were born.
It didn't take long for the women to realize that they were twins. Eventually, they created a documentary in 2015 about their lives called "Twinsters."
The story of William Cañas Velasco and Jorge Enrique Bernal Castro begins in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2013. One day, two women walked into a butcher shop to pick up some groceries. One of the women greeted her friend, William, who was standing behind the counter. Confused, the other woman couldn't help but notice that the man the woman called William looked just like a man named Jorge who worked in her office.
Later, the woman showed William's picture to Jorge the next time she saw him. Jorge began to look through William's pictures on Facebook, and just like the woman, he couldn't get over the fact that they looked so much alike. As Jorge scrolled through the pictures, each one confusing him even more, he stumbled across one picture that changed his life forever.
Looking back at him was a picture of what looked like himself and his fraternal twin. William and Jorge both grew up with their fraternal twin brothers, Carlos Alberto Bernal Castro and Wilber Cañas Velasco. But thanks to the woman in the butcher shop, they realized that they had been living a lie their entire lives. When Carlos was born, he had digestive problems so he was moved to the Bogotá Hospital, where the other set of twins was staying. Unfortunately, Carlos was somehow switched with William during that short period of time.
When the four men figured out that they had been switched at birth, they were 24 years of age. Now, all four of them are working through the process of finally getting to know each other.
Studies show that twins who are separated at birth still share a remarkable amount of character traits. Take, for example, the twins who were separated at birth, Jim Springer and Jim Lewis. "The Jim Twins" didn't find each other until they were 39. Ironically, they had been living 40 miles away from each other in the state of Ohio their entire lives. Even though they had spent their whole lives not knowing one another, they still followed extremely similar paths.
They were both married to women named Linda, and when they divorced, they each got married again to women named Betty. They both suffered from horrible headaches, drove blue Chevrolets, and smoked Salem cigarettes. They also named their firstborn sons James Alan and James Allan. It would seem that all of these similarities are more than just coincidence.
Researcher Dr. Nancy L. Segal studies twins who were separated at birth to determine if it's a person's genetics that determines their personality and physical characteristics, or they're a product of their environment.
“I do not regard these really as coincidences. Rather, they’re genetically influenced commonalities that may ‘masquerade’ as coincidences," explains Dr. Segal.
According to media outlets, psychologist Dr. Thomas Bouchard was inspired by the Jim Twins to start a 20-year investigation called the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA). Dr. Nancy L. Segal also worked on the study for many years.
Our next set of twins was a major part of the MISTRA study when they found each other in 1980.
Robert Shafran was 19 when he started college in upstate New York. While he was there, he was approached many times by people who called him Eddy. It wasn't long before Robert and Eddy Galland met one another.
After a bit of talking, the pair realized that they were both adopted and shared the same birthday. It was clear that they were separated from one another when they were born.
They were soon featured in the news and that was when David Kellman came into the picture. It was determined that the three men were triplets who were separated from each other when they were born.
The triplets all moved into an apartment in Manhattan and became quite popular in the social scene. They even opened their own restaurant called Triplets!
Unfortunately, in a horrifying turn of events, the triplets later learned that the adoption agency intentionally separated them in order to organize a study of multiples who were separated at birth.
All of this can be seen in their documentary "Three Identical Strangers," which was featured in the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
People all over the world are participating in DNA tests to find out where they come from. While most people just do it for fun, a lot of strange things have happened since the fad has hit the mainstream. Amanda Dunford and Katey Bennett were both 33 when they each submitted their DNA to 23andMe. It wasn't long before the twins were with each other, talking about how they both failed algebra, ate extremely fast, and always took three paper towels anytime they wash their hands. Like most siblings that find each after being separated, Katey explains how she "...could never imagine not having her in my life as she is such an important part of it."
Most siblings who are separated don't find out about their other half until they're adults, but that's not the case with our next set of twins.
Unlike most twins who are separated, Audrey Doering and Gracie Rainsberry were with one another for the first 14 months of their lives. Once the twins were 14 months, they were adopted by two different families in the United States. Sadly, none of the adopted parents knew that their adopted daughter had a twin sister.
It wasn't until Audrey's mother began to do some investigating that she found a picture of Audrey with another little girl that looked exactly like her! Through the magic of Facebook, Audrey's mother contacted Gracie's mother. Eventually, the twins were able to meet each other for the first time on Good Morning America.
Not every case of separated twins is caused by adoption agencies. Check out the next twins who were separated by the most unlikely of people.
Jack and Oskar were born in the Port of Spain, Trinidad, to a Catholic mother in 1933. Their mother decided that she wanted to leave her husband, so taking only Oskar with her, she flew back to her home in Germany. Hiding the fact that his father was Jewish, Oskar joined the Hitler Youth Movement as the Nazis were claiming their power. Jack, on the other hand, was still living in Trinidad. When he was 16, he moved to Israel and became a part of the Israeli navy.
Unlike many other separated twins, Jack and Oskar knew about each other their entire lives. When they turned 21, they met each other in Oskar's home in Germany. They were surprised to find out that not only did they look alike, but they dressed alike, as well! Even though they were twins and had many similar characteristics (they both sneezed loudly and were a bit temperamental), they really didn't get along that well.
Just like Jack and Oskar, our next set of twins were extremely similar even though they had never been around each other.
Mark Newman and Jerry Levey are proof that there's more to twins than just the way they look. Mark and Jerry met one another by chance in 1985. They were both firefighters and when Mark's colleagues went to a fireman's convention, they noticed Jerry.
Dr. Segal couldn't believe the similarities that they had in common. "Both were volunteer firefighters, carried big key rings on their belts, which each had big buckles. And both drank only Budweiser beer," describes Dr. Segal.
The twins in our next story spent their lives away from each other until one person decided it was time to tell the truth.
Debbie Mehlman was 45 when her mother told her some shocking news. Debbie was told that she was adopted when she was a baby. She was also told that she had a twin sister. Debbie couldn't believe what she was hearing, so she decided to hire a private investigator.
The private investigator was able to find Debbie's twin, Sharon Poset. Once again, their similarities are uncanny. They wear their hair the same way, both are extremely religious, and they both like to creep people out by rolling their eyes back into their head.
Sadly, our final set of separated twins weren't able to meet one another until they had already lived most of their lives.
Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel were born to a woman in 1936, in Aldershot, United Kingdom, who worked as a live-in servant. Once the twins were born, the mother wanted to give both of the girls up for adoption, but she was told that Elizabeth's spine was curved so no one would want to adopt her. So the mother put Ann up for adoption while Elizabeth stayed with her.
Elizabeth knew about her sister her whole life but didn't think she would be able to find her. That was until her daughter, Ann, started looking in her mother's background. In 2013, while Ann was doing research, she found her mother's twin, Ann! The sisters were able to finally meet in 2014, after spending 78 years apart!
You see, twins who are separated at birth are not as rare as people think. Now, what about you? Are you sure that you don't have a twin out there somewhere?