"Identical twins occur when a single egg is fertilized to form one zygote (a fertilised egg) but the zygote then divides into two separate embryos. The two embryos develop into foetuses sharing the same womb."
Jim Lewis and Jim Springer
When Jim Lewis was six years old, he learned that he had an identical twin brother. Their unmarried mother had but them up for adoption soon after they were born in 1939. Jim had been adopted by a couple named Lewis in Lima, Ohio; his brother was adopted by a couple named Springer in Dayton, Ohio. Oddly enough, both boys were christened "Jim" by their new parents.
In 1979, when he was thirty nine, Jim Lewis decided to try to find his twin brother. Six weeks later, Jim Lewis knocked on the door of Jim Springer in Dayton. The moment they shook hands, they felt close as if they had known each other their whole lives. But when they began to compare notes they became aware of a staggering series of coincidences. To begin with, they had the same helth problems. Both were compulsive nail biters and suffered from insomnia. Both had started to experience migranes at the age of eighteen, and stopped having them at the same age. Both had heart problems. Both had developed haemorrhoids. They were exactly the same weight, but had both put on ten pounds at exactly the same period of their lives, and then lost it again at the same time.
All this might seen to indicate that genetic programming is far more precise and complex than anyone had suspected. But the coincidences went much further than genetics. Both had married girls named Linda, divorced, then married girls named Betty. Both had named their sons James Allan. Both had owned a dog named Toy. Both had worked as deputy sheriff, petrol-station attendant, and at McDonalds. Both spent their holidays on the same Florida beach. Both chain smoked the same make of cigarette. Both had basement workshops in which they made furniture...
The twins were facinated, not only in these similarities in experience but by their mental similarities - one would start to say something and the other would finish it.
Dorothy Lowe and Bridget Harrison
Dorothy Lowe and Bridget Harrison were also separated at birth. They both decided to keep a diary in 1962 and both filled in exactly the same days. The diaries were of the same make and colour. Both played the piano as children but gave it up in the same year. They both had sons, Bridget's son was called Richard Andrew, Dorothy's son was called Andrew Richard. Their daughters were called Katherine Louise and Karen Louise. Dorothy had originally intended to call her daughter Katherine but changed it to Karen to please a relative. Both wear the same perfume. Both leave their bedroom doors ajar. Both had meningitis. They had identical IQs. Both collect soft toys and had cats called Tiger.
Barbara Herbert and Daphne Goodship
Barbara Herbert and Daphne Goodship were the twins of an unmarried Finnish student, and were adopted by different families at birth. Both their adoptive mothers died when they were children. Both had fallen downstairs when they were fifteen and broken an ankle. Both met their future husbands at town hall dances when they were sixteen, and married in their early twenties. Both had early miscarriages, then each had two boys followed by a girl. Both have a heart murmur and a slightly enlarged thyroid. Both read the same popular novelists and read the same magazine. And when they met for the first time, both had tinted their hair the same shade of auburn, and were wearing beige dresses, brown velvet jackets and identical white petticoats.
Why are there so many Coincidences?
It is obviously very difficult, if not impossible, to explain such a series of coincidences without positing some sort of telepathy - that is some form of hidden connection between the twins - that persistes even when they are separated by long distances. In fact Jung, who invented the word "synchronicity" for "meaningfun coincidences", would have accepted the telepathic explanation: there are many anecdotes that are used in his work to illustrate the reality of telepathy. But even telepathy cannot explain how two sisters met their husbands under similar circumstances or worked for the same company; it must be either dismissed as coincidence or explained in terms of some peculiar theory about "individual destinies" or even what Professor Joad once called "the undoubted strangeness of time". If people can have glimpses of the future, or dream of events before they happen, it suggests that, in some odd way these events are already "programmed", like a film that has already been made. If individual lives are to some extent "pre-programmed" then maybe the lives of identical twins have the same "pre-programming".
The Case of the Chaplin Twins
In 1980 two female twins appeared in court in York, and attracted the attention of the media because they made the same gestures at the same time, smiling simultaneously, raising their hands to their mouths at the same moment and so on... The Chaplin twins, Freda and Greta, were in court for a peculiar reason: they had both apparently developed a powerful "crush" on a man called Ken Iveson, who used to live next door, and had been persuing him for fifteen years. Tehy seem to have had rather a curious way of showing affection, shouting abuse and hitting him with their handbags. When this had been going on for fifteen years, Mr Iveson decided to ask the court for protection.
The publicity surrounding the court case led to variousmedical studies of the twins. Their obsession with Mr Iveson was defined medically as erotomania, a condition in which a patient sinks into melancholy or mental disturbance due to romantic love. The twins proved to be mentally subnormal, although this seems to have been a later development. At school they had been slow, but not backward, and teachers described them as neat, clean and quiet. The deputy headmaster placed the blame on their mother. "It was quite clear that they had a dothing mother who never allowed them a separate identity." They were aparently dressed identically and had no friends.
The twins showed a tendencey to the "mirror imaging" which is often typical of identical twins. (That is to say if one is left handed, the other will be right handed, if the twirls of hair grow clockwise in one, they will grow anti-clockwise on the other and so on)One twin wears a bracelet on the left wrist, the other on the right. When one broke a shoelace, the other removed her own shoelace on the opposite side.
At some point the twins had been forced to leave home - neither they nor their mother would disclose why. At thirty seven they were unmarried and jobless; they lived in a local service hostel. They cooked breakfast in their room together, both holding the frying pan, then went out in identical clothes. Whey both had identical grey coats with different coloured buttons, they simply swapped half the buttons so both had both colours. When given different pairs of gloves, they took one of each pair. When given two different bars of soap, they cut each in half and shared them. They told a woman journalist that they had one brain, and were really one person, claiming to know exactly what the other is thinking. Their "simultaneous behaviour" suggests that some form of telepathy exists between them. They occasionally quarrel, hitting one another lightly with identical handbags, then sulking for hours. But in spite of these disagreements, it seems clear that their common aim is to exclude the external world and live in their own private universe.
The Kennedy Twins
Two Californian twins, Grace and Virginia Kennedy, developed a private language in which they conversed; this started when they were seventeen months old. By 1977, when they were seven, a speech therapist in the San Diego children's hospital began to study their private language, and discovered that it seemed to be a mixture of invented words, like "nunukid" and "pulana", and a mixture of English and German words mispronounced (their parents were American and German). They called one another Poto and Cabenga, and spoke their unknown language swiftly and fluently. Eventually they were coaxed into speaking English; but they declined to explain their former language - or perhaps they were simply unable to.