by Diana Aydin
Twins have long intrigued mankind. It's a bond that goes deeper than DNA, a model of love for twins and non-twins alike.
Click through below to discover more about the bonds behind some fascinating identical and fraternal twins, and for more stories like this, subscribe to Mysterious Ways magazine.
Fraternal twins Jorge and Carlos grew up in Bogotá, Columbia; fraternal twins William and Wilber in the rural outskirts. In 2013, a coworker ran into Jorge at a butcher shop. Only it wasn’t Jorge; it was William. That chance encounter unraveled an unbelievable story. Due to a hospital mix-up, two sets of identical twins—Jorge and William; Carlos and Wilber—were swapped and raised as fraternal. Today, all four view themselves as brothers and are looking into moving in together. “Each one of us is important and we all need each other,” says Jorge.
They were born three months premature in 1912, but Simone Thiot and Paulette Olivier just celebrated 104 years together. They live in a retirement home in central France and attribute their long life to more than good genes. “We are still alive because we have always stayed close,” they say. “We keep our independence—each of us has her own room—but we only need to cross the corridor to see and talk to each other."
Anthea Jackson-Rushford of Australia gave birth to premature twins—Kristiana and Kristian—at 28 weeks and a day. They weighed less than 2.2 pounds each. When the twins were placed on their father Glen’s chest for kangaroo care, something incredible happened. The twins instinctively held hands. Anthea documented the wonder in a video posted to her Facebook page.
Identical twins Jack Yufe and Oskar Stohr were separated in 1933 at six months after their parents’ relationship dissolved. Jack was raised Jewish by his father in Trinidad. Oskar grew up with his mother in Nazi Germany and became a member of the Hitler Youth. When they met at 21, they were enemies. But they shared striking similarities that led to a relationship later in life. They both flushed the toilet before and after use, read books back to front, scratched their scalps with the same finger and liked to startle people on elevators by sneezing loudly.
Anaïs Bordier and Samantha Futerman were born in South Korea, but adopted by different families in Paris and New Jersey. In 2012, one of Anaïs’ friends saw a YouTube video starring Samantha, an actress. Anaïs tracked Samantha down via Facebook, a journey captured in the documentary Twinsters. They’re now close as can be. “Finding Samantha changed my life,” Anaïs says. “I cannot imagine what my life would be like without Sam.”
There are a few twins that appear in the Bible, including, as some scholars believe, the apostle Thomas, whose name comes from the Aramaic word for “twin.” But perhaps no Biblical twins are more famous than Jacob and Esau. The two struggled in their mother’s womb and were born fighting: “The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.” After Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and their father’s blessing, they became bitter rivals. Eventually, though, the two put aside their differences and reconciled, embracing as brothers.
Twins have proved invaluable to the study of genes versus environment, even beyond this world. Astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned from 340 days in space. He and his earthbound twin, Mark, a retired astronaut, were studied before, during, and after Scott’s journey to gauge the effect of long-term space travel on the body. The findings could inform NASA’s next giant leap—human missions to Mars.
Jim Springer and Jim Lewis were separated at four weeks and adopted by separate families in Ohio. When they reunited after 39 years, they found they’d each married women named Linda, divorced and married women named Betty. One had a son named James Alan, the other had a son named James Allan. They both had childhood dogs named Toy, frequented the same Florida beach, put on 10 pounds at the same age and were once part-time deputy sheriffs.
Twin sisters Stephanie Edginton and Nicole Montgomery of New Jersey were born three minutes apart. Earlier this year, each sister prepared to bring a child of her own into the world—their expected due dates were about a week apart. But on February 8, 2016, Stephanie went into labor early, and headed to the hospital to give birth. On the way there she got some surprising news—Nicole was headed to the same hospital. Her baby was coming too! The sisters delivered girls six minutes apart, across the hall from each other. “I feel very blessed to be going through this with my best friend,” Nicole says.
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