With increased availability and affordability of fertility treatments, as well as better than ever natal care, there are more twins than ever before. While historically an aura of mystery and even intrigue surrounded twin births, most of us have been in a class with fraternal or even identical twins.
Historically and mythologically, being born with a twin could be seen as either a blessing or a curse. The object of intense fascination, in some respects, you were sometimes treated as a sideshow. During certain awful periods in history, twins were the object of medical fascination and unethical experiments were performed on them (but we’ll get to that later). In pop culture, in movies like The Shining, twins are not only presented as a little mysterious but full-out creepy. While most of us know by experience or common sense that twins are just like everybody else, there is still an air of mystery surrounding them.
This list explores some of the more bizarre and even creepy stories about twins. While in some cases things are unexplained, others are just awful incidences that happened to good people.
15. Necrophiliac Twins
Combining a whole bunch of creepy on this one, back in 2006, three twenty-year-old men were arrested in Wisconsin accused of necrophilia. That, in itself, would be bad enough – somehow it’s only worse that two of the three were twin brothers. Wanting to have sex with a corpse is bad enough, but to set out to tag team one with your twin? That’s a whole new level of wrong. Charges against the three boys were eventually dropped because necrophilia is not illegal in the state of Wisconsin, though they were pressed with lesser crimes related to damaged property. The three boys did not know the also twenty-year-old victim who had died at an earlier date in a motorcycle accident but had seen her photo in the newspaper, which was what inspired them to dig her up. Ten years after all this went down, we sincerely hope that Nicholas and Alexander Grunke have learned their lesson and won’t go digging up any more graves.
14. Twin Marries Twin’s Murderer
On St. Valentine’s day 2013, 22-year-old Edith Casas married Victor Cingolani in Argentina. Far from a fairytale wedding, shortly after their marriage Victor was escorted back to his cell where he is serving a thirteen-year sentence for murdering Edith’s twin sister, Johana, by shooting her twice in the head and disposing of the body. While in prison serving time for the murder of Johana just days before her twentieth birthday, Victor still claims to be innocent and Edith believes him. While disowned by most of her family and a disgrace in the town, Edith underwent a psychological evaluation ordered by the court before marriage where she was judged mentally healthy. While this wouldn’t be the first time that someone went to jail for a crime they didn’t commit, there is something particularly sinister about shacking up with the man who apparently killed your twin sister. Her mother, who had accused her of a tremendous betrayal, also worries this path will lead Edith to be murdered by the same man. While in 2013 the newly married couple believed that an ex-roommate may have committed the murder, as of 2016 no charges have been brought against him and Victor is still in prison.
13. Deadly Nazi Experiments
It’s no real secret at this point in time that the Nazis committed awful human experiments on the people imprisoned in the concentration camps. The worst offender was Doctor Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death, who had a special fascination for physical deformities and twins. His awful experiments which included injecting chemicals into their eyes, the removal of limbs, sex change operations and the injection of deadly diseases was done on children as young as five years old – always without any kind of euthanasia. As soon as the experiment went wrong or was complete, Mengele would murder his subjects and do extensive autopsies on them. It’s estimated that approximately 3000 twins passed through his murder lab. Surprisingly, a handful of twins have lived to tell the tale, including Eva and Miriam Mozes. Born in Romania, the pair were injected with different diseases and chemicals and witnesses awful atrocities. Eva recalls a pair of gypsy twins who were sewn back to back as Mengele tried to create his own abominable conjoined twins, she says they screamed for three days until they died of gangrene poisoning. The pair eventually moved to Israel, where they worked in advocacy groups, though both suffered from health problems for the rest of their lives, likely connected to their time in Auschwitz. Eva is still alive, but her sister Miriam, died in 1993 from a rare form of cancer.
12. Conjoined Twins
Now with the advent of a global media network, most of us are aware of conjoined twins. While not necessarily creepy, the resulting attempts to survive or be separated often comes with some pretty hefty prices. While we are most familiar with twins adjoined by the waist or chest, even the apparent simplicity of this kind of operation is often deceiving. Not all limbs are developed and oftentimes, twins share internal organs that are not always able to be separated – and honestly, even if they are, it’s always a high-risk operation. Perhaps among the most dangerous of such operations took place in 2011, when twin girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who were conjoined at the head with significant blood flow between them were successfully separated. With apparent odds of 1 in 10 million of survival, the fact that both twins survived was a miracle in itself. While over the years the two will require supervision and follow-ups, it’s still unclear if there will be long-term damage, four months after the operation the pair seemed to be doing well
11. Psychic Twins
One of the most enduring stereotypes about twins is that they can read each other’s mind, some believe twins can even harness telepathic energies and move objects! For that reason, it should be no surprise that Linda and Terry Jamison are known as “The Psychic Twins.” Born in 1965, the pair were raised in Pennsylvania and studied art before entering a career of magic. Most famously, the pair apparently predicted the September 11th attacks when in 1999, they were on a radio program and said, “We are seeing various terrorist attacks on federal government – excuse me, federal buildings. Particularly South Carolina or Georgia, by July 2002. And also the New York Trade Center – the World Trade Center in 2002, with something, with a terrorist attack.” While sure, not all the details really line up, true believers saw this as enough proof to believe them. They’ve made many predictions over the years, some have come true and many haven’t… what do you think?
10. Connected Body and Mind
Maybe if Mitchell and Elliott Cocks were not twins, this story wouldn’t be so interesting, but they are — and coincidence or not, this is kinda creepy. Playing on the family slide, the young Mitchell fell and hit his head. He was treated at the hospital for the bump and his parents, not wanting anyone to get hurt again, turned the slide to its side – only to have Elliott trip over it and break his arm. While being treated for his broken arm, his twin brother Mitchell, also started to complain of pain in his left arm. The doctors, sure this was just a case of phantom pain which was not all that unusual for twins, performed an x-ray not expecting to find anything. Turns out, earlier that day Mitchell had also fractured his left arm! While this could easily be seen as a cosmic coincidence, it’s certainly a little bizarre.
9. Mystery Language
Many twins communicate in codes or secret languages, but it’s usually something they either grow out of or develop concurrently to the language they grew up with. The story of Grace and Virginia, however, was a little different than most. While they were of normal intelligence, they didn’t speak anything but their invented language Poto and Cabengo, named after what they called themselves, doctors and linguists examine and study the two young girls. Growing up to an American family, on the surface, nothing seemed to be amiss. On closer examination, the reason for the child’s strange language turned out to be quite a bit sadder than what experts initially thought. With two parents working full time, the pair were cared for by a German grandmother who made sure they were taken care of, but never spoke, played or interacted with them beyond what was necessary. They rarely left the home and their parents paid very little attention to them. After a doctor told their parents that their language was a symptom of mental retardation, they were kept away from school and further isolated. It turned out, nothing was wrong with the pair at all except emotional neglect, and they had confided in each other’s world and invented a language to communicate since they were not exposed to enough language from their caregivers to properly learn any conventional language.
8. Nature vs Nurture
All the way back in 1979 one more block in the nurture versus nature debate was uncovered. Separated at birth and reunited at 39 years old, the two James’ (both adoptive parents christened them with same name, unknowingly) had more similarities than differences. While both were told they had a twin when they were born, they were also told that their sibling had died during birth. The similarities between them extended far beyond their first name. Both worked in similar fields, one as a security guard, the other as a deputy sheriff. Both got married to a woman named Linda only to divorce and remarry – even their second wives shared a name, Linda. Even weirder, both had sons: James Alan Lewis and James Allan Springer. Throughout the years both felt an emptiness, but felt that maybe their twin had survived. On impulse James Lewis went to the courts to get his adoption record unsealed when he found his brother. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction!
7. Twin Euthanasia
Belgium is one of the few nations in the world to offer legal euthanasia, the process is normally reserved for the terminally ill. Born deaf, twin brothers in Belgium petitioned to be euthanized after they found out they were going to be blind in a few years. Unable to communicate with anyone but each other and their immediate family, the pair had lived quiet comfortable lives together until their mid-40s when they got the news that their eyesight was going to be gone permanently as well. A controversial decision, the courts eventually consented to the brother’s requests and while supported by their family, their older brother hoped they would change their mind at the last minute. According to doctors involved in the case though, the brothers also suffered from other ailments and believed that being separated and dependent on others to take care of them in institutions would be a fate worse than death.
6. Till Death Do Us Part
In another case of bizarre coincidences befalling twins, seventy-year-old twin brothers died in Finland on the same day, under the same circumstances, hours apart. On a cold winter’s day in 2002, each brother died after being hit by trucks just one mile from each other. While some speculate the second death may have been a kind of last dash suicide, police insist that they had not had time to inform any of the family that the first twin had been hit by a truck. While quite easily explained as a coincidence, there is something very eerie about the story, that even if it were planned could easily have not have unfolded in this precise and tragically perfect way.
5. Two Brothers, Two Murderers
Sometimes you gotta wonder if the idea of twins as creepy murderers comes from somewhere, well look no further than Robert and Stephen Spahalski. These two identical brothers have both been accused and tried for murder. Apparently in their youth the pair would commit crimes together but they would eventually be separated after Stephen murdered a store owner because he “deserved it.” His brother, still on the loose, became addicted to crack and actually became a serial killer, killing four people. Robert had strangled two girlfriends and bludgeoned to death his neighbor he referred to as his “best friend.” While this is likely tied to upbringing more than anything else, there is something particularly intimate about all these murders that gives us the creeps.
4. Infectious Insanity
Is insanity infectious? Evidence points to no, though there are some mental illnesses that are predisposed to be passed down genetically. There is also evidence of symptoms of insanity being spread through a kind of mass hysteria, there really isn’t a word for twins who lose their marbles at the same time. That’s what seems to have happened to Swedish twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, while traveling in the UK. It’s not quite clear what inspired their shared moment of insanity, but after not being allowed back on a coach bus because they refused to have their bags searched they began to behave very bizarre on the motorway. The police were called, and in a video available on YouTube, the twins start running into traffic and hitting officers. After being processed by police, the two were held, but Sabina was eventually released. That turned out to be a fatal mistake. Wandering the streets of London, she ran into a man who volunteered to take her in. He offered to help her get back on her feet and get in contact with her sister, but after spending the night, Sabina stabbed him five times and he died from his injuries.
3. Only The Prettiest Will Survive
If you ever needed more proof that jealousy is a dangerous beast, the story of two identical twin sisters who were in a constant battle over who was most attractive will be proof enough. While everyone who knew them and photos can attest to the fact that 22 year old Croatian models Sara Grković and Dajana, were identical, the pair almost constantly fought over which of the two was the most attractive. Things only got worse when the pair became entangled with the same man, and during one of their heated arguments over who was most attractive, Sara stabbed her sister with a kitchen knife in the chest and thigh. Dajana survived the attack, and Sara was arrested for attempted murder. The pair are ridiculously attractive and the whole nightmarish spin makes us reconsider any theoretical fantasies we’ve ever had about twins.
2. The Parasitic Twin
Indian man Sanju Bhagat, looked like he was about to burst at the seams when he was rushed to the hospital in 1999. His whole life he had an unusually large belly, but it seemed to only get worse with age. Doctors worried he had an enormous tumour but truth is often far creepier than they could have intended. It turns out that Sanju had absorbed a twin in utero and for the past three decades, his unborn sibling continued to grow inside of him. When the doctors cut him open, they found a partially formed body including several limbs, genitals and uncomfortably long fingernails. Acting as a foreign parasite this second being was growing inside of Sanju more or less unnoticed for over thirty years! With fewer than 90 recorded cases of this ever happening, this is an unusual nightmare fodder that will be haunting us for years.
1. Silent Twins
The story of Jennifer and June Gibbons is so creepy that we’re honestly shocked no one has tried to make a movie about them. Born in 1963 in Wales, the two girls communicated only amongst each other. In their early years, they were able to speak to some people and even when they began school, they were doing fine. However, as the only black children in the school district, they were bullied very badly and retreated deeper into their own language and world. By the time they were fourteen years old they only communicated in their invented language and refused help from therapists to try and connect with the outside world. Attempts to separate them were unsuccessful, and when sent to different boarding schools they become catatonic. Eventually reunited, the pair withdrew into play and creative games and actually began a semi-successful writing career. They’d write novels about weird criminals and animal heart transplants. Things would get shaky again though, and they’d begin to commit some crimes, including arson, which led them to be committed to a mental hospital.
The two were dubbed the “genius twins” due to testing very well and local newspapers became interested in their writing careers. This could have had a happy ending, but things only got worse when Jennifer died suddenly of an inflammation of the heart. Apparently the pair had decided that Jennifer would die so that June could go on living a normal life, they became obsessed with the idea and to this day, no one really knows how they actually pulled it off. June has gone onto live a completely normal life.