As was demonstrated in the iconic hallway scene from the 1980 horror classic The Shining, there's something inexplicably strange -- and maybe even a little bit creepy -- about identical twins. Perhaps it's because with identical twins, there seems to be two of the same person, something that everyone else would understandably consider to be quite peculiar. But the truth is that identical twins are not all that rare; there is roughly 1 set of identical twins for every 250 births. And yet, most everyone is tirelessly entertained by stories of one twin being misidentified as the other or of inexplicable coincidences involving twin siblings.
Here are ten of the most fascinating real-life stories featuring identical twins:
10 Twins Separated at Birth Share Startlingly Similar Lives
On February 9, 1979, two 39-year-old men, who were twins separated at birth, met for the very first time. Astonishingly, despite being adopted by families that lived 45 miles apart, the two shared striking similarities in the lives they lived. For some reason, both of their adoptive parents had named them "Jim", and both had been married twice -- first to women named "Linda", and second to women named "Betty". Both also had children, and they had each named one of their sons "James Allan". At one time, each of them also owned dogs named "Toy". In fact, when Dr. Thomas Bouchard of the University of Minnesota conducted a study on the men, the personality variables in tests they underwent showed that the twins' scores on tolerance, flexibility, and conformity were so close to each other that it was as if a person had taken the test twice. And the similarities just kept piling up -- both had high blood pressure, had experienced what they believed were heart attacks, suffered from migraines, had undergone vasectomies, and chain-smoked.
9 Man Found Not Guilty Due to Identical Twin
In January of 2009, $6.8 million worth of jewelry was stolen from Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Germany. Surveillance cameras caught three masked thieves sliding down ropes to outsmart the store security. Eventually, DNA evidence -- a drop of sweat on a discarded latex glove -- pointed to a set of identical twins, Lebanese-born Hassan and Abbas. Both had existing criminal records for fraud and theft, but the investigation hit a snag when other evidence pointed to the fact that only one of them had participated in the crime. For the twins to be legally detained, the prosecution had to prove that they could identify which one of the two was guilty. Unfortunately, as is the case with all identical twins, the DNA of one could not be differentiated from the other's. That forced the judge to rule that the twins had to be let off the hook until evidence could identify which one of the twins had participated in the theft.
8 Which One's Dad, Which One's Uncle?
In 2004, Holly Marie Adams of Missouri gave birth to a little girl, and she named Raymon Miller as the baby's father. However, Raymon contested being responsible for siring the child. But that shouldn't have been such an unsolvable problem since a paternity test could've settled the matter with little doubt. In this case though, a DNA test wouldn't have provided certainty since Raymon had an identical twin brother, Richard, with whom, of course, he shared the same genetic make-up. But still, only the twin who had sexual relations with Holly could've been the father. Well, the problem was that they both had intercourse with Holly -- and on the same day at that, although separately. In the end, however, the judge ruled that in cases where a paternity test is not definitive, the existing evidence had to be used. That led the judge to rule that Raymon, who still contests the decision, was the little girl's father.
7 Man Repeatedly Takes the Blame for His Twin Brother
In July of 1994, a Ventura County prison made a startling arrest. Ronald Anderson, whom they thought was already in the sixth month of serving time for spousal abuse, was arrested for choking a woman into unconsciousness. "What was Ronald doing out of jail?" they thought. Well, it turned out that the man who was serving the sentence wasn't the one whom they thought they had jailed; it was the Ronald's twin brother, Donald. It was later further revealed that the then 43-year-old Donald had served his brother's sentence three other times and had even taken Ronald's place in the Korean war during the 70s. Asked about why he would repeatedly take up the cudgels for his twin, Donald explained, "My twin needed help. Not only am I talking about this now, but I am doing all the things I do because I love him."
Ventura County judge Charles Campbell was not amused. He sentenced Ronald to 14 years in prison for the jail switch.
6 The Twins With Different Birthdays
Identical twins are quite rare, but even rarer are identical twins born on different days. Even rarer than that, however, are identical twins born months apart. But that's what happened to the twin girls of Maria Jones-Elliott of Waterford, Ireland. Actually, Maria had little hope that her babies would survive as her water broke a mere 23 weeks into her pregnancy. However, on June 1, 2012 a premature Amy was born alive although she weighed even less than one pound. At that point, all Maria and her husband could do was pray that their baby would somehow miraculously survive. And Amy did. Then, on August 27, an unbelievable 87 days after the birth of the first twin, Katie was born -- a new record for the longest interval in between the births of twin babies.
5 The Strange Couple That Hardly Rests
In Yiwu, China, the regular customers of one restaurant were baffled at how the married couple that ran it could continuously be at the eatery despite the fact that it was open 21 hours each day. In fact, locals had jokingly nicknamed the owners "the robot couple" as it seemed that they never rested. However, those who knew the couple also knew their secret: there wasn't just one tireless couple, but two couples that worked shifts of ordinary length. The Zhanghua identical twins had married identical twin girls, making the couples almost indistinguishable from one another. Of the setup, the twin couples expressed that they were extremely happy to be running their restaurant together like one big family.
4 Woman Marries Twin Sister's Convicted Killer
Valentine's Day is a great occasion to get married, but for some reason, an angry crowd greeted Edith Casas as she wed Victor Cingolani in Argentina on February 14, 2010. In fact, the crowd was so outraged by the wedding that they pelted the bride with eggs and stones as she left the registrar's office, while Victor had to be rushed out through the back door to return to his cell. Yes, the groom had to go back to prison as he was in the first year of serving a 13-year sentence for murdering -- of all people -- Edith's twin sister, Johana. Victor had been convicted of being a "willing participant" in the murder of his ex-girlfriend after Johana's body had been found on the outskirts of the city. Meanwhile, the newlyweds maintain that Victor is innocent, but the twins' parents will have none of it and have declared Edith as being "guilty of terrible betrayal."
3 Twins Share Similar Circumstances in Death
In 2002, a 70-year-old man died in Raahe, Finland after being hit by a truck while riding his bike. Then, just two hours afterwards, on the same road but 1.5 kilometers away, another 70-year-old man was killed while riding his bike and getting hit by a truck. Later, it was learned that the men were identical twin brothers and that the second twin to be killed still hadn't known that his brother had died.
Police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala, who filed the reports on the accidents noted,
This is simply a historic coincidence. Although the road is a busy one, accidents don't occur every day. It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two were brothers, and identical twins at that. It came to mind that perhaps someone from upstairs had a say in this.
2 Twin Sisters Inexplicably and Simultaneously Go Insane
Swedish twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson boarded a coach from Ireland and were on their way to London when they began behaving strangely. They refused to allow security personnel to search their bags, forcing officials to disallow them from re-boarding the coach. Afterwards, when highway officers tried to assist the women, they ran across a busy street, causing Ursula to get hit by a vehicle. Then, when police arrived to survey the situation, the women once again ran into the street where they were both hit by cars. Ursula suffered serious leg injuries, while Sabina was left unconscious for a few minutes after sustaining a head injury. When Sabina regained consciousness, she then attacked a police officer, who was forced to arrest her. Appearing normal afterwards, Sabina was released. However, that turned out to be a huge mistake as later that day, she stabbed to death a man whom she had convinced to take her in. Before the strange turn of events, the sisters had had no history of mental illness and were not believed to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their meltdown.
1 Strange Twin Sisters Decide That Only One Can Live On
Identical twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons from Wales, the United Kingdom, were the only black children in the community and were often picked on in school. That was probably the trigger that caused them to behave quite strangely, refusing to communicate with anyone except each other and their younger sister, Rose. In their spare time, they took up writing and created strange stories involving homosexuals and animal-to-human organ transplants, among other topics young girls wouldn't usually tackle. Then, when the twin girls were older, they committed several crimes, which caused them to be committed to a mental hospital. Strangely, in 1993, a 30-year-old Jennifer passed away due to a mysterious heart disease. June then later revealed that she and Jennifer had agreed that one of them had to die for the other to be able to live normally, and that Jennifer would be the sacrificial twin. And true to her story, by 2008, June was living a seemingly ordinary life just a short distance from her parents' home.