The Jim Twins from Ohio
(Excerpt from a U.S. newspaper)
Jim Lewis and Jim Springer first met February 9, 1979 after 39 years of being separated. They were the rarest of twins, and most prized by researchers: identical twins who had been separated at birth, were raised in different families, and had grown to adulthood completely unaware of each other’s existence. When Jim Lewis finally found his twin brother, Jim Springer, after years of searching through court records, he knew their unwed mother had put them up for adoption shortly after giving birth.
When the two first met, Lewis described it as “like looking into a mirror.” For starters, both had the same first name. They were physically identical. But when they got talking, the similarities were astounding. Both had childhood dogs named Toy. Both had been nail biters and fretful sleepers. Both had migraines. Both had married first wives names Linda, second wives named Betty. Lewis named his first son James Allen, Springer named his James Alan. For years, they both had taken holidays on the same Florida beach. They both drank Miller Lite, smoked Salem cigarettes, loved stock car racing, disliked baseball, left regular love notes to their wives, made doll furniture in their basements, and had added circular white benches around the trees in their backyards. Their IQs, habits, facial expressions, brain waves, heartbeats, and handwriting were nearly identical. The Jim twins lived apart but died on the same day, from the same illness.
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The understanding of name and its influence on our lives is a facinating study. More importantly it gives one an undersanding of the cause of many of our qualities of intelligence and the experiences we attract.
Because these twins were named almost identically, they expressed similar traits. Some would argue this was heredity given their twin status. Most of us know a set of twins where the personality differences are distinct and obvious. In this case, because they were raised separately, they developed the qualities in their names without reference to a sibling. They demonstrate the principle of names in a dramatic fashion…
Consider the extreme case of the “Jim twins.” Identical twins Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were only four weeks old when they were separated; each infant was taken in by a different adoptive family. At age five, Lewis learned that he had a twin, but he said that the notion never truly “soaked in” until he was 38 years old. Springer learned of his twin sibling at age eight, but both he and his adoptive parents believed the sibling had died. The two were finally reunited at age 39. The similarities the twins shared not only amazed one another, but researchers at the University of Minnesota as well. The very fact that you had twin siblings separated at birth bearing the same name, both 6 feet tall and weighing exactly 180 pounds is pretty incredible. But there’s more.
In her book Entwined Lives, Nancy Segal lists the following shared characteristics:
- As youngsters, each Jim had a dog named “Toy.”
- Each Jim had been married two times — the first wives were both called “Linda” and the second wives were both called “Betty.”
- One Jim had named his son “James Allan” and the other Jim had named his son “James Alan.”
- Each twin had driven his light-blue Chevrolet to Pas Grille beach in Florida for family vacations.
- Both Jims smoked Salem cigarettes and drank Miller Lite beer.
- Both Jims had at one time held part-time posts as sheriffs.
- Both were fingernail biters and suffered from migraine headaches.
- Each Jim enjoyed leaving love notes to his wife throughout the house.
Of course, before you start thinking about science fiction movies with pod people, the Jims, like other identical twins, are not carbon copies of each other. Some obvious differences were discovered during their participation in the “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart,” including:
- Each styled his hair differently; one Jim wore it combed straight, hanging down over his forehead (think Beatles circa 1961) and the other Jim wore it combed back and sported sideburns (think Johnny Cash circa 1957, but with longer ‘burns).
- One Jim more clearly conveyed himself through speech, while the other was better suited to writing.
- While both Jims had been married twice, one Jim had taken vows with a third wife (called “Sandy”)