The Twin Connection

"Pamela Prindle Fierro, the Guide to Twins & Multiples, relates an incident told to her by a friend who has an identical twin. While chatting online one day, the sisters discovered that "they had purchased the exact same pair of pants, in the same color, from the same store, on the same day. Her sister lives in Belgium, while she lives in the United States."

Is this a case of two people who share very similar genetics simply making similar choices? Or is there truly a psychic connection that transcends distance?

Most scientists are naturally skeptical of such anecdotes as evidence of telepathic communication. "We do hear of things like this happening between identical twins more often than fraternal, but it isn't telepathy," says Dr. Nancy Segal, professor of psychology and director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University in an article for Lawrence Journal-World. "They're merely coincidences that occur when two people are so much alike in the first place. It's nature and nurture - same heredity, same environment. [Identical twins] come from the same egg, and they tend to have the same general thought patterns, intelligence levels, likes and dislikes."

Coincidence doesn't explain the effects documented in several interesting experiments, however.


Guy Lyon Playfair, in addition to his book research, has conducted informal experiments of his own to test the psychic connection between twins. These are some of the results:

For a television show in 2003, Playfair set up a test for twins Richard and Damien Powles. Richard was placed in a sound-proof booth with a bucket of ice water while Damien was some distance away in another studio hooked up to a polygraph machine (a "lie detector" machine that measures respiration, muscle and skin response. When Richard plunged his hand into the ice water and let out a gasp, there was an obvious blip on Damien's polygraph that measured his respiration, as if he too had let out a gasp.

During the same experiment, Richard was instructed to open a cardboard box, from which he expected a nice surprise. Instead, a rubber snake popped out, startling him. At that exact moment, the polygraph recorded a jump in Damien's pulse rate, as if he was having the same experience.

In a similar experiment before a live TV audience in 1997, twin teenagers Elaine and Evelyn Dove were likewise separated. Elaine was in the sound-proof booth with a pyramid-shaped box while Evelyn was sequestered in another room with the polygraph. When Elaine was sitting relaxed, suddenly the box exploded in a harmless but shocking pop of sparks, flashes and colored smoke. Evelyn's polygraph recorded her psychic reaction at the same moment, with one of the needles running right off the edge of the paper.
Playfair is quick to admit that these were not experiments conducted with the strictest scientific protocols, yet it is difficult to explain their outcomes.

And there was a reason that Playfair used cold water and the element of surprise in his experiments rather than having the twins try to communicate the number and suit of a specific playing card or other such thing. The physical and emotional response could be the key to making it work. "Telepathy tends to work best when it is needed," he says, "and when sender and receiver are strongly bonded, as with mothers and babies, dogs and their owners, and those with the strongest bond of all - twins."====

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