tv Three Identical Strangers CNN December 19, 2021 6:00pm-8:00pm PST
when i tell people my story, they don't believe it. i guess i wouldn't believe the story if someone else were telling it, but i'm telling it. and it's true. every word of it. it started when i was born. 56 years ago. but the real story began when i was 19 years old when i went to college. ♪ it was 1980. it was the first day of school at sullivan county community college up in the catskills about 110 miles from where i grew up. so i drove up there alone. i at least had this really old car. it was a volvo and it was a 1970 volvo. had like 130,000 miles on it. the car was burgundy and the hood was green.
actually, the car was called the old bitch. but the old bitch got me there. sullivan was a community college. this wasn't some longstanding institution of higher learning. all these station wagons are dropping kids off. i was nervous. i just got to the school. i didn't know anybody. i was a freshman. i was never the captain of the football team in high school. so i was never really like popular. so i'm walking around trying to find where my dorm is. meanwhile all these people are coming up to me saying, hi, how are you? how was your summer?
mine was great, how was yours? super. why are they asking me how my summer was? i don't know. everybody's being extremely friendly me to me and they're going out of their way to do it. i don't mean just a hi. i mean claps on the back and high fives. and i was a little bit bewildered by this because no one gets this kind of a welcome their first day of school. and girls were kissing me, like fully kissing me, saying i'm so glad you came back. i was saying thank you, hello back, but i'd never been there before and i didn't know them. it was bizarre. and the next thing i heard right behind me, welcome back, eddy. eddy, how are you? eddy, hi. i'm like, hey, i don't know what you're talking about, i just got up here. sure, eddy, you're really funny, really funny, real funny. i'm like, i'm not eddy, i don't know who eddy is. welcome back, eddy, they're all saying.
i finally made it to this dump of a dorm room. and before a minute had gone by, who now? who now is going to come to find eddy? >> i had been at college the previous year with eddy and i knew that he wasn't coming back to school. as soon as this guy turned around, i was actually shaking. i was -- i -- i know -- the color from my face dropped. because i knew it was his double. he had the same grin, the same hair, the same expressions, it was his double. >> and i see this guy's face. and he's like -- just standing there. the first thing out of my mouth was, were you adopted? >> and i was like, yes. >> i said, is your birthday july 12th?
he said yes. >> july 12, 1961. >> oh my gosh, i said, you're not going to believe this. i said, you have a twin brother. you have a twin. >> oh, my god. >> i said, come with me. the two of us were crammed into this phone booth, shoulder to shoulder. and, you know, we have to like close the door of the phone booth. >> and i'm trying to put the coins in and they keep falling on the floor. bobby's picking up the coins. >> and he calls this guy and he's like, hey, eddy, you're not going to believe this, you're not going to believe this, eddy, eddy, you're not going to believe this. this guy is more hysterical than i am like weirded out. eddy, you're not going to believe this. so i was like, give me the phone. hi, eddy. >> yes? >> but it was my voice that said yes. and i said, hi, eddy, my name is robert shafran, and i'm meeting all these people who say i'm you.
and he said, uh-huh, yeah, i've been getting some calls. i said, were you adopted? he said, yes. and i said, when was your birthday? >> july 12th. >> and i said, do you know what the name of the agency was? and he said -- >> no, hold on. >> and i heard him go -- >> mom? >> and he came back and said -- >> louise wise services. >> sometimes when you're just having a dream and know this can't be real this can't be real. but you know there's nothing you can do to stop it, start it, change it. you just go with and it that's what i was doing. i just wanted to see what was going to happen next. and i'm like, let's go. let's go meet eddy. so we got into the old bitch.
so we got there and it was like the middle of the night. it's just really quiet, the neighborhood. so we get out of the car and i walked up this little path to the house. the lights were on in the house. and i reached out to knock on the door and as i reached out to knock on the door, it opens. and here i am. his eyes are my eyes and my eyes are his eyes, and it's true. >> they looked exactly alike. they are duplicates of each other. there was no doubt in my mind that they were twins.
>> he's going, holy crap -- >> i am going holy crap. >> every time bobby moved his head, eddie moved and then eddie would move and then bobby would move, like they were looking at a mirror. it was the weirdest thing. >> it was like the world faded away and it was just me and eddy. >> so i am in the news room and it's the middle of a busy day, and we got a call from somebody who says they have an amazing story to tell us, we're not going to believe this story. and my first reaction, ah, it's a hoax. i told our reporter, i want to rent a plane -- in those days we had enough money this. i want to rent a plane and i want to see these two kids face-to-face or i don't believe
this. we flew the journalists up to the community college and he called me and he said, howie, it's true, it's true! and i remember saying, oh, my god, this is a great story. this is a memorable heartwarming story. then the story went from being amazing to incredible. okay? from amazing to incredible. is y once-a-month, complete hiv treatment for adults who are undetectable. cabenuva helps keep me undetectable. it's two injections, given by a healthcare provider once a month. hiv pills aren't on my mind. i love being able to pick up and go. don't receive cabenuva if you're allergic to its ingredients or taking certain medicines, which may interact with cabenuva. serious side effects include allergic reactions post-injection reactions, liver problems,...and depression. if you have a rash and other allergic reaction symptoms, stop cabenuva and get medical help right away. tell your doctor if you have liver problems or mental health concerns, and if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering pregnancy.
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>> i was on the new york subway. quite late at night. read an article about two boys who found each other that were twins separated at birth and found each other at sullivan county community college. there was no picture, but the story was fascinating. i came home and went to sleep. my mother came into the room and said, wake up, wake up, i have to show you something. and she shows me a newspaper with a picture of two boys. and i had to focus. and i looked at the photograph and i said, is that david? and she's like, no, but look at the hands. and i was like, holy mackerel, this is beyond amazing. >> this was a picture in the newspaper of two guys in the
"post." and i picked up the picture and i looked at it. and i was like in shock. because the two guys in the "post" look exactly, exactly like my -- like my friend david. i stared at it. and it wasn't even just the look on their face. it was the way they were holding their hands. they had these big, meaty hands. david always had these hands that looked like baseball mitts. and when i saw their hands, i just knew that this is david. >> it was just a normal day. i got to school. ran into my buddy allen. he said, david, take a look at this. and he's got a copy of the "new york post." and he opens it up. he says, look at this.
look familiar? something to that effect. i said, yeah, right, sure. but then we looked at it a little more closely. it was an article that said twins reunited after more than 19 years. and it had the picture of two of what looked like me. it all started to sink in. holy -- oh my god, do you -- this is -- this is not believable. this is unbelievable. wow. this is -- this is big. this is serious. this is just not some kind of crazy coincidence. this is not a minor resemblance. this is real. this is happening. this is really, really serious. and i ditched classes and got home. my mother was waiting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. and i said, mom, do you see this?
she said, you see this? we kind of exchanged newspapers. it had born long irish jewish hospital, july 12th, 1961, and it was louise wise adoption agency. i mean, i always knew growing up that i was adopted. my parents were always open about it. but it said eddy galland of new hyde park, long island. robert shafran of scarsdale, new york. son of prominent scarsdale physician, mort shafran. and my first thought i said he's got the wealthy family. this s.o.b. is probably driving a benz, he got a doctor. >> and i remember being with david in the kitchen. we were like really nervous. i mean, we were jumping around. we were 19 years old. this was surreal. david picked up the phone and he called information. and he reached eddy's mom. >> and i said, hi, is eddy home? she says, no, who's calling, please. and i thought, okay, now i got to go into this whole thing on the phone. and i said, well, my name is david kellman and i was born
july 12th, 1961, and i'm looking at a newspaper, and basically, i think i'm looking at two of me. i think i might be the third. and i think she dropped the phone, actually. >> and i remember hearing her voice over the phone. oh, my god, they are coming out of the woodwork. >> it was a miracle. the first time that the boys met together, the three together, was at my house. and the three of them ended up like puppies wrestling on the floor. it was the most incredible -- it was the most incredible thing. they belonged to each other. they knew each other. there was no formal introduction. i mean, when you meet somebody
for the first time, you don't end up rolling around on the floor with them. >> it was truly not fully believable. even though it was happening. it was still surreal. you think you're dreaming. you're looking and you're still, oh my god. you look at the other one, oh my god. then you realize they're looking at you, or everybody else is looking at you too. >> to have all three of them at the house at one time -- it was really madness. >> my emotions were shock, shock and more shock. i mean -- i -- you can't -- i can't explain it. i haven't got the terminology. >> one of our reporters came running over to me and said, you're not going to believe this, you are not going to believe the call we just got. you know the two kids on the front page today? well, there's a third. >> they even moved the same way. all of us just sat back and
watched three separate lives becoming one. >> the way i put it was, i look more like eddy than i did david, and more like david than i did eddy, and more like either of them like they did each other. does that make sense? and then we started comparing notes. >> what do 19-year-olds compare? booze, cigarettes, food, women, music, cars. i had just bought a brand-new mercury capri, which i loved. bobby had this maroon, beat-up, old volvo with cracked leather seats. and i'm like, son of prominent scarsdale physician, huh? >> i think it was eddy who said right at the beginning, i don't
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eddy and robert and david, reunited after 19 years. >> a story about triplets that gives new meaning to the phrase long-lost brothers. >> we went on everything. everything. >> you're not seeing double. you are perhaps in a moment going to be being triple. >> i don't know who's who here. come on out, gentlemen. >> you just had to stop what you're doing and watch them on every different show. >> it became a circus. it became a media circus. i'm talking about viral. i mean, this was -- it was viral even then. >> you guys have been on the front page of every newspaper in the world. >> true. >> true. >> "people" magazine, "time" magazine, even "the new york times," "good housekeeping." >> david, let's begin with you. which one's david? i keep forgetting. >> you're edward. who are you? >> i'm bobby. >> sorry. you're robert, right.
robert and edward -- come on. >> it was a fairy tale story. and people need to hear wonderful things. >> these three young men, they're all seated in the same position. >> it was kind of amazing. they really were strangers. they looked identical to each other, but they were strangers, right? they really didn't know one another. but their behaviors were so similar. >> our lives are parallel to a phenomenal degree. it's ridiculous. >> we're all the same. as soon as we started discussing our personalities. >> personalities are the same. >> we always talk at the same time. >> gestures. >> i'll start a sentence, he'll finish it. >> we all like chinese food. >> you were all wrestlers at one time. >> yes. >> you all smoke the same brand of cigarettes. >> marlboro. >> do you all smoke the same brand? >> yes. >> yes. >> do you like the same colors? >> yes. >> yes. >> i was curious, how is the taste in women? is it similar? >> yes. >> definitely.
>> seems that they all liked older women. >> somebody said you all liked older women. >> well. >> well -- >> another astonishing coincidence is each of the brothers grew up with an adopted sister. all the girls now 21 years old. >> i can't get over it. i'm telling you. extraordinary string of coincidences, you all have to agree, right? >> it's beautiful. >> you say you love each other hrut but you have only known each other for a short time. >> i've known them my whole life. >> how long did it take to have that feeling? >> like that. >> they were more like clones than they were like brothers. it was just absolutely astounding because they grew up in what appeared to be pretty different households. >> we had been adopted by a blue collar family, middle class family, and a more affluent family.
bobby's parents, bobby's father was a medical doctor. and his mother was an attorney. so they were very well educated and they were living in one of the most prestigious areas of the country. eddy's father was a teacher. he had a college education. and they lived in what would be considered a middle class neighborhood. my family on paper were the least educated. they were immigrants. english was a second language to them. they had a little store. they were the more blue collar family. but my father was just this incredibly generous, warm guy.
>> david's father richard was larger than life. if you can imagine this guy, he was a big guy with a big cigar hanging out of his mouth. >> we referred to him as bubala. >> he was bubala. if you know yiddish, bubala, it's like love, it's hugging and it's kissing. >> we spent more time at david's house than any place else. bubala celebrated us like no other person. he said, i have two more sons. >> when the boys found each other, it just sort of happened then and there. here's this wonderful story, and that's it. nobody questioned what was going on except the parents, of
course. >> when the families met up the first time, there was great anger in all of them about the fact that the parents had never been told that there were two other children. >> they didn't tell us a word when we were adopting. we knew nothing about the other two till the boys met at school. that was 20 years later. the first thing that hit me was what they lost. >> i believe they were 6 months old when they were separated. >> if you imagine those three little bodies lying together, and suddenly the coldness of being alone in the crib. it's a terrible deprivation.
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adoption agency on the east coast for jewish babies, in particular. that was the place to go. >> what we have felt at louise wise services, where i have been active for a great long time, is that adoptive parents should be told as much about the background of a child as reasonable. >> our parents, they wanted answers. they were angry. and they arranged a meeting, and they -- six of them went in to louise wise agency to try to get some answers in terms of piecing together what happened. >> this was a meeting with the top brass at the agency.
and they were asked, is it true that you separated these boys at birth? and they said, yes, we did. >> why? how could you not tell us? what did you do? why and how could you? >> they said the reason was because it was hard to place three children in one home. >> the parents had been told it that it was in our best interests that we had been split up. >> that not every parent would welcome triplets, and that triplets would be difficult to place. which i think that moment my
father blew his stack. and he said, we would have taken all three. there's no question. and he was furious. >> well, the meeting came to an end. >> they all left. they felt like they had gotten nothing. and my father realized that he had left his umbrella in there. >> he went back to get the umbrella. and he walked into the room to see them breaking open a bottle of champagne and toasting each other as if they had dodged a bullet. >> they looked like they just -- just missed getting hurt or killed or -- or what have you.
it was a -- that was memorable. >> all of our parents came away from that meeting angry. >> the parents went to some pretty prestigious new york law firms, and initially they were met with a lot of enthusiasm. and invariably within a short period of time were told, there's a conflict and they could not take the case. >> they said, we have a number of associates who are trying to adopt through louise wise, and we don't want to ruin their chances. so that lawsuit was out. >> we were too happy being together to be that angry. we didn't understand it. and to a degree, we almost
didn't care. our heads were in the clouds. we knew our parents were pissed off, but it was almost like, well, that's our parents' thing to do. we were out partying. ♪ friday night ♪ >> this was new york in 1980. drugs were different, people were different, sex was different, music was different. we just -- we took advantage of all of those things. >> sex, drugs, rock and roll. ♪ we're the kids in america whoa ♪ >> they were running amok in new york, i'll say. studio 54 was cooking. limelight, copacabana. they were hitting them all. >> new york loved us. new york loved us. >> all the newspapers were following the boys around no matter where we went. >> i remember one morning walking in and my mother throwing "the new york post" at me, at the kitchen table saying,
i got to look at the paper to find out where you were last night? >> the boys thought they were going to be stars. and actually, they did star in one movie. >> walking down the street, all of a sudden we hear, guys, guys, you're the guys! could you please be in my movie? please be in my movie? >> we didn't know who she was. she madonna. >> they stood at the side and ogled her. >> pretty soon we got an apartment together. there was nothing that could keep us apart.
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son of a bi— beth? if it's “i thought we said no gifts” season, it's walgreens season. serious girlfriend. initially, i couldn't really tell them apart. i would bump into them and i wasn't quite sure which one i was going out with. bob has this very raw, natural type of intelligence that i think i was attracted to. >> i always thought david was the best, right, of the three of them. i've said it before, you know. i got the pick of the litter. >> without a doubt, eddy was the handsomest of all the three triplets. of course, i'm partial.
but, you know. i adored him. when i met him, he was the last holdout. the casanova of the three. and i said, oh, boy, this guy is a real bachelor-like player. but he was so warm in his smile and he had wonderful, beautiful hands, soft hands. and when i shook his hand, i mean, i just -- you know, i just fell in love with him. i'm from a big, colorful, irish catholic family, and he was a jewish guy. when he came to the house for the first time, he looked at my dad and he said, i don't know if you know this, mr. shanle. i've been seeing brenda every night pretty much since the first day i met her. and i thought, oh my god. my dad knows we're together
every night. my dad just sort of looked at me like, okay. and that was eddy. >> i do. >> i do. >> we love you. >> everyone loved him. if there was a scale, bobby would be reserved. david would be middle. and eddy was just the loveable, mushy, huggable, funny, you know -- he just exuded warmth and love. >> ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. >> jamie's first thanksgiving with daddy.
>> hi, look at you, baby. daddy decided to show up and make a special gathering. ♪ happy birthday dear jamie, happy birthday to you ♪ >> he loved family gatherings. >> you know, eddy really, really loved being around david and bobby. eddy seemed to get the most out of the three of them meeting. for whatever reason. >> he wanted his brothers and him to have a beautiful life and everyone to get along. and he wanted everyone to be one big family. >> eddy was absolutely the driving force in terms of leading the search for our birth mother. he got a fever and he just
wanted to do it. >> and alan was also rallying because it was just an exciting thing to do. >> we figured what are the chances of having triplets born in new york on july 12th, 1961? >> we figured out that new york public library shared birth records. >> we each grabbed a book and went page by page by page by page by page by page. and within a couple of hours it was, bingo! >> male, male, male, three in a row. >> all born july 12th, 1961. >> right next to it. birth mother's last name. >> the first meeting was a bar on like 47th street. it was like her logical neighborhood watering hole. on the east side. and it was awkward. >> she told the story of what
happened. unfortunately, it wasn't a romantic story. she was a young girl. >> basically prom night knockup type thing. >> i don't think she ever got over the fact that she had triplets and had to give them up. >> you know, to us at 19, you drink like a fish, you think you're invincible. but we found it a little concerning that she was pretty much keeping up with us. you know. the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree, and that's the tree. i was less than thrilled. and we had our parents already, so it was -- we met her, and it was okay. but she was not a particularly close part of our lives.
we were all young and starting our marriages and careers. >> hi, welcome to triplets! >> david kellman, edward galland, and robert shafran are identical triplets. now they run a restaurant called, what else? you guessed it, triplets. >> welcome, hello and welcome. welcome. >> we had a lot of people coming for us. they came to see the triplets. they wanted to be waited on by one of the triplets. we served vodka frozen blocks of ice, and we'd get the whole room up and dancing. >> it was like this big party. it was this big bar mitzvah. >> triplets become wildly successful, owning a restaurant in the soho district of new york city. >> we did over a million dollars the first year.
>> that's when things kind of got funky. >> in the mid-'90s, i started working on a story for the "new yorker" magazine about identical twins reared apart. i've always thought, what would it be like, if you turn the corner one day and you saw yourself? in the process of my research, i came across this obscure scientific article.
it referenced this secret study in which identical siblings had been separated. i was shocked and intrigued. they were separating identical babies at birth. for the purpose of the scientific experiment. and these babies had all come from one adoption agency in new york city. it was called louise wise services. it's the last minute gift sale. get up to 40% off storewide. ( ♪ ) this is how we shine. at zales. the diamond store.
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>> this is like nazi -- >> kind of like reality hitting like a tidal wave. >> we were a science experiment. >> we were a science experiment. >> these people split us up and studied us like lab rats. >> we didn't recognize this stuff until it was put in our face, until it was in newsprint. >> but there were clues in the past. >> i remember from a very young
age people would come to the house, usually a young man and a young woman. and they had me taking tests. they did iq tests, personality inventory tests, they did eye-hand coordination tests. >> i do remember people coming to the house, having tests done, square pegs in round holes, rorschach ink blot tests. what does this mean to you? that kind of stuff. >> eddy told me that when he was younger, he remembers people watching him and taking notes. and they would ask him questions, and he would get frustrated with the questions.
and he remembers they were videotaping him. >> i remember the filming more than anything else. >> i remember having super 8 millimeter films taken of me when i was on a swing set or a slide. >> every single time they came, they filmed. riding my bike, throwing a ball. and they wanted to see how many times i could go on my pogo stick. roller skating, throwing a frisbee, shooting a bow and arrow. they had my attention. i was performing. >> the stuff they did would be more complex as i got older. >> i felt weird about it. i didn't really understand why they needed to come so often, why were they asking me all these questions? >> somewhere around age 9 and 10 i started becoming less comfortable with it and it was kind of like, mom, do i still have to do this? do i still have to do this? >> when our parents adopted us,
they were each told that we were being followed as part of a normal study of the development of adopted children. they had no idea that we had been separated. >> the agency said, the children born in this period of time were all going to be in a normal study of adoptive children. and as far as we knew, that was it. >> this was a new thing, they were going to follow up with all the children. and at the time we accepted it. >> you're talking about a group of people that went and held a baby and did psychological testing on a 6-month-old baby. and then went to another house to see his brother. and then went to another house to see his brother. and did this over years and
years and years and years, with full knowledge that we were within a 100-mile radius and not knowing each other. it's just -- it's unconscionable. >> who would think that anybody would be evil enough to come up with something like this ? >> in the process of my research, i learned that the person really in charge of this study was dr. peter neubauer. very distinguished psychiatrist in new york. director of the freud archives. he was an austrian refugee from the holocaust. and he set up shop in new york and became, you know, one of the great men of psychiatry in america.
>> what i learned is that people at the louise wise agency were separating identical siblings. and then a team of scientists, led by neubauer, were follow them. but it wasn't just the triplets. there were others. >> after my article came out, another twin set discovered themselves. >> and here they are now. >> appreciate you coming on the show today. >> our pleasure. >> it's amazing, the story is incredible. is that the way to tell it? >> it's funny. we say if it hadn't happened to us, we wouldn't believe it. >> this is a disney movie. >> it's a little darker than a disney movie. >> i was at home in my apartment in brooklyn with my 2-year-old daughter and the phone rings. la-di-da, answer the phone and it was the adoption agency. we've got some news for you, you've got a twin sister and she's looking for you.
>> you were both editors of your high school paper. you both went to film school. >> well, it's funny. i don't know if you notice. our mannerisms. >> yes. >> my contact at the adoption agency -- >> asked them, why we separated? >> asked the million-dollar question. >> for a twin study. >> we felt our lives had been orchestrated by these scientific researchers who put their scientific needs, research needs or desires, their career interests, before the needs of us and the interests of us and the other twins who were separated. >> nobody is sure of how many identical twins were involved in this study. i was told six to eight. but we don't really know. when you have a study like this, normally you produce the results and you show how large the sample is and all this sort of thing. but this study was never
published. which makes it all the more intriguing. >> we did have an attorney try to get us some of the study records. we received a small amount of information. it was very dry, technical data that didn't really shed any light on the reasons for the study. it was garbage. >> i don't know what the results were or if there were results because i never saw them. >> they're trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it to. why? >> i mean, what was the purpose of it? the study was never published. why?
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(vo) visible. switch and get up to $200, plus our best ear buds, on us. my name is natasha josefowitz. and i was peter neubauer's research assistant. so come on in. would you like a cup of coffee? here are some of my buddies. michelle obama and i. she is very tall. i'm like a little shrimp next to her. i come up to her right here. this is obama three years ago, and here he is holding my latest
book. i have to tell you, i said, barack, i love you. he said, i love you too, and he gave me a kiss on this cheek. yeah. this is robert redford. and al gore. and this is errol flynn and me when i was 18. i thought it was a hoot. picasso. when are we going to talk about the twin study? you know, you need to know i am not part of the team. i am a peripheral person. i just do the hearsay. the first time i heard about the twin study, it was still just a dream in peter's head. >> what was he like? >> hm. sexy. nice looking. interesting. his background was very freudian.
anna freud, freud's daughter, would often come and visit with him. he was very focused on wanting to make a difference in children's lives. peter started thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to have a study of mothers who wanted to give up their children, who happened to be identical twins. and then could be separated at birth. if we could put them into totally different environments, we would put to rest the dilemma, nature or nurture, forever. now you may think, oh, this is terrible, you know, how could you do this? you have to put yourself back in the late '50s and '60s. this was not something that seemed to be bad. nobody said, to take children apart, how terrible. that was not at all in anyone's thoughts.
this was a very exciting time. psychology was just beginning to be the big deal that everybody was talking about. this was all in terms of research, an opportunity. >> one of the great questions that science has ever asked is, how do we become the people we are? how much of nature versus how much of nurture shapes us into the people that we become? >> i did not go and do the research. but i would hear about it because i was in the office. what they found out was incredible. >> our lives are parallel to a phenomenal degree. it's -- it's ridiculous. >> we're all the same. >> all the same. >> as soon as we started discussing our personalities -- >> personalities are the same, gestures are the same. >> talk at the same time. >> you were raised in different homes. >> true.
>> true. >> i did not believe that it would be as much hereditary as it was. that was more than any of us thought. >> i'll start a sentence and he'll finish it. >> we all like chinese food. >> you were all wrestlers at one time. >> yes. >> yes. >> you all smoke cigarettes. >> yes. >> yes. >> do you all smoke the same brand? >> yes. >> yes. >> do you like the same colors? >> yes. >> yes. >> what's your taste in women, is it similar? >> yes. >> definitely. >> we are moved to behaviors we are totally unconscious about. >> you were both editors of your high school paper. you both went to film school. >> i don't know if you notice, mannerisms are inherited. >> seem to be inherited. >> it's disturbing. we don't like that. people don't like to hear this. i have free will. we would prefer that we have some influence over our lives.
wouldn't you rather know that, that you have some control over this? and so finding out, never mind, doesn't matter what you do. so i think it's upsetting to people, to see how little influence they have, how little control they have. we don't like that. we fight that. >> if the conclusions of the study were so shocking and so earthshaking -- why haven't you published your study? there's a lot that we don't know. we have anecdotes that are very provocative. but we don't know. we don't have the data. >> i don't know what happened to the study. i moved to switzerland in 1965.
and lost touch with what was going on. all that research should be seen. this study was the first, and it's also the last. it will never be done again, it will never be replicated. it's monumental. it's a monumental study. >> in terms of their motivation that they used to justify what they did, i don't even care. because i -- i -- it's not justifiable, what they did. >> you know what? coming from the holocaust, our family has a knowledge that when you play with humans, you do something very wrong.
and i really believe that because of this research, these three boys did not have happy endings. >> being p business with my brothers damaged our relationship. there were conflicting work ethics. >> they would start to argue like kids would argue and they didn't have that opportunity that gift of being able to be brothers for 18 years. >> when you are living in a family of children you learn how to adjust to each other. if i don't like the way you do this, i can get angry, or i can learn to compromise. but they met as adults. and had never learned how to live with each other. >> as things went on, things got more complicated. and as things got more complicated, what ended up happening was i left .
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when bobby left the business, eddy and i felt we were being betrayed. bobby felt that he was being pushed out. either way, it did major, major damage to the relationship. >> i think that took an extreme toll on eddy more so than i think david and bobby. eddy was always the one who just wanted to have everybody be at peace together. and eddy was very upset about it. he was kind of crushed about it. it was eating at him. >> he dearly loved them, and he wanted his brothers to be together. he was just not really sure how to deal with it all. and you're just seeing a lot more kind of up and down
behaviors, erratic behaviors. >> eddy's growing a beard. >> that's me! >> geez, wake the child. >> your daddy is fuzzy. >> ha ha ha ha ha! >> you're seeing a lot more unnatural highs and lows. >> he would call people, and at bizarre hours of the evening, and then they would say, i haven't seen or heard from eddy in ten years, why is he picking up the telephone and calling me at 2:00 in the morning? you know. those are -- those are signs. >> this was just -- this was more than just somebody who needed counseling, this was really something very, very serious. >> he could be unbelievably charming. but the downswing was a lot of anger. there was just deep, deep
darkness. >> manic depression, i think, was what they eventually said. it made sense in hindsight. i didn't walk down the aisle thinking, you know, i have a man who is suffering from manic depression. people say, how could you not know? but he was so unique and so wonderful and special, you just, oh, that was eddy, you know. >> i was advised that he needed to be in a -- a facility. i mean, i felt bad that i put him through this trauma of going
to a psych ward, because i had been in a psych ward and i know how hard it is. i was a kid, i spent my 16th birthday in a psych ward. >> we all were really disturbed kids. we were all under psychiatric care when we were teenagers. >> we all had very challenging and dysfunctional teenage years. >> we'd be asked about personal -- >> one of you were involved in a murder, is that right? >> it's up to you, guys. >> no, no -- >> "people" magazine -- >> one was accused of being involved in a murder. and it was me who never met this person who was killed, never was present or anything like that. it was peer pressure. friends pressuring me into covering for them, telling a story for them to the police, and that pulled me right into
it. i've never hurt anyone in my life. >> yeah. >> we know it. we can feel it. we can feel it. >> a lot of people in this study had dysfunctional childhoods. and some mental problems. and it raises questions, you know. if -- if you are a person who's devoted your life, like dr. neubauer has, to studying mental illness, then is that a factor that you're researching? >> the story is incredible. >> this is a disney movie. >> it's a little darker than a disney movie. >> when we first met, we realized we had all these similarities. we had similar mannerisms. we both had studied film. then we also found out we both
had suffered from depression. >> so this is the letter that i received from louise wise services. you were born at 12:51 p.m. on october 9, 1968, to a 29-year-old jewish single woman. she was very intelligent with a high iq. she entered college on a merit scholarship, but emotional problems interrupted her attendance. she had a history of voluntary hospitalizations for emotional problems. although i have not been able to locate the original medical reports, secondary sources noted that your mother's diagnosis was schizophrenia. >> it was really disturbing to read that my birth mother had been in and out of institutions. i started finding out more about the other twins and triplets in the study. and it turns out that not only
had many of them struggled with mental health problems, but that their birth parents had mental health issues. and their adoptive families had never been told. >> how possible is it that your mother had mental health issues? >> um -- i don't think they were severe. i think that she was -- she may have had some minor, minor issues. um -- she may have had some -- a little bit more than minor issues. >> were the scientists purposely choosing children whose biological parent had mental illness? and placing them into different homes to see, is mental illness heritable?
>> eddy was in the hospital for -- i think it was three weeks. and then he came back to work at the restaurant. i wasn't there. david was with him all the time. i think maybe he could give you better detail about it. >> i was running the kitchen. eddy wasn't in. i was running the kitchen, he was running the front of the house. that's the way it worked. and i didn't know where he was. and he lived across the street. >> so david called me from the restaurant and he asked me to look out the window to see if eddy's car was in the driveway. because if it were in the driveway, we knew that he was home.
so the car was in the driveway. and i said to david, do you want me to go over there? and david said yes. >> and she called me back a few minutes later, and her voice was trembling and shaking, she said, you've got to come home. and i said, why? and she said, please, you've just got to come home. and i -- i pulled up. we lived across the street. and i pulled up kind of just -- cop cars were all there, and i just kind of pulled up, blocking half the street, left the door open, and started running into the house. and the cops grabbed me, and they wouldn't let me come in. they said, you don't want to see this, you can't see this, you don't want to see this. you don't want to see this. and that's when i knew he was
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it's as if he kind of knew. he kind of knew. before the words came out of my mouth. >> eddy committed suicide. eddy shot himself. he took his own life. >> i don't remember who told us. i just remember darkness. >> we buried him on father's day. i gave the eulogy. and i don't remember everything i said. but i do remember saying that, my brother eddy could light up a room with his smile.
who knows what's in their dna? >> if they have anything conclusive that is any way predicting anything in the future that i need to know about i want to know about it. >> there's still so much that we don't know. there are more questions than i have answers. >> one of the things about being -- before the doctor died in 2008 he left all the research material in a research archive at yale university. he placed under seal for decades and decades. so far as i know, nobody's been able to access it. >> uh, what do we have here? wow.
this is the yale university website. and this appears to be the guide to adoption study records of the child development center. 66 boxes filled with information. charts, films and tapes, and research findings, home visits. that's a big one. it says that the dates of the study were from 1960 to 1980. i guess our reunion kind of closed the study. information about access. the records are restricted until 2066. it's sealed. so they did all that they did to have this whole list tucked away in a dusty library somewhere. where nobody can touch it.
researchers wishing to use these records before this date must secure written authorization from the jewish board of family and children's services. the jewish board was a parent organization of the child development center run by peter neubauer . >> hello. >> yes, hi. apparently i was one of the subjects of a study run by the child development center many years ago. and it's being kept at yale university. and -- >> uh-huh? >> on their website it says i would need permission from the board in order to gain access to those records. and somehow the receptionist got me to you. >> huh. okay.
um -- i'm not aware of any of that stuff or when the study was, but i can -- >> there have been a number of journalists and as far as i know some of the twins that were involved in the study who have tried to gain access to this material. so far as i know, they haven't been able to see the results of this study. >> is there a way that i can go directly to someone that would be able to provide access to me, as i was one of the subjects within the study? >> if anybody should have the -- i have no idea who would be the one to ask right now. i would need to look into that. >> okay. i will send an e-mail to you and put as the subject twin studies. >> got you. >> louise wise services is long
i was 24. this was essentially my first job. you know, you had to be careful to not let on that, gee, you look just like your twin brother. i would have been fired on the spot, right? it was a little tempting, yeah. there was a little bit of temptation. like, hey, i know your twin. i -- i saw somebody a week ago who looks exactly like you. to question whether i feel guilty is interesting. because i never felt a responsibility. i came on after this was designed.
however, i was a participant. so you could say, you know, i was ethically compromised by that. in retrospect, i think it was undoubtedly ethically wrong. i got some notes here. okay. okay. these are my actual original notes. copies of psychologicals that i did. >> who in particular are in these files? >> well, i have the triplets. hm. i'm not going to mention the name. but here's a loud, energetic boy. his need to establish his autonomy takes the form of showing off both his intelligence and his strength and putting down others, including his parents.
this one is very intense in his play and got quite rough. this kid had some problems. hyperaggressiveness. what were the findings of the study? i have no idea. i left the study after ten months and results were never published. all i have is my little tiny piece. it's a mystery. it's a huge loss. all this important scientific data is just buried in these archives. >> so some people have speculated that the purpose of the study, ultimate purpose, was looking at mental health. >> there was -- there was never a mention of mental health of the biological parents while i was in the study.
we were not interested in mental health. that's not what we were interested in. we were looking for differences in parenting. we wanted to understand parenting practices and how they would affect development. >> so you're saying they were interested more in the family dynamics? but they couldn't have known that, they didn't know how the family's going to interact with this newly adopted child. the only way they could possibly know about the family dynamics was that they already had a child placed in that family. >> another astonishing coincidence in this story is that each of the brothers grew up in their families with an adopted sister. all the girls now 21 years old.
>> the triplets. they all had an older sibling. they were placed in families where there was an older adopted child that had been placed by louise wise. that was part of the design. >> i want to show you guys a clip. it's lawrence perlman, who was a researcher on the study. >> what were the findings of the study? i have no idea, because they were never published. we were looking for differences in parenting. we wanted to understand parenting practices and how it would affect development. the triplets were placed in families where there was an older adopted child that had been placed by louise wise.
that was part of the design. >> how do you feel watching that? >> like a lab rat. it -- it only just makes it that -- it just only -- it just makes it -- >> that much worse. >> duplicitous. they're not just studying the kids but they're studying the parents. >> so they did, in fact, know the parenting style of each parent. >> they knew exactly who they had chosen to place each one of us with when they called the gallands and the kellmans and the shafrans. >> in terms of how they parented their children, the three families were quite, quite
different. david's father stood out. there was nobody in the world like his son. he was so proud of him. whatever he did was wonderful. bobby's father was very busy as a doctor. and didn't have the time to be with bobby that david's father had. but was as devoted to him as possible. the most traditional was eddy's father. who was rather strict. he was the boss. he made the rules, and eddy was supposed to follow. they didn't get along. run a marathon. instead, start small.
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or live chat at calhope.org today. >> this was the last picture we had of edward. he was very gregarious. he got into all the things young boys do. he wrecked a car and a few things like that. but, i mean, occasionally i disciplined him. >> eddy and his dad were very different as people. eddy was more artsy kind of kid, you know.
he wasn't into sports. elliot had a very strong militaristic kind of approach to life. very traditional. he was a teacher, he was all about punctuality. >> i was a strict disciplinarian. and my children, unfortunately, had me as a strict disciplinarian too. >> eddy said he always sort of didn't feel like he fit in with his family. he always felt like -- like he wasn't in the right place. >> how much did you have any sense that edward was unhappy? >> he didn't discuss his problems with me.
we were a rather quiet family. we didn't tell our problems to one another. we protected each other. it was a nice family. >> some people are just not a good fit. >> it wasn't his father's fault. elliot did what he believed to be best as a parent. they were just different people. >> i got the phone call from i believe it was bobby. and he told me to sit down. and i said, no need to. and he told me about it.
and then, standing right there, i went over to my wife and told her edward had committed suicide. and we stood there for quite a while crying. and that was it. i often wonder whether i didn't teach him something. because of the way he left. and maybe i didn't teach him something. how to live life or something. that bothers me occasionally .
similarities because that's what people were looking for. they smoked the same kind of cigarettes, you say, oh my god, they're smoking marlboros, what's amazing! what you're not looking for are their differences. >> i can't get over it. you all wrestled at one time? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> we found the ways that we were alike and we emphasized them, and we wanted to be alike. we were falling in love with each other. >> i think there were superficialities. they liked the same things, and they had similar interests. but deep down, they were different. >> they were not case study of biology being destiny. >> i've come to believe genes and the environment are close competitors. you can say we drift in the direction our genes tell us to go.
but it doesn't mean you are destined to be one person or another. >> i believe that i'm still here today because a foundation was given to me by my parents. i believe that absolutely made the difference in terms of struggling with whatever demons i struggle with. >> i believe nature and nurture both matter. but i think nurture can overcome nearly everything.
>> because the study's never been published, we simply don't know definitively how many people's lives were separated in this fashion. >> there may be still twins out there that still don't know that they're twins. >> it -- there's probably at least four individuals who were subjects in the study who don't know that they have a twin. >> if they know that there are still twins out there that are missing out on life, it boggles the mind. >> there's two ways of thinking about it. these people really should know that there is a twin, or oh my god, these people should not know that they were used thus, it would make them so upset. maybe this is why the study cannot be published as yet.
until they're gone. >> it really opens up the possibility anybody could just walk around the corner and discover that you have a twin out there. the following is a cnn special report. xxxx . >> one plant. more than 400 compounds, which we know can treat dozens of different ailments, but one in particular may surprise you. >> hello. >> autism. it affects millions of children. they can be nonverbal, delayed. sometimes even violent, injuring others and themselves. a cure