The Uncanny Case of the Jim Twins, Two Estranged Twins Who Led Identical Lives

They unknowingly forged lives as identical as their DNA.

3 min
Chris Littlechild
Chris Littlechild
The Uncanny Case of the Jim Twins, Two Estranged Twins Who Led Identical Lives
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Jim Twins

The Jim Twins of Ohio were reunited at age 39, after being separated at birth. When they got to talking, they found that they had lived identical lives!

So Far Apart, Yet Always Together

So, nature versus nurture debaters, what do you make of this one? When two twin boys were put up for adoption in 1940, at only three weeks old, their adoptive parents coincidentally named them both James. Both men came to be named Jim for short, and that was just the start of it. The two would grow up only 40 miles apart from each other, and go on to live lives that were spookily similar.

One of the boys was adopted by the Lewises of Lima, and the other by the Springers of Piqua. Both families knew that the child they adopted had a twin, but did not know what became of them. From there, though their paths had diverged, they unknowingly forged lives as identical as their DNA.

Both had beloved childhood dogs named Toy, and as schoolchildren, both had a proclivity for math and woodworking but were no great shakes at spelling. If their childhoods were uncannily similar, though, then their early adulthoods were truly remarkable.

Twin Hearts, Twin Minds

Both Jims had married twice. The first time, they married women named Linda. When this didn’t work out and they divorced, they met (and went on to marry) women named Betty. Both Jim Lewis and Jim Springer had a son, and –I’m sure you saw this coming—both gave their boy the same name, James Alan (or James Allan in Springer’s case).

Both Jims were heavy smokers, drove the same car (a Chevrolet) and had similar jobs in security (Jim Lewis was a security guard, while Jim Springer had been a deputy sheriff). They even took vacations at the same Florida beach. Neither man knew any of these impossible facts about their brother, however, until Lewis, aged 37, decided to try and get into contact with his twin. In 1977, he succeeded in finding contact details through an Ohio courthouse; the pair spoke on the phone and eventually agreed to meet.

jim twins

Identical Twins?

On February 9, 1979, the Jim Twins were finally reunited. When their fascinating case came to light, scientists saw how very valuable they could be to the study of reunited twins. They took part in a study conducted by Dr. Thomas Bouchard of the University of Minnesota, who found that their medical histories and brain-wave tests were almost identical. So too were their results in a personality test.

As First To Know reports, the case of the brothers (and others like them) went on to influence theories of nature versus nurture, and how science thinks about the effects of hereditary over environmental factors. Some have even considered the Jim Twins’ case as possible proof of telepathic connections between twins. Jim Springer did state that he “always felt an emptiness,” after all. Was it his brother he was subconsciously feeling?

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