3/12 One Mind – Sharon Faktor

Discussions about twins are common in psych classes — they’re an interesting segue into the nature versus nurture debate. However, I’ve never discussed twins in the way that Dossey does in Chapter 15 of his book, “One Mind.”

Dossey opens his chapter with the famous “Jim twins” — a story about two identical brothers who were separated at birth and raised by two different families in Ohio. They finally reunited when they were 39 years old. Among many seemingly unbelievable details, both Jims learned that they had both married twice: first, to women named Linda, and second, to women named Betty. Both had sons named James Allen. Both enjoyed math and hated spelling. Both had spent a vacation in Florida on the same small beach. Both drove Chevrolets. Both lived in houses where there was a tree with a white bench on the lawn. Both even shared the unique characteristic of flushing the toilet before using it.

While surely not all twins separated at birth have a story like the “Jim twins,” others do exist. For example, when British twins Bridget Harrison and Dorothy Love reunited, they realized they were both wearing the same number of rings, bracelets and watches on the same hands. One had named her son Andrew Richard while the other one named hers Richard Andrew. Both had daughters: one named hers Karen Louise while the other named hers Catherine Louise.

More so, another set of twins were separated at birth and reunited when they were 39 years old. They walked out of their trains in the same color dress and jacket. Both had fallen down the stairs when they were 15 and had weak ankles as a result. Both met their husbands when they were 16 at a dance.

Dossey considers the idea that this is not all coincidental — that this can’t be all because of chance. He entertains the idea of sharing consciousness, of a “one mind,” which would explain these incredible similarities. He hypothesizes that twins who grew up apart may be more similar since they’re not resisting the shared mind, like many twins who grow up together do.

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