Three Identical Strangers is a story that’s almost stranger than fiction – a tale of triplets who managed to find each other after being separated at birth.
Edward ‘Eddy’ Galland, David Kellman, and Robert ‘Bobby’ Shafran were born on July 12, 1961, and were placed into the hands of Louise Wise Adoption Services.
After being split at the age of six months to three separate families, none of them ever knew the other existed, until a chance run in at a college dorm years later.
As part of Metro.co.uk’s Adoption Month, we look at how fate reunited them and uncovered the dark story about their separation.
In 1980, arriving at Sullivan County Community College in the Catskills, New York, a 19-year-old Bobby became confused when people approached him as if they knew him, being kissed by girls who referred to him as Eddy.
It was a pal that first put the pieces together, knowing Eddy was no longer at the school, and drove Bobby to meet him after discovering they had the same birthday and were both adopted.
Things got more bizarre when David, having read a story about them in the paper, contacted them as he too, was a July 12 adopted baby that looked exactly like them.
Bonding immediately, the triplets became celebrities and, being young men, used it to their advantage to party in the city’s biggest clubs, and even opened a restaurant together over the following decade.
But their parents – none of whom knew that their child was a triplet – had questions for the adoption agency. But the agency simply defended the decision, claiming it was easier to place three single children to families than them all as a unit.
It wasn’t until 1994 that it was discovered that scientists had deliberately split the babies in a secret experiment, as other separated twins began to find their missing siblings.
Focusing on the nature/nurture argument, the trio were deliberately placed into different socio-economic families to see how they would grow up.
Bobby had affluent lawyer parents, Eddy had a standard middle class upbringing with teachers, while David lived in a more ‘blue collar background’, raised by immigrant parents with English as their second language.
In fact, they weren’t even the only twins or triplets that had been part of the experiment, with Louise Wise Adoption Agency working in tandem with the scientists, led by Dr Peter Neubauer, to find the ‘study’ babies.
The results of the study were never published and remain sealed to this day, but it’s inferred by Dr Neubauer’s aide, who spoke to the documentary, that there were shocking conclusions that included predetermined behaviour, inherited mannerisms, and similar fates.
There are also suspicions the study was investigating how hereditary mental health issues were, with most involved all suffering from various diagnoses. To this day it is still not known how many other children adopted through the agency are unaware that they have a twin.
Bobby, David and Eddy all were placed under psychiatric care at various points as teenagers.
Eddy took life as a triplet particularly hard, and admitted he felt like his life and opinions were no longer entirely his own or unique.
Suffering from manic depression, tragically Eddy died by suicide in 1995, at the age of 34.
Although David and Bobby’s relationship became increasingly strained, they are now on much better terms.
Bobby is now a lawyer working in Brooklyn, New York, acting as a solo practitioner and consultant for his clients looking for referrals.
However after an accident in 2011, he now only works part time. He has two children, a son, Brandon, and daughter Elyssa, with his wife.
David works in insurance sales, specifically health and life insurance, in New Jersey.
He also has two children – daughters Ali and Reyna.
But the experiment, and the fact that they have never been able to discover the truth about what it was even for, has weighed heavy on them.
Bobby later told LA Times: ‘We’ve been called subjects. We’re victims. There’s a big difference.
‘I don’t want to play off like we’re horribly injured people now as adults — we have families, we have children — we’re relatively normal people. But they treated us like lab rats. Nothing more. And we’re human beings.’
Three Identical Strangers is available now on Netflix.
Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.
For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.
We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.
If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at [email protected]
- Why we’re talking about adoption this month
- How to adopt a child – from how long it takes to how you can prepare
- The most Googled questions on adoption, answered
Visit our Adoption Month page for more.
Source: Read Full Article