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The Story of Identical Triplets who were Separated at Birth in the Name of a Cruel Science Experiment

Identical Triplets Separated at Birth

Did you know that there is a one in 135 chance that someone looks identical to you? Considering that, what are the odds that you meet two people who look exactly like you? Not likely right? Well, that was the case for Bobby Shafran and the story I’m about to tell you is very unbelievable.

The story of the triplets, Bobby, Eddy, and David, truly begins in 1980.

Sullivan Community College
Sullivan Community College. Image credit: Brian Logan Photography/Shutterstock.com

Bobby Shafran arrives at Sullivan Community College, in New York State, and is immediately greeted by strangers in a familiar manner right off the bat. But, the weirdest part in this confusing scenario was that everyone was calling him Eddy!

Who was Eddy and why do people think Bobby looks like him?

Eddy Galland
Who was Eddy?

Confused, shocked, and overwhelmed with the strange events on his very first day of college, Bobby is given an explanation by a fellow student Michael Domnitz, a good friend of Eddy Galland.

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Apparently, Bobby and Eddy were identical twins separated at birth!

Bobby and Eddy
Bobby and Eddy. Media Credit: 2018 Cable News Network via

Shocking right? What are the chances that Bobby would get to know about his long lost twin on the very first day to his new college? Isn’t that unbelievable?

After finding out about his twin brother, Bobby travels with Michael to see Eddyin Long Island later that day. When the twins finally met each other after 19 long years, they both stared at each other in shock for a few minutes.

Could you imagine what that was like? It isn’t every day that you meet your doppelganger, especially your long lost twin!

Michael Domnitz
Bobby, Eddy, and Michael Domnitz. Media Credit: Newsday/Don Norkett

Understandably, they were both shocked. But, the tale just doesn’t end there. As amazing as this story is, their reunion is missing the last more person to be truly completed.

A few months later, Eddy’s adoptive mother receives a phone call out of the blue. The speaker from the other side simply announces: “I think I am the third.” It was David Kellman, the final component to this uncanny trinity.

David was a student of Queens College in New York City at the time. After seeing a newspaper article about long-lost identical twins Bobby and Eddy, he is left bewildered as he sees two faces identical to his staring back at him. He immediately contacts Eddie’s adoptive mother to reach out to his siblings.

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That’s how the twins become the triplets.

Bobby, Eddy and David
From left: Bobby, David, and Eddy. Image credit: Newsday LLC

Reunited at last, the triplets rejoiced and got to know each other. Eventually, they realized that they had much in common. They have similar tastes like Marlboro cigarettes, wrestling, and even the same type of women. They even start to speak in sync like the Weasley Twins.

They would soon become featured in a newspaper article, later rising to fame suddenly and riding it out in spectacular fashion. In time, they even decide to get an apartment together.

Wearing identical T-shirts and completing each other’s sentences were the norm to them. They even open a restaurant named Triplets and start rolling in cash.

However, eventually, their happy days soon came to end.

Eddy Galland suicide
Eddy Galland suicide.

Cracks begin to form in the triplets’ relationship, as each brother begins to think that they were being sidelined by the others. Tensions started to arise.

In 1995, Eddy Galland, who had a strained relationship with his adoptive father, was hospitalized for manic depression. Eddy’s mental problems came to a head when he committed suicide by shooting himself.

Saddened by the death of their brother, David and Bobby soon drifted apart and became estranged with each other.

It was that same year in which Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, published an article about a disturbing psychological study. A study to which the triplets fell victim for.

A research team led by US Psychologist Peter Neubauer, with the help of an adoption agency, split twins and triplets like David, Bobby, and Eddy at birth and arranged them to be adopted by parents of different socio-economic backgrounds.

That’s right, the triplets weren’t separated due to happenstance as they initially believed. No, they were deliberately separated as a part of a rogue, top-secret psychological study.

The triplet babies
Media credit: Three Identical Strangers/RAW via

David went to a working-class family, Eddy to a middle-class household and Bobby to parents who were upper-middle-class.

However, the deception doesn’t end there. The research team then told the adoptive parents that their children were part of a “routine childhood-development study” and continued their research with no one aware of the true nature of the study.

In an effort to study the impact of nature vs. nurture in children, the research team forgot the humans who would be affected by their research. To further their knowledge, they willingly turned a blind eye to the plights of innocent babies.

Three Identical Strangers”, a 2018 documentary, by Tim Wardle depicts the harrowing impact the separation caused the triplets. It is revealed in the documentary that they are still reeling from the effects of that study.

Both Bobby and David admit that they were heartbroken and angry with being subjected to such an inhumane experiment. They reveal their anger at being treated as two-dimensional figures and being termed as “subjects.”

Even after 40 years, the study still has a profound impact in the lives of Bobby and David. And to cap things off, Neubauer never published his study that derailed countless people’s lives. To this day, it is still kept under lock and key at Yale University, and will remain so until 2065.

So, what do you think about the story of the identical triplets? Did you find it interesting, harrowing, sad, or even tragic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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