My Story

Split Personalities?

The Evil Twin

By James Donahue

There has been an old Hollywood film theme involving identical twins, with one turning evil. It is always makes a great suprise ending in a mystery plot. But does that happen in real life?

I have personally known identical twins and have been interested in the mental and spiritual connections they exhibit.

I went to high school with Roger and Rodney Lamb, sons of the local postmaster in my hometown. They were husky jolly young men and full of trickery. They looked so much alike it was almost impossible to tell one from the other and I was always surprised that their mother always knew which was which. Naturally, their favorite trick was to portray themselves as each other and get teachers and everyone else around them confused.

I was one grade behind the Lamb twins so didn’t run with them in high school, although after graduation, when home from college on winter holidays, I got to know them well. By then they had both shipped out on the Great Lakes and were coming home for the winter months with their pockets full of cash.

While laughing and doing wild and crazy tricks much of the time, I had some serious moments with them . . . usually on a one-to-one basis. That was when they told about feeling one another’s pains and having an unexplained awareness when the other was in some kind of difficulty. It was as if they shared the same spirit, even when serving on different ships at different ends of the Great Lakes.

But the Lamb twins never portrayed themselves as being either good or evil.

I met a second and much more interesting pair of identical twins after our daughter began dating a young man in high school. She had just turned 16 and this young man was a year or two older so my wife and I kept close watch on this relationship. Also our daughter was not yet driving so I was often her chauffeur when she went to see this young man.

The point to this is that he had two identical twin sisters that were then about 14 or 15 years of age. The girls were strikingly beautiful, even at that young age.

Even though they were identical twins, it was easy to distinguish one from the other. Their personalities and behavior was dramatically polarized. One girl dressed well, was a serious student, and had a pleasant personality. The other was living on the wild side. She thought nothing of wearing colors that did not match, dressing in mini-skirts and socially misbehaving in about every way one might imagine. Needless to say she also was doing poorly in school. The family referred to her as the evil twin, and I do not think they were joking.

I never had an opportunity to get to personally know the twin girls but their extreme differences drew my interest. What made the Lamb twins so similar and these girls so different? Did the spiritual link get somehow turned upside down while the girls were still in the womb? Was it possible that one of the girls became possessed by outside forces and the other was not?

Our daughter continued to date the older brother for about a year, and kept in touch with him for some time after that. She said a peculiar thing happened to the twins as they grew older. It was as if they exchanged personalities. The sister who was living the perfect role suddenly went wild and the wild sister settled down and began living a normal life style. How can this be explained?

A 1987 Time Magazine article examined the personality traits of identical twins looked into various studies conducted by psychologists and sociologists that wanted to find answers to many of the same questions I have had.

The studies found that a few identical twins, sometimes even those separated at birth and raised in different homes, grew up to conduct amazingly similar life styles. They had the same habits, the same interests, and even drove the same cars. None of the studies uncovered identical twins that adopted extreme opposite personality and behavior traits, however.

The official conclusion to all of the studies has been that twins may share the same genes and therefore share the same “rough sketch of life,” but their environment establishes a mechanism for change, even for those that grow up in the same house.

There also is that “God” factor. If the God exists within the soul in each individual, we have the freedom to create our own universe, even if we are genetically linked to an identical twin. We not only have this freedom, we may not be capable of avoiding the reality we create with our minds.

Psychologist David Lykken summed it up in the Time article: “The environment molds your personality, but your genes determine what kind of environment you have, seek and attend to.”