The Neubauer Triplets (Edwards Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran (Source: MedPage Today)
We see the world as being quite big, but as technology advances the world seems to get smaller as we become more unified and interconnected with one another. Have you ever had an encounter where you would meet an old friend on the other side of the globe? That is just how small the world can sometimes be.
Did you know that the chances of having a Doppelgänger (someone who looks exactly like you but isn’t related to you) are 135 in 1? It has become a social norm to portray how unique our humane appearance is, but at the end of the day, we are more similar to one another than we think.
However, this story is a lot more interesting as three strangers became more than brothers. The Neubauer Triplets were orphaned and separated at a very young age.
Why were they separated?
Not much is known for the reasons as to why they were orphaned or separated as the records somehow got lost. This isn’t the rarity of the case as the world’s population is made up of 153 million orphans (according to statistics from 2020).
None of the triplets knew that they had brothers and nothing about their biological family. They were born in 1961 and soon were given to an orphanage, however, the story still has many gaps. There is still a lot of debate behind what happened, although, for certain due to the rarity of having three identical triplets, scientists have been studying them from a very young age.
Psychologist Wendy Lloyd had a look into this case and there is some light that leads to Dr. Peter Neubauer, a psychoanalyst that had done a lot of experimenting on twins in his career. It is said that Neubauer worked with a corrupt New York adoption agency to place the three boys in three families of different socio-economic status.
This was also confirmed by the boys in various interviews from the 1980s. The boys recall childhood memories of regular home visits by mysterious researchers who would do tests on them. This is the reason why they were called by the media the Neubauer Triplets.
Triplets accidentally finding each other
However, all it took was for destiny to play its role so that the boys would reunite in 1980. One of the brothers named Bobby Shafran was accepted to Sullivan Community College from New York. Upon his arrival, many people greeted him as if he had already made their acquaintance. More interesting is that everyone was calling him Eddy instead of Bobby.
It so happened that Eddy Galland (one of the other triplets) was going to the same college. As Bobby looked identical to Eddy, everyone assumed he was in fact, Eddy. After a weird day for Bobby, he was greeted by Michael Domnitz (a good friend of Eddy) with the same name that was unknown to Bobby.
Eddy Galland and Bobby Shafran meeting for the first time in 1980 (Source: NPR)
Michael realizing that this wasn’t his friend, explained to Bobby that his friend Eddy looked exactly like him. When Bobby met Eddy they both froze for a couple of good minutes whilst analyzing the similarity between one another.
After 19 years the two brothers finally met, not knowing that they were twins as well as that they were in fact triplets. The boys were amazed by how many things they had in common such as liking the same type of women and smoking the same brand of cigarettes.
Their amazing story reached the media at a national level in no time. The whole nation was amazed by such a unique case as well as by the chances of the brothers finding each other. After a few months of being aired by different newspapers as well as television outlets, Eddy’s adoptive mother gets a strange phone call from David Kellman (the third brother) only saying “I think I'm the third one."
Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman reunited in 1980 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Bobby and Eddy quickly rushed to meet David and to their surprise, he also looked just like them. The boys were happy to be reunited. This is where the media really got interested in their story and they started talking about their childhood as well as ideas of why they got separated in the first place.
At this point, people started to investigate their past and their biological family but no records could be found. People assume that the records were taken by Dr. Peter Neubauer with the results of all the studies done on the brothers and potentially other twins.
Dr. Peter Neubauer (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Author Scott Simon mentioned that the records are locked in a vault at Yale University with the proviso that they should not be released to the public until the year 2066 when everyone involved in the experiment had passed away so they could not be charged. Dr. Peter Nuebauer being the only person known to be involved in the experimentation of the triplets (as well as other twins) passed away in 2008.
Many mysteries left to be revealed
The story still has many gaps despite the huge amount of case studies and researches on their life trying to puzzle together exactly what happened. Some weird conspiracies even state that their biological parents could have been killed by Neubauer, driven by his obsession to experiment with twins.
Cover of the Documentary
A documentary was recently published in 2018 which is trying to fill some of the gaps whilst explaining the story and exactly how it occurred. This documentary is entitled Three Identical Strangers and I recommend watching it as it won many awards.
Even to this day, there are many unethical studies and tests on twins as well as many twins still separated because of such tests that do not know that they actually have siblings. The same goes for a big number of siblings either be it twins or triplets that are being separated at birth.