Recently, in my sociology class we watched a film called 3 identical strangers. After watching this film I had a strong urge to research about it because of what had happened. When researching it, I decided to write an article about it informing people what actually happened and how this affects the lives of many people. Throughout the film I constantly thought to myself about how someone could possibly do this to innocent little children. They had no opinion on the matter and it's surreal how something like this could be done.
What was the documentary film about?
This documentary was about three triplets. Edward Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran who were separated at birth. Each of them were adopted by a different family but grew up around the same area. They were born on July 12th, 1961 in Long Island and were given up for adoption to an agency called Louise Wise Services. Back in the day, Louis Wise Services was a big adoption agency on the east coast especially for jewish families. Fast forward, Bobby was going to college and was on campus and all of a sudden he was being greeted by kids he didn't know. His first thought was about how kids are so welcoming but he was slightly confused as well because when they were greeting him they were referring to him as Eddy. Later that day one of Eddy’s friends comes by to his dorm room and sees Bobby for himself and could not believe his eyes. The guy looked identical to Eddy. They quickly run to the nearest telephone booth and call Eddy and figure out that he has a twin.
After figuring out they were related they decided to report this unusual and shocking story to the news. Weeks later a newspaper comes out with a picture of the twins smiling and news breaks. When Robert's parents saw the newspaper they gasped and could not believe that these 3 guys on the cover looked identical to their adoptive son Robert. After figuring out that the twins were actually triplets, news breaks everywhere. The whole world is shook.
Why were they separated?
It’s crazy to think that these triplets had been separated for 19 years of their lives. Of course when someone is separated for that they begin to wonder why. They decided to get more information on why they were separated in the first place. They called the Louise Wise adoption agency and they claimed that they separated the triplets because it was difficult to place them all in a single household. In the documentary, all the parents had mentioned that if they knew that there were triplets they would have adopted all of them.
The Neubauer study
The Neubauer study was a study designed and directed by Dr.Peter Neubauer to examine the effects of nature versus nurture. It examined the in depth problems in an experiment that involved twins, and triplets who are adopted as infants and separated into different families to see the results. He worked with many psychiatrists to explore one of psychology’s most pressing questions about whether human behavior is more affected by environmental or genetics. The National Institutes of Health gave some of its funding for the study. The study involved eleven sets of twins and one set of triplets. After some of the twins learned and realized why they had been separated, Neubauer reportedly dreaded and feared that the public opinion would be against the study and declined to publish it. This study is sealed at Yale until 2065. Even though the adoption records are now legal, the records are still sealed to give privacy to the parents who gave the children up. Neubauer was committed to the children’s privacy.
Being separated at only 6 months old affects a person more than they know. By that time the babies were all emotionally attached. It played a major role in all of their lives and they forever have to live with the guilt that they had been separated. They all slept in the same crib as well. In the documentary, Eddy Galland committed suicide after being hospitalized for mental illnesses. He died at the age of 34. He died never knowing that he had been a part of an experiment. It’s very upsetting and heartbreaking to know that these twins couldn't have a childhood together and they missed out on knowing each other to fulfill some study. They didn't have any control on what happened to them and it plays a major toll on their lives.