[Last copied article for now (from the Guardian); taking a few days break (I'll probably end up posting something tomorrow/day after, bit of an obsessive compulsion but mehhh) from posting while I catch on some emails and whatnot. Synchs up to the Veronicas post very nicely with some pertinent background related to them (identity confusion/loss of individual identity, psychic connection etc).]
The first thing Amie Curtis, 27, ever did without her sister Julie Stenner was get on a bus, aged 16: "It was really weird. I didn't have anyone to talk to." This extreme reliance on another human being is both the best and worst aspect of being an identical twin. "We're so close, I feel blessed to have that, but I wonder if I'd be more outgoing if I'd been on my own. We've never really needed to make friends."
Amie and Julie now have to cope with living in different cities, since Julie left their native Wales to live with her husband in Bristol. They hate being apart, but it has meant Julie thinking of herself as an individual for the first time in her life. "It's a conscious decision, forcing myself away from Amie. If I didn't do it now, I knew it would get harder. But it's been difficult."
For Peter Davey, 48, the bond with his brother Neil has grown stronger with age. "We often use facial expressions instead of words as we know each other so well. And our text messages constantly cross. It's small stuff really, but it adds up."
Neil broke his leg a few years ago, and woke one night in excruciating pain: he learned the following day that Peter had woken at exactly the same time, in agony. Is there a scientific explanation for this? "No, but a third of identical twins have experienced some sort of psychic event," [kind of freakish how much this synchs up to my post actually in my opinion] says Professor Tim Spector, who runs the department of twin research and genetic epidemiology unit at King's College, London. "Most scientists believe these are spurious, though - coincidences that are remembered and thus reinforced."
Twin research has looked mainly at the differences between pairs, but the new focus is on understanding why they aren't more similar. "Identical twins are clones," Spector says, "yet our experiments show they are genetically only around 80% similar. This means genes can actually change through their lives - we just don't yet know how."
All the twins he has worked with share one complaint - the loss of individual identity. Jo Cherrington, mother of one-year-old girls Alice and Lilly Granshaw, is doing her best to treat her daughters as individuals: "I'm going to encourage them to do different things." But Alice and Lilly are already a team. "They giggle in their own language. They don't have much interest in other babies, they're so busy with each other."
Some twins grow up as individuals from the start, often by circumstance. Jean Macpherson, 78, spent the first two years of her life in hospital with asthma. Then, aged seven, she was packed off to Switzerland for the air, leaving her sister Anne Mallinson behind. They were reunited a year later as war evacuees, sent first to Devon, then to Canada. But Jean got engaged at 22 and moved to Scotland with her husband, Sir Tommy Macpherson. In the last 20 years, as Jean and Tommy have spent more time in London, the sisters have grown closer, and now live just 500 yards apart. "We're very admiring of each other, and supportive," Anne says. "We feel lucky. Having my sister enriches my life."
Being an identical twin has its slapstick moments. Jean and Anne are often mistaken by their neighbours. "I've been kissed in the street by strangers," Jean says. And Amie Curtis once waved to her sister in a mirror during dance class, before realising she was waving at herself [...]. Is there really no way of telling her apart from her sister? She thinks. "We've got different tattoos."