True Crime Forensics Review: Three Identical Strangers

*Click above to rent or download on Amazon (affiliate link)

Life sometimes throws bizarre coincidences.

Released just last year, the documentary Three Identical Strangers highlighted the strange circumstances behind the reunion of three long-lost twins - and the subsequently surreal questions raised of their initial separation.

As like other documentary and film reviews, spoilers are expected below!

Happenstance Happenings

It all began when Robert Shafran, then 19-years old, drove his car to Sullivan Community College. Excited at the prospect of enjoying his first day of school, he didn’t expect the massive attention he got when he stepped out of his car.

It’s as if everyone at the school knows him. And called him Eddy.

Weirded by what was happening, Rob just shrugged off the strange day. Until another student, Michael Domnitz, pieced together the puzzle - Rob has a twin brother named Edward Galland.

Drawn by the curious nature of that student’’s statement, Rob decided to hop back into his car with Michael to pay a visit to his long-lost twin. After several hours of driving, and knocking at the   

Galland’s home late at night, Eddy and Rob stared at each other.

It’s as if both were staring at a mirror. And the chemistry is apparent, with the two brothers quickly hitting it off as if they’ve known each other for their entire lives!

Out of the Woodwork - the Third Brother Appears!

Already a heartwarming story, the reunion of Eddy and Rob was a surefire hit covered by local media. With the story picked up by a publication in New York, David Kellman, a Queens College student, chanced upon the article.

It was his face he saw on the picture, He was seeing double (well, triple!). Able to find the number of the Galland residence, David then managed to meet up with his long-lost brothers.

Again, chemistry is apparent. The years apart were nothing to the three siblings, who happily shared stories with each other.

It was indeed a fairy tale these young boys were living. What were the chances of them reuniting? As media darlings, the three brothers enjoyed a life of party. From living together in an apartment, being at the best parties in the city, guesting at all sorts of TV interviews, and even having a cameo appearance in a Madonna film, the reunited brothers were living the high life!

Questions Do Loom

And yet, why were the triplets separated in the first place? For each of the brothers’ foster families, frustration and anger were all pointed towards Louise Wise Services, the adoption agency. When pressed for answers, the adoption agency’s only response was that keeping three kids together was not practical. But why didn’t the agency notify each family that an adopted kid had siblings? It was all because of a study, said the somehow shady firm.

Unsatisfied with the discussion with the agency, the parents tried to seek help. But something seemed amiss. Other than most legal firms not willing to help out, or with some other bizarre circumstances surfacing (more on these points below), a sinister cloud seems to hover over an otherwise blissful reunion among the brothers.

Why, Why, Why, Why?

Digging deeper, something sinister did seem to be behind the scenes of this adoption agency. Connecting the dots, some particular similarities among the twins’ circumstances were deemed to be too uncanny:

  • Each brother also has an older sister. The older sisters were also all adopted.
  • Each brother had brushes with mental problems during their adolescent years.
  • Each brother would routinely be checked by adoption scientists for a “study.”
  • Each brother were raised within approximately 100 miles from each other.

Truth be told, these “circumstances” do seem too weird!

A Journalist Brings in Another Variable to the Table

Lawrence Wright, a writer for the New Yorker, uncovered something startling with the twins and the adoption agency.

Apparently, the agency was connected to a psychological firm headed by a Dr. Peter Neubauer. The doctor, aiming to find a connection (or disconnect) when it comes to raising twins, conducted a rather strange experiment.

By separating twins and raising them in different families, Neubauer wanted to see if Nature would trump over Nurture (and vice versa). 

Nature vs Nurture; Nurture vs Nature

Pinpointing the many facets of the study, the experiment would roughly follow these guidelines:

  • Twins will be routinely observed and tested by scientists. 
  • Twins will be raised in different settings. For the three brothers, a middle class family setting, upper middle class family setting, and a working class family setting were all used.
  • To check the conditions of a family, a prior adopted child (which would be the older sisters of the twins) will help scientists gauge the best setting.
  • Scientists will never inform of the twins or their parents (or guardians) of any knowledge of other siblings.

The brothers weren’t the only test subjects for the study. There were also other twins who were observed by Neubauer’s team. 

Wright probed further for more information. All he got from the late doctor (Neubauer died last 2008) was the study will soon be published.

The study never saw the light of day.

Disaster and Death

Back to the twins. Regardless of the weird circumstances, the twins soldiered on and tried to make the most out of their respective lives. The brothers also tried getting into a restaurant venture - Triplets.

And this may have been the beginning of the end. Citing personal differences and conflict in interests, Rob decided to leave the restaurant.

This, of course, hurt his fellow brothers. With the triplets torn asunder, gloomy days started to set into their lives.

Such was the dread that one of the triplets commited suicide (for you to find out, though, please do watch the documentary!).

Where are the Answers?

The surviving twins (and Wright) tried their best to seek out answers. They needed to make sense out of this madness. And all arrows pointed towards the Twin Study.

Unfortunately, whatever information that Neubauer collated and wrote will stay hidden. Left in Yale University, the study will stay sealed until Oct. 25, 2065.

Such was the strings pulled by whoever or whatever group that wanted to conduct this experiment.

Strange circumstances, indeed.

True Crime?

Morality over Science. Science over Morality. Truth for Progress. Progress towards Truth. 

How does one determine that a crime was indeed committed in this bizarre triplets case? What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know what you think - and do yourself a favor and watch this awesome documentary today!


best true crime podcast logos

Best True Crime Podcasts of 2020

Top 50 Bestselling True Crime Books of 2020 | Serial Killer, Audiobooks, Ebooks and more

best true crime books serial killers bg photo