Upon hearing about the brothers' uncanny resemblances, researchers invited the ‘Jim Twins’ to come to their facility for testing.
jim twins

Lisa Wiltse/Getty ImagesA pair of identical twins

James ‘Jim’ Lewis, of Lima Ohio, was adopted in 1940 just three weeks after he was born. He was named James by his adoptive parents, and had a dog named Toy. As a schoolboy, he enjoyed math and carpentry but never spelling. He went on to marry a woman named Linda. Later, he and Linda divorced, and he married a woman named Betty. He had a son named James Alan Lewis, worked as a security guard, drove a Chevrolet, and was an avid chain smoker.

James ‘Jim’ Springer, of Piqua Ohio, was adopted in 1940 just three weeks after he was born. He was named James by his adoptive parents and had a dog named Toy. As a schoolboy, he enjoyed math and carpentry but never spelling. He went on to marry a woman named Linda. Later, he and Linda divorced, and he married a woman named Betty. He had a son named James Allan Springer, worked as a deputy sheriff, drove a Chevrolet, and was an avid chain smoker.

In 1979, Jim Lewis met Jim Springer, and the truth behind their startling similarities came out.

They were twins, separated at birth, who had grown up not 45 miles from each other, and ended up leading almost identical lives.

Both Jims’ mothers’ knew their sons’ had a twin brother. Springer’s mother was under the impression that the twin had died, while Lewis’ mother knew a bit more.

When she had gone to a judge to get her adoption paperwork finalized, she had overheard someone mention that the “other baby” had also been named James. It was that passing message that ultimately drove Jim Lewis to look for his twin.

At 39 years of age, Jim Lewis called the probate court, which had a record of his adoption, and contacted the Springer family in Piqua.

“I came home one day,” Lewis recounted, “and had this message to call ‘Jim Springer.’”

He did, and before he could help himself, blurted out an almost comedic: “Are you my brother?”

Four days later he was meeting him in person. They discovered upon meeting each other that they both suffered from tension headaches, were prone to nail biting, and even discovered that they smoked the same brand of cigarettes and vacationed on the same Florida beach.

Upon hearing about the Jim twins’ uncanny resemblances, researchers at the University of Minnesota invited the pair to come to their facility for testing. The team of researchers had been performing an ongoing study of twins, hoping to discover if separation had any role in the ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate.

Between 1979 and 1999, the team studied 137 pairs of twins, including the Jim twins, that had been reared apart from each other. Their research sparked more than 170 separate studies focusing on medical and psychological characteristics of twins.

The bulk of what they discovered centered around the effect environment has on child-rearing and the way genetics factor in as a comparison.

Though there’s no doubt that the Jim twins are alike in multiple ways, one brother has since diverged from the shared lifestyle. Jim Lewis recently divorced his Betty and remarried a woman named Sandy, with his newfound twin brother as his best man.

No word yet on whether Jim Springer knows anyone named Sandy.


Enjoy this article on thw Jim Twins? Check out these conjoined twins that survived being separated at the head, the world’s most difficult surgery. Then, read about the Hilton sisters, conjoined twins who made a life for themselves as part of a freak show.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a writing fellow at All That Is Interesting.
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