Can Twins Feel Each Other’s Pain?

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It’s been a while since I posted about telepathic twins and other freaky twin stuff, and it’s time to return to the world of the weird and wonderful. Unfortunately the trigger for this research is an unhappy event… my poor little boy has been in a cast past the elbow these past two weeks, and I’m not entirely sure when he’ll be free of it. He’s coping brilliantly, but I have been surprised how his accident has affected his brother. Is it possible twins feel each other’s pain? 

can twins feel each other's pain

It was bound to happen eventually… our first proper injury. But I wasn’t expecting something so dramatic at such a young age. Poor Arthur at 17months amputated the end of his finger using a chair. Yes, a chair – that can happen, and apparently we are not the first. Does it make me a bad person that hearing another child has lost a finger in this way makes me feel better as a parent? If you’ve ever had a child injure themselves you’ll be familiar with that Matrix-style circular slow-motion phenomenon, as you watch events happening before your eyes, yet you just can’t get there in time to stop it. While playing with George on the grass in the back yard, my attention was away from his twin brother for a moment. He was instantly up on the patio chair, stood, it tipped back with his figures curled over the back… and bam… a finger sandwich between patio chair and concrete. In total panic the missing piece of finger went on ice and the entire family bundled into the mom-wagon and headed for the ER.

We were all hysterical; but between two 17month-olds, a seven year old who’ll melt-down over a paper cut, and a Dad that suffers with anxiety and panic attacks; Mom was left trying to keep it together. But as the situation began to calm, and Arthur was in good hands at the hospital, one of us was still extremely distressed. And it wasn’t Arthur – it was his twin brother George. Was he just feeding off the air of emotions? Was he just wanting attention while we whirled around Arthur? Or is it possible twins can feel each other’s pain? 

Twins claiming they share pain

Identical twins Angela King and Elena Gatt insist twins feel each other’s pain. From accidents, to morning sickness, to operations, they share it all. When Angela had her tonsils removed age 8, her sister was totally unaware and stayed with her grandmother during the operation.

‘Elena screamed at the exact moment they were removed,’ Angela said. ‘Grandma called mum and said there was something wrong with El because she was in a lot of pain.’ (Cindy Tran, Daily Mail)

While Angela happily recovered in hospital, Elena struggled to eat at her grandma’s house, because of her continued pain. They recall a similar story where Elena injured her knee while on vacation. Angela felt a sudden pain in her own knee and called immediately to check her sister was OK. To read more about these two, check out the Daily Mail article.

can twins feel each other's pain mail
Angela King and Elena Gatt. Source:

Sally Keeble and her sister Helen, were always skeptical of stories of twin telepathy and weird connections. However, when Helen fell pregnant, her identical twin sister started to experience morning sickness, 100 miles away. Sally then experienced sever stomach cramping in the middle of the night a few weeks before her sister’s due date. When she called to check on her, sure enough her twin had been experiencing early labor pains. Two weeks later Sally felt excruciating abdominal pain, following by dizziness. She remembered the time it happened because she was in the process of leaving work. When she got home, she had a message that her sister had indeed given birth at that exact time. For more on this tory, head over to the The Guardian.

In Telepathic Twins and Other Freaky Twin Stuff, I tell the story of Gemma and Leanne Houghton and the shared connection that saved Leanne’s life, have a read and see what you think!

Is there any science behind the idea that twins feel each other’s pain? 

Identical twins are created from the same fertilized egg – no-one knows what causes the split, although there are theories. Is it possible that having the same DNA can connect you in such a way that you experience the same sensations at the same time? Despite much anecdotal evidence that suggests twins feel each other’s pain, science continues to find little evidence of such a phenomenon. And there are plenty of twins claiming there is no way this type of connection is possible, because they have been totally unaware when something traumatic has happened to their beloved sibling. However, there is a theory to explain this:

‘Researchers at the University of Indiana have studied thousands of twins and have noticed that the later they divided, the closer they become after birth. So it seems likely that this is the group most likely to experience telepathy’ (David Jones, New Dawn Magazine)

So a twin shouldn’t feel bad that they had no idea their sister was being mugged last night, you may have just been an early egg splitter. Of course, some twins never completely split, creating conjoined twins, and one of the earliest records of how twins feel each other’s pain is that of a pair of conjoined twins separated by an operation just after birth:

‘However far apart we are now we still have one and the same body, so that whatever impression, physical or mental, one of us perceives has its after-effects on the other’ says one of the Corsican Brothers back in 1844. (Benjamin Redford, Live Science)

Historically, the idea that twins feel each other’s pain has been ridiculed by science, and I get it… it’s a pretty wacky idea. In 2010 the Nobel prizewinner Brian Josephson was shunned from speaking at an event he was invited to, after it came to light he had been researching a connection between quantum theory and telepathy. His research was written off as an interest in the paranormal, and it was suggested that fellow physicists would no longer take him seriously. Now, anyone that’s read up on quantum theory will know it is some jaw-droppingly crazy sh*#; yet it is widely accepted enough to teach at school these days. So who knows, maybe telepathy and the idea that twins feel each other’s pain will too one day?

einstein quantum theory

My own experience…

When it was time to sew the end of Arthur’s finger on, Daddy took George and Big Sister out to the waiting room to avoid more mass hysteria. It took some time to get sorted, because he was drugged to help keep him still and well… stuff in hospitals just takes forever doesn’t it? As the doctors were busy sewing the finger on, Arthur’s drugs began to wear off, and myself and a very large man were busy using our body weight to hold him down (don’t worry, the pain meds were still working, just not the dopey stuff). My phone starting bleeping with multiple messages that I was not in a position to answer…

“Can we come back yet?”

“What’s going on?”

“George is going mental… I don’t know what’s wrong with him”

We had already spent a number of hours in the hospital and both babies had understandably been a upset, but it was the very moment Arthur was having his finger stitched back on that George went crazy, despite being some distance from the room. Weird right?

That night, we made it home and were all exhausted. We managed to squeeze some chicken nuggets into the littles and off they went to bed. Arthur fell into a deep sleep, exhausted from the days events. George went to sleep but repeatedly woke up through the night, unconsolable unless I held him. All my kids are good sleepers, and I can’t remember the last time I had to get up in the night to go into the boys room. He just wouldn’t settle, and was so sad and miserable I ended up bringing him into bed with me. I am no co-sleeper, even my husband is told to move away when I want to sleep… I’m just not a cuddle sleeper. But George needed love and closeness, he was clearly experiencing some kind of trauma, and whether it was purely emotional was difficult to tell. He was so distressed I honestly considered giving him a dose of Tylenol, because he just seemed to be in pain. I didn’t, and he eventually went to sleep, but I can’t help thinking some kind of Twin Thing was happening.

Poor George has had to come with me to all Arthur’s doctor’s appointments which has been very stressful for him, but I presume he just can’t bear seeing his best bud and partner-in-crime suffer. Whether he’s experiencing physical sensations is impossible to tell at this age, but I look forward to questioning them about it when they’re old enough. For know, I’m just happy he’ll healing… we’re on our third cast and look forward to getting back to normal soon!

can twins feel each other's pain casts

What do you think? Is it possible twins feel each other’s pain?


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About the author

Katherine is an electrochemist, hiking enthusiast, and family lifestyle blogger. As a mom of three, including twins, she enjoys DIY, travel, and eating good food. British born, Katherine moved to the US in 2014, and now called Las Vegas home.

35 thoughts on “Can Twins Feel Each Other’s Pain?”

  1. I’ve heard alot about twins how they can be so connected to each other, feel each others pain, when the other one might be sick etc. I don’t have children but I have read alot about this before. Awesome post lovely x

  2. First of all…oh my God about the finger amputation. I would have passed out for sure. You are a strong mom!! Also wow about George feeling Arthur’s pain. I wonder if when they’re older and can express themselves they’ll continue to have that type of experience!

  3. This is an amazing post! I’m so interested in this as my sister has twins. There is a big gap between us and we have different fathers but on the day she went into premature labour I was in horrendous stomach pain. After a couple of hours we got a phone call to say she’d been rushed to hospital! The babies weren’t due for another 10 weeks!
    Her twins had to be near each other in special care otherwise they’d get distressed and as they have grown up there have been occasions where apart they have burst into tears because they know the other is upset or in pain!
    I believe!!
    Hope the cast comes off soon!

    • Wow, so interesting! I guess sometimes we are just so in tune with each other, whatever the relation! My boys slept in the same crib for the first three months, that closeness is really important for them!

  4. Oh my goodness! First off, what a terrible situation! I’m so sorry your family had to go through that, but it sounds like everyone is coping well now. That’s a relief! Second… I have twin girls who are 14 months, and I have never even thought of the idea that they can feel each other’s pain. I’ll have to be on alert for it the next time one of them gets hurt. I’m really intrigued by this!

    • Ah, hello fellow twin mom! 14months, we’re pretty much at the same stage… tough isn’t it? ?? Do report back with any weird twin moments, I love this stuff!!

  5. First of all, I’m so sorry that you’ve all had to go through this! Second, I absolutely DO think they feel each others pain!! My mom is a twin and can attest!

  6. I have no idea what I would have done in a situation like that, you are so strong!!
    I am fascinated by the bond between twins, I remember in high school I was writing a paper about this, but it’s one thing to read about it in theory, and another thing to see it happen before you. I guess twins are magical. 🙂

  7. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about the finger – that sounds like a horrible thing for you all! I’m not good with things like that at all, I dread to think how I’d have reacted – well done for holding it together! I have to admit I find the whole twin telepathy thing really fascinating – it’s definitely a bit woo, but there are so many stories that back it up that I can’t help but feel there’s something in it. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Thanks Katy, he had the cast off on Friday and it’s allowed to stay off, hooray for speedy baby healing! I’m definitely going to be on the look out for more weird twin stuff though! ?

  8. Oh my goodness I’m so sorry to hear about poor Arthur, sounds like you were amazing. I would have freaked! I find this really fascinating and I wish he was old enough to be able to tell you. I guess time will tell. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  9. aaww I’m so sorry the little one was injured ( and his brother was so traumatised) My mum was a twin (grandma had 2 sets within 18 months – goodness knows how she coped!) my mum had loads of stories about knowing when her sister was in pain or in trouble or upset . It’s so fascinating ! #sharingthebloglove

  10. Wow this is fascinating! I think there are so many stories of it happening that there must be an element of truth in it, but I can’t imagine HOW it happens at all. Watch this space, I guess, and you’ll find out when they’re old enough to explain! #sharingthebloglove

    • Yes, let’s hope he doesn’t remember this particular trauma, but at the same time I’m desperate to know! Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. This is so interesting! I love reading about twins, I was always gutted that I didn’t have a twin when I was little, I had twins at my school and I used to ask them to stand together cos they amazed me, haha!

    • Haha, I’m sure my boys will be asked that often when they’re older. At the moment trying to get either of them to stand still is pretty much impossible ??

  12. Just stumbled on this while googling about twins feeling each other’s pain… I am a twin and my sister and I are super close. We don’t always feel each other’s pain by any means, but we definitely do feel it at times. Occasionally (a couple times every other month or so), we will feel each other’s cramps. But most recently and what really stunned us: I just got my wisdom teeth out last week. My sister brought me and while in the waiting room after they took me back, she began to feel loopy/sleepy (when I was put under anesthesia) and about ten minutes later she began to have pain in her right side of her mouth, then later her left. Sure enough that’s the order that the doctor cut my teeth out. Now she didn’t have excruciating pain, but she definitely felt something! Crazy, right?!

    • Wow, that’s so cool! It’s all so fascinating, and I’m sure some time in the future scientists will come up with some proof! I hope the mouth is on the mend 🙂

  13. Absolutely!!! I can’t believe ‘scientists’ haven’t joined the dots??… Quantum theory of entanglement! ‘Electrons that are created together remained entangled’ –

    I’m pregnant with identical twins, looking forward to some twin madness ??

    • I love Dr Quantum videos! I used to teach Physics and always played his Double Slit Experiment video to the kids… watch their heads spin, haha! Congratulations on your twins, so much fun to come!! ❤️


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