One morning a few years ago, after not talking to my sister for a few weeks, I heard my phone ping while forcing myself to do the grocery shopping. I was wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses and trying to hold back tears. My then-husband and I had just decided to separate after 15 years of marriage, and my sister’s message read: I had a horrible dream about you last night. Are you okay? I feel like I need to see you right now.
My sister and I are seven years apart, and we’ve always been close. While she knew I was struggling in my marriage, she had no idea how fast things had escalated in the past few weeks. I’d kept things to myself to sort things out without telling anyone. And the night before, while lying in bed, after my husband and I decided he’d move out over the holidays, I couldn’t sleep and was in physical pain wondering how in the hell I was going to start this new chapter in my life.
It was apparent my sister felt that pain and had dreamt about it the night before. She went into more detail as she discussed her deep need as soon as possible that morning over a bagel and an energy drink.
We’ve had things like this happen before. We finish each other’s sentences, and we’ve both admitted to feeling a sense when one was mad at the other even before a word is ever exchanged about it.
There are times I feel like maybe we were meant to be twins because of these experiences — it’s been talked about and researched how identical twins can feel each other’s pain, read each other’s minds, and know what the other may be thinking. According to Live Science, about one in five sets of identical twins share “a special psychic condition,” like a twin, Courtney, who told Scary Mommy, “I feel pain in my bellybutton when my twin feels stressed or sick.”
But what about siblings who aren’t twins? Is there such thing as sibling telepathy? I believe there is, of course, based on my experience with my sister.
While some may explain this as simply a coincidence, or say it happens because you share the same genes, and environment, what about siblings who live apart and have for some time?
When my sister had the dream, I was in pain and needed her help. We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for weeks and had not shared a home for over a decade. Yet she still sensed something was wrong — and she was right.
A dear friend of mine, Christi, often talks about how she and her older sister — someone she goes months without seeing since they live hours apart — will give people the same gifts for the holidays or a birthday without even discussing.
“This year, we both gave each other wooden beads for Christmas and both wrapped all our gifts in black and white wrapping paper,” she said. “We’ve also split up in huge antique malls, met up again and both spotted the same thing, and talked about how we were contemplating buying it.”
Another woman, Jen, shared how she and her sister would always call their mother at the exact same time.
It seems reasonable to explain how you are able to get to know someone in a way that you can read their facial expressions and are able to tell where they are uncomfortable or really happy, but how do you explain reaching for the phone at the same time to call your mom, or showing up in the same outfit, or feeling physical pain when a sibling is hurting?
The true definition of telepathy is when two people are able to send and receive thoughts with their mind. While it’s been said it’s almost impossible to scientifically prove when someone has this, there have been some advances in proving it to be true.
But also, there are some interesting stories out there, and you need look no further than Twitter.
How else can you explain listening to the same song, having the same thought as your sibling, then sending matching videos to each other?
So my sister and I got our mom the same card without knowing it #siblingtelepathy
— Andrew Smith (@ajtsmith10) May 11, 2014
Tim always manages to text or call right when I need it most. #siblingtelepathy
— Sara Kellams (@Mini_Kell) March 24, 2015
So, I must admit, this has happened to my boys. They both got kicked out of class on the exact same day. While I didn’t really view it as something as amazing as telepathy, maybe I should change my perspective.
Most definitely our favorite kind of telepathy — when you have someone who consistently calls or shows up when you need it the most.
— Ashley Young (@itsashley_young) January 5, 2014
KARA AND MARK FAVORITED MY TWEET AT THE SAME TIME #SIBLINGTELEPATHY
— Sam Gam (@samgam_) June 1, 2013
And the stories go on and on.
The jury’s still out on whether sibling telepathy is real or just one giant coincidence, but one thing is clear — siblings have a connection like no other.