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A Tale of Triplets Torn Apart

Updated on November 3, 2015
The Triplets
The Triplets | Source

When we think of humans having babies, we usually do not use the term “litter”. However in the case of triplets, quadruplets and so on, I have no problem using that term. Multiple births can be mentally and emotionally draining for all involved, including the newborns. What’s even worse is when the mother/father/parents are not prepared to raise a “litter” of children for whatever reason. This situation happened in New York just a few decades ago, but it is far more complicated than that. 3 boys were born in New York states in the 60s to a young girl who was not prepared to take on the daunting task of raising triplets. The real twist to this tale is that the triplets did not meet or even knew each had two identical brothers until 20 years later. The triplets did not leave New York before finding each other, Eddy Galland lived in New Hyde Park, David Kellman lived in Queens and Robert Shafran lived in Scarsdale. The triplets discovered each other at 19 years old, here’s how:

Robert attended Sullivan County Community College unknowingly after his brother Eddy and was approached and greeted by one of Eddy’s friends. Confused, Robert explained that he was not Eddy Galland and he did not know who that was. However being that the triplets are in fact identical, Eddy’s friend uncovered the truth for them all. Robert was certainly not Eddy, but the two walked, talked, and looked exactly the same. After realizing they even had the same birthday the young boys met in a reunion of wonder. The boys instantly connected on a brotherly level and their story was published in all the local newspapers. That’s when things get really interesting. A friend of David’s was reading the miraculous story and thought “These guys look a lot like David” and that’s because they did. David was the final triplet and the last to know. Triplets separated at birth and reunited 20 years later, a wonderful story of random coincidences, right? Wrong. The triplets were separated and kept out of contact with each other, against the will of their mother, as a part of an experiment run by the National Institute of Mental Health that even their adoptive parents were not aware of. Everything fell into place when the three families found out what had happened. Researchers were constantly monitoring the 3 boys, but told the families they were conducting a “child development study”. After their reunion the boys created an instant bond of brotherly love and friendship. Each of their immediate families tripled with the addition of a new brother who had his own parents. Later down the line the brothers opened a steakhouse in Manhattan.

Despite all the good that came out of finally finding each other, the boys and their families and friends were appalled that the adoption agency and a national organization would work together to make three little boys believe they were only children on top of being adopted. What’s worse is that the triplets were not the only set to be broken up and lied to in order to be a part of a nature vs. nurture study. Children subject to this research, against their will and/or knowledge, were monitored constantly: their behavior charted, their personalities observed and their relationships scrutinized. In the United States, adoption agencies try to keep siblings together or nearby, especially in the case of twin/triplets/ect. However there have been many cases where adoption agencies have worked in cahoots with researchers to conduct illegal and emotional harmful experiments on children by separating them from the only blood related family they have left.

I wish I could say I cannot believe this happened, but I can. If babies get switched in the hospital without either mother noticing, taking orphan triplets and separating them does not seem difficult at all, just cruel. Nature vs. nurture is a very controversial debate and there are very few ways to test it other than ripping a baby (human or animal) from its mother and/or siblings and putting in a specific environment just to see what happens. I know it is important that we understand how nature and/or nurture affect children, but I do not think that destroying families is the way to do that.

I am the roommate of the daughter of David Kellman, but I have only ever heard the stories from her. The triplets harbored feelings of anger for years, even know for being robbed of 20 years together. To make matters worse, in 1995 Eddy committed suicide in his New Jersey home for an undisclosed reason. Now just a set of twins, Robert and David are determined to educate others on the dangers of these awful experiments on small children. These now men were subject to an awful and heartbreaking experiment that probably produced incredible results for the researchers. I just hope those researchers are happy.

Identical triplets only happen only once every million pregnancies. Do you know any identical triplets? How about identical twins?

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      Larry Thorne 6 months ago

      I actually had a chance meeting with 3 young men at a restaurant they worked at in New York City. We were in New York for a convention and went to Sammy`s for dinner with some associates.A young man who was a waiter, brought some food to our table and was so pleasant. A little while later, a young man walked by out table, and I asked him for something, he said, I`m not at this table. I said our you sure, and he answered yes! So, he walked by again and I stopped him again, and he said this isn`t my table. I said really! No it must be someone else~ I`m totally confused by now! All of a sudden 3 young men show up at our table and I`m in shock and they are laughing. The joke was on me!! I`ve never forgot this experience. It happened in February 1984. Always have remembered those nice pleasant young men!!