The Twins Who Share a Body

46 minutes 8.5/10 based on 19 votes

Meet Abigail and Brittany Hensel, the twins who share a body. They come as a package deal, so you better get along with both of them. They’re charming, pretty, and joined at the hip. Literally. Possessing only two arms and two legs between them, but two hearts and two minds, Abigail and Brittany are challenging society’s conception of individuality and human rights.

Abigail and Brittany want to live separate lives – but share a single body. This poses fascinating questions about society and basic human rights.

For example, watch as the twins go for their driving test. Should both girls need to pass the test to be able to drive, or is it simply enough for one to pass and be in charge?

If you were to hire Abigail and Brittany for a job, would you need to legally pay them separately – even if they were working on the same assignment?

How about dating? Having children?

The questions are endless. These girls do not want to be a freak show and their parents have not allowed cameras into their home until this documentary was given a chance to present a non sensationalist perspective.  Enjoy and fall under the spell of Abigail and Brittany Hensel – The Twins Who Share a Body.

Born in 1990, the girls have been brought up in a small, tightly knit community in Minnesota, almost completely protected from prying eyes and inquisitive stares. To their friends and family, they are distinct people with very different personalities, needs, tastes and desires. But to the outside world they are a medical mystery — particularly given the fact that they can do virtually all the same things as their friends, including playing the piano, riding a bike, swimming and playing softball “Their personalities make them inspirational,” says their mother Patty. “They never give up; anything they want to do, they go out and do it.”

The medical world is keen to find out how two separate brains and nervous systems can work in such a perfectly co-ordinated way, but the twins and their family have always resisted non-essential medical tests. “The family want to treat them as though they are just like everyone else,” says Joy Westerdahl, the girls’ doctor, who admits that it is a mystery how their unique physiology functions.

As they enter adulthood, the twins are likely to leave the haven of their home town and face the wider world. In preparation for that time, they have taken part in this intimate documentary to show the world what it is like to be joined for life.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Stacey

    Amazing documentary!!! I think that if you were to hire one for a job like engineering, and the other twin can’t do that job then you shouldn’t pay them both. If it’s something that they BOTH contribute to then it’s something that they BOTH should be paid for.

    • Brian

      Well said, Stacey.

  • Garison W.

    Hmmmmm. I think that it would be weird if you were dating one of them and the other one heard your intimate thoughts and saw you naked. I mean, it’s almost impossible to make love to one of them and not the other. Fascinating. This is truly a case of individuality being both a singular thing and, in some ways, existing as a two person individual.

  • madscirat

    These girls and their community are so full of win.

    • ChantalGoldberg

      ha, well put madscirat!

  • doco

    The thing is nobody knows how to react to them in public. 2 brains one body, sex, motherhood, marriage, divorce. My god??????

    • AlanisGod

      Imagine you started dating one and then fell in love with the other. The whole thing is confusing…but these are real people, it’s not just a philisophical question. Thanks for posting. Awesome one.

  • AdultDelinquent

    @204d7067741267784aef1b5158acf044:disqus I don’t think you could date just one of them like it says above… they’re a package deal… On a side not, I think it’d be a bit scary since you’d get twice the bitch during PMS time…

    • Ben Fiederer

      Ha, that’s a funny point. Yah, it would really be impossible to date one and not the other. That being said, I do think that the girls would tell you very, very firmly and unequivocally that they are completely unique from each other and that dating one does NOT mean the other. It would be like having a wingman on the date…one that doesn’t go away.

  • Ricky Allen

    I’d hit it.

  • Cindy Sue Mikels

    They have inspired me so much. Because of the twins, Haley, and Marlie I’m 100% voted to living life. I gained weight and it sucks, but like those I mentioned. My goal is in inspiration of them an Docu Flim and their subjects (if you would call them that). Help me lose weight and visit these people NO money needed. xo

  • Fiona

    Okay- first off i KNOW this is an old post and secondly i am not doctor HOWEVER…if the body has only one set of reproductive organs then why are they female looking?. it’s because the hormones the ovaries make go to both of them which means they are not REALLY 2 people. it’s like the body made two heads and a few extra organs by mistake. so then it would seem that this is a major birth defect…instead of twinning?.

    • H Smith

      Two complete brains, so two people. The fact that there is one body and only one set for some organs is what is the defect, not that there are two heads and double for some organs. Identical twins – as opposed to fraternal twins or single births – are formed when in the first two weeks or so of development, a fertilized egg splits in two. Conjoined twins, otherwise known as Siamese Twins, happen when the split starts too late into development, and is not able to be completed.

      These girls are no more one person than identical twins. It is actually incredible that these girls are as healthy as they are, many conjoined twins die in infancy and childhood because their organs either did not form properly – a result of receiving signals and hormones from two different systems – or organ failure from the stress of supporting multiple people.

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