One of the most commonly-asked questions twins receive is whether or not they can read each other’s minds. The answer is usually no – except for these twins. The Hogan twins of British Columbia, Canada, are joined not just at the head, but rather they share a cranium and have connected brains. This is their story.
The Conjoined Twins That Can Read Each Other’s Thoughts
To say the Hogan twins are one in a million is a massive understatement. Conjoined at the head as craniopagus twins, they are one in 2.5 million to be exact. What makes them even more special, is that they survived. Krista and Tatiana were born on October 25, 2006. The doctors told their parents that the chances of craniopagus twins surviving past 24 hours was slim. When they did survive, they then told the parents that the girls would likely be bed-bound vegetables unable to do anything for themselves. The girls, however, proved them wrong and they are still thriving today.
How Their Brains Work
As already mentioned, it is not just their skull that is connected, but their brains are, too. For this reason, they could not be separated. The risk for serious injury or death to one or both of them was too high. Their brains are connected by a bridge that connects one of their thalami to the other. The thalamus is essentially the control center of the brain, controlling sensory and motor signals, as well as consciousness.
The pair the senses of touch and taste. They can even control each other’s limbs, with Tatiana controlling three arms and a leg and Krista controlling three legs and an arm. They can also control their own limbs individually. Tatiana can see out of both of Krista’s eyes, while Krista can see out of just one of Tatiana’s. Finally, they can hear each other’s thoughts. They call it “talking in their heads”.
“They can sit there and not say anything to each other, and all of a sudden one of them will pop up and grab something to eat for the other one. Like, there’s no words being spoken between the two of them at all, and they know exactly what the other one wants,” said their mom. “You can tickle one, and the other one laughs. You pinch one, the other one will cry with her like she’s feeling it,” (2)
The girls can decide when they want to take control of their twin’s limbs, when they want to smell what the other is smelling, or when they want to taste what the other is tasting. Seeing through each other’s eyes or not is a bit more tricky, but they are capable of it.
Almost Like Regular Kids
Though they were delayed academically, the girls do go to a regular school. They learned to read, write, and do mathematics just like everyone else. They love riding their specially-designed bike, swimming, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing.
Despite being joined at the brain, each girl still has a unique personality. Their family describes Tatiana as being the outgoing, talkative, and high-strung twin. Krista, on the other hand, is quieter, very relaxed, and loves to tell jokes. They have two sisters, a brother, and a favorite pet. The girls are very lucky to have a big, supportive family.
Though Tatiana and Krista are happy young girls, their lives don’t come without some additional struggles besides being attached at the head. They have diabetes as well as epilepsy. The parents give daily insulin injections, have a daily medication regimen, and regular blood tests. They have separate organs, but their vascular system works by pumping blood through one twin and then the other.
The girls get along remarkably well, though they still do annoy each other sometimes. After all, they are still sisters. They play together and are very supportive of one another. Their family has been their biggest support, never telling them that they can’t do something.
“You have two little girls, who happen to be joined at the head, wanting to toboggan. How can you say no? You can’t. We don’t tell them they can’t do something.” said their grandfather Doug.