In the mid-2000’s, a pair of conjoined twins, Abby and Brittany Hensel, made a splash. They graced The Oprah Winfrey Show, appeared—twice!—on the cover of LIFE magazine, and were the subject of a Discovery Health Channel documentary. The Hensel twins are a fascinating duo, not just born at the same time but also sharing the same body. They’ve been the one of the most unusual cases of twins—until now.
Sue and Cara Zeitgeist are twins living on the remote island of Manhattan. They are identical in every way, both sporting long brown hair, watery blue eyes, and too much eyeliner. They enjoy all the same activities.
“We both love puppies, we both do musical theater, and we both cannot stop listening to the new Taylor Swift album. We’re twins!” says Sue.
“Literally same,” adds Cara.
The twins are alike in every respect except for one: Their age. That’s right. These twins arrived seven years apart. Sue was born in 1993; Cara, 2000. But how is such a thing possible? For an explanation, we went straight to the (literal) source: Their mother.
“We don’t have twins,” she said. “Our girls are not twins. You really shouldn’t call them twins, it’s a very dumb joke. In fact, my husband and I specifically planned to have our girls 7 years apart, which is what we did.”
Medically, this 7-year defect is very rare. Twins are typically born with a bit of a delay — a few minutes to a few hours. Some even have separate birthdays, due to being born just before and just after midnight. The Zeitgest girls were not only born 7 years apart, but Ms. Zeitgest went out of labor and then back into labor in the time between Sue and Cara’s births.
Sue recalls, “I lived a full life before my twin, Cara, was born. It was like I was an only child, and then I had a twin.”
These girls are twins, no doubt about it. They have the same favorite meal (“sushi!!!”); they both do their homework on Macbook Airs; they share an obsession with velvet; and they are addicted to wearing each other’s shoes. Additionally, they claim a certain telepathic twin-feeling, the sort that many twins have been known to report.
“I feel when Sue is upset. Usually because she yells at me,” Cara confides.
“It’s scary how she can tell,” Sue confirms. “Just because I’m screaming in her ear.”
The twins admit it can be difficult to be constantly having to explain themselves.
“People have a certain expectations of what twins are,” Sue says, “You know like the girls who played the Parent Trap twins or the twins from The Social Network. Sometimes, we just get tired, so we say we’re sisters.”
“It’s just easier,” Cara nods.
It’s true that if you look closely, you can almost identify the 7-year age difference. There’s a slight 5-inch difference in height, and a miniscule 30-pound difference in weight. Additionally, Sue has years of liver-damage from drinking legally, and Cara’s been semi-responsible, and her organs are in relatively good condition.
“At the end of the day, we love each other, and we love the fact that we’re twins,” Sue says, hugging Cara.
“We really love the fact that we’re twins,” Cara agrees, in a slightly strangled voice from being hugged so tightly. “Probably more than we love each other.”
SOPHIE ZUCKER (T.A.) is a comedian-slash-child-star who loves musicals and slime. She has appeared in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and has written and produced videos for Jill Soloway’s wifey.tv. She wrote, produced, and starred in a million sold-out shows in New York and is now a TV writer in L.A.. @mightyzucks