From Rivalry to Resilience: 50 Facts About Siblings

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26Woman Alive at Own Funeral

Woman Alive at Own Funeral

In a remarkable incident from 1915, a woman was discovered to be alive after her sister arrived late to her funeral and demanded to see her one last time. Upon excavation, the supposedly deceased woman sat up and smiled, astonishing onlookers. She went on to live for another 47 years.

27. Genetic sexual attraction refers to the phenomenon where individuals with similar genes experience mutual attraction, potentially leading to complex emotional dynamics. However, this tendency is often countered by the Westermarck effect, wherein individuals raised together typically do not develop mutual attraction as adults. Consequently, separated siblings who reunite in adulthood face an elevated risk of experiencing such attraction.

28. Charles II of Spain's extreme inbreeding resulted in a genome more homozygous than that of a child born to parents who are siblings, underscoring the profound genetic consequences of his lineage.

29. Prince Philip faced constraints regarding his wedding guest list in 1947 when he was not permitted to invite his three sisters due to their marriages to German noblemen, a gesture deemed inappropriate in postwar Britain.

30. Notably, there has never been a US president who was an only child. Each president in history has had at least one sibling.

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31Jack Nicholson's Family Secret

Jack Nicholson's Family Secret

Jack Nicholson's upbringing was marked by a startling revelation: he grew up believing his mother was his sister. At 17, his mother, June, unmarried, gave birth to him, prompting her parents to raise Jack as their own child, with June posing as his sister. This truth was unveiled to Jack by reporters from Time magazine in 1974.

32. Judit Polgár, the youngest and most accomplished of the three chess prodigy sisters, is widely hailed as the greatest female player in the history of the game. Raised intentionally by their father, László Polgár, the sisters were groomed to become chess masters, serving as a testament to his belief that "Geniuses are made, not born."

33. Studies indicate that older siblings, on average, enjoy longer lifespans and possess higher IQs, while younger siblings tend to engage in more sexual activity.

34. The only siblings to both secure lead acting Oscars are Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, whose nearly 70-year-long estrangement stemmed from a well-known feud, enduring until Joan's passing in 2013.

35. A 1999 study led by developmental psychologist Dr. Kramer and her team documented episodes of sibling conflict, revealing an average frequency of one conflict every 20 minutes spent together.

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36Caracalla and Geta Imperial Feud

Caracalla and Geta Imperial Feud

Sibling Roman Emperors Caracalla and Geta harbored such intense animosity toward each other that they divided the imperial palace into two halves, akin to a contrived sitcom plot.

37. Lactose intolerance serves as a mechanism in mammals to encourage older siblings to cease nursing once younger siblings arrive, facilitating the transition.

38. Secret languages developed by twin siblings are termed cryptophasia. Twins experiencing a delay in phonological development are more prone to developing cryptophasia.

39. When parents inadvertently address their children using incorrect names or the names of their siblings, it is not indicative of memory decline or aging. Rather, it reflects how the brain categorizes names.

40. After Nietzsche's death, his sister Elisabeth curated and edited his manuscripts, reworking Nietzsche's unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while often contradicting or distorting his stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism.

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41China's Twin Birth Spike

China's Twin Birth Spike

Following the implementation of the one-child policy in China, reported twin births surged twofold as parents resorted to fertility treatments and occasionally misrepresented regular siblings as twins.

42. One survey has found that the youngest siblings are a parent's favorites.

43. In a remarkable twist of fate in 1980, Robert Shafran discovered he had a twin brother, Edward Galland, when a fellow student, Michael Domnitz, recognized their uncanny resemblance. This chance encounter set off a chain of events that garnered media attention, ultimately leading to the revelation that they were actually triplets. They soon found their third brother, David Kellman, revealing they had been separated at birth for a secretive psychological study.

44. In a startling turn of events, a pair of British twins, raised apart by different adoptive families, fell in love and married, only to later discover that they were biological siblings.

45. The saga of the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley, saw their residence filled with an astonishing 100 tons of random objects. Langley, in a bid to protect his reclusive brother, constructed a maze of tunnels equipped with lethal traps. Tragically, Langley perished in one of his own traps, leaving Homer to succumb to starvation.

46Russian Prison Switch Scandal

Russian Prison Switch Scandal

In a daring scheme that unfolded in Russia in 2002, two brothers from a set of triplets, Roman and Ruslan, executed a plan to fool prison authorities. Roman, one of the brothers, swapped places with Ruslan while incarcerated, granting him a fleeting taste of freedom. However, Ruslan seized the opportunity to evade capture and absconded with his brother's girlfriend, leading to a prolonged pursuit by authorities who only realized the deception years later.

47. Anne Frank's older sister, Margot, also kept a diary, but no trace of it has ever been found.

48. Troubled sibling relationships have been linked to the onset of major depression and drug use in adulthood, irrespective of family history. Surprisingly, factors such as the quality of parenting, early parental death, birth order, and family size showed no significant association with adult depression.

49. Studies have shown that 1-year-old children with older siblings mimic approximately half of their older siblings' behaviors.

50. Osama bin Laden hailed from a large family, boasting 53 siblings. Following his father Mohammed's demise in a private plane crash during the 1960s, more than 20 wives were left behind to tend to the extensive family.

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