The Adopted Twins Who Accidently Married Each Other Are An Urban Myth

I still read various “marriage movement” blogs, out of habit and because it’s easier for me to walk on the treadmill if I can read something that pisses me off. A few have posted references to this story from Britland:

The harrowing story of twins who were separated at birth and married each other without realising they were brother and sister was revealed today. [...] The couple’s plight was revealed by the former Liberal Democrat MP Lord Alton, who is fighting for children to have greater rights to know the identity of their biological parents.

The peer, who raised the twins’ story during a House of Lords debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, said: “I learned of this heartbreaking story from the High Court judge who dealt with the case.

As Heresy Corner argues, it seems likely that Lord Alton either made the story up (purposely or through mishearing) or credulously fell for an urban myth.

Lord Alton told the House of Lords that he had learned of the case from the judge who decided it. Later, pressed by the Sun, he admitted that the judge he spoke to might only have been “familiar” with the case. To date, no judge has come forward, even off the record, to confirm having had such a conversation with the noble lord. The senior Family Division judge stated, on the record, that he was unaware of any such case. In any event, annulment cases normally only reach the High Court when there are complex financial issues at stake, or the legality of the marriage is in real dispute. Neither is likely to have been the case here.

(I agree with Alton, by the way, that children should “have greater rights to know the identity of their biological parents.” But there are legitimate reasons to favor that policy; no need to drag in the scary campfire stories.)

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6 Responses to The Adopted Twins Who Accidently Married Each Other Are An Urban Myth

  1. 1
    Thene says:

    I knew it I knew it I knew it. I remember perusing newsstands with a friend when it happened, saying I refused to believe any story that vague, however private the circumstances; that it would be too easy for the story to have been made up. Am glad that’s been more or less settled now.

  2. 2
    Silenced is Foo says:

    This was called in the Fark thread when the story broke.

    No names = urban legend.

    Still, I’ve always figured that the identity of the child/parent should only be revealed if they _both_ express an interest in being reintroduced to each other.

  3. 3
    Winter Sea says:

    Er, there’s an eerily similar case in Germany. I’m pretty a story stops being an urban myth when reporters are able to find actual people filing actual lawsuits because they might actually go to jail.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6424937.stm

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Winter, I think an essential part of the urban myth we’ve been seeing is that the fictional twins married accidentally, not knowing they were siblings. The real-life German couple, in contrast, knew perfectly well they were siblings when they got together and had children.

    “Sometimes brothers and sisters knowingly break incest taboos” isn’t nearly as good a story as the myth version, and I suspect that’s partly why the myth version has gotten so much more press attention than the real-life version.

  5. 5
    Daran says:

    I’m pretty a story stops being an urban myth when reporters are able to find actual people filing actual lawsuits because they might actually go to jail.

    It doesn’t stop being an urban legend:

    Folks commonly equate ‘urban legend’ with ‘false’ (i.e., “Oh, that’s an urban legend!”). Though the vast majority of such tales are pure invention, a handful do turn out to be based on real incidents, and whether or not something actually happened has no bearing on its status as an urban legend. What lifts true tales of this type out of the world of news and into the genre of contemporary lore is the blurring of details and multiplicity of claims that the events happened locally, alterations which take place as the stories are passed through countless hands. Though there might indeed have been an original actual event, it clearly did not happen to as many people or in as many places as the various recountings of it would have us believe.

    Ostension

    Ostension is a folkloric term for the process of unwittingly acting out or mimicking the greater part (if not the entirety) of an urban legend that is already part of the body of lore. More simply, if the events described in an urban legend which had been around since 1950 actually did indeed spontaneously play out in real life in 1992, that would be an example of ostension.

  6. Good catch. Fox reported this as true, and I had passed it on here: http://www.stripcreator.com/comics/arbi/418540