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Human Mirror

July 31, 2008

Human Mirror

For our latest mission, we filled a subway car with identical twins, creating a human mirror. Enjoy the video first and then see below for our report with tons of photos.

(also available on YouTube)
edited by Matt Adams / song by Tyler Walker

Our mailing list has grown so large that we’ve started brainstorming different ways to narrow it down. Last summer, we found out how many redheads we could recruit, and this time around we sent out a request for identical twins. Within a day we heard from over 50 pairs. Most of the twins could not make the day and time of the mission, but we were delighted to have 8 pairs turn out, nearly all of whom had never participated in one of our missions before.

We actually did this mission a second time a few weeks later. The first attempt was a total success in terms of how it unfolded live, but our video footage wasn’t as good as we knew it could be. It’s very difficult to capture audience reaction to a mission like this in the subway while still keeping our cameras hidden. We invested in some wireless microphones and a new button camera and gave it a second shot.


The second set of twinsOnly two of the original sets of twins (the Vieyra and Port sisters) could make the second mission. They were joined by 8 new sets who couldn’t make the first date. It was nice to involve more people. We even had some high school twins this time around. The Krueger brothers weren’t present for the group photo above, but did make it on the train.


The Kruger twins, age 16
We had some fun taking posed photosI instructed the twins via email to do everything they could to look identical. They did an awesome job dressing exactly alike and matching accessories. It really was impossible to tell them apart, especially when meeting 8 pairs at the same time.


The Barrett twins both had iPhones
The Drinkwater twins matched several accessories
The Port twins
The Doro twins
The Rosenblum twins I explained the mission to everyone. We would get on the 6 train at the start of the line at Brooklyn Bridge and the twins would sit on either side of the car, directly across from their sibling. Once in place, their job would be to mirror each other as closely as possible. If one scratches his head, so should the other. If anyone asked them what was going on, they should claim not to notice anything unusual and not to even be able to see their sibling.

Even before the mission started, we were attracting tons of attention. People were running up to us and snapping photos of the twins at the meeting point. Several folks stopped to gawk as we walked to the subway. The hot dog vendor above couldn’t stop laughing.

The start of the first mission was particularly funny to watch because our agents weren’t able to get every seat in a row. There was a man quietly reading on the bench, and our agents surrounded him.

He sat and read his entire journey and exited not knowing what had gone on around him. To be fair, there were several people seated on train who didn’t notice at first what was happening. If you were only looking at one side of the car it seemed perfectly normal. It was easy to see if you were standing, but those seated had to look to their sides to get what was going on.


A woman quietly smiles This couple was from Sweden. They were among the first the notice the mirror, and immediately started laughing and taking photographs. The woman theorized that there must be some sort of twin conference happening in town.


A man looks back one last time as he exits the train
The twins exit the train at 96th street
People coming down the stairs realize an army of twins is passing byAs with most of our missions, we got all sorts of reactions from all sorts of people. Most folks laughed quietly to themselves. A few got really excited and started asking others on the train if they knew what it was. Some were bold enough to try to talk to the twins. Some pretended not to notice and kept to themselves. Some genuinely didn’t notice.

Agent Cobalt recalled one particularly good reaction:

One of the best reactions I saw unfortunately was not captured on video to my knowledge- I think it was on the first time around and a tanned middle aged woman with permed hair and a rough makeup job was sitting on the train completely surrounded by twins. She sat there for quite awhile without noticing. Then she looked up and must have seen it in the reflection of the window across from her because she did a startled quadruple take to the left and right. At first she let out an uncomfortable laugh but at that early stage nearly everyone on the train was either a hidden camera person or a twin and no one reacted to her confusion. This made her noticeably more uncomfortable so she got up and moved to another part of the car and stared at the floor till her stop. She certainly had the look of someone questioning their sanity- an awkward testament to the stellar job all the twins did in coordinating their outfits, accessories, hair, and actions- the Rosenblum twins had the same song queued on their iPods- that’s the level of dedication these agents had.


The freaked out womanThe second time around was just as much fun.

This woman and her husband were really excited. “I thought it was a mirror,” she told me. The both decided to get to the bottom of it and talk to the twins, but our agents stayed in character and acted like they were crazy. It was fun to watch people like them get on the train and slowly notice the twins. At first they might just see one or two pairs, but then they’d look to the other side of the car and see seven more pairs.


A man snaps a photo as he leaves the train
This woman saw the mirror as soon as she stepped on the train You may recognize the Stone twins from their appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. They’re a stand up comedy duo.

Of all of the people we encountered, the women pictured above were our favorites. They could not stop laughing and talking to everyone about what was going on. The woman on the left did a literal double take when she first saw the mirror (which you can see in the video.) I sat across from them with my button camera recording as they tried to figure it all out.


One of the Stone brothers makes the other pick his nose As we were waiting to board a downtown train after the mission was over, two guys were going crazy across the platform, waving and laughing.

Mission Accomplished


OTHER RESOURCES:

-More photos:
Agent Sokoler’s Flickr Set
Agent Nicholson’s Flickr Set

Another twin mirror prank from a German TV prank show.

If this is your first time here:
-our other 70+ missions can be seen here: Missions
-sign up for our RSS feed
-New Yorkers join our NY Agents list
-everyone else can get involved in their town at The Urban Prankster Network

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