June and Jennifer Gibbons, The Silent Twins
Here’s a great example of how a little online sleuthing can really inspire an author. After stumbling upon June and Jennifer Gibbons, I immediately wrote a piece about my own pair of spooky twins. While my story is fictional, the story of The Silent Twins isn’t, and it’s just as eerie — with a mysterious, tragic end.
June and Jennifer Gibbons were born in Barbados and moved with their parents to Wales after their birth. Life was hard for the daughters of Caribbean immigrants; they were the only black children in their community, not popular in school, and spoke so quickly that it was hard for anyone outside their family to understand what they were saying. After being bullied and ostracized, their language became even more difficult to interpret and eventually became completely unintelligible.
As many children who don’t fit in tend to do (*ahem*), the twins found an outlet through creative writing. Their stories were usually set in the United States and revolved around young men and women exhibiting strange, criminal behavior. They penned a few novels and tried selling their pieces to magazines without success. So, understandably, they turned to a glamorous life of crime. Who wouldn’t? Rejection sucks!
After being charged with a number of illegal activities including arson, they were committed to Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security insane asylum. They remained there for 14 years, silent and despondent.
Sad, yes, but not really all that creepy, right? Well, according to journalist Marjorie Wallace, the twins had a long-standing agreement that if one died, the other was supposed to get her shit together and start living a normal life. During their years in the mental hospital, they became obsessed with the idea that one of them HAD to die in order for the other twin to speak again. Like a champ, Jennifer decided to be the “sacrifice”.
In March of 1993, they were transferred to a clinic with less security; upon arriving, Jennifer didn’t wake up. She was rushed to the hospital and died soon after of acute myocarditis, a sudden inflammation of the heart. Doctors were stumped. There was no evidence of drugs or poison in her system, and she’d never had heart problems before. Weird, right?
And guess what? June DID get her shit together. No longer committed to a mental institution, she lives a quiet life near her parents and was even quoted as saying, “I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.” So basically, Jennifer took one for the team — literally. What has your sister done for YOU lately?