The silent twins
June and Jennifer Gibbons were identical twins born to a Caribbean couple in 1963. The family moved to Haverfordwest, Wales, shortly after the children’s birth.
From the time they learned to speak, June and Jennifer had a particular high-speed patois that made it difficult for people to understand them. Being the only black children at their school, they were frequently bullied by their peers. The bullying led to their special language becoming even more irregular, to the point where no one could understand what they said.
At 14 they were sent to separate boarding schools, to encourage them to thrive on their own. Both girls became catatonic and were quickly reunited. Following their reunion, they spent several years locked in their room, playing with dolls, putting on operas for one another, and writing.
They wrote several short stories that they self-published. The stories tend to revolve around criminality and sex. After the stories failed to garner any attention, they left the confines of their room and started living in the real world. They continued to speak with no one but each other. They started committing crimes such as arson, theft, and assaulting one another. A judge ruled that they need to be committed, and they were sent to Broadmoor Hospital, where they remained for 14 years.
In 1993 it was decided that the twins would be transferred to Caswell Clinic, a lower-security facility. When the twins arrived at Caswell, Jennifer was found to be unresponsive. She was rushed to the hospital but later pronounced dead. The cause of death was acute myocarditis or a sudden inflammation of the heart. No drugs or poisons were found in her system.
A few days after Jennifer’s death, June was reported to say, “I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.”