June and Jennifer Gibbons were twins born in 1963 in Wales. Their intense closeness and stellar intelligence garnered them attention from the media, who called them “The Silent Twins.” The name stems from the fact that they mostly only communicated with each other using a language they created. That all sounds nice…until they grew up and used their powers to commit crimes.
From then on, things went from weird to downright dangerous.
June and Jennifer Gibbons.
The Gibbons sisters were born to a West Indian couple who, shortly after their birth, moved the family to Wales. Growing up as the only black children at school made the girls feel ostracized. They spent most of their time with each other. They developed a strong cryptophasia language (secret language amongst twins) indiscernible to everyone else. They also moved in tandem, mirroring each other as they walked and spoke.
At 14, after being separated by different boarding schools (in which the girls refused to talk to anyone), the pair reunited and had a period of creative expression. They spent most of their time in their room playing with dolls. Those sessions suddenly became more refined, and the two began writing plays. Soon, both girls had several novels published by the time they were 18.
The two each had flings with American boys, sons of Navy men, who eventually left them heartbroken. The two turned to crime out of anger. After they were charged for petty theft and arson, Jennifer tried to strangle June with a power cord, and June threw Jennifer off a bridge. Their parents had no choice but to admit them to a hospital.
Hospitalization and Jennifer’s Death.
Things got really weird for the twins in the hospital, where they were given powerful drugs and treatments. The doctors, however, couldn’t stop their bizarre rituals. In fact, they grew even stranger. The sisters would decide who would breathe first each day; one twin would have to hold their breath until the other awoke. It was also determined that one of them would not make it out of the hospital alive, and that as soon as she died, the other would live a normal life. Jennifer told a reporter that it was going to be her who died. Sure enough, Jennifer collapsed in 1993 due to a rare heart condition, becoming truly silent.
After Jennifer’s death, June went on to live a fairly normal life, living independently from her parents in West Wales. Maybe the twins were right? Either way, this was clearly one of the most powerful connections between two human beings. It’s just sad that they couldn’t harness it for good.