Barbados 1963 twin girls were born their names were June and Jennifer Gibson. Their parents were absolutly thrilled by the birth of their precious baby girls. What they didnt know is the strangness and heartfelt dismay these twin girls would bestow upon the world. They would go on to create a blood pact and an impossibly strong bond and tradgedy.
They were daughters to immigrants Gloria and Aubrey Gibons, Gloria was a housewife and Aubrey worked as a technician for the Royal Air Force. Shortly after their birth in Barbados their family moved to Havenford Wales.
The twins started talking late and when they finally did speak, their words came out garbled. They chirped and squeaked, and enunciating the wrong syllables. No one else could understand them, it were as if they were speaking a foreign language.
As they grew the girls became inseparable and their use of high speed Bajan Creole made it difficult for people to understand them. They were the only Black children at school, leaving them feeling ostracized and unable to make other friends.
The inability to properly communicate or socialize with other students at school proved tramatic for June and Jennifer, so much infact that the school administrators decided to dismiss them early each day from class so they might avoid bullying from other classmates.
This isolation caused the girls relationship to evolve in rather strange ways. Their language became even more idiosyncratic at this time. Soon it was unintellegible to others. Their private language qualified as an example of cryptophasia, a phenomenon of a language developed by twins that only the two children could understand. The language was followed by mirrored motor functioning, exemplified by the twins simultaneous actions, which often mimicked each other.
In one documented account while one doctor was giving them a vaccination, he noted that neither of them spoke. They both moved in a sort of synchronicity. Eventually the twins spoke to no one except each other and their younger sister Rose.
When the twins turned 14, a succession of therepisits tried unsuccessfully to get them to communicate with others. They were sent to seperate bording schools in an attempt to break their isolation, but the pair became catatonic and entirely withdrawn when parted.
When they were reunited the two spent several years isolating themselves in their bedroom engaged in elaborate plays with dolls. They created many plays and stories in a sort of soap opera style, reading some of them outlous while recording themselves and gving them to their sister as gifts. Inspired by a pair of gift diaries at Christmas 1979, they began their writing careers. They sent away for a mail order course in creative writing and each wrote several novels. Set primarily in the United States and particularly in Malibu, California, the stories involve young men and women who exhibit strange and often criminal behavior.
In Junes, Pepsi Addict the high school hero was seduced by a teacher then sent away to a reform school where homosexual guards make advances towards him. In Jennifer's, The Pugilist, a physician is so eager to save his childs life that he kills the family dog to obtain its heart for a transplant. The dogs spirit lives on in the child and ultimately has its revenge against the father.
Jennifer also wrote Discomania, the story of a young woman who discovers that the atmosphere of a local disco incites patrons to acts of violence. She followed up with the Taxi Drivers Son, a radio play called Postman and Postwoman, and several short stories. Their novels were published by a self publishing press called New Horizons, and they made many attempts to sell short stories to magazines, however they were unsuccessful. One of Jennifers stories seemed to be a parallel for their lives. She writes "The two parrots whos names were Polly and Perkins, often talked of how they longed to get back to their native land. Sometimes they would ask the watchers to open the cage door and let them out. Some of the children who were watching asked their parents if they could take the parrots home with them. Sometimes, before the parents had to answer, one parrot would kindly say "we're not for sale" Then the other parrot would say the same.
By the time the girls reached 15 the girls committed a number of crimes including arson. Which led to them being admitted to Broadmoor Hospital, a high security mental health hospital. They remained there for 14 years. June later blamed this lengthy sentence on their selective muteness.
"Juvenile delinquents get two years in prison, we got 12 years of hell because we didnt speak. We lost hope, really, I wrote a letter to the Queen, asking for her to get us out. But we are trapped."
The girls were placed on high doses of anti psychotic medications, and they found themselves unable to concentrate. Jennifer developed Tardive Dyskinesia ( a neurological disorder resulting in involuntary, repetitive movements). Their medications were apparently adjusted sufficiently to allow them to continue the large amounts of diaries they had begun in 1980. They were able to join the hospital choir, but they lost most of their interest in creative writing.
The doctors thought June and Jennifer were deeply disturbed and dangerous. Some days only one twin would eat and the next day the other would indulge as her sister starved. Other times the nurses would find them frozen in the same pose, even though they were locked in cells on opposite ends of the hospital. Marjorie Wallace a TV host visited the twins every weekend and read diary entry after diary entry in which the twins wrote about how trapped or even sometimes possessed or tortured they felt by each other.
Jennifer wrote in a diary entery, "We have become fatal enemies in each others eyes. We feel the irritarting deadly rays come out of our bodies, stinging each others skin. I say to myself, can I get rid of my own shadow, would I die? Without my shadow, would I gain life, be free or left to die? Without my shadow, which I identify with a face of misery, deception, murder."
"Nobody suffers the way I do, not with a sister, with a husband, yes, with a wife, yes with a child, yes, but this sister of mine, a dark shadow robbing me of sunlight, is my one and only torment."
The case achieved some notice due to newspaper coverage by The Sunday Times journalist Marjorie Wallace. The British tabloid "The Sun" gave a brief but acurate account of their story, headlined "Genius Twins Wont Speak"The girls always had a long-standing agreement that if one died, the other must begin to speak and live a normal life.
During their stay in the hospital, they began to believe that it was necessary for one of them to die. Broadmoor staff claimed to hear June and Jennifer quarrelling violently about who would be the one to die. Afte much discussion, Jennifer agreed to be the sacrifice. In March 1993, the twins were transferred from Broadmoor to the more open Caswell Clinic in Bridgend, Wales.
The night of the transfer a car came to pick them up. Jennifer had been acting strangely for about a day before their release, her speech was slurred and she said that she was dying. They turned and they looked at the gates of Broadmoor. It had big green gates, and as the gates closed Jennifer slumped on June's shoulder. She fell into a coma. Jennifer was immediately helped into bed by the staff. By 6:15 that night she has been taken to the hospital as a precaution and very shortly after was pronounced dead.
June wnet to visit her sisters body afterwards and laid a single red rose on her chest.
The cause of Jennifers death still remains a mystery. The autopsy revealed acute myocarditis, a sudden inflammation of the heart. The coroner never found any poison in her body. Some doctors thought the high dose of medication she took at Broadmoor might have weakened her immune system, but the twins had recieved the same treatment during their time in Broadmoor. June was in good health when Jennifer died.
Jennifer is now buried under a headstone engraved with a poem written by June. It reads "We once were two/We two made one/We no more two/Through life be one/Rest in peace.
Revealed that on a visit a few days later, Wallace recounted tht June "was in a strange mood." She said, "Im free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up on her life for me".
After Jennifer's death, June gave intervviews with Harpers Bazaar and The Guardian. By 2008 she was living quietly and independently, near her parents in West Wales. She was o longer monitored by psychiatric services, was accepted by her community and sought to put the past behind me.
A 2016 interview with her isiter Greta revealed that the family was deeply troubled by the girls incarceration. She blamed Broadmoor for ruining their lives and for neglecting Jennifers health. She had wanted to file a lawsuit against Broodmoor, but Aubrey and Gloria refused, saying it would not bring Jennifer back. June who dreamed of marriage, children and becoming a writer, has not fulfilled and of her ambitions.
Instead she lives in a rented house on the center of the town and rarely goes out except for visiting her family and meeting with them for special occasions.