The Silent Twins | Unexplained Mysteries

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April 06, 2019

The Silent Twins


June and Jennifer Gibbons were born on the 11th of April 1963. They were identical twins born in Aden in the Middle East to parents Gloria and Aubrey Gibbons. They moved to the UK with their family and lived in a small town in Wales.

Their Childhood


When the girls were young they would only communicate with each other and their younger sister Rose. They both had a speech impediment and were late speakers which made them hard to understand. This frustrated them so much they decided not to speak at all and it soon became a habit.

The twins were bullied relentlessly at school for being the only black children there, so the teachers started dismissing them 5 minutes early to avoid the bullies. The more they were bullied the less they spoke. This resulted in their speech becoming practically unintelligible to others, they became emotionless, and they would mirror each other's movements. For example, their walking would be synchronised, they would walk with their heads down, and whenever a person looked at them they would stop and only continue when they looked away.

This phenomenon is seen in twins a lot and is called Cryptophasia which means secret speech in Greek. It refers to the private languages used by children - especially twins - and is also known as twin talk or twin speak. Cryptophasia also includes mirrored actions and identical mannerisms.

Adolescence


At the age of 14, the girls were sent to different boarding schools in an effort to get them speaking to other people. Therapists had tried with no success and their parents felt this would help them out of their shells. However, when they were apart they became catatonic.

This only ended when the twins were reunited but they began to isolate themselves further and spent a lot of time in their room with Rose. They spent years together in their room creating plays with their dolls, giving them names, and even documenting their deaths. Eventually, they stopped talking to Rose when she got her own room.

One Christmas they were given matching red diaries and started writing. After studying a creative writing course together they went on to write several novels.

June wrote a story called Pepsi-Cola Addict that was set in an American high school about a teenager being seduced by a teacher. Jennifer wrote a novel called The Pugilist, a story about a physician that kills the family dog to use it's heart in a transplant to save their child's life. As you can see their novels were a bit on the strange side but they also wrote plays and short stories. 

As time went on the twins started to exhibit darker behaviour towards each other. On several occasions, they would fight and become extremely violent. Their fights would include scratching and strangling each other, and during one incident June tried to drown Jennifer. They both wrote regularly about their love-hate relationship in their diaries.

"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."

In their teens, they met a couple of American boys and started to go out a lot. They would dabble in drinking alcohol, having sex, and experimenting with marijuana. They did this because it helped them relax and they would talk and laugh more. When the boys told them they were leaving they started to commit petty crimes like shoplifting, which slowly escalated to setting fires to buildings and vandalism. As a result of their behaviour, they were sent to Broadmoor Hospital at the age of 19.

Life at Broadmoor Hospital


Broadmoor Hospital. Credit: Andrew Smith
When they arrived at Broadmoor they wouldn't talk to anyone, so they were given tranquillisers weekly to help them communicate with people. They were kept separated and would only communicate by writing to each other. When they tried to room the twins together it resulted in fighting and they would have to be separated again. June admitted that after the fighting they still loved each other, and they would be upset when they were split up again.

Even though the twins had been talking to others they were not released, and they spent a total of 12 years at Broadmoor. It wasn't until March 9th 1993 that the twins would be transferred to a lower security facility called Caswell Clinic. Allegedly before their transfer, Jennifer announced during a visit that the twins had decided she was going to die

While they were being transferred Jennifer said she felt unwell and she fell into what was described as a trance. When they arrived at Caswell Clinic she collapsed. Jennifer died in her sister's lap at only 29 years old. Her cause of death was sudden inflammation of the heart muscle. Her death is classed as a mystery as she was in good health at the time of her death, and no drugs or other substances were found in her system.

June was understandably grief-stricken by the death of her sister and wrote poems about her loss. However, it was reported that she also admitted feeling a sweet release. June wrote in her diary the night of her sister's death saying:

“Today my beloved twin sister Jennifer died. She is dead. Her heart stopped beating. She will never recognise me. Mom and Dad came to see her body. I kissed her stone-coloured face. I went hysterical with grief.”

June was released from Caswell Clinic a year after Jennifer's death and is now able to talk normally. She pursued her dreams of becoming a writer but unfortunately, it never took off. She now lives a quiet life close to her family in Wales. She visits her sisters grave regularly and wrote the following poem for her headstone:

"We once were two
We two made one
We no more two
Through life be one
Rest in peace"


The story of the 'Silent Twins' is commonly referred to as odd or creepy. Personally, I think it's a sad story about two sisters that struggled a lot from a young age with bullying and racism. Unfortunately, their relationship was unhealthy and would fluctuate between a deep love for one another and violent hatred.

Have you ever heard of the Silent Twins before? What is your opinion on their story? Please share below in the comments.
29 comments on "The Silent Twins | Unexplained Mysteries"
  1. What a fun post! I really enjoyed stumbling upon your blog today. I found myself really wrapped up in the story. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed my blog!

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  2. Aw I just love reading your posts but I'm often left feeling sad! haha I'm a softy. Crazy how Jennifer said "they decided she was going to die" ..Shivers! haha
    Very well written as always! :)

    Renee @ Maritime Mama

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    1. Sorry! Thank you so much for reading and commenting though. I am glad you enjoy my posts! :)

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  3. Interesting story, never heard of them before.

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  4. Very interesting and fascinating. Had never heard of this until I read your post x

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you found it interesting! It's an odd story indeed. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

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  5. Yeah I heard of this story before and always thought of it as a bit creepy, but actually you've shown it in a different way... It is really sad- they lived troubled lives for a long time!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :)

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  6. I've actually heard of the silent twins before and it genuinely made me so sad.
    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :)

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  7. I've never heard of these two before. Honestly it gave me the chills.
    Wonderfully researched and written as usual.
    - Nyxie

    www.nyxiesnook.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for reading! :)

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  8. Wow, I've never heard this story before. I agree, it's a sad story. Bullying can take it's toll on anyone and left these two girls isolated. Powerful read.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :D

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  9. OMG, I couldn't stop reading your post. I wanted to find out what happened next. But I must admit it was a scary story. You wrote it so well. Thank you Raheela

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    1. Aw thank you so much! I really appreciate you reading and commenting. :)

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  10. I really enjoyed this, although I agree with you, I think the story is actually quite sad rather than creepy. I'd be really interested in the psychology behind all this, particularly with June now speaking normally. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. :)

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  11. Yet another fascinating read! My friend who has 3 year old twins was only telling me the other day she's convinced they have a secret language! She says it's freaky and sounds really primitive, lots of grunts and shouts. As you say in your summary, more than anything this is a sad story of 2 sisters xxx

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    1. Aww, I think it's lovely that twins can be so close. I really appreciate you reading my post and commenting. Thank you so much! :)

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  12. I had never heard of them before and it's so sad! I was expecting it to be a lot older than it actually was, I hope that June continues to find some peace in life.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it! :)

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  13. Wow, this post was fascinating. I never heard of this condition before and had never read about these twins!
    Joan Senio
    My Best Friend Adeline
    https://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Glad you enjoyed my post! :)

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  14. I love this post! I never knew any of this about these twins! Thank you for sharing! I am looking forward to more of your posts!

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  15. Such a sad story! But loved reading it. You really feel like June is alone in the world after her sister dies.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting and reading. :) I am glad you enjoyed the post!

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