“We have become fatal enemies in each other’s eyes.”
A rather mysterious case of a pair of twin sisters, namely Jennifer and June Gibbons, has caught our attention. Wait till you read it, it’s definitely going to stay in your mind for some time. Let’s cut straight to it, shall we?
June and Jennifer Gibbons were born in Barbados in 1963. They grew famous as the Silent Twins because they spoke ONLY with each other, not even their parents.
In fact, they spoke in a language that was gibberish to others. A language only these two could decipher. Putting them in a school in Wales, where the family had moved, turned disastrous after the girls were browbeaten there owing to their colour. Their reclusiveness only aggravated.
When they grew to 14 years of age, June and Jennifer were sent to therapists and separate boarding schools in order to help them interact with others. However, that too, proved futile because they just wouldn’t come out of their reclusive state. They were subsequently reunited at the advice of the doctors who had seen their efforts fail.
Post their reunion, the girls stayed in their room for years, wrote in their diaries and performed plays for each other. They penned down strange things in their diaries. June wrote, “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.”
And an excerpt from Jennifer’s diary states, “We have become fatal enemies in each other’s eyes. We feel the irritating deadly rays come out of our bodies, stinging each other’s skin. I say to myself, can I get rid of my own shadow, impossible or not possible? Without my 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.”
The sisters further wrote novels separately- dark ones. Their stories included men and women who indulged in criminal activities.
June wrote Pepsi-Cola Addict, a story about a high-school hero who, after being seduced by a teacher, is sent off to a reformatory only to be abused by a homosexual security guard. Jennifer, on the other hand, wrote three novels and several short stories along with a play for radio. Her novels include The Pugilist, Discomania and Taxi-Driver’s Son.
As a consequence of their written works’ failure, June and Jennifer resorted to criminal activities including theft, choking each other and burning a building down.
Subsequently, the court charged them with arson and they were sent to a high-security mental facility, the Broadmoor Hospital. The judge had spared them normal imprisonment owing to their mental state. The girls spent 14 years at the hospital.
Their behaviour at the hospital bewildered the doctors. If one would eat one day, the other would starve herself and they would take turns to eat and starve. Although they both were confined to separate cells in opposite ends, the nurses found them frozen in exactly the same weird positions.
While in the hospital, they thought that one of them would have to die in order for the other to live normally. Before the girls were going to be transferred to Caswell Clinic, a journalist, namely Marjorie Wallace, interviewed them in 1993.
“Marjorie, Marjorie, I’m going to have to die… Because we decided,” Jennifer told the journalist.
And die she did. On the way to the clinic, Jennifer retired to June’s lap with her eyes open. One reaching their destination, she was found dead. A sudden inflammation of the heart was cited as the cause of her mysterious demise.
Later, June told Marjorie, “I’m free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.”
Quite interestingly, June started interacting absolutely normally with the people around her, after her twin’s death. She did not need psychiatric monitoring by 2008. She resides in Wales.
Jennifer’s tombstone bears a poem written by June. It says, “We once were two/We two made one/We no more two/Through life be one/Rest in peace.”