Babylon Wales: The Pepsi-Cola AddictBorn on an RAF base to Barbadian immigrant parents in , June and Jennifer, the third and fourth of what would eventually be five children, were noticeably different from their peers almost from birth. The infants fought to be breast-fed simultaneously. When they entered school in a Welsh village at four years old, they were reticent, but by eight, though they read and wrote proficiently, they had simply stopped speaking—to their teachers, classmates, and even their parents, beyond a few nonverbal noises and monosyllabic answers to routine questions. The most common theory was that Jennifer, the younger by ten minutes and widely considered the less intelligent, was controlling her sister. Eventually, a specialist in elective mutism determined, after slowing down audio recordings she had made of the their discourse, that the twins were speaking regular English but so quickly that it was unrecognizable to the average listener. They moved in languid tandem. The only physical activity they seemed to perform with any ease was horseback riding, but if one fell off, the other would immediately follow suit.
We Two Made One
In fiction there are lots of scary twins. Just think of those creepy little girls in The Shining. In the real world, most twins consider themselves lucky to have a companion who shares their genes and their history. But for some twins, like Jennifer and June Gibbons, that unique bond becomes more of a curse. In the end, June and Jennifer decided one of them would have to die so the other one could go on living.
Twins are just one of those phenomena that the horror genre loves — they appear in innumerable horror movies and novels because the thought of two people functioning as one unit tends to weird people out. This pair was bullied and ostracized from a young age and eventually spent years isolated with only each other, spiraling deeper into their elaborate fantasy worlds. When they reached their teen years, they began committing petty crimes and got committed to Broadmoor hospital, where stranger things about their relationship were recorded. June and Jennifer Gibbons were born on April 11, Their parents, Gloria and Aubrey Gibbons, were from Barbados but moved with the girls to Wales when they were very young. The sisters were always together and soon found that being the only black children in their community made them easy to be bullied and ostracized.
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Jul 13, I Found a Rare Copy of June Allison Gibbons' Outsider Novel June and Jennifer did speak to each other in what sounded like rapid-fire.
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See a Problem?
They became known as "The Silent Twins" since they only communicated with each other. They began writing works of fiction but later turned to crime.
Metaphors sustain us. For most of their lives together, they refused to speak to anyone but each other—a refusal that led to their emotional exile, their institutionalization, and, eventually, to the misguided appropriation of their story by activists and theorists who used it to pose questions about the nature of identity and the strange birthright that twins are forced to bear. It is a cold, gray day, the kind of day that Americans, reading English novels, imagine being far more picturesque than the reality. The long train hugs the coast, close enough for me to see the gray-green water rolling and lapping—almost close enough for me to reach out and touch it. As the train approaches the Haverfordwest station, I see June Gibbons, the only black person on the platform. She spots me, too, the only black person on the train, and she nods as I disembark.
June and Jennifer Gibbons, known as "The Silent Twins," have been a source of curiosity ever since their bizarre story made headlines in the '80s and '90s. While twins are often very close, June and Jennifer took their twin bond to a whole new level. Born in , the girls were originally from Barbados but relocated to the United Kingdom. Then, for seemingly no reason, Jennifer did just that. Due to their volatile relationship, some believe June had something to do with Jennifer's death while others think that Jennifer somehow took her own life.