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 1963, the girls were originally from Barbados but relocated to the United Kingdom. The pair rarely spoke to anyone but one another and were eventually institutionalized because of their increasingly violent behavior. After over a decade in the Broadmoor Hospital - a maximum security psychiatric institution - the sisters calmly revealed that Jennifer had agreed to die so that June could live a normal life. Then, for seemingly no reason, Jennifer did just that.
The cause of Jennifer's death was identified as unexplainable heart failure, and the fate of the silent Gibbons twins remains a mystery. 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. In 1986, British investigative journalists Marjorie Wallace released the true crime biography The Silent Twins, detailing the strange and powerful relationship between the girls.
The intense bond between June and Jennifer was not always a good one. In fact, the girls seemingly held a lot of disdain for one another and often wrote disturbing diary entries about their relationship. June once wrote that her sister was driving her insane and that she feared her greatly. Jennifer, on the other hand, expressed her own sentiments that seem to have foreshadowed her untimely demise.
Jennifer claimed that they had "become fatal enemies in each other’s eyes." She described June as her shadow, writing: “Without my shadow, would I die? Without my shadow, would I gain life, be free or left to die?”
After leaving school, the girls became increasingly violent and unpredictable. They began drinking heavily, using marijuana, and often lashed out at each other physically. The twins even attempted to kill one another. June once tried to drown Jennifer in a local river, and Jennifer tried to strangle June with a radio cord.
This type of behavior is ultimately what led to the pair being institutionalized. In October of 1981, June and Jennifer burned down a tractor store together and caused $200,000 worth of damage. They then vandalized and attempted to burn down a local technical college.
In March of 1993, journalist Marjorie Wallace visited Broadmoor Hospital to interview the sisters, who were about to be transferred to the Caswell Clinic, a lower security institution in Wales. While drinking tea, Jennifer calmly stated that she had decided to die so that June could live a normal life.
On the way to the new institution, Jennifer slept throughout the trip with her eyes open, and by the time they reached the new clinic, she was unresponsive and later pronounced dead. She passed from inflammation of her heart, but no clear cause of the inflammation was found. Jennifer was otherwise in good health and had no drugs or alcohol in her system.
After Jennifer passed, June opened up about how the girls ended up alienating themselves by speaking in their own language. The girls spoke in a sped up version of English accompanied by synchronized gestures. While this started out as a game, it went on for so long that both girls felt the secret language "trapped" and isolated them. June expressed this in one entry:
We are both holding each other back....There is a murderous gleam in her eye. Dear Lord, I am scared of her. She is not normal. She is having a nervous breakdown. Someone is driving her insane. It is me.
Wallace later commented that the girls' diaries revealed how their close relationship also made them feel "possessed" and "tortured"