Secret of the ‘silent twins’ or sisters who haven’t talked to anyone for almost 30 years

Society is always on the guard of “normality” and is ready to ostracize everything that goes beyond instantly. Unusual behavior immediately distinguishes a person in the general mass. So it happened with the twins, unlike any other, the Gibbons sisters.

They became famous all over the world as “silent twins”. For three decades they did not speak to anyone but each other. In a world where everyone should be about the same, the girls turned out to be superfluous. Nobody understood them, they were considered monsters. The mystery and tragedy of strange sisters puzzled many people,

Birth of the silent twins

June and Jennifer Gibbons were born on April 11, 1963, at the British military hospital in Aden, Yemen. Their parents, Gloria and Aubrey Gibbons were from Barbados.

In the 1960s, the family moved to Wales. Aubrey was offered a job as a technician in the Royal Air Force. In addition to the twins, the couple had three more children: older sister Greta, brother David and younger Rose. In infancy, Jennifer and June were the most ordinary children. They grew and developed normally. Over time, Gloria and Aubrey noticed some oddities with children’s speech.

At first, they decided that the sisters were deaf. When the girls were taken to the appropriate specialist, it turned out that everything was in order with their hearing. Thus began the real medical epic of the Gibbons family. All the doctors shrugged. No one could understand what was wrong with the girls until a psychologist recorded their conversation with each other.

After listening, she made a startling discovery. It turns out that June and Jennifer communicate with each other in the purest Bajan Creole (a kind of English in Barbados). Only their version is extremely sped up.

The psychologist worked with twins for a long time and concluded that girls not only do not lag behind their peers in development, but they are also far ahead of them. The sisters had incredibly high intelligence.

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Psychological childhood trauma

The girls were enrolled in elementary school. There, they were often bullied for being the only blacks in the class. The bullying was so brutal that teachers tried to let the twins go home early to minimize meetings with peers outside of class. All this contributed only to a greater rapprochement between the sisters and the increase in the gap between them and other people.

The girls continued to communicate only with each other. Their language became increasingly incomprehensible to those around them. Other oddities began to appear. They began to refuse to read and write at school. They began to imitate all the actions of each other: walk in step, copy all the gestures. The sisters did not communicate with anyone else. It seemed like they didn’t need anyone else.

Violent therapy

Girls reached adolescence, and the situation worsened. The school doctor examined the twins one day, noticing an unusual reaction to the vaccination. Children absolutely did not react to the vaccine, as if they were not alive.

 It seemed like they didn’t need anyone else.
It seemed like they didn’t need anyone else.

The medic reported the situation to the director, who considered the situation dangerous for himself and preferred to get rid of the overly picky doctor. He was not afraid and continued to deal with the issue of the Gibbons sisters. He contacted a child psychologist and insisted on therapy. A whole team of psychologists and psychiatrists could not achieve any results with the girls.

Two years later, speech therapist Ann Treharne appeared in the lives of June and Jennifer. Of course, they did not talk to her, but they allowed to record their conversations with each other.

Watching the sisters, Ann noticed that June did not mind talking to her. Jennifer, discovering this, immediately stopped any attempts quite aggressively. In the end, the girls demanded to be left alone.

The doctors decided to separate the sisters. June was sent to one boarding school, and Jennifer to another. Experts believed that in this way, they could force girls to communicate with other people. The silent twins reacted quite badly to this. They completely withdrew into themselves, falling into a state of catatonia.


After that, the physical health of the sisters deteriorated so much that it was decided to return everything to normal. After the reunion, the twins revived, but became even more withdrawn.

They stopped communicating even with their relatives. If before that they doted on their little sister Rose and devoted all the time to her, now they have stopped.

June and Jennifer locked themselves in their bedroom and did not go anywhere. There they only talked to each other. The girls are interested in writing. They tirelessly wrote stories and novels. And quite good, with an unusual plot and unexpected characters. True, all the stories were quite gloomy.

The twins desperately hoped for the publication of their work, but everything was in vain – they were refused everywhere. Once they collected all their simple savings and published one book. This was the only success. Now it is a very rare, expensive collector’s edition.

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Crime sisters

Failures in this field provoked the twins to get acquainted with the big world. This acquaintance led them to the use of illegal substances and alcohol. Soon they entered the crooked path and began to commit various petty crimes.

At first, these were minor incidents limited to fines. Then the sisters began to attack each other with aggression. June tried to drown Jennifer, and she tried to strangle her sister with a computer cord. Then they moved on to other people. The sisters started setting fires. First, they burned down the agricultural store, then they attacked the college. All this was combined with thefts and break-ins.

All of these crimes were followed by a trial in which June and Jennifer pleaded guilty. The court found them insane and decided to imprison them in a psychiatric hospital.

Years in a mental hospital

It was a very difficult time for the Gibbons sisters. The hospital staff showed no sympathy. Instead of just letting them live quietly and alone, they were prescribed the hardest antipsychotic drugs in lethal doses.

This caused many side effects. Jennifer began to go blind, she developed a real neurological disorder. All this time, in short moments of mental clarity, the sisters wrote in their diaries. These notes fell into the hands of a journalist named Marjorie Wallace. From these diaries, it became clear that the twins did not like each other at all. June wrote that her sister was a “dark shadow” that made her feel obsessed. Jennifer said that June is the real “face of suffering, deceit, and murder.” Both recognized each other as a mortal enemy.

The imprisonment in the hospital lasted more than ten years. June said that they spent almost 12 years in hell simply because they did not want to talk to anyone. The girls really wanted to get out. They went to the doctor and talked to him. But the doctor refused to even listen to them. He said they would never leave here. The sisters are trapped. They even wrote to the queen, asking for a pardon.

In the spring of 1993, the Gibbons twins were transferred to another clinic. June and Jennifer decided that in order for them to lead a normal life, one of them must die. Jennifer, by this time, was in a very serious condition.

One day the sisters were sitting together, and she laid her head on June’s lap. And so she died. The doctors were perplexed. An autopsy was done. No signs of violence, no suicide, no foreign matter. Just heart failure. Fate has made its choice. June had to live.

June’s life after Jennifer’s death

After the death of sister June, she was discharged rather quickly. She went home. Without Jennifer, she became completely normal. Communicated with everyone as if all these 29 years of silence did not exist.

The sister died so June could live.
The sister died so June could live.

She dutifully continued to take medication for non-existent schizophrenia. Over time, she was removed from observation. Every Sunday, June visits Jennifer’s grave. People often ask June why she and her sister didn’t talk to anyone. She says that’s what they decided. They made an agreement that they would only talk to each other.

In 2016, June and Jennifer’s sister, Greta, agreed to an interview with one publication. The woman said the mental hospital had ruined her sisters’ lives. She even wanted to file a lawsuit against this institution, but her parents violently opposed and Greta backed down.

The Gibbons family believes that you can’t return Jennifer, but you shouldn’t stir it all up again and ruin June’s life. She suffered so much.

June Gibbons leads a quiet, lonely life, got a job as a saleswoman in a local store. “I even tried to start a family, but it didn’t work out.” She never learned to trust people after so many years in a psychiatric hospital side by side with murderous maniacs and rapists.

In Jennifer’s diary, the last entry reads: “We are so tired of this stupid war. It’s been such a long battle… Someone has to leave. Break the vicious circle.” These recordings speak of the incredible empathy of twin sisters. Unfortunately, as the sad story of their lives has shown, such closeness can end very tragically.

Society often stigmatizes people who are different from others with various mental disorders. It happens that unhealthy people show talents that healthy people never dreamed of.

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