What Happened To June Gibbons After The Death Of Her Twin Sister?

There's plenty of weird stories about twins in the world. From the pair of little girls in "The Shining" to the titular characters in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, fiction is rife with evil twins. But, what about in real life? If you're looking for an example of a bona fide creepy twin relationship, look no further than the story of June and Jennifer Gibbons.

Born in 1963, these British twins are sometimes dubbed The Silent Twins (via All That's Interesting). According to reports, starting as young kids, the girls all but refused to speak to other people, preferring instead to only communicate between themselves. They even made up their own language that nobody else spoke. Bullied at school, the twins' tight relationship was one of the only friendships that they had. But as time passed, that closeness became dangerous as they only seemed to retreat further from the world and deeper into each other. Soon, they refused to speak to their parents and other family members in addition to teachers and classmates.

School administrators noticed what was going on with the girls, and tried to get them psychiatric help. But, the interventions made little difference, according to All That's Interesting. Later, as teens, the twins tried to become writers, but young and isolated, they struggled to find success (via The Modern Novel). Eventually, the troubled girls turned towards a much more worrying pastime: arson.

The sisters' institutionalization

In 1981, when the twins were 18 years old, they were caught committing arson (via All That's Interesting). They had triggered fires in three separate buildings, according to NPR. Initially taken to prison, a judge eventually ruled that they must be interred in a high-security mental institution in Britain called Broadmoor. The logic behind the decision? According to one journalist, Marjorie Wallace, "no other institution would accept them and that was because everyone who interviewed them found them too eerie, too spooky," (via NPR).

But, life inside the mental hospital didn't agree with the girls. Both June and Jennifer were miserable, sometimes even refusing to eat, and June would in fact go on to describe this time as "twelve years of hell" (via All That's Interesting). During this period, the twins developed a relationship with the journalist, Wallace, who would one day write the book about their life story (via NPR). She was sympathetic to the girls, and visited often. She even helped the twins lobby to be rleased from Broadmoor. Eventually, that wish was granted — though Wallace had no idea what would happen to the girls on their way out the door.

What happened to June after Jennifer died

Shortly before their scheduled transfer from Broadmoor to a lower-security hospital, Jennifer told Wallace that she would "have to die," according to NPR. While at first Wallace thought she was joking, Jennifer was deadly serious. In fact, it turns out June and Jennifer agreed that they could not both go on living and "one of them would have to give up their life to really enable the other one to be free." Despite the Jennifer seemed to be the more domineering of the two girls (via All That's Interesting), they agreed she would be the one to die.

Sure enough, the day that June and Jennifer were transferred out of their high-security facility, Jennifer died from apparent heart inflammation while in the transport van. Given what she and June had told Wallace about Jennifer's impending death, investigators looked for signs of murder or a potential method by which Jennifer could have taken her own life. But, they found nothing.

You might think that Jennifer's death would only exacerbate June's symptoms as she struggled with grief. But in fact, June seemed to rapidly improve after Jennifer's death. Though she described herself in her diary as "hysterical with grief" (via All That's Interesting), it wasn't long before June started speaking to new people and, for all appearances, shedding the dedication to silence that had defined her life for so many years. Today she lives in Wales, with her strange childhood as nothing but a memory (via the Modern Novel).