- Strange Deaths
- Died: 9 March 1993
Manner of Death: Sacrificed herself for her sister
“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. ” —The diary of June Gibbons
Jennifer Gibbons was born on 11 April 1963 – the second daughter to Aubrey and Gloria Gibbons. Only the second daughter by ten minutes though. Jennifer was a twin. Her sister was June.
Being of West Indian descent, but living in Wales, the girls were the subject of racial taunts during their school years. The bullying would get so bad that their principal would allow them to leave before everybody else, in order to give them a head start. The colour of their skin, coupled with the fact that they had a speech impediment, made them very difficult for people to understand, and as they grew, they avoided everyone, including their immediate family. Thankfully they had each other, and they became inseparable.
Spending every waking moment in each others company, they eventually created their very own language – an unintelligible babble which nobody else could understand. This was not the first case of twins making up their own language. In fact, it has happened so frequently that there is a word for it – “Cryptophasia“ a language developed by twins. They would mirror each others actions effortlessly and do the same tasks in the same way, at the same time etcetera. To the outside world, they were elective mutes.
Their parents were understandably alarmed at their behaviour, and sent them to therapist after therapist, trying to assist them in communicating with others, but to no avail. When they turned 14 they were sent to separate boarding schools, in an effort to force them to communicate outside of their family unit, but instead both girls became catatonic and withdrew into themselves entirely.
They left school when they were 16, went on unemployment benefits, and locked themselves in their bedroom. They were hardly seen about the house and their mother would have to deliver their food on a tray and leave it at their door.
The girls had decided they were going to be writers. They pooled their unemployment benefits together which paid for the publication of June’s novel “Pepsi-Cola Addict”. Jennifer also wrote, three novels in total, but none of her books were published.
At around this same time the girls also lost their virginity – a week apart – to the same boy. It is said they took to sex like a duck to water. They also started drinking heavily and smoking dope.
Although it sounds like they were the best of friends, they were also the worst of enemies. Their relationship involved equal parts laughter and violence. One time Jennifer attempted to kill June by strangling her with a radio cord. Another time June tried to drown Jennifer in a river. June was heard to say, later in life, that she couldn’t seem to live with Jennifer, but also couldn’t seem to live without her.
Their drug and alcohol problem led them to commit petty theft and arson. In October 1981 they injured a fireman when they deliberately burned down a tractor store, causing $200,000 worth of damage. Their violent spree could not last though. A few weeks after this incident they were caught vandalising and attempting to burn down a technical college not far from where they lived.
Instead of locking them up in prison, they were sent to Broadmoor, a maximum security hospital near London for the criminally insane. When placed in Broadmoor they underwent an IQ test, and it is said both of their results were well above average. They were that special kind of genius – so smart, but completely lacking in any form of social skill.
The sisters remained in Broadmoor for 12 long years. During their stay, both were placed on high doses of antipsychotic medications, which lead to their interest in writing all but squashed. They were kept in separate wards of Broadmoor, and frequently attacked each other for no apparent reason when crossing paths. At other times they would meet in a social situation and be completely wrapped up in each other and their private language.
Jennifer’s death is somewhat of a mystery. It is said that while they were in Broadmoor, they both came to believe that if either of them were to live a normal life, one must die. They made a pact that should one die, the other would start to speak and interact like everybody else. After talking it over for quite some time, Jennifer agreed to be the “sacrifice” which would enable June to live out her life in a normal way.
In an attempt to begin their rehabilitation back into the ‘real’ world, the twins were transferred to a less stringent clinic known as Caswell. Upon arrival, it was noted that Jennifer was very ill. She was immediately transferred to hospital, where she died two hours later from a sudden inflammation of the heart known as acute myocarditis. An autopsy revealed that there was no evidence of poison in her system, nor any trace of drugs. No cause of death has ever been established.
A journalist who visited June a few days after Jennifer’s death told of how June was “in a strange mood. She said ‘I’m free at last, liberated and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me’.”
June does indeed live a normal life now. She has been accepted by her community, lives close to her parents, but independently, and is no longer undergoing any psychiatric treatment.
Did Jennifer and June have some kind of psychic link?
Did Jennifer somehow give up her own life, so June could live hers to the fullest?
Written by Peet Banks of APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators
Put together by Ashley Hall
Photos: Pictures of the twin Gibbons sisters.
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