The Curious Case Of The “Silent Twins,” Two Twin Sisters Born In 1963 Who Developed Their Own Language And Only Spoke To Each Other For 30 Years Due To Their Speech Impediment

DisobeyArt - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

For over 30 years, a pair of twin girls spoke only to each other, developing their own language because their speech impediment made it difficult for people to understand them. They were known as the “silent twins,” which definitely sounds like something straight out of a horror movie. Keep reading to learn more about their strange story.

June and Jennifer Gibbons were born at a military hospital in Aden, Yemen, in April 1963. They were raised in Wales by their parents, who were immigrants from Barbados. Everything about the twins seemed normal until they got old enough to start speaking. Soon enough, their parents realized their language skills were far behind other kids their age.

The girls communicated with each other in a language only they seemed to understand. It is believed that the language they spoke was a version of Bajan Creole. Their parents also noticed that they were very attached to each other. Furthermore, being the only Black children in school didn’t help matters. They were targets for bullies, which isolated them even more.

By the time June and Jennifer were teenagers, no one else could understand their language. They were unwilling to speak to anyone besides each other; they refused to participate in school and mirrored each other’s actions.

In 1974, a medic named John Rees noticed the twins’ behavior during an annual health check visit at the school. He contacted a child psychologist, and the girls were immediately enrolled in therapy.

The silent twins saw several mental health professionals, but their mysterious condition did not improve. In 1977, a speech therapist named Ann Treharne met with the girls. They declined to speak in front of Treharne but consented to be recorded if they were left alone. Treharne sensed that June wanted to talk to her, but Jennifer didn’t let her.

Eventually, it was decided that the twins should be separated and sent to different schools so they could gain some independence and individuality. However, that only made things worse. June and Jennifer became even more withdrawn and almost lost the ability to function altogether. At one point, June had to be dragged out of bed, and all she could do was sit against the wall.

After they were reunited, the twins distanced themselves even further from the rest of the world. They stopped communicating with their parents except through writing letters. They spent their time playing and making up stories.

When they were given diaries for Christmas, they started writing their stories down. At the age of 16, they got some of their stories published. The setting of most of their stories took place in the United States and they featured young, attractive people who committed crimes.

DisobeyArt – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual people

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