Ever since seeing The Shining as a kid - at probably far too young an age in retrospect - I've had this strange fascination with children in horror movies. More specifically, twins. If watching far too many horror films has taught me anything, it's that children are far more susceptible to otherworldly spirits and that creepy twins are not to be trusted.
In 2012 Summit Entertainment brought us one of the scarier child-centric horror movies I had seen in a long time, Sinister. Lucky for us Bughuul is back for Focus Features' Sinister 2, and this time, he has his eyes on double the fun for a supernatural sibling possession.
With that in mind - and in honor of National Twins Day (August 7) - here are three eerie real-life twin stories that will have you believe that these people share a lot more than DNA and a birthday:
1. The Silent Twins
Jennifer and June Gibbons were identical twins born in Wales in 1963. The pair exhibited strange behavior and were inseparable. Jennifer and June were considered selective mutes and wouldn't talk to anyone except for each other. And when they would communicate, it was a made up language that they shared. Jennifer and June allegedly had a very strong love/hate relationship, constantly wavering between being best friends and enemies.
As young adults, the girls went on to commit a string of petty thefts and arson. They were eventually placed in the Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security mental institution, and stayed there for 14 years.
Then, in 1992 the twins made a pact. The two agreed that there was no way the two of them could continue to live this way. They believed that the other was, in some way, taking away the life force of the other. The fact that they both lived made it impossible for the other to survive, to be free. June Gibbons once said:
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.
In 1993 Jennifer and June were transferred to the lower security Caswell Clinic in Wales. Soon after, Jennifer died suddenly from a rare, undiagnosed heart problem. Since Jennifer's mysterious death, June has been able to lead a much more normal lifestyle. She lives independently, without psychiatric supervision, near her family and is an accepted member of the community.
2. Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
The story of James Edward Lewis and James Arthur Springer is one of the most fascinating real-life twin stories and really makes us question whether we are born one way, or a product of our environment.
Lewis and Springer were twins separated at just three weeks and raised without knowing they had an identical brother until they were in their late 30s after the "emptiness" Springer felt compelled him to dig deeper into his adoptions. Their similarities go beyond the names chosen by their adoptive families.
After being interviewed extensively by psychologist Thomas Bouchard in 1979 they found that both men had dogs named Toy as children, both enjoyed math and carpentry but disliked spelling in school. Later in life they both went into jobs in law enforcement. Lewis and Springer were so alike it even seeped into their romantic relationships. Both men married women named Linda, then divorced her and married a Betty instead. Both Jameses and Bettys had sons named James Alan. Not quite scary, but still very intriguing!
In 2008, the wild story of Swedish twin sisters Ursula and Sabina Eriksson took United Kingdom news by storm after they publicly experienced what the French call folie à deux (shared psychosis). The two sisters lived apart and led totally normal lives with no known mental health issues. But when Ursula visited Sabina in Ireland, their relationship took a dramatic turn.
After discreetly boarding a bus to London together, they were asked by the bus driver to disembark for exhibiting strange behavior. It was there on the M6 motorway that Ursula and Sabina started walking into the middle of the highway with little concern for the traffic speeding by.
At the time, a television crew filming the show Motorway Cops was rolling and caught their dangerous and inexplicable actions on film. The two were eventually detained by the police and paramedics, but only moments after they both lunged back into the traffic. Both women survived and were taken to the hospital. Ursula was kept in medical care for weeks after her legs were crushed, and Sabina was released two days later.
Although Sabina seemed almost back to normal while in police custody, her bout of mental illness still hadn't come to a head. When Glenn Hollinshead, a 54-year-old local man, met Sabina she was looking for a nearby bed and breakfast where she could stay. Seeming in a state of disarray, Hollinshead offered her a place in his home to spend the night.
Unfortunately, this kind act of a good Samaritan backfired when she stabbed him five times the next morning. Hollinshead passed away from his injuries. Sabina was charged with murder on September 11, 2008 and pleaded guilty on September 2, 2009 and was sentenced to five years in prison.
If these are three true stories about the strange connections some twins share, then I can only imagine what the minds behind Sinister 2 were able to come up with.
Sinister 2 will screen in theaters nationwide starting August 21.