The Book 4th Edition
“Even if telepathy were proved to be true,' an eminent
biologist told William James, 'savants ought to band together
to suppress and conceal it, because it would upset the uniformity
without which scientists cannot carry on their pursuits.”
Quoted from Brian Inglis
One of the most amazing psychic phenomena, which religionists,
skeptics and atheists have continuously and deliberately
ignored is xenoglossy - the ability to speak or write a
foreign language a person never learned.
After all other explanations have been investigated - such
as fraud, genetic memory, telepathy and cryptomnesia (the
remembering of a foreign language learned earlier), xenoglossy
is taken as evidence of either memories of a language
learned in a past life or of communication with
a discarnate entity— a spirit person.
There are many cases on record of adults and children speaking
and writing languages which they have never learned. Sometimes
this happens spontaneously but more often it occurs while
the person is under hypnosis or in an altered state of consciousness.
In some cases it is only a few words remembered but in other
cases the person becomes totally fluent and able to converse
with native speakers sometimes in obscure dialects which
have not been in use for centuries.
Dr Morris Netherton reports one case of a blond, blue-eyed
eleven year old boy who under hypnosis was taped for eleven
minutes as he spoke in an ancient Chinese dialect. When
the tape was taken to a professor at the Department of Oriental
Studies at the University of California it turned out to
be a recitation from a forbidden religion of Ancient China
American medium George Valentine under trance conducted
seances in Russian, German, Spanish and Welsh. The Brazilian
medium Carlos Mirabelli spoke and wrote long technical documents
in more than thirty languages including Syrian and Japanese
in the presence of scientists and crowds up to 5,000 (Lazarus
In 1977 doctors at a state penitentiary in Ohio, USA, discovered
that a convicted rapist named Billy Mulligan had become
possessed by two new personalities, both of whom communicated
in a different language. Mulligan was born and raised in
the USA and spoke no foreign languages. But when taken over
by Abdul, Mulligan could read and write in perfect Arabic;
as Rugen he spoke perfect Serbo-Croat with a thick Slavic
accent (Lazarus 1993: 83).
The most obvious explanations of these kinds of cases are
either deliberate fraud or that the person concerned learnt
the language in early childhood without being aware of it.
Careful investigators always take care to thoroughly investigate
these two possibilities.
Dr Ian Stevenson
Dr Ian Stevenson is one of the most respected scientists
in the United States. He has done specialized research into
xenoglossy and his book Xenoglossy (Stevenson 1974) is one
of the leading scientific studies in this area. In it he
documents a study he made of a 37 year old American woman.
Under hypnosis she experienced a complete change of voice
and personality into that of a male. She spoke fluently
in the Swedish language—a language she did not speak
or understand when in the normal state of consciousness.
Dr Stevenson's direct involvement with this case lasted
more than eight years. The study involved linguists and
other experts and scientists who meticulously investigated
every alternative explanation.
Fraud was ruled out for number of substantive reasons which
Stevenson outlines in his study. The subject and her physician
husband were thoroughly investigated. They were under extreme
and continuous close scrutiny, did not want publicity and
agreed to the publication of the study only if their names
were changed to protect their privacy. Both the husband
and wife were considered by their local community to be
honest and decent and their behavior exemplary. Certainly
there was no motive for personal profit. On the contrary
they experienced a great deal of inconvenience to fully
complete the study over many years.
Cryptomnesia—the recollection of a foreign language
learned in the earlier years of a person's life was also
ruled out. Years of investigation of the subject failed
to raise any possible suggestion that either she or her
parents had learnt the Swedish language in her younger years
or associated with anyone Swedish.
Another case Stevenson investigated with equal care was
reported in the July 1980 edition of the Journal of the
American Society for Psychical Research. It involved an
Indian woman named Uttar Huddar who at aged 32 spontaneously
took on the personality of a housewife of West Bengal in
the early 1800s. She began speaking Bengali instead of her
own language Marathi. For days or weeks at a time speakers
of Bengali had to be brought in to enable her to communicate
with her own family.
Author Lyall Watson describes a case of a ten year old child,
an Igarot Indian living in the remote Cagayon Valley in
the Philippines. The child had never had any contact with
any language or culture other than his own. Yet under trance
conditions the child communicated freely in Zulu, a language
he could not have even heard. Watson only recognized it
because he had spent his early life in Africa (cited by
Lazarus 1993: 84).
Peter Ramster; an Australian psychotherapist, has documented
several thoroughly investigated cases. In his book The Search
for Lives Past (Ramster 1990 : 227) he cites the case of
Cynthia Henderson whose only contact with the French language
had been a few months of very basic instruction in Year
7 of high school. Yet under hypnosis she was able to carry
on a long and detailed conversation in French with a native
speaker who commented that she spoke without any English
accent and in the manner of the eighteenth century.
In some cases subjects under trance have communicated in
languages no longer in use or known only to a handful of
Dr Joel Whitton cites the case of Harold Jaworski who under
hypnosis wrote down twenty-two words and phrases which he
'heard' himself speaking in a past Viking life. Working
independently, linguists identified and translated ten of
these words as Old Norse and several of the others as Russian,
Serbian or Slavic. All were words associated with the sea
( Whitton and Fisher 1987: 210).
In 1931 a young English girl from Blackpool, known as Rosemary
in the files of the Society for Psychical Research, began
to speak in an ancient Egyptian dialect under the influence
of the personality of Telika-Ventiu who had lived in approximately
1400 BC. In front of Egyptologist Howard Hume she wrote
down 66 accurate phrases in the lost language of hieroglyphs
and spoke in a tongue unheard outside academic circles for
thousands of years (Lazarus 1993: 85).
Pearl Curgen, a medium from Saint Louis who was barely literate,
began to write in astonishingly accurate Middle English.
Under the guidance of a spirit entity she produced sixty
novels, plays and poems, including a 60,000 word epic poem
(Lazarus 1993: 119).
Telepathy or genetic memory
In addition to fraud and cryptomnesia, two other 'explanations'
sometimes given by skeptics for xenoglossy are 'telepathy'
or 'genetic memory'. Yet there has never been, anywhere
in the world, one documented case of a person being able
to speak a foreign language they learned by telepathy.
The other so-called 'explanation' — genetic memory
is equally difficult to take seriously. The claim that somehow
an Ancient Chinese language became embedded in the genes
of an eleven year old Caucasian American enabling him to
speak the language is laughable.
There are literally thousands of xenoglossic cases, many
hundreds of which have been documented. They involve modern
and ancient languages from all over the world. Psychic investigators,
such the highly credible Dr Ian Stevenson, used scientific
method to illustrate xenoglossy and claim that there are
only two possible explanations—either spirit contact
or past life memory both of which are evidence for the afterlife.
The onus shifts onto the skeptic to provide an alternative
credible explanation. So far no-one has been able to do
Accordingly, in the absence of any other credible explanation
and in context of the other existing hard-core evidence
for the afterlife—electronic voice phenomena and mediumship—xenoglossy
becomes easy to accept as further hard-core evidence for
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