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FROM VICTOR ZAMMIT'S

The Book

22. Xenoglossy

'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 (Fisher 1986:202).

• 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 1993: 121).

• 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 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 experts.

• 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).

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 so.

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 survival.

 
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