Thursday, October 25, 2012

X Is For Xenoglossia

Uh, xenoglossia? What now?

Xenoglossia, or Xenoglossy, is the ability claimed by mediums and clairvoyants that allows them to speak, and write, languages they are unfamiliar with. It can happen when they channel spirits and otherworldly beings.

This, of course, isn't the most scientific or popular explanation of the word, just the one that ties in nicely with my October themed blog challenge. What? Don't give me that look. I fully intend to share with you what most people consider Xenoglossia to be.

Basically, from what I understand, most who experience this marvel aren't doing it while in a trance or religion-related act, but while in a 'normal' state of mind, performing every day activities. The people who have done studies on these happenings have found that there is often a manifestation of secondary personalities and the 'normal' personality is often unaware of their secondary one. In these cases, the other language is most often fragmented and limited, with only very few being native-like and highly developed. While the first instance can be reasoned away by learning bits and bobs of language through television programs or books or a neighbour who speaks in another tongue, the latter is a bit harder to explain.

And then there is the paranormal explanation. Some people believe xenoglossia is an indicator of reincarnation, as well. But how can one even prove this? You either believe in it, or you don't. Kind of like demons and the devil.

Yup, that's right. Possession.

So, it's Friday night and you're standing around your sister who just happens to be possessed and you decided it's time to get a priest in and expel the evil spirit. Nothing like a possession to kick start your weekend. There you are, priest on you left, praying mother on your right, and sister with a spinning head in the middle of the bed. All of a sudden, she starts talking. At first you're like, "Hey, Sis, speak up, I have no idea what your saying." But then you realize, it isn't English.

It's Latin. And it's creeping you out.

Well, that's xenoglossia too. It's the sudden acquisition of a language not previously spoken. In a lot of reported cases, the person who is experiencing this unique phenomenon is speaking a dead language.  And by a lot of reported cases, I mean, in a lot of movies. While people do become possessed and exorcisms have been done in the real world, I'm drawing most of my information from films, mostly the Exorcist.

That said, my mom insists my dad speaks another language in his sleep.

Something similar to this strange occurrence is called glossolalia, which is known as speaking in tongues. This is often seen at religious services. When people are being saved and having fits and babbling incoherently. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look up a documentary called Jesus Camp. It's one of the most terrifying films I've ever seen in my entire life. And it's real.

Okay, now that we know what Xenoglossia is, let's explore whether it is real.

Well, as a matter of fact, a lot of people say 'no'. In almost all cases of xenoglossia, the dead or unknown language turns out to be no language. Meaning, it's all made up. Sure, it sounds all spooky and crazy, with convincing cadence and intonations, but it's just gibberish. That doesn't mean the possessed or medium or clairvoyant is faking it. A lot fo people think of this phenomenon as psychological and not linguistic. People who have undergone brain studies while experiencing this strange happening have shown to be using the emotion parts of their brains, rather than the speech sections.

So, there you have it. Xenoglossia. Fun for the whole family.

Now, a snippet from Stigmata.

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