The Mysterious Case of the Pollock Twins
My husband, Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hardboiled Detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, GAME TOWN is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the Toy Companies in Los Angeles.
While doing in-depth research into the 1950s, we came across scandals that shocked and amazed us. Really, you can't make this stuff up!
The John and Florence Pollock family and their two young daughters Joanna, 11, and Jacqueline, 6 lived in Hexham, in North- Cumberland, England.
On May 7, 1957, tragedy struck when the two girls were on their way to church with a friend. They were hit by a car. The two Pollock girls were killed instantly in the accident and their friend died later at the hospital.
The devastating news was widely covered in England and the US. Their parents were devastated over their loss. Florence Pollock went into a deep depression, and John maintained hope that his daughters would somehow return to them. Arguing ensued resulting in filing for divorce.
Florence became pregnant the following year, and on October 4, 1958 gave birth to healthy twin girls. The twins, Gillian and Jennifer, as John had predicted. It was a total surprise, since their doctor had told them it was to be only a single birth and neither one of the parents had any history of twins in their families.
John considered them to be a miracle, and he truly believed that his dead daughters had come back to them, citing as evidence an odd birthmark on Jennifer’s right eye that resembled a scar that Jacqueline had had in the same exact spot, as well as a matching round birthmark on her waist. Although they were identical twins, Gillian lacked the marks.
The family moved from Hexham to Whitley Bay when the twins were just a few months old. Then things became strange. As soon as the twins were old enough to talk they began asking for and describing specific toys that Joanna and Jacqueline had owned, even calling their dolls by the same name. The twins had never seen them before and were not aware that they had two sisters who had died. When the toys were brought down from the attic each of the twins instinctively collected the respective ones that belonged to Johanna and Jacqueline, stating that they were “Santa’s gifts”. Eerie, because they were Christmas gifts.
Also, the two twins liked the same foods as Joanna and Jacqueline had the same respective personalities, mannerisms, and behaviors, liked the same games as their older sisters. The twins had the same gait as their dead sisters when they walked, and the same general builds, i.e. Gillian being slender as Johanna had been, and Jennifer stocky, same as Jacqueline.
Oddities continued over the years, with the girls eerily giving details of things that only their parents and Joanna and Jacqueline would have known.
These stories were unusual enough to make it into local newspapers, which caught the attention of psychologists, Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was interested in evidence of reincarnation in children. He began to make frequent visits to the Pollocks.
These memories of the twins’ past lives began to fade at around the age of 5, after which they led normal lives without being haunted by the past. Stevenson would keep in contact with the family for years until the death of their parents.
Stevenson was so enthralled with the Pollock case that he wrote a case report in a volume of Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects, as well as mentioning it in 1987 in a book called Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation. He would go on to write a total of 12 books on the subject of reincarnation and study thousands of such cases in children.
Stevenson had considered the possibility that the twins could have been influenced by their parents but he eventually came to the conclusion that it would have been impossible for them to mold the behaviors and recollections of their twins to match to their dead sisters. Stevenson pointed out that the birthmarks provided physical evidence that something strange was going on, and indeed birthmarks, matching injuries, scars or other birthmarks of past lives are fairly common recurring phenomenon with reincarnation cases.
In the end, Stevenson strongly believed that the evidence, when coupled with hundreds of other similar cases were beyond rational explanation and undoubtedly pointed to reincarnation is real, and he believed the Pollock case to be genuine.