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The Mystery of the Pollock Twins

Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with a focus in Forensics. Also just a fan of spooky things!

Pollock Twins

Pollock Twins

The question of what happens to us when we die has always been a hotly debated topic. Depending on who you and what culture you come from, answers can be quite different from person to person. If you’re Christian, you think Heaven and Hell are what greets people once life is done here. If you’re not religious, you may believe that once our bodies are dead, there’s nothing, we just cease to exist. Some people may believe that if you may be stuck roaming the earth as a ghost. Another common belief is that instead of passing on to a higher realm like Heaven, we pass on to another life. Continuing an endless cycle of reincarnation; recycling us from one lifetime to another. One of the most compelling cases of reincarnation is the case of the Pollock Twins.

Their story begins in the small town of Hexham, in Northumberland England. John and Florence Pollock were fairly well-off since they owned a successful grocery and milk delivery business. They were a happy family with their two daughters, Joanna, age 11, and Jaqueline, age 6. The girls were said to be best friends and completely inseparable.

Despite their happy life, tragedy struck on May 7, 1957. The two girls were walking to church with a friend when they were struck by a car. The car was driven by a woman who had taken an overdose of aspirin and phenobarbital in an attempt to end her own life. The Pollack girls were lost instantly and the friend, Anthony, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

John and Florence were understandably devastated by the loss of their two daughters. Florence fell into a deep depression while her husband maintained hope their girls would return to them, going as far as to say that he had a vision that the girls would return as twins. John was highly religious while Florence was not, she didn’t believe in Heaven let alone reincarnation like John was claiming. The two nearly divorced as he kept firm on his vision while she was just trying to move on from the dark days the loss had brought her.

Despite their arguments and their grief, Florence became pregnant the following year and on October 4, 1958, she gave birth to two healthy twin girls. To add to the spooky coincidence, Florence’s doctor had never said it was twins, the doctor had determined it was a single pregnancy prior to the birth due to the heartbeat signature during the pregnancy and the fact neither Florence nor John had twins in the family.

Gillian and Jennifer were a miracle to John who truly believed they were his daughters Joanna and Jaqueline. Baby Jennifer even had a birthmark above her right eye that resembled a scar that Jacqueline had had in the same spot as well as a matching round birthmark on her waist. Although the girls were identical twins, Gillian didn’t share these marks.

When the twins were a few months old, the family moved to Whitley Bay. Here the twins hit milestones that normal infants and toddlers would. It wasn’t until the twins began talking that it became apparent to the parents that something was a little odd. The twin began requesting toys that Jaqueline and Joana had owned. Even going as far as to use the dolls’ names that Joanna and Jaqueline had given the dolls despite the fact that all of their toys had been boxed up and stored in the attic where the twins would have never been able to see them. The twins had not even been told about their older sisters that had been lost in the accident.

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When John and Florence brought the toys down for the girls, they didn’t hesitate to separate them perfectly. Not a single error was made and the girls even knew which toys had been gifts from Santa.

Everything about the twins seemed to match Joanna and Jaqueline. From their tastes in food, games, personalities, and even general mannerisms. It’s said that Gillian even knew that birthmark on Jennifer’s head was from Jaqueline hitting her head on a bucket when she was younger. The similarities between the twins and the Pollock sisters didn’t stop at behavior and knowledge; the girls even matched the gait of the older girls as well as their overall build. Gillian was more slender just as Joanna had been while Jennifer was stockier as Jaqueline had been. Jaqueline had been having trouble writing before she passed as she had the tendency to hold the pencil in a fist, this was also seen in Jennifer who didn’t kick the habit until she was seven.

These oddities or coincidences continued over the years as the twins recounted information that only Jaqueline, Joanna, and their parents would have known. It was said that the Twins were terrified of passing cars and were difficult to get to even cross the street. Florence had claimed that she had overheard the Twins discussing the accident that had claimed Joanna and Jaqueline with details they could have never known.

When the family took a trip back to Hexham, the girls knew their way around the town as well as specific landmarks and the school they remembered attending Jacqueline and Joanna’s school.

The stories of the Pollock Twins made their rounds and gained the attention of Doctor Ian Stevenson, a psychologist who had a particular interest in reincarnation. He made frequent visits to the girls and took note of the traits that were shared between Gillian and Jaqueline and the similarities between Jennifer and Joanna.

The memories of Joanna and Jaqueline’s lives seemed to fade from the twins around age five. Still, Dr. Stevenson kept in contact with the girls up to John’s passing in 1985. In 1981, Gillian had a series of vivid dreams of her playing in a sandbox around the age of three in a Whickham, a town she had never been before but Joanna had. Gillian was even able to describe the area perfectly. The dreams passed but Dr. Stevenson deemed it was proof the memories were still in the girls’ psyche. Dr. Stevenson was so enthralled by the Pollock Twins, he wrote a case report for it as well as mention it in 1987 in a book called Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation.

The case of the Pollock Twins is held by many as proof of reincarnation, but it has been met with an equal amount of skepticism. The major argument for the Pollock Twins was John’s firm belief that he knew his daughters would come back to him because of his belief in reincarnation. It’s believed that he may have mentioned things to the Twins trying to coax memories from them but in actuality he merely planted ideas. It must be noted that Florence did not believe in reincarnation and she was equally baffled by the Twins and was adamant until her passing that no one had ever mentioned Joanna and Jaqueline to them until the Twins were older.

It’s unknown exactly what was happening in the case of the Pollock twins. It could be proof of reincarnation, or it could be a case of careful coaching.

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© 2020 Halee Carlson

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