February 22, 1985

Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Georgia Augusta


by Ian Stevenson, 223 pp, $17.50, Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1984.

JAMA. 1985;253(8):1180-1181. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350320106029

The author of this book, Ian Stevenson, MD, is Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Division of Parapsychology, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville. He has obviously studied xenoglossy and related areas much more than this reviewer. When it comes to evaluating evidence for the survival of the spirit after death, the waters can become rather murky, but the author certainly has made heroic efforts in this direction.

Actually, the book consists of lengthy discussion and descriptions of two cases of responsive xenoglossy. The latter can be defined as the ability of a person to speak and understand a foreign language that was not learned normally.

The author has written a previous book about another case previously published.1 He makes comparisons in the current volume among all three cases so the reader is at some disadvantage if he