John and Florence Pollock had two daughters, Joanna, and Jacqueline. The girls were hit by a car and killed when they were very young, but their father always believed they would be reincarnated. Florence did get pregnant again and had twin girls named Gillian and Jennifer. The family noticed that the twins had the same birthmarks as their older sisters and began acting just like them. Is it possible that the girls were reincarnated? Many people are very skeptical of this case, but the family saw too many similarities that they couldn't ignore.
Today's story is about reincarnation which is a philosophical or religious concept of a living being starting a new life in a different physical form or body after death.
John Pollock was born in Bristol in 1920 and was raised in the Church of England before converting to being a Catholic. Florence Pollock grew up as a member of the Salvation Army and became Catholic when she married John. John was a very strong Christian, but he also believed in reincarnation after reading about it when he was 9 years old. John believed so strongly that he often prayed to God for evidence of reincarnation and Florence didn't believe in it at all.
In 1946, their daughter, Joanna was born and this was their third child. In 1951, the family moved to Hexham in Northumberland and their second daughter, Jacqueline was born. The girls were mostly raised by their maternal grandmother because John and Florence were busy with their grocery and milk delivery business. The girls were inseparable and Joanna had a mothering type personality and that worked for Jacqueline. Joanna liked to dress up in costumes and would make up plays. She was generous and shared with other children. Both girls liked combing people's hair and Joanna would often say she would never get to grow up or be a lady.....almost like a premonition.
When Jacqueline was three years old, she fell into or on a bucket depending on the article you read and this caused a small gash on her forehead over her right eye, near the root of her nose. This formed a permanent scar that was especially visible in cold weather. She also had a round dark birthmark on the left side of her waist.
On May 7th, 1957, the girls were with their friend Anthony who was nine years old and the three of them were struck by a car and killed while they were walking to church. Joanna was 11 and Jacqueline was 6. The driver was a local woman and she had been forcibly separated from her own children. She decided to take her own life by taking lethal quantities of aspirin and phenobarbitone. Witnesses saw her driving erratically and ran into the girls. The impact tossed them into the air and they were killed instantly. Florence and John handled things quite different. Florence tried to avoid even thinking about her girls, but John wanted to think about them all the time. On the day of the accident, John says he saw a vision of his girls in heaven. Then, he sensed their spirits in one of the rooms in their home. John began spending time in this room to feel closer to his girls.
John eventually came to an interesting conclusion. He believed the girls died because God was punishing him for praying for proof of reincarnation. He did think that his prayers would be answered and his girls would be reborn into the family. Florence didn't want to hear about any of this and it was causing marital problems for them.
Florence did get pregnant again and John was excited because he believed he would see Joanna and Jacqueline again and said they would be reincarnated as twins. Florence didn't think this would be true and she went to the doctor. Her doctor said there was one baby based on palpatation and fetal heartbeat. There also wasn't any history of twins in their family history, so this belief was rejected. On October 4th, 1958, Florence birthed twin girls and they were named Gillian and Jennifer. They were identical twins, but they had different birthmarks. Jennifer had a birthmark on her waist that matched the birthmark Jacqueline had. She also had a birthmark on her forehead that looked just like the scar Jacqueline had from falling on the bucket.
The family ended up moving to Whitley Bay when the twins were just three months old. About two years later, the girls started asking for toys that had belonged to their older sisters. You may not think this is too odd, but it's toys that the twins had never seen before. The family ended up moving back to Hexham and even though the twin had never been there before, they were able to point out landmarks that their sisters would have seen. The twins also began panicking about cars and would yell that the car is coming to get them.
The story of the Pollock twins ended up attracting the attention of a psychologist, Dr. Ian Stevenson. He studied reincarnation in children and wrote a book in 1987 called “Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation” In the book, Stevenson described 14 cases of reincarnation and of course included the Pollock girls. He ended up studying reincarnation for 40 years and investigated thousands of cases. The majority of the cases occurred in Asian countries and this is where many people believe in reincarnation. Stevenson preferred researching areas where belief in reincarnation is common. If parents don't believe in it, they tend to discourage their children from talking about their past lives. Children are the best to study because they are less likely to make up stories about their past lives. Adults that claim to be reincarnated can be influenced by books, movies, or may just want attention.
Dr. Stevenson described a case where a psychologist subjected a woman to hypnosis and she described life as a courtier of Richard II during the 14th century. It was discovered that she read a novel and the details she provided from her past life, came from the novel.
Stevenson learned about the Pollock twins from after reading a newspaper article in 1963. The twins were four years old and he met the family at their home to interview the parents and examine the birthmarks on the girls. He met with the family again in 1967 and they corresponded until the next visit which was in 1978, when the twins were 20. Stevenson had arranged for the girls to have a blood test to determine their zygosity which refers to their genetic make-up. They were identical twins born from a single egg.
Between the ages of 3 and 7, Gillian and Jennifer did many things relating to Joanna and Jacqueline. At about three years old, Gillian claimed the doll that had belonged to Joanna and Jennifer took the one that belonged to Jacqueline. They both said the dolls were gifts from Santa. They were technically correct. Santa gave the dolls to their older sisters and the twins named the dolls the exact same names that their older sisters gave them.
The twins often discussed details of the accident when they were young. Their mother recalls seeing Gillian cradling Jennifer's head one day and she was saying, the blood's coming out of your eyes. That's where the car hit you. John Pollock had to identify his daughter's bodies and says that Jacqueline's head was bandaged above her eyes. Gillian once pointed to the birthmark on Jennifer's forehead and said it's the mark she got when she fell on the bucket.
When the older daughters were alive, their parents were working their delivery business and Florence Pollock had a smock that she would wear. They stopped this business after the death of their daughters. One day, John pulled the smock out to do some painting and Jennifer asked why he was wearing mommy's coat. John asked how she knew about the smock and she replied that her mother wore it while delivering milk. She actually got annoyed because Gillian didn't recognize the smock. John and Florence realized that when Joanna was alive, she was at school when they worked the delivery and she wouldn't have seen the outfit. The twins shouldn't have ever known about this because it was before their time.
At the time of the older girls' deaths, Jacqueline was learning how to write and her teacher was concerned about how she held her pencil. She would hold it upright in her fist and the teacher suggested that her parents slap her hand to correct this. When Gillian and Jennifer were learning to write at age four, Jennifer struggled and held her pencil upright in her fist. She wasn't able to hold the pencil properly until age seven.
Joanna had a slender build, just like Gillian. Jennifer had a larger frame than her twin, just like Jacqueline. As they grew older, they forgot about their past-life memories. It's noted that John Pollock refrained from discussing his reincarnation belief with the girls and they only learned about everything at age 13. When Dr. Stevenson met with the twins in their twenties, they didn't remember anything. They both accepted their parent's belief about reincarnation. In 1981, Gillian began experiencing visions. She could see herself playing in a sandpit with her brothers and she was able to perfectly describe the house, garden, lawn, orchards. The twins weren't born when the family lived in the house she described, this was the home Joanna lived in.
Many people have been skeptical of this case and say that the evidence is super weak. The parents could have been biased and saw similarities because they wanted to believe their daughters were reincarnated. Afterall, the girls were all sisters, it make sense that there would be similarities. They could have even been influenced by their older brothers. John and Florence swore that they never told the girls about reincarnation or even talked about the accident until the twins were old enough to understand, but that doesn't mean their older brothers never said anything. The memories of the twins' older sisters vanished at age 5 and they lived their normal lives. Five years is the age scientists say is the limit to remember past lives.