Do The Pollack Twins Prove Reincarnation?

The sensational story of the Pollock Twins threads tragedy with the supernatural. It involves the horrific deaths of two young girls, grief-stricken parents, and a series of uncanny coincidences suggesting reincarnation in newborn twins.

Only so much of what you have read (or will read with piqued interest) is wrong. 

Approaching the story as a journalist, I can let go of personal beliefs for the greater good of a well-balanced story.

I am trying to convince you of nothing. I simply want you to explore the researched facts and inexplicable aspects.

What Happened to the Pollock Sisters?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The story begins on Sunday, May 5, 1957, in Hexham, England. Eleven-year-old Joanna Pollock and her six-year-old sister Jacqueline are walking to church with a friend, nine-year-old Anthony Layden.

Anthony’s father would later say, “The children went off so happily hand-in-hand in the sunshine.”

From happy to unhinged, 51-year-old Marjorie Wynn was the widow of a Royal Air Force (RAF) Captain.

Her five-year spiral into “melancholia” (depression in modern times) and a cocktail of drugs led to her intentionally running down the three children with her car. Joanna and Jacqueline were killed instantly.

Who Are The Pollock Twins?

John and Florence Pollock, still deep in the mourning process, found out in early 1958 that Florence was pregnant.

As the story goes, John is adamant that Florence is pregnant with twins despite only hearing one heartbeat at repeated doctor’s visits.

It’s also worth noting that John was all-in on reincarnation beliefs. Florence – a devout Catholic – not so much. Plus, twins didn’t run in the family.

Gillian and Jennifer Pollock, identical twins, arrived on October 4, 1958.

What Signs of Reincarnation Did the Pollocks See?

The series of peculiar events starts with the birth of twin girls. John’s premonition, at least to that extent, was correct.

Then, the evidence appears to begin lining up.

  • Jennifer had two birthmarks, one on the hip with a striking resemblance to a birthmark Jacqueline had. The second, a mark above the bridge of her nose matched an injury that left Jacqueline with a scar in the same location three years before her death.
  • The Pollock twins recognized their deceased sisters’ toys, an impossibility since the parents claim the tragedy was never spoken of in front of the girls. The children went as far as to say the toys were a gift from Santa. They were right, except Santa brought those gifts to their sisters years before.
  • The twins talked about places they had never visited but their older sisters had. Again, the parents say there was no way the twins could’ve known about the specific playground and school locations mentioned.
  • Gillian took on Joanna’s traits, like taking care of her less mature sister and using a more formal handwriting style, while Jennifer held the pencil in her fist as Jacqueline did.
  • Florence overhead a conversation between the twins, as described in Ian Wilson’s 1982 book All in the Mind,”(Florence) found Gillian cradling Jennifer’s head in her hands, saying ‘The blood’s coming out of your eyes. That’s where the car hit you.'”

Dr. Ian Stevenson studied the Pollock Twins from 1964 through 1985 as part of his larger research for the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, which he founded.

Their story appears, along with many others, in his book Children Who Remember Previous Lives.

The Skeptic’s Side of the Pollock Twins

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Much of what you believe about the examples is rooted in one of three things. First, how much you believe in reincarnation. Second, how much blind trust you have in stories the parents told.

Finally, how much you think a researcher seeking proof of reincarnation can be objective.

Writing can too often assume the reader is ignorant of the topic at hand. Dots are connected beyond the knowledge of the reader, which is then taken as fact.

Then there’s the issue with photos.

The Photos

If you’ve seen this photo attached to any articles about the Pollock Twins, you should know this isn’t Gillian and Jennifer (or Jacqueline and Joanna, for that matter).

That’s a famous photo by Diane Arbus from 1966 in New Jersey of Cathleen and Colleen Wade. Somehow, it has been latched onto the bulk of this unrelated story.

In fact, finding legitimate photos of the older sisters is nearly impossible. Some of the only real pictures of the Pollock Twins are under a hefty copyright fee from Getty Images.

The Science of Twins

Many reports state that “twins didn’t run in the Pollock family.” Heck, I even wrote it for you. Did you assume that meant it was odd for Florence to have twins?

Every mother has the same chance of having twins, and identical twins don’t run in families.

Also, John’s instincts about twins aside, ultrasounds for moms-to-be weren’t commonplace in the late 1950s. Using a stethoscope to listen to heartbeats was highly unreliable.

The Birthmark Debate

Without going too much down a birthmark and skin pigment rabbit hole, up to 10% of babies can be both with or develop birthmarks. A baby is more likely to have a birthmark if born as a twin.

Siblings can have similar birthmarks. At the same time, being an identical twin does not include identical birthmarks, erasing the question of why Jennifer had two birthmarks but Gillian did not have any.

As for Jennifer’s birthmark on the nose where Jacqueline had a scar, science can’t explain that one.

Even those who believe in reincarnation often believe the birthmark is a “scar” from the way the previous person died.

That didn’t hold up in the Pollock Twins case.

The Similarities

Some of the shared traits between the four sisters include a love of brushing other people’s hair, adoration of dolls, and big sister/little sister dynamics.

You can explain those with logic – girls generally like to play with hair and dolls.

While it’s coincidental that the oldest twin (by 10 minutes) took care of her system like big sister Joanna did for Jacqueline, there was a 50/50 chance that would happen anyway.

The Differences

The Pollock twins were said to have body types and gaits that matched their now-assumed reincarnation connection.

No matter how identical twins are at birth, they are still two individual humans. Gait and body type will adapt to a person’s activity levels, interests, posture, etc.

The Unexplained

In all the things to unpack about the Pollock Twins, there are parts that science or research can’t negate. How would they know about the car accident if nobody had ever spoken of it in front of them?

Why did they recognize a smock their mom wore before they were even born? How could they possibly remember the names of dolls given by their deceased sisters?

Cognitive Bias

Since we know John believed in reincarnation, cognitive bias could be in play. That means John would be looking for signs of reincarnation while ignoring other aspects that refute his belief.

When approached with this theory, John said it was his belief that allowed him to take notice of the oddities that other parents wouldn’t have.

Plus, Florence didn’t believe in reincarnation but became unable to shake the similarities. Of course, she was a grieving mother taking care of twin girls with a man who adamantly pointed out reincarnation examples.

Some might call that gaslighting.

The Pollock Twins Mystery Continues

Don’t worry if you’re still skeptical. Even Dr. Stevenson said the Pollock Twins were “mildly skeptical about their own case.”

Oh, did I forget to mention that ALL of their recollections of their “previous life” were gone by the time they were eight years old?

The Pollock Twins themselves didn’t want you to think they were evidence for reincarnation but also didn’t negate what their parents perceived.

We live in an era where The Secret tells us that we can ask, believe, and receive anything we want.

Whether real or manifested, the Pollock parents found a way to hold onto their lost daughters just a little bit longer. That is – if you believe them.

10 thoughts on “Do The Pollack Twins Prove Reincarnation?”

  1. Has anyone else wondered if the Pollock Twins could actually be remembering a past life, or is this all just a big coincidence? Thoughts?

  2. skepticalSam123

    While the story of the Pollock Twins is fascinating, have we considered the psychological aspect? Memory is highly suggestible, especially in young children.

  3. Always been intrigued by reincarnation stories. The Pollock Sisters case adds another layer to the mystery, doesn’t it?

  4. The Pollock Twins story seems too convenient for my liking. Are there any third-party confirmations of these ‘memories’ or is it all just hearsay from the family?

  5. This story sounds straight out of a sci-fi novel! Love how mysterious the universe is, reincarnation could be real for all we know.

  6. Agent Johnson, did you consider the psychological phenomena like false memory syndrome while covering the Pollock story? Would make for a more balanced perspective.

  7. The Pollock Twins case is quite a story. Wonder how much of it can be explained by cognitive bias and how much is truly unexplainable?

    1. TheRationalist

      Most of these stories can be explained by human psychology. Our brains are wired to see patterns and connections, even where there might not be any.

  8. The part about the birthmarks has me really thinking. Is it possible for physical traits to carry over if reincarnation is real? So many questions!

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