The Write Stuff

Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tim Bacard, age nine, hates to write. That's why his Mom was surprised by his recent attention to paper and pencil. "One day, I walked into his room and he was writing passionately, and I didn't know what to make of it. He was just writing, spasmodically, and I thought he had learned something in school that had excited him to the point where he had to write. Then I noticed his eyes were closed," says his mother, Jane (34). "I looked at one of the pieces of paper he had scribbled on, and it looked kind of like Spanish or something. I knew something was up."

Hooked on Classics: Bacard Scribbles Down Great Works of Literature

The language was actually Latin. The phrases he was writing were found to be from a classic translation of Plato's Republic, a book Tim had never read.

"I asked him what happened, and he told me that sometimes he writes in his sleep. He just needs to write in his sleep," says Jane. "I had to take him to a therapist."

In therapy, Tim was instantly given a clean bill of health. "He's a fairly normal kid, a little disinterested in academics, a little more interested in sports. All in all, I cannot explain what he does." Says Dr. Agnes Fielding of the Seventh Day Adventist Wellness Center of Ann Arbor. "I've seen what he does. He can do it on command almost. He goes into a trance like state and suddenly begins to write. The odd thing is that I've had handwriting experts look at the various things Tim has written, and they definitively say that each was written by a different hand. It's not Tim, they say."

Tim's writings seem to have produced the following languages: Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Slovakian. The content is usually the rewriting of classic texts. Often they are filled with questionable passages not in the original texts but consistent with the original writings, as if the writers themselves had written the scribblings and wandered off the subject. In a French writing of what is believed to be Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kublah Kahn," for instance, the writing continues past where the original ended.

At the moment access to texts are limited as an in-depth study is currently being conducted with Tim. It is to be determined how he is able to write what he writes, and Tim himself denies that "ghosts" are writing through him. The research institute at the hospital has requested that no further information be given about the content of Tim's "automatic writing," so as to not make the boy try to please those around him by trying to write. Techniques such as hypnotism have so far proven fruitless, but Dr. Fielding keeps up hope. "There's a rational explanation in here somewhere. I have no idea where, but give us time."


Interview with Tim and Jane Bacard October 19, 1999 and Dr. Agnes Fielding October 18, 1999

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