Los Angeles| A man who spent more than three months in the coma after presumably being assaulted outside a Star Trek convention last summer still has no memory of his former life and can only speak… in the Klingon language!
The man was found bloodied and unconscious in an alleyway in July. He had no wallet or ID and was dressed in an alien costume inspired by the Star Trek Universe.
The young man stayed unconscious for 96 days and finally woke up in the Cedars-Sinai hospital last week. Unfortunately, he had no memory of the aggression or of his past and could only speak in an unknown language.
For three days, the puzzle remained complete until another Star Trek fan visiting a friend in a nearby room, identified the tongue as Klingon and was able to communicate with the poor man.
It seems the young man is convinced that he’s a Klingon (fictional extraterrestrial humanoid species) named Korg Mur’Eq and has no memory of his human life.
However, other members of the “trekkie” community have identified him as 29-year old Brian Farrell, a computer engineer from Johnsonburg, in Pennsylvania.
According to Dr. Ivan Pietrovic, who has treated him since his arrival at the hospital, believes a trauma caused by the aggression may have triggered the confusion.
After consulting some speech-language pathologists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, and psychologists, he was able to determine that Mr. Farrell’s memory problems might be caused by a combination of two relatively rare disorders called Transient Global Amnesia and Foreign Language Syndrome.
“From what I understand, he used to participate in some form of roleplaying, acting as an alien warrior. After his aggression, he’s forgotten everything about his own life and he’s convinced that he really is a Klingon.”
According to Dr. Pietrovic, it’s impossible to say how long it could take before the young is able to speak English once again.
“Such cases are extremely rare and unpredictable. It could last a few weeks or many years.”
Even if Mr. Ferrell hasn’t recovered his memory, the hospital staff and his family have been able to communicate with him by using an online English-Klingon translator.
The Foreign language syndrome occurs after a serious accident or injury to the brain which renders victims unconscious. When the patients come around they find themselves talking in completely different languages that they weren’t able to speak prior to the incident.
This may continue for only a temporary period; alternatively, some patients may find themselves speaking this completely new language for a prolonged period of time.
In Mr. Farrell’s case, it seems that he was already fluent in this strange constructed language.
The young man is one of the leaders of the Klingon Language Institute (KLI), an organization dedicated to the promotion of the language, specifically designed for the fictional Star Trek Universe.
The KLI counts 2500 members, and its data show that more than 5000 people around the world are capable of conversing in Klingon