Reviewed by Joy
KEIKO SPEAKS is the sad story of a being who was pushed out of his family. The movement to return the tame killer whale Keiko to the wild after almost twenty years of captivity and human companionship caught worldwide attention. It was a movement with so much momentum that no one in authority stopped to ask what Keiko thought of it; or if they did, it was considered that Keiko didn’t know what was best for himself.
We pet owners communicate in a basic way with our pets, care for them, consider them family. We know there is a personal exchange. But if we need to know what’s on our pets’ minds, we might turn to the growing profession of Animal Communicators.
Animal Communicator Bonnie Norton has made a career of advocating for Keiko, whom she met when he was drawing crowds in Newport, Oregon. She began telling everyone who would listen that Keiko had told her he loved people and didn’t want to leave Newport. Whatever you may think of the possibility of direct communication between people and animals, Keiko’s actions in the North Atlantic, making a beeline for people whenever they were around and going into depression when kept away from them, demonstrated that he wanted to be with people, just as Norton had been saying.
The effort to return Keiko to the wild was an experiment. As one Humane Society representative said after Keiko’s death, “We just wanted to show that putting a long-term captive killer whale, orca, back into the wild was not a death sentence.” The lonely Keiko, incompatible with wild orcas and rejected by humans, tried every way he knew to change the determination of the people running the experiment, but failed.
Norton has compiled transcripts of her exchanges with Keiko, conversations which she perceives in words. She made an effort to validate her results by having other animal communicators ask Keiko the same things she did, and seal their results until they could no longer affect what she was hearing from him.
According to Norton, Keiko had ideas from his life with humans that set him apart from his fellow orcas. She says Keiko wanted to make humans realize that humans and animals have much to give each other. He repeatedly said that humans, who live from the mind, could benefit by learning from animals how to live from the heart.
Whether animals – specifically whales – are capable of using telepathically the words which every pet owner knows they understand but can’t speak, is debatable, but I am convinced by my own experience that animals are capable of concepts. I am skeptical of the sophisticated metaphysical phrases Norton sometimes received in these conversations; where would Keiko have learned them? Sounds like a translation issue. Personally, I would expect an intelligent animal to communicate like the mother dolphin in a film documentary who was jokingly asked to give a message to the world: She swam away into the ocean and came back with the shreds of a plastic garbage bag. But the basic concepts in KEIKO SPEAKS are coming from a whale with an education more stimulating than any other whale has received, and I won’t dismiss them as impossible until we know a lot more about cetacean psychology than we do now.
KEIKO SPEAKS is for people who already accept the idea of telepathic communication between humans and animals. Additionally, it tells Keiko’s story as we learned it in the news media. In that way, this is a biography. Norton herself made major sacrifices for Keiko which are only visible between the lines. I met her when I bought this book, and even in a short conversation it was obvious that this is an intelligent woman on a crusade. Her message is, “Listen to the animals.” I’m willing to bet she’s only decades before her time.
You can get your copy of KEIKO SPEAKS through Bonnie Norton’s website at www.keikospeaks.com .
July 2005 Review
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