‘THE’ question about Michael Jackson: was he a castrato?

I hardly ever follow ‘pop culture’:  as in, what the latest celebrities are doing, and so on.  Heck, I don’t even know who the latest celebrities are!

But it has been just about impossible to escape the recent ‘Michael Jackson’ media frenzy.  I must say, I was rather baffled by the amount of publicity this guy’s death and funeral/memorial generated.

Even usually sane talk-shows waded into these waters.

And people were calling in!!!  Ratings went up!!!  Curious…

SOOOOO much was being said…  And no matter where I tuned in, I could not escape some MJ coverage.

These are the things I heard people say about Michael Jacksom.  I don’t know how true they are… But, they were said by many different people, and seem to be ‘accepted’ as ‘general background’, and even a simple search of the internet will get lots of hits about these claims:

  • Michael Jackson had the mind of a 12-year-old boy – he never really grew up mentally. This is something I did not hear before – and the trigger for my ‘chain of reasoning’.
  • Michael Jackson hated his father.  His father, Joseph Jackson, was mentally and physically abusive of him (actually, he admitted abusing of all of his children).
  • Michael Jackson was so afraid of his father, that he would vomit upon seeing him (that is what he said in the famous Oprah Winfrey interview).  Just how horrible was the thing Joseph did to Michael, to evoke a response this extreme?
  • Some people have even gone so far as to suggest that Michael Jackson’s many plastic surgeries were a direct response to his father’s abuse as well as an attempt to be as different from his father as possible.
  • Joseph Jackson was (and still is) obsessed with becoming a ‘part’ of the music business:  he did not balk at using fear, intimidation and physical violence to force his children to practice and to perform…. When he lost control over Michael Jackson and his career, he still found ways to exploit his son’s fame for his own profit (behind Michael’s back) – and has really been cashing is since his famous son’s death.  He’s even voiced ideas about getting Michael Jackson’s kids on-stage, now that Michael is dead…

Add to this:

  • Michael Jackson had build himself a residence that was part amusement park – and called it ‘Neverland Ranch‘.  It was named for the place where Peter Pan lived:  a place where boys who cannot grow up live…
  • He also had a series of inappropriate relationships with boys – about 12-year old ones, to be precise.  While some people think these relationships were Platonic (in the true sense of the word:  sex between males), others claim them to have been platonic (as the word is currently popularly used:  an asexual relationship).  Either way, it is not ‘normal’ for an adult male to ‘best relate’ to pre-teen boys and to actively seek friendships with them in the manner Michael Jackson did.
  • Michael Jackson’s children are not biologically his.  They were conceived through artificial insemination, using sperm from a donor.  (OK, there were times he claimed otherwise – but this has since been shown to be false.)
  • During a ‘normal’ man’s life, his body changes proportions.  Of course, there are individual variations: these changes are more noticeable in some men than in others.  Still, most men – once they hit puberty – exhibit some physical changes, and not just in their genitals.  The chin (can’t tell with MJ’s surgeries…), the hands, the Adam’s apple, the chest/shoulders, and so on.  Still, Michael Jackson’s body retained the proportions of a pre-teen boy, including the flexibility needed for his famous dancing style.
  • If you listen (or, are forced to listen) to Michael Jackson’s singing, his voice does NOT sound like the voice of a grown man.  It is unusually high…

Do you see where this is leading?  Is THE QUESTION ‘jumping out’ at you? I find it unavoidable!

Was Michael Jackson a castrato?

Did his father (the man who did not shrink from violence to force his children to perform, and who, for his whole life, has been obsessed with being ‘in the music business’) think his young son’s voice was too precious to loose to puberty?

Did Joseph Jackson arrange to have Michael ‘altered’, so his voice would never change?!?!?

Have a listen to the only known recording of a true castrato voice here.  You can just about hear the same voice belting out:  “Billy Jean is not my lover…”

So, what do we know about the castrati ad their lives?  (Castrati are different from eunuchs, who are castrated after the onset of puberty.)

  • There are colourful tales of the ‘castrati of the past’ and their various sexual ‘quirks’…
  • Typically, castrati have long, slim limbs and retain unusually high levels of flexibility….
  • And, of course, there is that legendary castrato voice:  it is not the voice of a child – it does undergo some changes.  Still, it does not sound like the voice of a grown man, nor that of a woman, but is said to have the best qualities of all three, enchanting audiences with its universal appeal.

And what does science have to say about this?

  • At the onset of puberty (10-12 years of age, for most boys), the release of testosterone into their bodies actually causes a physical re-arrangement of the brain.  (There is a similar effect on female brains, due to the release of estrogen.)
  • Anyone who reads ‘Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology’ will certainly recall Volume 26, No. 3-4, which includes:  ‘Pubertal hormones organize the adolescent brain and behavior’:

“…  Converging lines of evidence indicate that adolescence may be a sensitive period for [testosterone/estrogen] steroid-dependent brain organization and that variation in the timing of interactions between the hormones of puberty and the adolescent brain leads to individual differences in adult behavior and risk of sex-biased psychopathologies.” (The emphasis and [insert] were added by me.)

Peter Pan, after whom Michael Jackson named his ‘dream home’, lived in a place where young boys could not grow up – even if they wanted to.  They had to leave ‘Neverland’ in order to grow up… but, perhaps, Michael Jackson did not have the choice to leave – perhaps he was stuck there, for ever.

I ask again:  is it possible that Michael Jackson was a castrato?