News Briefs

The Whispering Village Of Turkmenistan

TURKMENISTAN – There’s a tiny village in Turkmenistan called Irkhotsk where the average age is 103, and no one speaks above a whisper.

Even the town’s musicians play everything sotto voce, … very quietly. Nikolai Nikolayev, 108 years old, and the mayor of the town, said through an interpreter, “Forget about yogurt, and other dairy products . All they’re good for is giving you phlegm. It’s whispering that is the secret to longevity.”

At least that’s what we at GNN thought he said. It was very hard to hear him.

People in this village have been whispering for hundreds of years.

It started about 700 years ago when the Vikings were conquering much of the surrounding area, and rumors started that they were planning on taking Irkhotsk next.

The story that circulated was that the Vikings were very light sleepers, and that they were camping out in the woods, waiting for the right moment to attack, so the villagers began whispering so as not to wake them up.

Twenty years later, the Vikings had still not attacked, and the Irkhotskians credited that to their whispering.

History has shown that the Vikings were never there to begin with, but after twenty years of whispering, it just became a habit.

Healthwise, they rival the Japanese in low rates of heart disease, and high blood pressure, but almost every Irkhotskian has a large goiter, and no one knows why.

Interestingly enough, their vocal cords have almost withered away.

There is virtually no crime, because no one argues. Nikolayev says, it wouldn’t make sense.     “You can’t argue with anyone when you’re whispering.   It’s not satisfying.   Plus, most of the townspeople are deaf from old age.”

Besides old age, the main cause of death in Irkhotsk seems to be people being run over by ox carts.   They try to warn each other, but between the whispering and the deafness, Nikolayev says, “we lose two or three villagers a week.”