Mystical qualities have been assigned to the handpan, and for good reason. Miraculous transformations have occurred.
One story in particular, surrounding the enigmatic qualities and symptoms associated with autism has shined a light on the popular musical instrument. The handpan emerged as a new generation of the since-disappeared Hang, in Germany, where music lovers were quick to emulate the original sound.
It was in Belgium that a young boy, Josiah Collette, and his parents made a startling discovery. Josiah had always struggled with social interactions, a common trait of those with atypical neurobiology. Becoming more socially withdrawn, Josiah became upset with the daily interactions at school that were causing him pain. During a family trip to Belgium, Josiah became transfixed, when he overheard the hypnotic sound of the handpan, coming from a distance. Following her instinct, when the family returned home, Josiah’s mother took him to a handpan gathering in the UK. Josiah then had the opportunity to place his hands on the instrument. It was then that he discovered his ability to communicate his feelings and thoughts, through the sounds of the handpan. “At that moment, I discovered what I was born to do,” he has said. “It was nothing short of a miracle,” his mother Georgia shares, in The Atlantic, where the story was originally reported. Since Josiah has been able to play the handpan, he has become calmer, happier, and more outgoing in social circles.
The story doesn’t end there. Miracles of sound emanating from the handpan continue to inspire awe and connect individuals, across the globe. A prominent LGBT writer for Buzzfeed in the U.S., Meredith Talusan, spoke out on behalf of her boyfriend Josh, who is considered on the autism spectrum, and his participation with the handpan. She recalls a date where the two enjoyed dance and music together, connecting them even more. “I told him I did dance improvisation, so I suggested we go to his apartment so he could play his drum while I danced. In his living room, I caught his spontaneous look of delight as I moved to his beat,” Meredith shares. The two share their love of learning and experimenting with alternative forms of dance and music. Their relationship continues to grow and prosper, as Josh continues to play the handpan, and enjoy its many sound benefits.
These cases are believed not to be isolated either. Handpans from Tzevaot have been acquired by a team of researchers expanding from UCLA, to Dartmouth and Columbia University for use with children with autism. Medical jargon aside, it is believed that handpans can show scientifically proven improvements in the development of brain function in these children..
The mystery of the handpan remains a treasured topic among its practitioners. From top researchers to sound healers and shamans, there are undeniable healing properties to the sound of the instrument. The hypnotic coo of the renowned musical instrument keeps audiences entranced.