As absurd as it may seem, James Wannerton can actually taste sounds. It’s due to a rare condition called synaesthesia, which causes senses that are usually separate to intermingle. Read more as reported by Scoop:
Even as a young boy, James always experienced an involuntary taste on his tongue every time he heard a sound. Hearing the name Anne Boleyn in History class, for example, gave him a strong flavor of pear drops. His relationships were all too delicious – he chose his companions not because of their looks or personality, but based on how their names felt on his taste buds.
His schoolmates often had a strong essence of sliced potatoes and strawberry jam, while his dates’ names tasted like slices of rhubarb and melted wine gums. “I’ve always preferred my mum to my dad because my mum tastes better—he tastes like processed peas and she tastes like ice cream. She sometimes gives me brain freeze,” James jokes.
James’ condition is known as word-taste or lexical gustatory synaesthesia, which is a relatively rare form of synaesthesia. Several theories exist as to why the condition occurs – some suggest that it happens because of the cross-wiring of certain sections of the brain. Others say that everyone is born with these cross-connections, but it fades away with time for most people. “We now know for a fact the brains of people with synaesthesia are different to other people in two ways,” says Dr. Julia Simner of Edinburgh University. “Brains of synaesthetes have extra clusters of connectivity and there are differences in the grey matter of the brain – an extra thickness is seen in certain areas.”