In doing the research for this article, the following case of Captain Robert Snow is my favorite example of proof for reincarnation. I think it's because Snow started out being very cynical. He also has a sense of humor and even approached the whole process of hypnosis as a total disbeliever. Here's an example:
"Now, picture your higher self coming into the room to greet you," Dr. Griffith said. I did that, too, though as I sat on the couch with my eyes closed, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell I was doing there, particularly when she asked me what my higher self was wearing. How the hell would I know? This was her daydream. But I decided to give it a try. "White," I answered, "A long white gown." Wasn't that what all spirits wore? "Your higher self is standing there and asking if you're ready to go on a trip. It is telling you that it will guide you and protect you on your trip." Oh Lord, I thought, as I tried to maintain a facial expression of seriousness, I can't believe I'm doing this.
From ridiculous to real, Snow's adventure is especially significant because of his training and experience as a homicide detective -- and his ongoing fear that his career could be damaged by his odd obsession.
The Strange Case of Captain Robert Snow
Robert Snow avoided using psychics in his police work. The idea was totally lame to him and after 35 years on the force he wouldn't even talk seriously to anyone about it. But a buddy "dared" him to go to a past life regression therapist and explore the "unknown." At first he agreed but then put it off for as long as he could. He was quite sure that his mind was too strong and would never allow him to be hypnotized. But he was wrong. Soon after sitting on the couch of Dr. Mariellen Griffith, a psychtherapist with 15 years of experience, Snow was experiencing visions of his former lives.
Yes, Snow had many lives, but one in particular impressed him so much that he couldn't stop thinking about it. It was so vivid -- so real -- that he began to doubt his sanity. Surely the images he saw were from a movie he'd seen, something he had read about or imagined... but even then, they were so strange. Where did they come from? He had to know. So he used his investigational skills to find the truth.
The strong vision that he had was of a 19th Century artist's studio.
"I have a small display case and a file cabinet ... I am so lonely ... I think I am an artist -- the whole place is filled with paintings ... I'm painting a portrait of someone. I don't like doing portraits ... I need the money." -- from tape recording of Snow's regression.
He would later describe that he was painting a portrait of a hunchbacked woman. His descriptions continued.
"I don't think Amanda could have children. I mean we don't have children ... I'm ordering a glass of wine now ... The doctor said the blood clot killed her."
Snow also remembered seeing a piano, and of having a walking stick or cane. But what stuck in his mind was the portrair he was painting of the hunchbacked woman. How odd!
Snow became obsessed with these memories. He decided the best way to investigate this phenomenon was to see if he could find the painting. He hoped that perhaps he had seen it in a book or museum. That was something he could rationalize... anything but from a past life. He searched hundreds of books in libraries but had no luck.
After a year, and quite by accident, his wife convinced him to take a vacation in New Orleans. One afternoon he happened to walk into a gallery in the French Quarter where there was an exhibit of old paintings from a private collection.
There, he viewed the portrait of the hunchbacked woman, which was identical to the one he vividly saw in his past life regression.
"Whirling around, I stared open-mouthed at the portrait, reliving an experience I'd had once when I grabbed onto a live wire without knowing it, the current freezing me in my tracks as huge voltage surged up and down my arms and legs... For the next several minutes, I didn't move from in front of the portrait, but instead continued closing my eyes to see again and again the scene of me painting this very portrait in my studio, and then opening my eyes to see the actual finished portrait. The situation began to feel surreal, more like a very vivid dream that you wake up sweating from, a dream that you have to keep telling yourself over and over again was only a dream. It wasn't real.
Finally, even though I knew with absolute certainty that this was the same painting I had seen while under hypnosis, I convinced myself that stumbling onto it by accident like this was simply too bizarre to be true. I toyed with the idea for a few moments that perhaps I'd had some kind of stroke and just thought I stood in front of this portrait, when in actuality I was in a hospital bed somewhere or maybe even in a nursing home. After giving this possibility a few moment's consideration, I realized how very desperate I had become to find a rational answer for what was happening. But desperate or not, things like this just didn't happen in real life. What were the chances, after all the months of systematic searching, that I would just happen onto the painting like this? What were the chances that Melanie would just happen to want to go to New Orleans, and that we would just happen to visit this gallery, just when they happened to have this painting for sale?"
Captain Snow would later learn that the man who painted the portrait was Carroll Beckwith who walked with a cane and had a small studio. He pursued this lead and finally discovered that Beckwith had a personal, hand written diary which was kept by the National Academy of Design. Inside were details from the artist's life, from age 19 to the day before he died at 65 years old.
Everything was in the texts... how Beckwith [pictured above, left] loved wine, how his wife was unable to have children, his loneliness, how his mother had died from a blod clot, reference to his cane or walking stick, how he hated painting portraits, and the final note -- the day before he died -- about the portrait he was painting of the hunchbacked woman. In fact 28 specific facts which were revealed in Snow's past life regression session were validated in the 17,000 pages of Beckwith's diary.
After the initial realization, Captain Snow had to adjust his entire way of looking at the world. It all had new meaning and purpose. While he tried to cope with this new knowledge he also had to hide his investigations of reincarnation because his position might be seriously jeopardized. He finally revealed everything when he retired and his case is one of the most thoroughly researched and convincing cases of reincarnation.
Next we will review the positions that various religions take on reincarnation. Surprisingly, the Catholic Church accepted reincarnation until the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.). There is also much support for reincarnation in the Bible. Most other religions support life after life wholeheartedly. That being said, we'll examine the rules that determine who reincarnates and to what new body they may enter... next on viewzone.