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Stephen Sakellarios, producer of "In Another Life" and webmaster of this website, discusses, in depth, his two new books, "Matthew Franklin Whittier in his own words" and "Loving Abby in Truth and Spirit," including how he came to write them and what his purpose was. I'd like to make a brief addendum: in the interview, I neglected to come back to the subject of recognizing the Whittier homestead. Several years after first seeing images of the modern, spruced up version, I found images of how it looked when Matthew grew up there, and these felt familiar. After several such incidents, I've concluded that in order for the sense of familiarity to be triggered, the stimulus image has to be precisely accurate. Also, I have found no direct evidence that Matthew was ever called "Frank," even in his family, and I feel that if he was, he disliked it. He appears to have been called "Franklin" as a Quaker formality. He personally disliked these formalities, and dropped them when he reached adulthood except, perhaps, when relating to family on the principle of "when in Rome." This points up a second principle, that unpleasant memories may not seem "familiar," either, because the feeling of aversion or protest initially registers as not being familiar. (I find myself feeling very annoyed at historians who gleefully repeat that Matthew and John went by their middle names in the family, as though the quaintness of Quaker ways amuses them somehow.)

Jim Tucker, MD of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, 6/25/07. Dr. Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson, describes the Division's ongoing efforts to investigate the phenomenon of spontaneous past-life memories in children. Regarding the photos of bullet-wound birthmarks which I have permission to use here, Dr. Tucker writes that witness accounts varied, but that two witnesses indicated the mark on the side of the head had originally been further toward the front and had migrated back along the side (as they sometimes do). The widow of the previous personality, meanwhile, reported that he (the previous personality) had been shot from behind, leaving a small entrance wound in the back of the head and a larger, irregularly-shaped wound in the front. There was no autopsy report for this particular case, but stronger cases with such reports exist in Dr. Stevenson's publications.

On July 26, 2011, I drove to Camden, South Carolina with a man who appears to have had several flashback memories, as a child, of living there as plantation owner, Civil War officer and statesman Lovick William Rochelle Blair in the 19th century. I interviewed him en route and on-site in Camden, and this audio recording is the result. I am withholding his identity for the time-being. As you will see, there are only two rational explanations for this case: 1) out-and-out fraud, or 2) reincarnation. The strength of the case is that the flashbacks occurred in childhood, well before he knew of Blair or had much of an idea of adult life in the 19th century South. The weakness of the case is that, for the most part, he did not write down or tell anyone else of his experiences before finding matching incidents in the history. The interview includes an account of a striking afterlife visitation (apparition), a retelling of his death memory at the present-day site of the event, and a visit to his past-life grave.

Tom Shroder, interviewed here on 5/1/1999, is an editor for the Washington Post who investigated Dr. Ian Stevenson's work as a skeptic by traveling with him on two research expeditions. Committed as he was to the journalistic ideal of objectivity, he had to admit he was convinced that the findings were genuine. (A portion of this interview appears in the documentary.) For those who complain that I didn't have more skeptics in "In Another Life," I can only say that as a skeptic, Mr. Shroder has impeccable journalistic credentials, and it's not my fault if he was convinced. My obligation was to provide a well-qualified skeptic--not to insist that he remains skeptical after seeing the evidence.

Philosophy professor Dr. Robert Almeder of Georgia State University discusses reincarnation and societal reactions, focusing especially on the work of the late Dr. Ian Stevenson. Interview conducted 7/24/2000.


Don E. Stevens, direct disciple of Avatar Meher Baba and co-editor of Meher Baba's most important work, "God Speaks," describes his personal journey both of discipleship, and of coming to terms with the concept of reincarnation. In particular, he describes how Meher Baba anchors reincarnation in the deeper teachings that are set forth in "God Speaks". Although Mr. Stevens is deliberately vague in this interview about a number of points in his personal history, I feel it's important for the viewer, in assessing his evaluation of reincarnation, to know that he was vice president of research for a major U.S. oil company, with degrees in physics and mathematics. He began his personal search with a systematic investigation of certain paranormal phenomena (during which time, as I understand, he met Dr. Ian Stevenson and became friends with Stuart Edward White, author of "The Unobstructed Universe"). He then became associated for some years with Sufism, Reoriented, and through that group, came under the guidance of Meher Baba. Read "God Speaks" online.

Angela Grubbs, attorney, 11/7/04, describes how she researched and verified her dreams of a past life in Lexington, Kentucky in the early 1900's. This is the only solid proof case I personally found, some years after I completed work on "In Another Life".

Donna describes her experience of undergoing past-life hypnotic regression and discusses what it meant to her, including how being gay relates to her past lives, 7/23/98. In the portion of this interview used to close out the documentary (not seen here), Donna nailed the entire theme of the program in a few sentences--I got chills as I was taping it, because I knew immediately where I would be using it.

Marge Rieder is a hypnotherapist and the author of "Mission to Millboro" and "Return to Millboro" (see Recommended Books section). The Millboro study is the most extensive research conducted to date on group reincarnation (although Dr. Rieder prefers not to use the label "reincarnation," speaking instead of past-life memories). This interview, videotaped on Nov. 10, 2001, was originally included in "In Another Life." However, Dr. Rieder didn't want me to use the video portion of the interview, and I didn't want to re-work it at the last minute so as to be narration-only, so the segment was pulled. However, I'm presenting it here substituting a still photograph of Dr. Rieder where the interview video was.

Swami Yogeshananda, a monk of the Ramakrishna Order, discusses reincarnation from the point of view of Vedanta, 2002. (Note the Swami appears in the documentary, but this interview was not used.)

Dr. Roger Woolger, author of "Other Lives, Other Selves" discusses past-life therapy and describes some of his own personal journey, 4/28/99. (Dr. Woolger appears in the documentary, but this portion of his interview was not used.)

Capt. Robert Snow, commander of the homicide branch of the Indianapolis police department, describes his efforts to try to disprove the facts that emerged in a hypnotic past-life regression he originally underwent as a dare--and how he ended up proving 26 of 28 points using police investigation methods. (See also Capt. Snow's book, "Looking for Carroll Beckwith," in the Recommended Books section.) This is one of the strongest reincarnation cases I came across in my five years of research on the project. I wasn't able to include it in the show because I couldn't obtain travel funds for the interview, but more importantly because no-one who held copyright for the images painted by James Carroll Beckwith, the former personality, would even answer my inquiries once they knew what I wanted permission for. (Audio interview, Real Media format) See also a more recent radio interview I did with Capt. Snow on my show, "Metaphysical Explorations."



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Music opening this page: "Over and Over Again," by the Richie Furay Band, album "I've Got a Reason"

 

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