This page will provide a brief synopsis of the past-life memory case of Captain Robert Snow, head of homocide investigation for the Indianapolis Police Department. I'll also give some of my own thoughts about the significance of this case. For a complete description, see Capt. Snow's book, "Looking for Carroll Beckwith" (see the Book Reviews section of this website). You will also find a telephone interview with Capt. Snow on the Interviews page.
Before I continue, however, I want to make a very quick observation. I see in my website stats, as of 7/23/16, that someone has been directly linking to this page. I don't mind that, and I am please to present Capt. Snow's case. However, I wish to point out that since writing this presentation in 2008, and using the same principles of investigation, I have spent over seven years researching my own past-life case, which at this point I can say with confidence is every bit as strong as Capt. Snow's. A description can be found on the supporting page for my book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words." Basically, if you think I am an astute enough student of reincarnation to take this presentation on Capt. Snow seriously, then by the same token, I would hope you might take my work on my own past-life case just as seriously.
Captain Snow opens his book with the following paragraph:
"I have accomplished something no one has ever accomplished before. I have uncovered evidence that provides beyond a doubt the existence of a past life. The evidence I uncovered in this two-year investigation is so overwhelming that if it had been a criminal case, there would be no plea bargaining. A conviction would be assured."
Now, you will see on dozens of books and websites, statements like, "Although reincarnation can never be proven..." It sounds like a wise thing to say, something that everyone would nod their heads sagely in response to. But it is really a statement based on political correctness, not on an objective assessment of the evidence for reincarnation.
Capt. Snow underwent the hypnotic past-life regression session in which his experiences occurred, on a dare by a co-worker. He was thoroughly skeptical, and only went through with it, finally, when pressed to keep an earlier promise. For the first half an hour or more, he felt nothing except physical discomfort from remaining in one position in the chair in the hypnotist's office. Suddenly, he was plunged into a full-sensory past-life flashback experience--one so vivid, and so continuous, that he could walk around and experience that world in complete detail, while simultaneously aware of being in the hypnotist's office. He experienced three lifetimes, but one of them, that of a painter in relatively modern times, was recent enough that he knew it could be tracked down.
Since hypnosis is known to produce some vivid effects, he was by no means convinced of his experience's authenticity. However, it impressed him deeply enough that he began investigating for the purpose of disproving it, using the detective methods which were part of his professional training. Eventually, it was a synchronistic event which broke the case--while on vacation, exploring art galleries in New Orleans, he suddenly found himself face-to-face with the unusual portrait he had seen himself painting in the regression session. Incidentally, synchronicity is commonly reported in conjunction with past-life cases and investigations. I experienced it several times myself while working on Jeff Keene's segment in my documentary. I have a theory about this but won't go into it here.
After running into this obscure painting, which turned his world upside down because suddenly it was clear that he was proving, rather than disproving, his case, he had the painter's name--James Carroll Beckwith--and from this he was able to find the past-life personality's scrapbook and diary. "Cryptoamnesia" was not a possible explanation in this case, because this painting had not been displayed at any time, so that Capt. Snow could not possibly have seen it and remembered it under hypnosis.
|James Carroll Beckwith, with examples of his portraiture and landscapes.|
Capt. Snow had distilled out 28 points from the tape recording of his session, which could possibly be proven or disproven. From his study of Beckwith's life and personal effects, he was able to prove 26 of the 28 points.*
Remember, this is a professional investigator in a highly responsible position, who, as his opening paragraph makes clear, says that he has proven it such that if it were a legal case, conviction would be assured.
There are only two possible explanations--deliberate fraud, where he chose an minor, relatively obscure historical figure and created the entire story backwards (and made up the pivotal discovery, the painting of the hunchback women, the whereabouts of which is not now known); or that reincarnation has been proven by this case. There is no middle ground, unless you want to go into various forms of denial.**
As for deliberate fraud, listen to Capt. Snow's telephone interview (answers only, put together to make a continuous story). And read his book. I have entertained the possibility, but it just doesn't hold water. It's a hypothesis that deserves being considered in the name of being rigorous, but it turns out to be a poor hypothesis.
I was interested to see in the first few pages of Capt. Snow's book, that after his experience, he began discreetly asking around to see if any of his colleagues had had what he terms "paranormal" experiences--and, indeed, many of them had. This was precisely what motivated me to begin production on "In Another Life"--because I, too, found that if you start talking to people privately, and they trust you, they will start telling you stories of this type that occurred to them or in their families--including past-life memory experiences.
Read the book, listen to the telephone interview, and judge for yourself.
*Capt. Snow wrote me on Oct. 9, 2004, that "Over the last few years two of my readers have helped me verify the last two facts."
**Sci-Fi Channel's "Proof Positive," which featured Capt. Snow's case in its premiere on October 8, 2004, included giving Capt. Snow a polygraph test specifically asking him if he had prior knowledge of James Carroll Beckwith at the time of his regression session, to which he answered "No." He passed the test.
In case you have a nagging doubt as to whether all of this is made up and whether Capt. Snow is really who he is presented to be here, you can visit a CNN article which transcibes a press conference during the period when the Washington snipers had not yet been caught, and where Capt. Snow was invited to participate as an expert.