Readings about Previous Lives:

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Titus Rivas   (publicatiedatum: 11 December, 2019)


Is there evidence for psychic knowledge of Former incarnations of others? - Serious article by Titus Rivas and Anny Dirven for the Paranormal Review of the British Society for Psychical Research.


Readings about Previous Lives:
Is There Evidence for Psychic Knowledge of Former Incarnations of Others?

Titus Rivas and Anny Dirven

If we regard both the evidence for persons with extraordinary psychic gifts and the evidence for real memories of previous lives as convincing then we ought to assume that there are psychics or mediums who are able to tune in to their clients’ previous lives. [1] Some psychics certainly claim that they can do so, but thus far few cases have been collected that would substantiate their claims. We will give a brief summary of research into this phenomenon and present a new case from the Netherlands.
The late founder of Western reincarnation research, Ian Stevenson MD, was not very fond of the phenomenon of apparent psychic statements about past incarnations, because he had noticed that readings about one and the same person often seemed to contradict each other. [2]
There is one interesting exception, which is part of Stevenson's case of a Dutch lady by the name of Henriëtte (Henrietta) Roos. [3]
She had been married to a Hungarian pianist by the name of Franz Weisz. Strangely enough, she had the feeling that his surname attracted her even more than his personality. After her divorcing Weisz she turned out to be so attached to it that she kept it as her own.
Henriëtte had shown a talent for drawing, painting and music from a young age. While married she had enrolled the Dutch Royal Academy of Art. Henriëttte was so gifted that she received the Royal Award by the Dutch Queen Wilhemina three years in a row. She decided to develop her artistic talent further in Paris.
Following her divorce from Weisz, she moved to France and made a living as a painter.
One evening in 1936, when she was 33, she went to bed early. She suddenly heard a voice saying: 'Don't be so lazy, get up and work'. Henriëtte tried to ignore this mysterious voice, but it repeated its message, and ,finally, she got out of bed. She felt an urge to move her easel to the darkest corner of the room.

'My palette, still full of paints, was on the table, also a little canvas board. This I took – and I started to paint, hardly knowing what I was doing, in a feverish haste, for 45 minutes'.

The next morning, she discovered she had produced a beautiful portrait of a young girl. Incidentally, this painting was used as the cover of Stevenson's book European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. When Henriëtte showed the painting to a friend, the latter suggested they should visit a meeting for psychical research, that had invited a gifted clairvoyant, an elderly woman. Henriëtte followed her advice. She placed her canvas on a table next to the clairvoyant. The old woman gave her the following reading about the painting:

'I see very large golden letters – a name is spelled to me, G – O – Y – A... now he speaks to me. He says: He was a great Spanish painter. He had to fly from his country from his enemies, and it was you who received him in your home in a big southern city in France – until the end of his life. He still is so thankful for this that he wants to guide you – but he is not satisfied, you resist too much, you are too much tied up in your academic education – you never relax and let him guide you, you make it very difficult for him – he therefore made you paint in the dark, so that you couldn't see what you were doing.’

It struck Henriëtte that the psychic knew that she was an artist, had an academic education in art, and had done the painting in the dark. So it seems that the psychic had 'scored' in these respects. This made it worthwhile to explore the extent to which her statements about Francisco Goya could make sense as well.
Henriëtte knew nothing about Goya's personal background or life. The same day she attended the meeting with the psychic, she had been invited to the home of a well-known French musician. When she arrived, she noticed that her host had a biography on Goya on his bookshelf. She borrowed this book and when she got home, she opened it somewhere in the middle. As if by guidance, the book opened on a page that described how Goya lived in Bordeaux, with Leocadia and her daughter Rosario Weisz who took care of him until his death. Through this information, Henriëtte understood why she had felt such an emotional attachment to the name Weisz. It was even spelled in the same way (rather than Weiss or Weiß). After she had found this connection, the attachment to the name ended, and from then on, she signed her name on paintings as 'Henriëtte Roos'. Later on, she had four other experiences in which it appeared that Goya was painting through her.
Ian Stevenson tried to establish further links between the clairvoyant's statements and Goya's biography. He discovered that in 1819 Goya left Madrid for a home in the countryside, because he found his employer, the Spanish king Ferdinand, to be a tyrant. He brought a cousin, Leocadia Weisz (40 years older than Goya) and her daughter Rosario, born in 1814 and both moved in with him.
In 1824, Goya was alarmed by the repression of a liberal political movement and decided to leave Spain altogether. They moved to Bordeaux, France, where he bought a house. The women cared for him until his death in 1829. After Goya's death, they moved back to Madrid, where Rosario pursued a career as an artist. Rosario became a copyist of paintings at the Prado museum. She was later appointed as a Professor of Drawing to Queen Isabella II.
Ian Stevenson decided to analyse the personalities of Leocadia and Rosario, and compare them to the character of Henriëtte. He found that Leocadia was hot tempered, social, extroverted and a fan of circuses and fairs. She did not paint and did not seem to have much interest in art. In contrast, Rosario was not temperamental. She was affectionate, bright and cheerful. Like Henriëtte, Rosario as a child had a natural talent for painting and music. Like Henriëtte, she did miniature portraits, which Goya praised in a letter:

'This amazing child wishes to do miniatures, and I wish it too; for it is perhaps the greatest phenomenon in the world to do what she does at her age'.

Francisco Goya felt a strong affection towards Rosario and even referred to her as his own daughter. This attachment could explain the late Goya's desire to assist Henriëtte in her artistic development.
Due to the similarities in personality, artistic and musical talent, and Goya's known affection for Rosario, Ian Stevenson concluded that it was most likely that Henriëtte Roos had been Rosario Weisz in a past lifetime.

Edgar Cayce's reading
Edgar Cayce, an American medium known as the Sleeping Prophet, once gave a reading for a blind musician who was passionate about railways and also had a strong interest in the American Civil War. Cayce mentioned that, in his previous life, his name had been Barnett Seay. He claimed that it should be possible to demonstrate that Seay had been a Southern soldier from Virginia in the American Civil War and worked for the railroad. The musician successfully tried to have this reading verified. [4]
There is good reason to believe that the case is authentic. Information from the website Ancestry.com confirms that there really was a person named Barnett W. Seay from Virginia during the Civil War.

Motoyama's reading
Hiroshi Motoyama is known as a Japanese parapsychologist but he also claims to be psychically gifted. On one occasion, he was consulted by a woman suffering from depressions. He entered into a state of deep trance and saw images of a samurai who would have lived 300 years ago. He received the name Hachirouemon Nakanose, and learned through extrasensory perception that he had lived in Suwa, around 240 kms north of Tokyo. According tot Motoyama's clairvoyant impressions, this samurai had been his client's father in a previous life. In that incarnation, she herself had fallen in love with someone who belonged to a lower class. When her family refused to accept this, she committed suicide.
Motoyama's patient travelled to Suwa and searched for information about Hachirouemen Nakanose. It turned out that a samurai by this name had really lived in Suwa around 350 years before.

Stephen Sakellarios
One of the most recent claims of confirmed psychic readings are those of Stephen Sakellarios, who believes that he has memories of a previous life as Mathew Franklin Whittier. [5]
He wrote:

'I felt deep recognition for a single portrait of Mathew, when I knew nothing about him except that he was an author, and all the parallels emerged afterwards. I drew from three sources of paranormal data: my emotional reactions, along with whatever bits of memory were sometimes attached to them; two psychic readings, which had enough veridical 'hits' to prove that the psychics were genuine; and two hypnotic regression sessions, which likewise yielded enough historically verified information to indicate that I was getting real memories. I then painstakingly and honestly compared this data with the historical record--correspondence, newspaper articles, Mathew's published works and historical literature. I was very careful to record what came first, so that I didn't inadvertently report as 'memories' something I'd already seen in the history. […] I could immediately sense when a statement or an interpretation of Mathew's life was unfair or inaccurate, even when I didn't have specific memories. This provided clues as to what avenues of research to pursue. Although I have put together a much more accurate picture of Mathew's life than has ever been seen before, there are still gaps in his personal story, and I think there is also evidence out there which would prove the reincarnation case even more powerfully. ' [6]

Sakellarios reported his findings in a book, Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words. On his website, he gives an example of information he received from a psychic reading and how it seemed to stimulate his own memories [8] :

'In my first psychic reading, the psychic told me about Mathew's courtship with his first wife, Abby, and told me that I would begin to remember more. She had said we liked to go on picnics, and not long after the reading, I began to remember our first one. We were both nervous, and the basket had been carefully prepared by Abby and her older sisters. However, this basket was designed with one large handle on top of the lid, and the only thing which held that lid in place was a single peg-and-loop in the front. That mechanism would occasionally give way, as it did on this first picnic, at which time all the contents spilled unceremoniously on the ground! I remembered us both standing aghast, until we suddenly burst out laughing and couldn't stop! This broke the ice wonderfully, and we quickly became a couple after that.
After I had duly recorded this memory, however, I began to seriously doubt it. After all, who would make a basket with such a ridiculous design? Again on Google Images, I searched through several pages, until suddenly I saw one of these monstrosities! They really were made. Later, I found one which exactly matched my memory, with precisely the same peg-and-loop fastener. I have searched subsequently, and they are quite rare. I managed to find a miniature version (probably a more modern replica)'. [7]

Prodromos Makis
Although the following reading remains unverified by external sources, it does seem to fit into this pattern. In August 2006, we were present both at a paranormal fair in Waalre, the Netherlands, representing our Athanasia Foundation and collecting possible paranormal experiences from visitors. [8] At the fair, Anny Dirven met a Greek astrologer and clairvoyant, Prodromos Makis, based at The Hague. He spontaneously started talking to her about impressions he claimed to get of a recurrent dream she would have had. Makis told Anny that in the dream, she had to cross a broad street. She was the daughter of affluent parents who lived in a large two-storied house on the border of a town. He also mentioned a library in the house. In the previous life, Anny died in 1920 and was reborn 15 years later. (In fact, Anny really was born in 1935.)
Before Anny met Makis, she had often discussed her recurrent dream with Titus Rivas. She had even written the dream down and kept it as a serious document, as it seemed to refer to a realistic and historically correct past incarnation.
To exclude the possibility that Anny had become duped by 'cold reading', Titus was introduced to Prodromos Makis a few hours later and he asked the clairvoyant to repeat the psychic statements to him. To his surprise, Makis reproduced the main contents of his reading for Anny without a sign of hesitation. There were no important differences with what Anny had told Titus about the reading before he met the psychic.
Anny's recurrent dream first occurred when she was a young school girl. In her dream, she is walking along a broad road and she sees a very large mansion on the other side of the road. She crosses the road and enters through a gate. She is an older girl or young woman. After she enters the house, she finds herself in a big room, in which everything is covered by white sheets. There is a black piano and a library. She knows she often used to be paging through books in the library. There is also an adult man whose face she does not see in the dream.
This recurrent dream is one of the few dreams Anny was ever able to recall after awakening. Normally, her dreams have been forgotten as soon as she wakes up. Although it is possible that the clearly authentic clairvoyant performance of Mr. Prodromos Makis remained limited to the contents of Anny's dream, the correspondence between his reading and that of the psychic in the case of Henriëtte Roos suggests that he may really have had access to retrocognitive information about Anny's previous life.
We have repeatedly tried to trace Prodromos Makis after the fair, but he seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.

As said before, the evidence for authentic, paranormal readings of previous lives is quite limited. However, the evidence that has been collected so far does seem to corroborate the hypothesis that the phenomenon is real. We believe this phenomenon certainly deserves more attention from psychical researchers.

Notes [1]. Mary Rose Barrington, Ian Stevenson and Zofia Weaver. A World in a Grain of Sand. (Jefferson and Londen: Mc Farland & Co: 2005), and Kirti Swaroop Rawat and Titus Rivas. Reincarnation: The Evidence is Building. (Vancouver: Writers Publisher, 2007).
[2]. Ian Stevenson. Children who remember previous lives. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987).
[3]. Ian Stevenson. European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (Jefferson & London: McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers, 2003).
[4]. Gina Cerminara. Many Lives, Many Loves. (William Sloane Associates, 1963), Motoyama, H. Reïncarnatie en karma (Deventer: Ankh-Hermes, 1994).
[5]. Stephen Sakellarios. Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words.(Amazon Digital Services, 2012).
[6]. http://www.ial.goldthread.com/MFW.html
[7]. http://www.ial.goldthread.com/Proving_Reincarnation.html
[8]. TitusRivas and Anny Dirven. 'Paragnostische uitspraken over vorige leven', Paraview, 14 (2010), 3, 18-20.

Titus Rivas & Anny Dirven
c/o Athanasia Foundation
Darrenhof 9
6533 RT Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Contact: titusrivas@hotmail.com

This article was published in the Paranormal Review, Issue 82, Spring 2017, pp. 20-22.