Category Archives: Reincarnation

Reincarnation: the joke’s on me!

Work on a time-consuming project coupled with a lot of travelling has meant that I’ve not had the time to post a blog for several weeks. Which is a pity, since there’s no shortage of paranormal news about which I’d like to comment. Hopefully, I’ll catch up with some of these stories early in 2013.

The big event for me in 2012 was publication of The Big Book of Reincarnation and the biggest surprise was to see it featured on a TV comedy programme. It turned up in an episode of BBC Three’s “Cuckoo”, a very funny six-part series, set in the Midlands and featuring an American and a British comedy star – Andy Samberg and Greg Davies, respectively.

I was out of the country when it was first screened in October and returned to find emails and text messages from friends and family who were amazed and delighted to see the main character, Cuckoo, a self-appointed “spiritual ninja”, reading my book.

 Cuckoo reading Roy's book

I was able to catch the programme on BBC iPlayer and was delighted not only to see my book featured but also to find that its very amusing exploration of reincarnation perfectly illustrated the prejudices and gullibility surrounding the subject.

BBC Three is now rescreening the series and the reincarnation episode, No. 4, titled “Grandfather’s cat”, will be shown this Friday (5 January) at 21:00, and again in the early hours (01:30) of Saturday morning. If you can’t catch it then, you’ll find it on BBC iPlayer, which I believe is restricted to UK viewers. But with Andy Samberg as the star, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t soon get seen in the USA and elsewhere in the world. I hope so.

Well, this is being written in the closing hours of 2012 (during which, of course, the world didn’t come to an end), so I wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that 2013 is good to you.

‘The Big Book of Reincarnation’ and synchronicity

Reincarnation book coverAccounts of synchronicity have always fascinated me. So when I experienced a very surprising synchronous event late last month, in connection with my new book, it made me reflect a little deeper on this phenomenon. Was it just a coincidence or did it have special significance? Here’s what happened.

In order to publicise The Big Book of Reincarnation, which was published a week or so ago, Hierophant Publishing (part of the U.S.-based Hampton Roads Publishing group) asked me to provide various documents to be used in the book’s promotion. One of these was an article that summarised the book and my reasons for writing it.

I decided to cite just one of the almost 100 cases referred to in its pages, and I selected the impressive example of Aiz Nouhad Abu Rokon, a Druze boy living in the village of Usfiyeh, northern Israel, who claimed not only to remember being a truck driver, who was murdered near his home in Baalbeck, Lebanon, but who also recognised his past-life wife in the street when she visited Israel.

For readers unfamiliar with that part of the Middle East, I decided to indicate in my article the distance between Usfiyeh (sometimes spelt Isfiya or Ussefiya) and Baalbeck. To do that I opened up Google Maps on my computer and searched for both locations, then calculated that they were about 200 kilometres apart.

I also noted, as I continued with my research, that Usfiyeh is a Druze village on Mount Carmel, in a district dominated by Haifa, Israel’s third largest city. It has a particular significance for the Druze – a religious offshoot of Islam that believes strongly in reincarnation – because it is the site of the tomb of Abu Abdallah, one of three leaders chosen by Caliph Al-Hakem in the 10th century to proclaim the Druze faith.

My research completed, and my article written and dispatched, I turned my mind to other matters. Later that same day, I checked my email and saw I had received a message from someone with whom I had not had contact for more than a decade.

Rona Hart was information officer at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the main representative organisation of British Jewry, when I first met her in 1995. We both lived and worked in London. Rona had interviewed Rabbi Philip Berg, the man who made it his mission to explain and make relevant the mysteries of the Kabbalah, including reincarnation, to non-Jews. His 1984 book, Wheels Of A Soul: reincarnation and Kabbalah, has influenced the lives of many people, including Madonna and Barbra Streisand.

Rona’s interview with Rabbi Berg was first published in The Guardian on 8 July, 1995, and I received her permission to reprint it in Reincarnation International which I was then publishing. After that, she agreed to be a consultant to the magazine, and we communicated regularly and met occasionally.

Our last meeting was probably in 1996 at Jacque’s Wine Bar, close to where she worked in Tavistock Square. After that we lost touch. I moved from London but I assumed Rona was still living and working in the capital. So the arrival of an email from her, 15 years after we were last in contact, was a very pleasant surprise.  An even bigger surprise was the information it contained. She wrote:

“In 2008 I moved back to Israel and now live on Mt Carmel – on the way from town to the Druze villages of Dalilyat el Carmel and Ussefiyeh, in fact!”

It transpired that, on the same day I was looking at that very spot on the map, Rona – who now lives there – was looking at and decided to say “hallo” by email.

The synchronicity doesn’t end there. I had first heard of the Aiz Nouhad Abu Rokon case when, in 1995, a reader of my magazine drew my attention to a well-researched, illustrated feature in the Jerusalem Post, written by Sue Fishkoff, which told Aiz’s story in great detail, along with other cases. That person was none other than Rona Hart, a fact acknowledged in my earlier book, Reincarnation: True Stories of Past Lives” target=”_blank”>Reincarnation: true stories of past lives (published in the United States as One Soul, Many Lives.).

Was it just chance? Did I choose that particular case of reincarnation as an example because of some telepathic link with Rona as she was looking at my website? Or was my choice influenced by a premonition that I was about to hear from someone living in that region of northern Israel? I’m undecided. All I know is that when you encounter synchronicity of this kind – as Arthur Koestler’s The Roots of Coincidence explored – you can’t help feeling that it has a deeper meaning.

I’ll have more to say about The Big Book of Reincarnation once it gets some reviews. It’s a 300-page in-depth exploration of rebirth covering everything from early beliefs through to the latest and best-documented cases. Right now, I’m pleased to say there’s plenty of media interest and I’m preparing for a series of radio interviews over the next few weeks.

The new book and previous versions of my earlier book on reincarnation are available through and (see links below) and most bookstores.


Priest returns as son of woman he loved?

Hernani Guimaräes AndradeImagine browsing through a friend’s library of books on psychical research and coming across a volume whose cover featured a voluptuous female, cloaked in purple, with one shoulder tantalisingly exposed and a hand resting lightly on a pregnant bulge. One’s reaction might well be that this is a Mills & Boon romantic novel that belongs in a different collection and to slip it quickly back on the shelf. Even a surreptitious delve between its covers would do little to dispel that initial conclusion. We should not judge a book by its cover, of course, but in the case of Reborn For Love, which tells the story of an unusual case of apparent reincarnation in Brazil, it is not only the cover’s artwork which sends out confusing signals.

Hernani Guimaräes Andrade (right) – who was President of the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research at the time he produced this work, and in whose Proceedings it was first published in 1995 – is clearly identified as the author, yet over half of its pages are not written by him: they were penned by one of the subjects, referred to throughout by variations of the pseudonym “(Mrs) Dona Marine Waterloo”.

And since she is an educated Brazilian woman with a flair for writing, the account reads very much like fiction at times, particularly her extensive use of quoted childhood conversations which are clearly constructed from memory rather than having been recorded verbatim.
Fortunately, the accuracy of these quotations is not important: their purpose is to capture the essence of an unusual love story between a young girl and a much older priest, whose identity is also hidden behind a pseudonym, “Father Jonathan”.

He taught at her school, where many of the girls regarded him as ugly. Most readers will struggle to understand the attraction between the two —a strange, chaste and almost unspoken ‘affair’ which ended when Father Jonathan was moved to another post. They lost touch apart from an occasional letter and Dona Marine gave little thought to him as she became an adult, married and started a family. It was her husband who drew her attention to a radio news item one day which reported that Father Jonathan had been killed in a road accident.

Guy Lyon Playfair
Guy Lyon Playfair, the book’s editor, and a portrait of Allan Kardec, whose research inspires Spiritist teachings.

It is at this point that Andrade’s book begins to live up to its promise, which is to provide compelling evidence for reincarnation. (Guy Lyon Playfair, who edited and revised this English edition of Renasceau por Amor, says he has “seldom come across such a persuasive case in any area of psychical research”.)

What transformed a schoolgirl’s crush into a case worthy of parapsychological investigation was a series of paranormal events in the Waterloo household, immediately following Father Jonathan’s passing on 30 May, 1972, and then statements made by her young son, “Kilden”, who was born more than seven years after the priest’s death.

As a Roman Catholic, Dona Marine gave no thought to the possibility that Kilden could be the reincarnation of the priest when he was born, but she was forced consider that possibility when her young son began making statements about how he had died in a previous life. He also insisted on being called Alexandre (his second name) which was also (confusingly!) Father Jonathan’s name. When his mother began to consider that her son might be the priest reborn she wrote to Father Jonathan’s sister, who confirmed the details given by Kilden about how he had died. Kilden even identified “himself” and others in old photographs and gave other details about Father Jonathan’s life that were confirmed by those who knew him but were unknown to Dona Marine.

Having allowed the main subject to tell her story, Andrade – several of whose 21 published papers and books are on rebirth, including    Reencarnagäo no Brasil—explains how the case was brought to his attention by Luiz Antonio Brasil and how they set about investigating it.

One of Brazil’s most respected psychical researchers, Andrade regarded this as a very strong reincarnation case and when he takes over the narrative from the subject, discussing and dismissing alternative explanations, the book begins to have far greater appeal for a parapsychological readership. It does, however, become repetitive, as he quotes again large chunks of the subject’s literary testimony. Some of Andrade’s statements about the modus operandi of reincarnation will also be a step too far for most other researchers, however open-minded.

His views reflect, one suspects, the Spiritist philosophy, based on the teachings of Allan Kardec, with which Andrade would have been very familiar. For example, he assures us that six years is the average “intermission” period between one life and the next in children who appear to recall a past life, whereas “for normal people who do not remember past lives, the intermission time is approximately 250 years” – a finding he credits to Karl W. Goldstein.

Andrade suggests that his own Biological Organising Model (BOM), which offers an explanation of how a discarnate spirit interacts with the ovum at an early stage in the reincarnation process, could also be used to explain the appearance of connected paranormal phenomena occurring in advance of that rebirth.

Donna Marine Waterloo’s detailed story is a useful reminder that, although books such as this need to be evidence-based to satisfy a scientific readership, the events they describe usually happen to ordinary people and have a huge impact on them, transcending the cold facts and even transforming their lives.

Reborn For Love sets out to demonstrate the existence of a soul which not only survives death but also is able to incarnate again, and to show that love can be a major factor in determining where that rebirth occurs. It may not satisfy everyone in that respect but it is clearly an important piece of a very complex jigsaw puzzle.

This review by Roy Stemman of Reborn For Love by Hernani Guimaräes Andrade (Roundtable Publishing, London, 2010. 174 pp. £10) was first published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research [Vol 74.4, No 901] in October 2010.


Karma catches up with China?

The 50th anniversary of China’s invasion of Tibet, which it celebrated with an international Buddhist conference in Lhasa, has coincided with the revelation of another Chinese attack – on vital computers in 130 countries.

Unlike China’s high-profile 1959 military crackdown in Tibet, which led to the “Lhasa Uprising” and forced the country’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to flee to India, this latest aggressive action had gone largely unnoticed by the world.

With perhaps a certain amount of karmic justice, we have the Dalai Lama to thank for revealing the Chinese subterfuge. Staff at the office of Tibet’s government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India , suspecting their computers had been affected by malicious software (malware), called in experts to check their systems.

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