Haunting Past Lives

       The morning after the regression, I pondered the experience.
       Something real happened. It wasn't like I was dreaming or daydreaming. I was fully aware of the room, the people around me, the sounds and the silence. Yet I was living in a former time and a different place. Actually experiencing it.
       But how could it be real? It was totally foreign from anything I'd ever learned before. Wasn't it "spiritual"? Why didn't they ever talk about experiences like this in any church I'd ever gone to? Did the Bible talk about it?
       Bits and pieces of a Bible story came to mind -- something about Israel's King Saul going to a witch to talk to the dead prophet, Samuel, and Saul being condemned for it.
       But surely that was different... wasn't it? I just want to know what to expect from the future. Huh... that's what Saul wanted. But if I could just know tomorrow, I could be prepared for it.
       Why did I feel like I was rationalizing?
       A knock at the door interrupted my reverie. The neighbors who had invited me to the self-hypnosis class greeted me. The wife got right down to business. "We noticed you looked a little puzzled last night. Thought maybe you had questions."
       "I do," I replied.
       She offered a thick, well-worn paperback. "We brought you one of our books about Edgar Cayce."
       As I reached for it, she continued, "Edgar Cayce is called the Sleeping Prophet. He died in 1945, but his experiences have helped us tremendously!"
       Her husband broke in, "They helped us understand how God originated life on earth, how souls become trapped in flesh, and how to use spiritual powers to change things as you want them."
       "And that's why I'm walking now!" his wife enthused.
       I accepted the book gratefully and began reading. A negative, depressing feeling settled over me. Snippets of long-forgotten Bible verses crossed my mind -- wizards, familiar spirits. Do not go to them.
       But hypnosis had obviously helped my neighbor. I wanted desperately to make sense of my experiences. I wanted to learn how to see my own future and how to prepare for it.
       Besides, the people at the class were so accepting. I craved their love.
       I kept attending classes, kept meditating, kept reading. The more I got involved, the less the thoughts from the Bible bothered me.
       EdgarCayce's life fascinated me. The visions. His dedication to helping people reach their higher selves. I devoured the book and borrowed another.
       I read that all souls had been created at one time. Some, in quest of spiritual growth, got involved in negative activities. So God created human bodies for those souls to inhabit. He created karma so souls could work off the evil they'd done in previous lives.
       How quickly souls worked off negative karma and advanced to higher spirit planes depended totally on their own choices--perhaps in only a few lives, maybe in many. But even if they made wrong choices and stacked up more negative karma, they'd only have to live more physical lives on this earth to learn the lessons necessary to live in higher spirit planes. All would get as many opportunities as they needed to balance their karma. There would be no torture in hell for those who happened to make some "wrong" decisions. Just more chances to learn.
       The longer I thought about that, the more sense it made. The Bible said God was love. I hadn't been able to think of God as loving since I'd been old enough to start asking questions, since I'd read more than just the few carefully selected Bible stories churches tell children. Maybe adding this new spiritual information to the Bible was the answer.
       More than questions haunted me as I worked evenings in the radio studio in the mortuary. Was I alone! Sometimes the hair on the back of my neck suddenly stood on end and goose bumps popped up all over my arms. An eerie sensation would come over me--an electric feeling. Are souls of the recently departed hanging around? I wondered. Are they looking over my shoulder?
       "So what happens to the soul when a person dies!" I asked one night at class.
       "Generally, the soul simply slips out of the body," the teacher explained. "They feel great. Lots of mental acuity." He smiled, looked up and off into the distance and lifted his arms in a gentle, freeswinging arc. "A feeling of being free-ee-ee." A moment later he looked back at me and continued. "After the souls leave their bodies, they can stay around to observe if they choose. They can watch their death, the funeral, the burial, the family matters. Or they can go right on to the spiritual plane they're assigned. It's their choice."
       "But does the soul go on to another plane or another life immediately?" I asked.
       "Some do and some don't. Each soul chooses. At times, a soul needs rest. They may sleep for awhile, sometimes many years, before they move on. The next step is to view their life and see where they progressed and where they digressed. After that, they request when they'll reincarnate or go on to another plane."
       A middle-aged woman a few seats from me noted, "You said, 'Generdlly, the soul simply slips out of the body.' Are there exceptions?"
       "Yes, sometimes," the teacher answered. "When there's a traumatic death, it sometimes creates havoc for that soul. Such a soul might feel jerked out of the body when it wasn't ready. Or yanked out of the body against its will. The soul can be angry. Sometimes it feels its life was incomplete, and it forcibly takes over a new baby's body out of turn, keeping out the other soul that had been scheduled for it. That will probably become an angry child, then an angry adult.
       "And sometimes, after death," the teacher continued, "a soul is just confused. The confused souls may be the ghosts that inhabit structures or areas where they used to live. Other times they don't understand that they are dead and they try to talk to people. When their family and friends ignore them, such souls get all the more confused. In those situations, the attending souls treat them patiently, knowing that eventually--maybe years, maybe centuries--the soul will understand what's happening and go on to the proper plane."
       The more I learned about reincarnation, the more excited I got. It gave the most logical explanation for humanity's origin and destiny that I'd heard anyplace -- far more logical, it seemed to me, than either evolution or any of the churches I'd gone to. It portrayed a loving God -- a God who let you have as many chances as you needed to gain spiritual maturity. I felt like shouting my joy from the housetops.
       At home, I faithfully practiced self-hypnosis and meditation. At work, eerie sensations continued. Whenever it happened, I wondered, What kind of persons arrived at the mortuary today? Are they trying to communicate with me?
At class, I experienced other regressions to different former lives. In one, I was a suntanned, barefoot boy in a prairie log cabin. The door flew open and a woman carrying two large pails full of milk stepped inside. The woman was obviously my mother. The instant I saw her, immediately to her right I saw a superimposed picture of a former girlfriend of mine in this life -- one whom I'd almost married.
       A strange feeling washed over me -- I'd almost married my mother from a previous life. I'd read that such things are common, that it centers around karma -- the law that says you reap what you sow. During their lives, friends, relatives, or marriage partners create circumstances that need to be paid for in a subsequent life. If, for example, I was unfaithful to my wife in a former life, during another life, we might be married again and she be unfaithful to me -- only I might be the woman and she might be the man. Or if someone killed me in another life, in this life I might get to kill them.
       As much as I enjoyed my new spirituality, one disappointment hung over me -- nothing had explained the fall I'd experienced in vision as an infant and then again in my first regression. I couldn't bear to regress back to it -- what if it didn't end before I hit the ground? What if I didn't die instantly? What if it took me through extreme pain! Surely there had to be another way to find out.
       The terror of the experience and the questions that haunted me prodded me to visit a psychic one afternoon. She closed her eyes and fingered a crystal. After several minutes, she frowned. Eyes still closed, she clenched both hands around the crystal and raised them upward into a beam of sunlight.
       A moment later she rested her hands on the table again and opened her eyes. She looked me in the eye. "All I can see is .. ." She cleared her throat. "... you are going to die at age thirty from a fall."
       "Die?" I questioned. "At thirty?" I swallowed hard. "From a fall?"
       She stared intently at the crystal for a long moment. "That's what I see," she concluded.
       I left in a daze. Die? From a fall? Could that have been what the vision when I was a child was about? The terror of the fall filled me again.
       The questions raced faster around the track of my mind than cars at the Indy 500. Should I go to another psychic to confirm or disprove her prediction?
       Two evenings later at the self-hypnosis class, the instructor taught us how to use a pendulum to get answers "from deep within your soul."
       But how could something so simple work? As I drove home, I thought back on the other spiritual skills he'd taught in class. I've tried them. They've worked! Every single one! "Finally!" I fairly shouted, giving a thumbs up. "This is what I've been looking for. A way to get specific answers!"
       As soon as I arrived home, I assembled the needed supplies and sat at the table. I positioned myself as instructed and asked, "Which direction means 'Yes' for me?"
       The key immediately swung away from me, then back, forward, back.
       Shivers ran down my spine. Had I moved?
       I held the string tightly with my right hand and grasped my right hand with my left, steadying my elbows carefully. When the key hung perfectly still, I asked, "Which direction means 'I don't know' for me?"
       The key swung to the left in a wide circle.
       I know I didn't move. Is there something to this? Then the thought struck -- Ask a different question while it's still swinging.
       "Which direction means 'I won't tell you'?"
       Instantly, without continuing its natural arc, the key died in dead center. Not a wisp of movement.
       "Which direction means 'No'?"
       The key swung a wide left-right are.
       Chills chased each other up and down my spine. It works! Just like he said! But for some reason, it felt eerie. Should I be doing this? Iwondered. Why is my heart pounding?
       Remembering the counsel of the class leader about praying for protection, I bowed my head. "God, please protect me from any evil spirit influence."
       I opened my eyes. The strange, uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach remained. Shall I ask about the fall? In the silence I felt like a barbell with 400-pound weights dropped across my shoulders. Shall I?


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