Chapter 13.  Occult Chemistry and Psychic Archaeology

Once upon a time, atomic physics was a relatively simple affair. Every atom was like a miniature solar system with a nucleus of neutrons and protons at its centre, and with a host of electrons orbiting around it like tiny planets.

But then came a shock. These particles were not just particles. They were, paradoxically, waves as well, and many a physicist spent a sleepless night trying to reconcile these two equally valid opposites.

Then up popped the positron and the neutrino, followed by a deluge of new “elementary” particles, each as elementary, if not more so, than its predecessors, and sporting increasingly strange names. Even the quark is now old hat (there are now six types of them, including one with the delightful name of a charm quark!) As many readers will know, after a long and very expensive search for the elusive particle known as the Higgs boson, it is now thought to have been found. One wonders, though, if even that will be the last word in particle physics!

Nowadays to understand what is going on in atomic physics you need at least a degree in theoretical physics and a few million pounds worth of complex electronic gadgetry.

Or do you?

Not if the Reverend C.W. Leadbeater and Mrs Annie Besant are to be believed, for in the first two decades of the twentieth century, they claimed to have investigated the structure of the atom without so much as using a single equation, and without even spending a penny – if you see what we mean.

Their method was devastatingly simple. They just ‘looked’ at the atom in question, not with the ordinary eye, of course – an atom is far too small for that – but with the clairvoyant eye.

The theory seems to be that the same faculties that can be used to see into the fairy realms, or to communicate telepathically with the cat, or even to contact the spirit of your deceased grandfather, can also be adapted to act like an incredibly powerful microscope. They can be tuned to zoom in, as it were, into the very heart of the atom.

This extraordinary theory was put forward in their book Occult Chemistry, published in 1919. It is actually quite a complicated book, and not at all easy to read, but here is one of the simpler accounts of their procedure and its results:

The first chemical atom selected for this examination was an atom of hydrogen (H). On looking carefully at it, it was seen to consist of six small bodies, contained in an egg-like form. It rotated with great rapidity on its own axis, vibrating at the same time, and the internal bodies performed similar gyrations. … The six little bodies are arranged in two sets of three, forming two triangles which are not interchangeable, but are related to each other as object and image. … Further, the six bodies are not all alike; they each contain three smaller bodies – each of these being an ultimate physical atom – but in two of them the three atoms are arranged in a line, while in the remaining four they are arranged in a triangle.

By clairvoyant means, the Rev. Leadbeater and Mrs Besant actually discovered one or two hitherto unknown chemical elements:

… we found three chemical waifs: an unrecognised stranger between Hydrogen and Helium which we called Occultum, for purposes of reference, and two varieties of one element, which we named Kalon and Meta-Kalon, between Xenon and Osmium; we also found four varieties of four recognised elements and prefixed meta- to the name of each, and a second form of platinum, that we named Pt.B.

The world of orthodox chemistry remained totally unmoved by all this. For some reason, the scientists were unwilling to rearrange their precious periodic table of the elements, even in the face of Besant and Leadbeater’s extraordinary revelations.

However, just for the record, the four meta-elements they mention in the above passage were meta-neon, metargon, meta-krypton and meta-xenon.

For those of our readers who want a very simple account of what an atom really looks like, the following delightful description was given in one of Rev. Leadbeater’s later books, The Science of the Sacraments (1920):

It would be out of place here to describe them in detail, but I should perhaps say that an atom is roughly heart-shaped, and looks as if it were constructed of wires like a bird cage. Each wire is a spiral made in turn of still finer spirals which we call spirillae.

Nor is probing the structure of the atom the only application of clairvoyant vision. Geoffrey Hodson, whose investigations of the fairy realms we looked at in Chapter 12, was in addition to being an Occult Chemist (he fully confirmed Besant and Leadbeater’s findings) an Occult Astrophysicist. No need for almanacs with Mr Hodson around, for example. If he wanted to know the positions of the planets in the sky at 8.42 p.m. on July 3rd, 1861, all he had to do was tune up his psychic powers to clairvoyantly “see” where they had been at that time. He was also able “by purely visual means”, or so Mr Alexander Horne assures us, to distinguish the north and south poles of any magnet, and to follow the flow of its “magnetic emanation”. Both of these feats are quite impossible for the ordinary, unaided senses, of course. Readers keen to know more about these experiments might like to dip into the book Some Experiments in Four-Dimensional Vision, co-authored by Geoffrey Hodson and Alexander Horne, first published in 1933.

Since about the 1930s Occult Chemistry and its associated studies seem to have fallen from grace. At least, neither of us knows of any present-day practitioner of them. By contrast, though, the field of Occult Archaeology is undergoing a boom.

There are several ways of investigating the past by psychic means, none of which is received at all well by the orthodox archaeologists and historians of this world. These may be briefly described as follows:

  1. Communication with the spirits of the dead: For example, if you want to know anything about the history of a medieval castle, then you get a psychic to ask the spirits of its departed inhabitants all about it.
  2. Psychometry: A psychic, by handling, say, an ancient statuette, can tell you for what purpose it was carved, what god or goddess it represented, and all about the artist or craftsman who made it, as well as the style of life he led and the type of community in which he lived and worked.
  3. Clairvoyant excavation: If you are interested, say, in early Inca ruins, you can get a psychic to tell you just where such ruins are to be found, and exactly where and to what depth to dig in order to find them. He can also tell you what artefacts you will find in the course of your excavations.
  4. Memories from previous incarnations: Here a hypnotised subject is regressed into past lives and questioned about them.
  5. Dowsing – either out in the field or on a map: Just as one can dowse for water or minerals, one can also dowse for buried artefacts, ruined walls, coins, bones, pottery etc.

Jeffrey Goodman’s book Psychic Archaeology (1977) involves every one of these methods. Mr Goodman’s own excursion into psychic archaeology started with a dream of exploring a desolate landscape which he instinctively knew to have been the location of a prehistoric village. Unfortunately the dream gave no clue as to where this location was, but Mr Goodman felt that it was somehow all to do with the long-standing riddle of who the first inhabitants of America really were, and where they came from.

At the suggestion of a friend he sent the details of his dream to a psychic called Aron Abrahamson, who psychically focussed on the spot of Mr Goodman’s dream and found it to be in the mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Mr Goodman’s book is largely concerned with the finding and excavation of this site and the pushing back of the origins of Man in America to some half a million years ago. This in itself is enough to give orthodox archaeologists the shudders (they claim that the first inhabitants of America came from Asia only a few thousand years ago), but it is by no means the only shock in store for them. According to the psychic, the first Americans were not nomads from Asia, but refugees from the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria, and orthodoxy has never been overly keen on any theory involving either of those two places. Atlantis, historians claim, is no more than a myth run wild, and Lemuria an even less respectable nineteenth-century fantasy.

Here, however, is Mr Goodman’s story – or rather the story passed on by the spirits through Aron Abrahamson to Mr Goodman:

Aron said the first people in this area came in small numbers 500,000 years ago. They had high ideals and were a priestly and peaceful people who lived in communes. In time other people arrived, having heard about the good new land. He said the different groups of people came from the lost continents of Lemuria and Atlantis. Some worked their way first through South America. He said they had a symbolic writing similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics, and that one of their key symbols was the ankh. He said the later groups also had cultivated seeds, domesticated animals, and cured leather. Instead of some prehistoric Buck Rogers culture, he describes a quiet, sleepy community which was technologically advanced in more subtle ways. He described how the culture rose and fell several times in this one area; that buried deepest was the highest civilisation. The big fall came as the population grew larger, an unequal distribution of land and property took place, and a ruler was set up by some self-appointed power grabbers.

For the actual dig, Aron selected a ten-foot square inside the area of the Flagstaff site and predicted what Mr Goodman and his team of diggers would find as they excavated a shaft at that position:

He told of major changes in the geology at eight feet and at fifteen feet. He also predicted that throughout the test shaft we would find hammerstones, cutting tools, choppers, and scrapers. He also thought that we would find one piece of fabric and some potsherds in one section. At twenty to twenty-three feet, Aron said that we would find the bones of three different individuals. They would be the bones of a mother and two children who had perished while huddling together against an avalanche of ice and water coming from the snowfield above them. He said that they were overcome so quickly that even their horses fell beside them.

According to Mr Goodman, most of Aron’s predictions were fulfilled, though there are a few doubts expressed by some archaeologists as to whether some of the ‘stone tools’ found were actually artificial or whether they were just an amalgam of natural stone and Mr Goodman’s imagination. The potsherds and the cloth, however, failed to turn up, as did the skeletal material. Of the latter, Mr Goodman wrote, rather optimistically, “Maybe the bones lay just beyond the periphery of the shaft.”

The field of psychic archaeology is by no means a new one. In 1880 one Leonard Herbert Nason published a book called History of the Prehistoric Ages: written by the ancient historic band of spirits. It was a mediumistic affair, the ancient band consisting of twenty-four spirits, the oldest of whom lived 46,000 years ago and the youngest 3,000 years ago. Their account of history began with the origin of the solar system and ended with the story of Romulus and Remus. One critic said of it that every page showed “preternatural dullness and ignorance so characteristic of all the spirits with whom mediums have dealings”.

The Atlantean strain of psychic archaeology is not new either. In 1911 a Joseph B. Leslie published his book Submerged Atlantis Restored, an 800-page history of the lost continent as supplied by the spirits of its deceased inhabitants.

As for archaeological excavation per se under the guidance of spirits, in 1907 a church architect called Frederick Bligh Bond delved into the history of Glastonbury Abbey by consultation with the spirits of deceased monks. In particular Bond claimed that he was led to rediscover the lost Edgar Chapel at the east end of the abbey through spiritual guidance.

One monkish communication, dated 26th November 1907, reads as follows:

There is much under the grass deep down and unrifled. The east of St Mary’s has a vault under the stairs and under the nave there are vaults – the destroyers feared, and the ruin of the walls hid the entrance in. Under the tower the vault is perfect, and many names of those buried therein deep down.

When Bond asked where they should start digging, the spirit replied: “The east end. Seek for the pillars, and the wall(s) at an angle. The foundations are deep.”

Sometimes the message came through in typical old English:

And beyond rose a Capella of Edgar ye sainte, faire and high with grete windowes with transomes and between ye windowes were pillars as panellae the whych did holde ye roofe.

Occasionally there were bursts of Latin, as was the case with the sitting of 18th April 1911, at which Bond asked the spirits who built St Dunstan’s Chapel:

Edgarus ybuilded long syne. Radulphus hoc opus restoravit. After hym, ye fyre yburned yt. Then he was a capella in muro …

Rediscovering a lost chapel via spirit agency seems impressive at first glance. Unfortunately some people denied that Bond had been guided to make his archaeological discoveries by these spiritualistic communications. Rather, they claimed, Bond had retrospectively fitted the communications to discoveries that were made by distinctly non-psychic means.

Let us explain. The spirits allegedly communicated through the pen of a mediumistic sitter. That is, they were delivered by the process known as automatic writing, with the occasional automatically drawn sketch-map thrown in.

However, automatic writing is frequently none too clear, and even Bond was forced to admit that (for example) the word “eastwards” in one communication could just as easily have been read as “westwards” or “outwards”, and that the distance “nineteen yards” might actually have been “thirteen yards”.

Add to that the fact that the maps drawn by the spirits could usually, at best, be described as vague “blindfold tracings” and it becomes hardly surprising that the sceptics accused Bond of fitting his scripts to later discoveries. And this does become all the more plausible when you realise that The Gates of Remembrance was published about ten years after the events it purported to describe. Sincere though Bond might have been, the critics argued, the “fit” was made to seem far better than it had really ever been.

The idea of finding out about the past by contacting the sprits of the long dead is still with us here in the twenty-first century. Thus, a former footballer, security guard and now TV medium, Derek Acorah, has delved into some of the puzzles of Ancient Egyptian history. In a TV series called “Paranormal Egypt” broadcast by Living TV in 2008, he claimed to have communicated with the spirits of Queen Hatshepsut and the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, amongst others. In addition, whilst filming in the Great Pyramid he sensed a lot of “spiritual activity” going on, the experience being terminated when he was struck in the face by “a paranormal substance or powder”, and started to choke. “Something didn’t want me there in the Great Pyramid,” he said later. Unkind critics said that it was probably the Ancient Egyptian way of telling Mr Acorah to stop messing about; others wondered why the spirits that possessed Mr Acorah on camera spoke with the same Liverpudlian accent as the unpossessed Mr Acorah; and yet another wondered why the spirits that spoke through Mr Acorah didn’t tell viewers anything that wasn’t readily available through Wikipedia. But there it is – that might only serve to show how good Wikipedia is!

Let us turn now to archaeological dowsing. One of the most extraordinary investigations of the past by dowsing is undoubtedly Guy Underwood’s book The Pattern of the Past (1969).

Mr Underwood’s studies began with the observation that there might be some relationship between the religion of the Stone Age and water divining. This idea was largely inspired by a man called Reginald Smith. Mr Smith, in addition to being a former Keeper of British and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, was also a dowser, and his investigations, in the 1930s, of a large number of prehistoric circles and earthworks revealed the presence of underground water beneath each of them. To be more precise, Mr Smith discovered that beneath the centre of every prehistoric temple lay a “blind spring” – that is, a point from which several underground streams radiated outwards. From this he inferred that the sites of those temples had been fixed by dowsing.

Mr Underwood took Mr Smith’s observations much further. He claimed that not only was the location of ancient monuments fixed by dowsing, but so too were their sizes, shapes and internal groundplans. Furthermore, blind springs were only a small part of the story. Mr Underwood claimed that virtually every detail of every prehistoric structure was determined by reference to a complex system of what he called “Geodetic Lines”.

Roughly speaking these are lines of force, rather like those associated with magnets, and they come in three types. First, water lines, which are associated with underground streams, and which are the things normally detected by a dowser in his search for underground water supplies. Second, track lines, which are so called because all old roads, tracks and pathways seem to follow them. Third and last, aquastats which are the lines of force mostly involved in the layout of ancient monuments. Incidentally, as with the magnetic variety, a geodetic “line” is not necessarily straight – in fact, it is often decidedly crooked. Nevertheless the term “line” is adopted rather than alternatives like “course” or “contour”.

Now before we go any further we had better explain that it is no use our readers grabbing the nearest hazel twig and heading for Stonehenge. You see, there are two types of dowsers, negative dowsers, who are sensitive to water lines but not track lines or aquastats, and positive dowsers, who are sensitive to all three. Most water diviners are negative dowsers, so that even if you are lucky enough to be able to dowse for water successfully, you are not certain to be able to “see” the aquastats and track lines that form the basis of Mr Underwood’s theory. However, if you consult The Pattern of the Past, you will find a variety of special geodetic dowsing rods with which to try your luck, and a list of hints to point you in the right direction should you prove to be a suitable candidate for positive dowsing. Even then it isn’t a straightforward business since your sensitivity is governed by such factors as left or right handedness and grip control.

Next, even if you turn out to be a competent positive dowser, the situation is far from simple, for although there are only three types of geodetic line, there is a wide variety of secondary effects associated with them. The would-be interpreter of ancient monuments needs to be aware of these, and to proceed with care and caution, as many of them are easily missed. We won’t go into details here for lack of space but, to take one notable example, one effect of a blind spring is to cause local geodetic lines to spiral into it. The number of coils, Mr Underwood assures us, is invariably a multiple of 7 in the case of water lines and aquastats, and of 3½ for track lines. According to Mr Underwood, since the blind spring became the religious “heart” of an ancient temple, we may have an explanation here for the prevalence of both the spiral symbol and the mystic number 7 in ancient religions.

What with spirals and loops, nodes and parallels, reversed circles and feathers, haloes and overlapping arcs, the geodetic investigation of our ancient monuments is a complicated business. Even Mr Underwood likened it to “some strange, complex and incomprehensible branch of physics”, and when you consider that many of these secondary geodetic phenomena shift their location and intensity according to the time of year and the phase of the moon, then you can quite understand that Mr Underwood’s theories are something of a closed book to all but the competent positive dowser.

Of course, things have to be neither simple nor openly visible for them to be real, and a multiple aquastatic left-handed spiral is no queerer than a quark when all is said and done.

But even granted all these lines of force exist, why should ancient man have built his temple so as to incorporate them? The answer lies partly in nature and partly within ourselves.

Nature responds to the geodetic phenomena of the Earth Force. According to Mr Underwood, many animals give birth to their young over blind springs. Cows sleep over them; horses meditate over them; and owls have their favourite roosts over them, to cite but three examples. Migrating fish and birds, Mr Underwood assures us, follow well defined geodetic paths, and the buffalo trails of North America, as well as the ‘tracks’ followed by farm animals, are likewise geodetic in origin. Again, ant-hills tend to be located on water lines, and various trees, such as mistletoe, hawthorn and willow, tend to flourish near blind springs or geodetic nodes (sharp bends in the line of force). Indeed, those curiously deformed trees with twisted trunks are actually responding to particularly strong vortices of geodetic force.

The effects of the Earth Force on animal and plant are plain to see, Mr Underwood claims, if only one knows where to look. To civilised, desensitised, modern man, however, the influences of the Earth Force on himself, though still present, are rarely perceived. To our ancestors, though, more sensitive to these things, their influences were clearly perceived. Aquastats were beneficial and water lines harmful – hence the curative legends associated with some ancient sites and the malignant ‘presences’ supposed to inhabit others.

Mr Underwood theorises that Ancient Man believed a “Life Spirit” dwelt inside the Earth and that geodetic phenomena were manifestations of it. He rendered this system ‘visible’ by using a sort of code of monuments to mark the places at which the various aspects of the Earth Spirit were manifested. According to Mr Underwood, our ancestors used about thirty different types of topographical marker to render the Earth Spirit visible – from simple standing stones to long barrows, from stone circles to linear mounds. The curious markings on certain stones, Mr Underwood explains, actually convey local geodetic information, and the reason that so many old English roads twist and turn so inexplicably is because they are following the course of the track lines beneath them.

According to Mr Underwood, ancient man knew his Earth forces, and lived in harmony with them. Some of his geodetic practices even survived into medieval times under the guise of Freemasonry, and made their appearances in the groundplans of medieval cathedrals. What seem to the casual eye of today to be anomalies of church architecture – such as skew groundplans or superfluous doors – are actually geodetic necessities, Mr Underwood explains. Skew groundplans are actually following the course of a central aquastat, and a superfluous door arises from the geodetic convention that no track line or aquastat should be obstructed. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the altar marks the position of a blind spring – the religious ‘heart’ of the site.

Fascinating as Mr Underwood’s theory is, it does have its shortcomings. For example, menhirs and dolmens were both used to mark blind springs, and yet Mr Underwood fails to explain why a menhir should mark one blind spring and a dolmen another. Why weren’t both marked by dolmens or both by menhirs? He has to confess that this must rest on some factor “not yet recognised or identified”.

Again, one gets the distinct impression that Mr Underwood sees geodetic implications in just too many places. For example, it seems fairly obvious that a standing stone lying on its side has at some time or other just fallen over or been vandalised. Yet Mr Underwood sees marvellous geodetic symbolism in such recumbent stones – so much so that he denies they were ever upright! Again, for him, the flying buttresses of medieval cathedrals cease to be devices for structural support, and become instead aquastat bridges. Finally, we find it hard to believe that the tombs of Edward the Confessor, Henrys V, VI and VII, not to mention Queen Elizabeth I, were one and all deliberately sited over blind springs, or that the famous White Horse of Uffington was carved because the geodetic lines in that particular locality just happened to form the shape of a horse!

The geodetic picture fits rather too well, if you see what we mean. Nevertheless, Mr Underwood’s book is a fascinating read and no-one can doubt the utter sincerity and sheer hard work that went into its pages.

Moving onto psychometry now, Jeffrey Goodman writes about a Canadian archaeologist, Dr J.N. Emerson, who works in association with a psychic truck driver called George McMullen. When handed a black argillite stone carving of the head of an ape-like creature, Mr McMullen “saw” that it had been carved by a Negro from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Mr Goodman goes on to describe how Mr McMullen proceeded to make Sherlock Holmes look like an amateur:

He studied the object further and gave Emerson an even more fantastic tale. He said that the carver was a black man who was a native of West Africa who had been captured and taken as a slave to the Caribbean by the Spanish. Later he had been taken on an English ship sailing to British Columbia where he escaped and was sheltered by the native Indians. There he married an Indian, raised a family and died.

This type of investigation is not new either. In 1938 John Foster Forbes published a little book called The Unchronicled Past which he described as “an investigation of our past history by psychometry”.

Mr Forbes had an almost irrefutable argument that he was on the track of ‘real’ history. It was to the effect that his discoveries were just too fantastic for a normal mind to have made up – and with that we won’t argue.

According to Mr Forbes, psychometry reveals that England is a “truly favoured land” (in a spiritual sense) which in its ancient past was “controlled most perfectly by the masters and past masters of ancient masonry”. These masters, needless to say, came originally from Atlantis and constructed their temples “to respond in proper formation to the magnetic influence of the sun, the moon and the stars.” The Atlanteans, it seems, could, by means lost to today’s science, harness the powers of the cosmos and turn them to their own beneficial ends.

On certain occasions and at certain annual recurrences, many of these temples would be used for specific purposes. The domed vaults would be constructed of precious substances that, being highly magnetic and volatile, they would yield adequate response at certain conjunctions. These temples and their amazing avenues would have therefore a most special significance on certain days of the year at times when these conjunctions took place.

Psychometry reveals that the temples of Cornwall were dedicated to the enrichment of the body, whereas those of Devon were dedicated to the revitalisation of the spirit. The Tors of Dartmoor, incidentally, are not natural formations according to Mr Forbes, but are “the vestiges of at one time tremendous inter-connected power storage temples.”

There is much that is delightfully intriguing about Mr Forbes’s book and one feels that if history wasn’t actually the way he pictured it, then it jolly well ought to have been:

I feel that the only true tales are fairy tales. Tales that speak of people being suddenly cast into a magic sleep or stupor from which by the touch of one who understands the law and the formula, sudden awakening will come again and all the forgotten past of ancient days will come to life once more.

Closely related to psychometry is the process whereby a psychic actually looks back in time. Jeffrey Goodman writes of Dr Emerson and the psychic truck driver:

Besides his obvious psychometric ability, George becomes psychically sensitive to any site he visits. According to Emerson, who directly observed him, George would walk very rapidly over a site area to orientate himself and would then give a reading about it. He would first give the age of the site, then describe the people, their dress, dwellings, general behaviour, and even their economic system. Then he would really get fancy. He would “go back in time” and put himself right out on the limb by giving specific information as to where ruined structures could be excavated.

But then, as with psychometry, there are times when one can’t help but wonder if there isn’t just a dash of romantic fiction that gets mixed in along the way. Here, for example, is an extract from Grace and Ivan Cooke’s curious book The Light in Britain (1971). It concerns the large and impressive hill fort of Maiden Castle in Dorset:

I feel that this was originally a temple of sun worship for the early people who came from Atlantis. Only later did it become a fort. I feel there are particular parts of Britain and the rest of the world where cosmic rays are focused. … Gods and spirits referred to in mythology were once all real spirits. I contact a sun-god messenger. … God-men such as these came to this place from outer space.

The Cookes’ book is an interesting one as it demonstrates a sort of displaced patriotism, all too rare these days:

Our purpose in this book is to reveal something of the pure and holy light which ancient Brotherhoods in Britain have left as our heritage and for our blessing – a light which (as in the age-old legend of King Arthur and his knights) lies dormant, only waiting to break forth to inspire and lead the people to victory over the darkness of materialism.

Later in the book:

It looks to me as though Britain is as it were the central or “grail cup” of this whole planet. There are other beautiful centres in various parts of the world, but something uniquely pure and holy is here.

In a curious sort of way Comyns Beaumont’s book The Riddle of Prehistoric Britain (see Chapter 14) says the same thing, and Foster Forbes believed that England was a “truly magic land” that would one day rise again.

But getting back to psychic archaeology, the use of hypnotism to transport people back to their past lives is well known, and the craze for this kind of investigation of the past really began with Morey Bernstein’s book The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956). Mr Bernstein was a businessman and amateur hypnotist who claimed to have regressed an ordinary American housewife into her past life as a nineteenth-century Irish colleen called Bridey Murphy.

The trouble is that you have to be very careful with past lives. Convincing as they can seem, it is a known fact that hypnotised subjects have a distressingly ingenious ability to concoct “past lives” from the half remembered trivia of childhood. Unfortunately, some persistent reporters from the Chicago American showed that Bridey Murphy was one of these – a fictional character based on childhood memories. They deduced this principally by tracking down the original – a lady called Bridie Murphy Corkell, whom Mr Bernstein’s housewife had known in her childhood!

But the craze for investigating past lives under hypnosis continued. A hypnotherapist called Arnall Bloxham had for many years been performing such hypnotic regressions on subjects before becoming the subject of a TV documentary narrated by Magnus Magnusson. This was followed by Jeffrey Iverson’s book about Mr Bloxham and his subjects, More Lives Than One? (1976).

Again, a hypnotist called Joe Keaton has published an account of his own experiments with regressed subjects in a book called Encounters with the Past (1979). This in its turn inspired a series of programmes on BBC TV entitled “Voices from the Past?” Chaired by TV presenter Bill Grundy, they showed that although the voices did seem to come from the past with conviction, sincerity and chilling realism, they were more likely than not elaborate fantasies issuing from the subconscious. When the histories related by the hypnotised subjects were checked against historical facts, the correspondences were poor and frequently non-existent. Fascinating as the phenomena of hypnotic regression to “past lives” undoubtedly are, it does seem that we haven’t progressed very far since the original Bridie Murphy.

One of the present authors (BF) decided, in 2005, to visit a professional hypnotherapist who had some experience of regressing folk to their past lives. Unfortunately, he was not to be one of them, and despite the hypnotist trying three different hypnotic techniques, he saw nothing more than the back of his own eyelids. He did have a vague image of the outside of an old building, it is true, but it could actually have been either one of two old pubs that he was familiar with, and when asked by the hypnotherapist what was on the inside of the said building, he had to say that he hadn’t the faintest idea, as he was on the outside. The experiment was a failure, and actually quite a costly one! But then as someone less sceptical said to him afterwards, maybe his scepticism actually stopped things working!

But do you need a hypnotist to get you back into your past lives? Can you not get yourself back there?

According to Colin Bennett’s little book Practical Time Travel (1971), you can – by crystal gazing. Usually crystal gazing is associated with trying to see into the future, but Mr Bennett claims that by giving one’s concentration a backward impetus in time instead of a forward one, the crystal can just as easily reveal scenes from your past lives. Nor do you need an expensive quartz crystal ball for this. Since the crystal is probably only a concentration object for inducing a light hypnotic trance, a small goldfish bowl filled with water (but minus goldfish!) would probably do just as well. Mr Bennett writes:

Gaze at the crystal intently. Picture time to yourself as a road of living memory. Think of the road as though proceeding from yourself into the heart of the crystal. As you concentrate you feel a subtle link beginning to grow between the crystal and yourself …

The procedure, apparently, requires some practice, and it is not guaranteed to work at a first attempt, or even at all, but if you do try it, we are told that a sign that something is about to happen is a clouding of the crystal’s surface and the appearance of a thin blue mist immediately above it. When the clouding parts, scenes from your past lives will materialise before you in the body of the crystal.

Another method of seeing back into your past lives, if you can’t afford the going rate at the local hypnotist, and if the goldfish bowl doesn’t deliver the goods, is to get a couple of friends to give you a special massage. Whilst you are lying comfortably on the couch, one person massages your ankles and the other rubs the lower centre of your forehead with a rhythmical circular motion. Eventually, we are told, you will feel yourself floating in the sky, and from this elevated position you can bring yourself down into the comings and goings of a past life.

This method was devised originally by a lady called Jacqueline Parkhurst, but received its widest airing in a book by an Australian novelist called Gerald Glaskin. His book was called Windows of the Mind and was published in America in 1974. On 13th June of that year, the English newspaper the Sun, noted mainly for the contents of its third page, based an article on Mr Glaskin’s book, and invited actors Tom Baker and Derek Nimmo to be massaged into the past by scantily clad young ladies. Hardly the most scientific of procedures but nevertheless, though Mr Baker failed to identify himself in a past life, Mr Nimmo recalled his past life as one of the Duke of Wellington’s officers.

Naturally enough the Sun invited its readers to try out the experiment and to send in their experiences. On 25th June 1974, they published a selection of replies, including those from the reincarnations of a Roman soldier, a Victorian servant, a Wild West saloon hostess, and a dog!

Ironically, Mr Glaskin himself probably hit on the key to this whole business when he likened the experience to dreaming whilst awake.

This brings us to a 21st-century internet cutting-edge technological route to your past lives. For a mere $30 you can buy, from, a set of books and CDs to help you access your past lives by a sort of auto-hypnosis. The technique uses “binaural beats or brainwave entrainment.” As the internet flyer explains:

This is where sound waves of different frequencies are played in each ear. Just by listening to the correct combination of alpha and theta wave frequencies with headphones it has been scientifically proven to induce the state necessary to achieve Past Life Regression very quickly.

If binaural beats aren’t quite what you want, then you might try the Psychic Today website at They offer phone readings, web-voice readings, email readings and video-chat readings of your past lives. They employ a number of “specialist hand selected psychics”, each with their own PIN number, and by keying in the number of your chosen psychic (the details of each are given on the website, together with their availability at the time of viewing) you can have them unlock the secrets of your past lives. At the time of writing, calls cost £1.53 per minute from BT landlines; other providers and mobile costs may vary.

One man who had no trouble seeing into not just his own past lives (he had tramped the Holy Land with Christ, for example!) but those of other people as well, was the “Sleeping Prophet”, Edgar Cayce. Mr Cayce, who died in 1945, claimed to be able to put himself into an hypnotic trance and thence to read what he called the Akashic Record. This is supposed to be a sort of vast and detailed Cosmic Register of Events covering the entire history of the human race down to its minutest details. It can be ‘read’ like any ordinary book by a sufficiently advanced psychic, such as Cayce. Jeffrey Goodman, whose book Psychic Archaeology we referred to earlier, calls Cayce “the world’s first documented psychic time traveller”.

Mr Cayce’s timetable of world history is enough to make any conventional historian or archaeologist take to his heels. In part it runs roughly as follows:

1,000,000 – 800,000 BC Early Lemurian development
500,000 BC Lemuria inundated by water; peoples scattered
400,000 – 300,000 BC Lemuria inhabited & civilisation advanced
250,000 BC Second Lemurian catastrophe, possibly by fire
200,000 BC Early Atlantean culture emerged
80,000 BC First Atlantean disturbance; final Lemurian submergence
28,000 BC Second Atlantean disturbance; recorded Biblically as the Great Flood
10,700 BC Final destruction and sinking of Atlantis
10,390 BC Completion of Great Pyramid in Egypt by the priests Ra-Ta and Hermes.

Incidentally, in addition to fanning the contentious fires of both Lemuria and Atlantis, Mr Cayce seems to have firmly put his foot in it as regards the Great Pyramid. It was almost certainly built in about 2600 BC by the pharaoh Cheops and not at all as Mr Cayce claimed. Perhaps the Akashic Record is as subject to journalistic bungling on an astral level as some of our newspapers are on an earthly one!

Many people who consulted Cayce to find out about their past lives found that at some stage of their karmic careers they had been citizens of Atlantis. But even more curious karmic facts came to light when Mr Cayce read what the Akashic Record had to say about Jesus, for apparently Adam, Enoch, Joseph, Joshua, Jesus and a certain Amilius the Atlantean were all reincarnations of the same being! (George Hunt Williamson’s reincarnational patterns amongst historical figures, mentioned in Chapter 6, drew their inspiration from Cayce, even down to the extraordinary detail that developing souls reside in the vicinity of the star Arcturus, supposed to be the centre of the whole universe, before deciding in which planetary system to be reincarnated!)

“Does Cayce know what he was talking about,” Jeffrey Goodman asks, “or does his time machine have a loose screw?” Mr Goodman concludes decisively that there are no loose screws at all, though for ourselves we have the sneaking suspicion that there are several. Certainly we can quite understand why the majority of archaeologists put not their faith in psychics.

Mr Goodman, however, has other ideas. He sees a rosy future for psychic archaeology in all its forms:

Decades ago we drilled for oil only in areas where that commodity literally seeped from the ground. Then came seismography and geophysics and we were able to “see into” the ground. A whole new age of oil discovery was ushered in. Today we are still excavating archaeological sites where artefacts, like oil, seep from the ground. Psychic archaeology heralds a whole new age of discovery. It provokes man to take an even closer look at himself – and everything around him.

All this may seem a little far-fetched, but one does have to be cautious and avoid the trap of being over-sceptical. One of us (PM) found this out forcefully many years ago. The subject of dowsing came up – not in any archaeological context, but more conventionally for water. Tests, carried out under controlled conditions, were, alas, conclusive. PM could dowse. He still can. On the whole, he rather wishes he couldn’t, but the facts cannot be denied. Just how and why it happens is another matter altogether!