by Ian Lawton
One of the most celebrated cases of supposedly verifiable, past-life recall involved the Welsh hypnotherapist Arnall Bloxham, about whose work Jeffrey Iverson produced a BBC documentary and book in the seventies. His most responsive subject was given the pseudonym Jane Evans, and three of her supposed past lives are of particular interest. The one most commonly referred to is that of Rebecca, a persecuted Jewess in twelfth-century York, but in fact it has important weaknesses that are usually overlooked. Worse, it is rarely reported that her regression to the life of a Roman woman called Livonia in third-century Britain has been conclusively proved to stem from a historical novel. That would be the end of the matter were it not for a third life, that of Alison, a servant to the medieval French entrepreneur Jacques Coeur. Similar attempts to suggest a fictional source for this life can be shown to be entirely inadequate. Indeed it seems close to impossible that some of its obscure but eventually verified details could have been contained in any “normal” source to which Jane could have been exposed, however briefly. It would therefore appear that, overall, Jane’s is a fascinating and mixed case that should hold some interest for “believers” and “skeptics” alike.