Review:

The Search for Bridey Murphy
by
Morey Bernstein

This is an account of the famous "Bridey Murphy" case, in which Morey Bernstein hypnotized Virginia Tighe (given the pseudonym of Ruth Simmons) in the early 1950's, and the Irish character of Bridey from 100 years earlier emerged, giving a detailed account of her life and circumstances. Skeptics, using unfair tactics, convinced themselves and the public at large that they had debunked it, but a careful study shows that they did not. This is a landmark work which deserves to be read first-hand, with a thorough knowledge of Dr. Ian Stevenson's work under your belt before you start. For example, "Bridey" was able to demonstrate an old Irish jig, sing parts of a song, and gave numerous geographic, linguistic and historical references which checked out. (Some of them were disputed by historians initially, only to be proven correct later on.) These are some of the same elements that Stevenson found in his cases.

The Bridey Murphy case is a perfect example of a genuine case "hushed" unfairly by debunkers. The fraud was in the debunking, not in the case. They found, for example, that Virginia Tighe had had an Irish neighbor as a child who had talked about the "old country" to her, and this is what the public accepted and what it accepts to this day. However, if you read the book carefully and objectively, especially the section by William J. Barker in the newer edition entitled, "Bridey's Debunker's Debunked," you will find that there were two contacts cited, neither of which could have reasonably resulted in the detailed, historically verified information which surfaced during the hypnosis sessions. One was an Aunt, Mrs. Marie Burns, who was born in New York and raised in Chicago, but was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. She lived with Virginia Tighe's family when Virginia was 18, wasn't particularly interested, Ireland, and did not tell Virginia stories about Ireland.

The second contact was a neighbor who lived across the street from Virginia when she was child, who she knew only as "Mrs. Corkell". Virginia played with her children but didn't remember ever speaking with Mrs. Corkell. The neighbor's full name was Mrs. Anthony Bridie Murphy Corkell, and she was from County Mayo, Ireland, which is not near the part of Ireland that Virginia remembered under hypnosis. There is, however, a strange coincidence in that Mrs. Corkell's son, John, worked for the newspaper, the Sunday Chicago American, which published the debunking articles.

In short, if you look into the facts, there is much more suspicion to be thrown on the debunking process than on the case itself. The "Bridey Murphy" case is far from closed, and "The Search for Bridey Murphy" remains a must-read for anyone interested in reincarnation studies.

 

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