Marge Rieder is a hypnotherapist who also researches past-life memories with what could best be described as detective methods. Dr. Rieder is not convinced that the whole explanation for past-life memories lies in reincarnation. Her research shows that genetics may have something to do with it (though clearly not in all cases), and also that psychic ability seems to play a part. When she hypnotizes people to remember a past life, they not only know about how something was in the past, they also mysteriously know how it is now, even though they have no normal way to know this information.
Dr. Rieder believes that everyone has past-life memories, and that they have a lot to do with the things (and people) we like and dislike, our feelings, what we do, and our overall personalities.
Dr. Rieder's "Millboro" study began when one of her patients remembered the name of a man, "John Ashford". The next time the patient was hypnotized, Dr. Rieder asked her, "Who is John Ashford?" The woman answered immediately, "He's my husband."
Dr. Rieder knew that her husband in this life wasn't named John Ashford, and from this small beginning came a study involving a group of more than 20 people who had detailed memories, while under hypnosis, of living in the town of Millboro, Virginia, USA during the Civil War (most of these people currently lived in California, a long way from Virginia, and had never heard of or visited Millboro).
Dr. Rieder did something very unusual with these people--she hypnotized them together. Once in a deep hypnotic trance, they began relating to each other as though they were their former personalities--joking, laughing, gossiping, and even arguing--feeling toward each other the way they felt before, remembering private events and details.
Once, Dr. Rieder took two of the main people back to Millboro, put them in a hypnotic trance, and allowed a local historian, the deputy sheriff, to question them about the town as it was during the Civil War. Dr. Rieder says he told her afterwards that there were a few vague areas, but mostly what they said was amazingly accurate.
There were many instances where Dr. Rieder provided strong proof that these past-life memories were real. Her subjects remembered underground rooms, built by the Indians, which were later used in the underground railroad to hide slaves and help them escape. The people of Millboro had forgotten about them, but sure enough, the rooms are there. Dr. Rieder had a ditch dug alongside one of them and a hole knocked into the side, and took pictures. The inside was exactly as it had been described under hypnosis.
During the session with the historian, he asked the two people who were under hypnosis, "Who owned the general store?" One of the subjects answered, "It was either Mr. Jeffries, or Mr. Warren." Two days later the historian brought Dr. Rieder a photograph of the old town, and you can clearly see the sign on the front of the general store, "W.C. Warren, Dealer in General Merchandise".