In my week here I only have room to post five of the dozens of interviews I've done. The rest of them will are being uploaded to my blog The Reincarnationist. Please be sure to click over to read what other fabulous authors like Douglas Clegg, David Morrell, Caroline Leavitt, Joshua Henkin and more have to say.
I just answered the questions myself but had a very tough time committing to the question: What three people from history would you like to have over to dinner for a discussion about reincarnation?
The single most popular person in the answers I got from other authors is Jesus Christ, which is especially interesting because while doing my research one of the most explosive ideas I came across was the concept that when Jesus told his disciples he would be resurrected, what he might have been talking about was being reincarnated.
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A. Well, I'm a Roman Catholic, and we don't officially believe in reincarnation < g >. On the other hand, we do believe that "anything is possible with God," and I for one would certainly not be telling Him that this or that can't ever happen.
On the strictly biological side — you'd have to say that all of us are reincarnated to some degree; our DNA is the same DNA that our ancestors had, which combines itself with other strands and then patiently reassembles the necessary proteins to construct another human being to carry it onward.
A. Have you ever read any books on the subject that made an impression on you?
Q. Well, to be honest, most novels I've read that have used reincarnation as a plot device are Just Awful (generally because they use it only as a plot device), but there is the occasional exception — Anya Seton's Green Darkness, for instance. Much more interesting are the occasional investigations — you'd have to call them "non-fiction," though with the proviso that this is not necessarily the same thing as "fact" — into reincarnation phenomena.
A. I'm not sure how you would distinguish between a characteristic from a past life, and a characteristic derived from your own genetic past. I've had the experience of finding an old family photograph of my great-great-grandmother (aged 85), and seeing my own face looking back at me. (At least I know what I'll look like as an old lady, if I'm lucky enough to make it to 85! < g >). And there all kinds of small gestures, personality quirks, and so on that I see pop up repeatedly in family members — those older than I am, and in my own children.
I really don't have any characteristics that I could think came from a past life — but I do have a memory. I've had this since I was quite small — it may be a dream, but it doesn't feel like that; it's a very vivid memory of lying in the snow on a mountaintop. The sky is a pale, bright blue and there's a lichen-covered rock near my face. I realize that I'm freezing to death, but I'm not afraid; everything is very peaceful. So — did I freeze to death in a previous life? No idea — but that memory is there.
Q. What is your principle defect that you believe might be inherited from a previous incarnation?
A. Clumsiness. Might as well blame it on somebody! (< cough > er...I b'lieve that's spelled "principal". Don't mind me, I went to a parochial school...)
Q. Which of your favorite heroes do you think you actually could have been and why?
A. If you ask me, the chief drawback to reasonable discussion of reincarnation is that most of the people who profess to believe in it think they were Cleopatra or Genghis Khan. Nobody thinks they're the reincarnation of a 4th-century Babylonian prostitute or a Spartan latrine-digger, wehreas the odds are obviously in favor of that.
Q. What three people from history would you like to have over to dinner for a discussion about reincarnation?
A. How far back is "history"? I'd certainly include Edgar Cayce, who's dead, but not all that historical < g >. Benjamin Franklin, for another — there was a guy with a lively interest in natural phenomena. And Bridey Murphy, I suppose. < g >
Q. What do you think happens when we die?
A. Like I said, I'm a Roman Catholic — we officially believe in ghosts < g > (i.e., the presence of saints). Personally, I'm sure that we continue, but I don't know in what form. I have met a couple of ghosts, though.
Q. When you come back next time, who would you like to be?
A. A writer. < g >< cough >< g >
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Visit M. J. Rose at her website (www.mjrose.com) or read her daily blog (www.reincarnationist.org) on reincarnation facts, philosophy, and curiosities. Her most recent novel, The Memorist, is an Indie Next pick.
Books mentioned in this post
M. J. Rose is the author of The Memorist