The Mysterious Case of Bridey Murphy – and her past life.

The Irish past life
The Irish past life

The best evidence of pervious life?

In 1952, Colorado businessman and amateur hypnotist Morey Bernstein put housewife Virginia Tighe of Pueblo, Colorado, in a trance that sparked off startling revelations about Tighe’s alleged past life as a 19th-century Irishwoman and her rebirth in the United States 59 years later.

Bernstein used a technique called hypnotic regression, during which the subject is gradually taken back to childhood. He then attempted to take Virginia one step further, before birth, and was astonished to find he was listening to Bridey Murphy.

Tighe’s tale began in 1806, when Bridey was eight years old and living in a house in Cork. She was the daughter of Duncan Murphy, a barrister, and his wife Kathleen. At the age of 17, she married barrister Sean Brian McCarthy and moved to Belfast. Tighe told of a fall that caused Bridey’s death and of watching her own funeral, describing her tombstone and the state of being in life after death. It was, she recalled, a feeling of neither pain nor happiness.

Somehow, she was reborn in America, although Tighe/Bridey was not clear how this event happened. Virginia Tighe herself was born in the Midwest in 1923, had never been to Ireland, and did not speak with even the slightest hint of an Irish accent.

Bernstein published the case
Bernstein published the case

A good hoax?

The “facts” related by Bridey were not fully checked before the publication of a book by Bernstein titled “The Search for Bridey Murphy”.

However, once the book had become a bestseller, almost every detail was thoroughly checked by reporters who were sent to Ireland to track down the background of the elusive woman. It was then that the first doubts about her “reincarnation” began to appear. Bridey said she was born on December 20, 1798, in Cork and that she had died in 1864. There was no record of either event.

Neither was there any record of a wooden house called The Meadows in which she said she lived, just of a place of that name at the brink of Cork. Indeed, most houses in Ireland were made of brick or stone. She pronounced her husband’s name as “See-an,” but Seán is pronounced “Shawn” in Ireland. Brian, which is what Bridey preferred to call her husband, was also the middle name of the man to whom Virginia Tighe was married.

The American solves the mystery?
The American solves the mystery?

Or a real unexplained mystery?

Some of the details did tally. For instance, her descriptions of the Antrim coastline were very accurate. So, too, was her account of a journey from Belfast to Cork. She claimed she went to a St. Theresa’s Church. There was indeed one where she said there was, but it was not built until 1911. The young Bridey shopped for provisions with a grocer named Farr. It was discovered that such a grocer had existed.

Case unsolved!

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