A Case for Reincarnation.



I’m 13. Maybe 14. Driving across country with the fam. Sprawled on the backseat of our Dodge Caravan with my yellow Sony Walkman, listening to Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits, staring at the dome light. Wishing I was tan. Pretty. Better at math. Hoping Virginia doesn’t suck.

Really, this was the extent of my concerns.

But something was about to happen. Something 25 years later, I still can’t explain.

Don’t Ask Me Why came on.


I’m in a bright, upstairs room. The one with two large windows opposite the door. White wallpaper repeats a delicate pattern along clean walls and sunlight spills across the floor. I stare at the wooden rocking horse. It’s new. Barely used. And I feel sad. Simultaneously I sense a tall woman and the rapid passage of time.

What the —

I ripped out my ear phones.

My parents discussed travel routes. Pit stops. How long til Atlanta.

I sat up. Eyes wide. Whizzing past cars and trees.

We didn’t say WTF back then, but it certainly would’ve applied.

I wasn’t sleeping.

Nor daydreaming.

So what. Was that.

And why did I feel so very, very . . . melancholy. 

Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe I was creating a really effective video to the song.

 . . . but.

I’m still halfway there? In the tall-ceilinged room. The rocking horse. Is it mine? The lady. I don’t see her. But I know she’s tall and well-dressed. Mostly, WHY DOES THIS FEEL SO FAMILIAR?

I closed my eyes, trying to see more.

I’m not observing this room. I remember. It’s on the second floor of a grand house. The window panes are thick with rippled glass. Large, potted ferns decorate the periphery as well as —for some reason I know this— a landing on the carpeted stairs.

I don’t come up here often.

The song finished. And so did my vision —if that’s what it was.

I sat there stunned.

This wasn’t a daydream like closing my eyes, wanting to be somewhere else and imagining a beach, or whatever. And it wasn’t some astral projection where I transported behind closed eyes —not that I could’ve achieved that or, even knew what ‘astral projection’ was back then.


This was revisiting someplace I knew. But forgot.

And trying to recapture that feeling now?  In this blog? Under scrutiny?


Please, allow me an analogy.

Imagine a great-grandmother, ravaged with dementia at the end of her long, full, vibrant life. The culmination of 98 years —childhood, parents, summer, tantrums, teddy bears, church, Christmas, school, fall, Roosevelt, university, snow, births, career, winter, marriage, pregnancies, spring, world war, telegrams, tears, laughs, friends, Easter, children, Eisenhower, deaths, Korea, Elvis, retirement, Beatles, Vietnam, grandchildren, Reagan, Disney, Thanksgiving, retirement, Grand Canyon, diagnosis, and a cancer that swallowed her husband whole —forgotten.

And now she’s dying.

Surrounded by weeping strangers. Calling her Mother. Desperate, one of them hands her a blanket. Within it, her firstborn’s smell somehow perfectly preserved. Confused, she pulls it to her face.

A century splashes over her.

Her babies. The popcorn they strung for Christmas. Her husband. The way he shaved left-handed and smiled sideways. The Key-Lime recipe she saved for her eldest daughter. The backdoor handle you lifted up instead of down. Her granddaughter’s deep dimples and chocolate smile. The P.G. Wodehouse novel she needed to finish and the iron —did she turn it off?


But she switches off again.





This isn’t about an old woman. Or dementia.

Not at all.

I’m asking YOU READING to consider the intimate impact of memory. The soft feelings of life and traumatic confusion in their sudden removal.

That moment right there.

That’s what I felt that day.


Me, too.

I was in 9th grade. Did I experience weirdness from time to time? Sure. But the majority of my psychic run-ins were still years away.  I had zero foundation for this experience.

Maybe the song prompted it?

I stopped and rewound. Pushed play. Over and over. From Texas to Virginia. Trying to hold onto —and make sense of— that room.

The song starts again. A strummy little number about— well, I’m not sure what it’s about. But really, it’s irrelevant. My experience had nothing to do with the song. No cosmic connection between me and Billy Joel. Boo.


That upstairs room (and feelings therein) are raw and accessible, even now.

So what was it?

A past life?

Slip in the Matrix?


If so, what’s the significance? Why show me that little bit and nothing more?

These days, I describe metaphysical phenomona with clarity and opinion.

But not this.

I feel naked and splayed writing this because I never told anyone can’t explain it.  Still, I protect its integrity by not adding or assuming details. I’ve shared what I know.

And I know that room existed, once upon a time.

A room with dimension and warmth from large windows spreading sun on the dark wooden floor, polished beneath my feet.




I don’t know the people in this photo, nor its date.

This isn’t the room.

But it captures my feelings.

Please feel free to share yours.

If anything like this has ever happened to you, I’d love to hear about it.



11 thoughts on “A Case for Reincarnation.

  1. I can’t think of any specific experiences like this, and certainly none quite so powerful. I wonder if it’s anything to do with traveling by car? You’re passing through energy zones like radio stations, and one of them happened to tear a little rip in the veil for you, causing you to remember something that you were supposed to forget. I think that’s why we forget our past lives: so that they don’t muddle our experience of our current lifetime. I mean, it’s THERE, but it’s covered so that we aren’t always tripping over it.

    I’ve wondered about that sometimes, what we pick up as we travel. I’ll get a blip of conversation through my mind, or an image of something – and it feels so completely random and foreign that you know it’s not your own thought.


  2. There is a house that I have visited in my dreams for years, since I was a child. It isn’t a house that I have ever lived in, and I don’t know the people who live there. But I can describe the things in that house in great detail. They are vivid dreams that I remember, and I don’t usually remember dreams. I also have similar recurring dreams about a shopping mall, with a play structure inside that I play on. I could draw you a map of that mall and the stores inside. It’s the same every time, and in the dream I’m a small child (not myself) and I go to the mall with my mom (who isn’t my mom). Lengthy, detailed dreams about shopping for specific, outdated things in outdated stores. I have often wondered if these are memories, and not dreams at all.


      1. Well, I’m 48, so I don’t know whether malls even really existed before I was born. This one feels dated. The play structure inside the mall is like a giant pile of fake rocks that kids can climb on. The stores are definitely dated; the things inside and the design of the store itself reminds me of department stores I went to as a kid in the 70s. Like Joske’s, which no longer exists – big open aisles like that. Not as cluttered as today’s stores. The house is like an old house that has been added onto. It has older parts and more modern parts. It has a basement, that has been finished out with hallways and rooms. My room is down there, and it’s always a mess. It’s almost labyrinthine, because it has been added onto over the years in an odd way. On another note, the other comment about the impact of travel is interesting. Once when I was traveling across Colorado, I saw a house that I had seen in a dream. Another vivid dream populated with strangers. It was a very unique house in a very unique setting, and it was abandoned in real life. Broken windows, etc. (Not the same house I described above.) I got really creeped out when I saw it. We actually stopped the car and took pictures. Another time while driving with a friend, we got lost, and I got a very strong feeling that something bad was going to happen. We were out in the country, on a narrow road between cornfields (this was in Kansas), and my friend was looking for a street where we could turn around. Before she turned onto a side street, I told her that there was a house down at the end of the street and that it was a bad place. I described that house. And as soon as we got down to the end of the street, there it was, just as I had described it. Odd, odd.


  3. Linda Heider

    Jennifer I really enjoyed this piece, it also led to some interesting g conversation between Ben and myself this morning. I’ve never had that happen but have experienced deja vu quite often. It has led to some friendships that other wise would have not happened. Usually it seems like we already know each other but have never met. In one case we found we had several friends in common and our birthdays were exactly the same date and ages. Anyway thanks and keep writing!


  4. Reva Lea Clayton

    For years I have thought that I visit my past life memories in my sleep. I once dreamed about being a heroin addict. The dream stayed with me for days and just felt way too real. I also did some past life regression work with a hypnotherapist once. I was brought back to some sort of war zone, where people were in distraught and dying all around me. As I began to look around and try to capture more details, I noticed a little girl who I felt a tremendous amount of love for, hiding in a tent right next to me. She was my daughter, and I was her father. My eyes welled up with tears and I felt a heavy pain in my heart as I realized my wife and other children had been killed in the war. Me and my little girl were the only survivors in our family. As I looked into her eyes to try and see if I could recognize her, I realized that I was looking into my Dad’s eyes. I’ve always had a strong spiritual connection with my Dad that I just couldn’t explain. 🙂


  5. When I was 20, I had an extremely vivid dream about meeting a tall blonde girl my age in a sun lit field. She was wearing a yellow spaghetti strap shirt and white shorts. There were hedges and a little Saint Augustine grass. She was troubled and I was happy. We spoke, introducing ourselves. It felt like a betrothal sort of. I would have forgotten the dream but for how vivid it was. And maybe I did forget it. But about 18 months later, after I had met my wife Carla, we went to visit her childhood home near Sherman Texas. We walked around the back and I will swear to my dying day that the field I had dreamed about was the one we were standing in. And while she wasn’t in a yellow tank top and white shorts, I recognized in her face, the person who I had met in the dream – tall, blonde, worried. This was both a strange and exhilarating experience. Thanks for sharing your post. Ben


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