Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In 1952, amateur hypnotist Morey Bernstein hypnotized Virginia Tighe in Pueblo, Colorado. He 'regressed ' her to her alleged past life as a 19th-century Irishwoman, Bridey Murphy, who had allegedly lived about 1798–1864. She claimed to have never been in Ireland but gave vivid accounts of Irish rural life and sung Irish songs. Unfortunately, Bernstein and Tighe listened to the recorded sessions during the series, so that 'Bridey Murphy' was able to amend details as the sessions unfolded.
Bernstein published the book The Search for Bridey Murphy in 1956; in it he called Tighe "Ruth Simmons". The book and recordings made of the hypnosis sessions became very popular and were turned into a 1956 movie. The phenomenon spawned a rash of comparable reincarnations.
U.S. journalists made inquiries in Ireland and found no evidence of a Bridey Murphy. However, journalists working for the Chicago American found Bridey Murphey Corkell, who had lived across the street from Tighe's childhood home in Wisconsin. They concluded that Tighe's "memories" as Bridey Murphy were based on her tales of her childhood experiences.
Supporters of Tighe call the Chicago American a tabloid journal of distasteful repute. They also claim that the woman in question was the mother of the publisher of the Chicago American, that she had spent her entire life in the United States, and they dispute evidence that Ms. Corkell had spent any significant time with Virginia Tighe. They say that contemporary maps and other historical records support their view.
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