(This case is the subject of the TV movie "YESTERDAY'S CHILDREN" starring Jane Seymour)
Jenny Cockell was born in England in 1953. In her book, Across Time and Death: A Mother's Search for Her Past Life Children (Cockell 1993), she tells how since her childhood she has had constant dreams/memories of an Irishwoman, subsequently identified as Mary Sutton, who died more than two decades before Cockell was born, leaving behind her eight young children.
Eventually she turned up a village in the north of Dublin (Malahide), a road (Swords Road), and finally a woman named Mary Sutton who roughly fit the target. However, there are major problems with this book which will be looked at next.
ANALYSIS OF THE CASE OF JENNY COCKELL
The first thing to say is that claims of reincarnation are not merely totally unconvincing, but that an alternative explanation is a far better fit for the evidence presented in the book.
A) consider the overwhelming lack of factual information provided by the dreams and hypnosis:
- Mary's maiden surname: UNKNOWN
- Mary's married name: UNKNOWN
- Mary's husband's name: UNKNOWN
- Mary's childrens' names: UNKNOWN
- The village name: UNKNOWN
- The village's location: UNKNOWN
- Mary's birth date: UNKNOWN
- Mary's year of birth: UNKNOWN
B) The use of a circular argument in the book. Mrs. Cockell sent out queries looking for a village with a few very sketchy criteria and, when such a village as expected turned up, she decided it was the village she was seeking. The obvious flaw in this approach is she would have kept looking till she found a match (with very few restrictions on the search).
C) Factual Errors: On pags 37-38 of the book, While under hypnosis she gave the husband's name, incorrectly as Bryan, when in actual fact it was John. Also, she thought wrongly that the family name was O'Neill, not Sutton.
D) Other clues in the book reveal that the alleged memories recalled under hypnosis are little more than fantasy. On page 15, the author revealed that as a child she had imaginary playmates, and spent much time fantasizing (page 16), in addition to having a fantasy identity (namely "Mary").
The case of Bridey Murphey has been well refuted by Dr. Robert Carroll of the Sacramento City College. You can read the deatils here.
Dr. Robert Carroll covers the subject of deja vu here:
Refutation of the New Age Movement