Anne Charleston is an Australian TV and theatre Actress. She is perhaps best known as Madge Bishop in the soap opera Neighbours. But also for roles in the British soap Emmerdale and the cult drama series Prisoner.  

In 2005 Anne took part in the UK ITV series ‘Have I been here before?’ hosted by Phillip Schofield.  In this series celebrities had the chance to be regressed to a past life by Hypnotherapist Andrea Foulkes. Their past life experiences are then investigated by Jules Hudson, a historian and archaeologist, to see if these accounts can be verified.

Speaking before the regression she said, “I would like to establish that I have been here before. That I do have a kind of a history on this planet. That would be very satisfying. It seems to me logical that you would go from one life to another rather than just live a life and then either cease to exist or move on to celestial pastures”.

When regressed Anne saw the life of a ten year old farm girl in Kerry, Ireland called Kate Joyce. She works on the farm fulltime and they have a simply diet of porridge, bread and cheese and potatoes. Later when she is 18 she pictures a man, James Higgins, a friend of her father’, in a shebeen (an illicit drinking place). He wants to marry her, but she doesn’t like him and doesn’t want to. Nonetheless she is sold to him anyway. She likes Peter, a farm boy, who she has been having a relationship with. But her father would not approve of them because Peter is poor.

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Later on she has a little boy called Peter having been married to James. When Peter is six, in 1844, he becomes sick and there is a lack of food for everyone. She can’t do anything to help her child. Peter dies of starvation, James is also dead and she is dying also. She is just 24 years old.

Speaking immediately after the session she says, “I felt the hunger. I felt the weakness that you would feel and of course the sadness of losing a child”.

Jules Hudson investigates and confirms the style of clothes, food and type of dwelling mentioned as being typical for peasant farmers in Ireland at the time. Also, her account of wide spread starvation and death matches the Great Famine also known as the Great Hunger, or the Irish Potato Famine. This was a period of mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1849 caused by the failure of crops in 1843 and 1844 because of Potato Blight (a fungus-like microorganism that causes disease in both potatoes and tomatoes disease).

When talking about the experience she said, “I was aware at the time, towards the end, that my stomach was groaning. It was making extraordinary noises and it wasn’t because I was hungry because I had had a sandwich before I went in there”.

Anne mentions that her grandparents were from Irish and that she now lives in Ireland, although she and her parents were born in Melbourne, Australia. She was aware of the Irish Potato Famine, but went on to say about her regression, “Who would make that up? You know, it was pretty desperate. If I was going to make something up for myself, surely I would make up something beautiful and salubrious and comfortable”.

She goes on to say, “I know a lot of people who do remember [past lives]. There are countless cases of little children saying, you know, but I don’t live here I live over there and wanting to go back to where they had been before. So, obviously, some people do remember with others you need to dig a little deeper”.