Robert Snow

Indianapolis Police Captain Robert Snow, for a dare, went to a past life regression specialist. Sceptical, he did not believe in reincarnation and doubted if he could be hypnotised, so he did not expect to experience anything at all. To his surprise he saw clear scenes of himself as a 19th Century portrait painter and in one especially vivid experience saw himself painting a woman with a hunchback in a green dress.

This experience set him on a quest to find out who this painter was that he saw in this past life. First, he analysed the audio tape of his regression and noted down all the facts and details that could be researched. There were 28 in total.

Second, if he could find the painting, he would know who the artist was. As an experienced policeman he thought he would find this painting in just a few days. But days turned to weeks and then to months. A year after his regression, while on vacation with his wife, Melanie, in New Orleans, he visits an art gallery in the French Quarter. While there he saw the portrait he had been looking for.

He explains what happened next, “For the next several minutes, I didn’t move from in front of the portrait, but instead continued closing my eyes to see again and again the scene of me painting this very portrait in my studio, and then opening my eyes to see the actual finished portrait. The situation began to feel surreal, more like a very vivid dream you wake up sweating from, a dream you have to keep telling yourself over and over again was only a dream”.

He began to doubt himself, “Finally, even though I knew with absolute certainty that this was the same painting I had seen while under hypnosis, I convinced myself that stumbling onto it by accident was simply too bizarre to be true. I toyed with the idea for a few moments that perhaps I’d had some kind of stroke and just thought I stood in front of this portrait, when in actuality I was in a hospital bed somewhere or maybe even in a nursing home. After giving this possibility a few moment’s consideration, I realized how very desperate I had become to find a rational answer for what was happening. But desperate or not, things like this just didn’t happen in real life”.

Then he reflected on his good fortunate, “What were the chances, after all the months of systematic searching, that I would just happen onto the painting like this? What were the chances that Melanie would just happen to want to go to New Orleans, and that we would just happen to visit this gallery, just when they happened to have this painting for sale?”

It turned out that the artist was James Carroll Beckwith (1852 to 1917). An American landscape and portrait artist, he had painted the likes of Mark Twain (American Writer and Humourist) and Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States).

Captain Snow was able to research Beckwith’s life from various sources including a diary Beck had left. Of the 28 specific details he had documented from the regression, he was able to verify 26 of them. Snow states that the evidence he has compiled would stand up in court. He documents this evidence in his book, ‘Looking for Carroll Beckwith’, published in 1999.

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