History and Cases of Reincarnation Search for Bridey Murphy Part 2

About the history and cases of reincarnation in the case of Virginia Tighe a possible reincarnate of Bridey Murphy..

SECOND TIME AROUND--REINCARNATION

The Search for Bridey Murphy

The Reaction

Bernstein took Mrs. Tighe through six hypnotic sessions spread over a period of 11 months. His book describing the sessions and his investigations was released in January, 1956, under the title The Search for Bridey Murphy. Bernstein had been able to do some research on the facts in the Bridey Murphy case and had uncovered points of congruence between Bridey's story and Irish life at the time. She used the words tup (meaning "rough guy"), brate ("cup"), and linen ("handkerchief") correctly for the time and place. She described buying food from a greengrocer named John Carrigan, who actually had had a shop at 90 Northumberland Street. She gave the name of another grocer, William Farr, who had kept shop at 59--61 Mustard Street, according to Bernstein. She stated that she had read a book called The Green Bay, which, as it turned out, had been published in Ireland but not in America.

The reading public was sufficiently intrigued to make The Search for Bridey Murphy an instant best-seller. Far outstripping its projected sales of 10,000, in two months 170,500 copies were in print, it had gone through eight printings, and it headed the nonfiction best-seller list. One man created his own sensation in Chicago by buying out the entire window display of a Kroch and Brentano's bookstore, over 150 copies. Life magazine described "come-as-you-were" parties and noted that a Houston bar had invented the Reincarnation Cocktail. Four new songs came out: "The Love of Bridey Murphy," "The Ballad of Bridey Murphy," "The Quest for Bridey Hammerschlagen," and a rock ën' roll song beginning

Bridey Murphy did the rock ën' roll a hundred years ago.

Hey, Bridey Murphy!

Dedicated "Bridey buffs" could buy a long-playing record of the first Bernstein-Tighe taped session for only $5.95--and over 30,000 of them did. And in Shawnee, Okla., a 19-year-old newsboy achieved brief fame by leaving a suicide note that said he had decided to "investigate the theory in person."

However enthusiastic the public, the more venerable societal institutions reacted promptly. The scientific community suggested that Bernstein's sessions either reflected Virginia Tighe's childhood experiences or illustrated her extreme suggestibility under hypnosis. Catholic magazines denounced as a vice the acceptance of reincarnation that Bernstein's book demanded. And in March, 1956, Life magazine devoted a page to conclusions reached after its own investigation. This was the first of the debunking articles that finally put the Bridey Murphy cult to rout.

The Life article, written with the aid of Irish "folklore experts," was able to raise serious doubts as to the truth of Bridey's story. Though Life was blatantly wrong at times (for example, in denying that a book called The Green Bay had ever been published) and was forced to accept Bernstein's research in a few specific cases (William Farr and John Carrigan had indeed existed), its search did prove that Bridey's testimony was very difficult to substantiate. Why, Life wondered, was there no record of the church Bridey said she had attended, or even of the street she said it was near? Why were none of her husband's associates listed on the faculty records at Queen's University? What had happened to the wooden house Bridey said she had grown up in? Since most of the homes built in that boggy area were stone, her house should have been remembered.

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