History and Cases of Reincarnation Search for Bridey Murphy Part 3

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


The Search for Bridey Murphy

This attack by Life magazine was followed in May by a series of articles in the Chicago American. The author, Rev. Wally White of Chicago, claimed to have been acquainted with Virginia Tighe during her childhood. To the delight of most psychiatrists and nonreincarnationists, he "revealed" that as a child Mrs. Tighe had been given to dancing Irish jigs and to speaking in an Irish brogue. Referring to the first scene described by "Bridey," White said that Mrs. Tighe herself had once scratched the paint off her iron bed. And Irish historians verified that iron beds did not arrive in Ireland until 1850, when Bridey would have been 52 years old. The most telling blow, however, was the discovery that one of Mrs. Tighe's early neighbors was a Mrs. Bridie Murphy Corkell. The publication of this material provided a very acceptable alternative view to that of the reincarnationist, namely, that the Bridey Murphy story was a fantasy woven out of childhood experience. Even though Mrs. Tighe denied publicly and privately ever knowing Mrs. Corkell's first and maiden names, ever dancing the Irish Jig, or ever speaking with an Irish brogue, the balance of opinion had swung against her.

There it remained, and the documentary-style move released by Paramount in November, 1956, called The Search for Bridey Murphy was not even accorded polite notice by most of the press. The film surfaced at a few theaters and then died a lonely death. Bernstein and Virginia Tighe--The latter had for a time hidden behind the pseudonym of Ruth Simmons--retreated to more private lives, and the Bridey Murphy hubbub had virtually run its course.

Reincarnationists, however, still view the case as supportive of reincarnation. The Association for Research and Enlightenment, an organization devoted to the study of the principles of reincarnation, staunchly supports the integrity of both equipment salesman Morey Bernstein and housewife Virginia Tighe. The association also offers an explanation of the inconsistencies in the Bridey Murphy tale. It suggests that the reincarnated Bridey Murphy had been merely a servant in her earlier life. When she found someone like the hypnotist Bernstein, who was interested in talking to her, she embroidered upon her actual life. This would explain, for example, her calling her husband a barrister, when in fact he might only have worked for a barrister. This would also explain why his name was not found either in the Queen's University faculty records or on articles that Bridey claimed he had written for the Belfast News Letter.

The Bridey Murphy craze was after all merely a flash in the pan. Ordinary citizens quickly forgot their brief preoccupation with the past to concentrate on the ordinary crises they faced in the present. Still, the case did have its moments, and for some reincarnationists it is a case that has yet to be resolved.

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