You Only Live Twice

Does Reincarnation Exist? In a New TV Series, Celebrities Are Hypnotised and Regressed to See If They Have Lived Before, While a 'History Detective' Looks for Factual Evidence of Their Stories. Here, Three of the Stars Describe the Experience. 

Actress TOYAH WILLCOX, 47, discovered that her past life was spent as a hermit in a church cell. 

She says: I've done past lives regression several times and it's never the same experience - but I have come up with quite surprisingly tangible characters. Once I was a gamekeeper, John Adams, on an estate near Bournemouth in 1750, and, when we looked into it, we found he was a relative of my husband, Robert. I'd never heard of him and Robert hadn't, either. So that was quite disturbing.  

The theory is that, if it's a good marriage, you stay with your partner through several lives, swapping sexes - and I've been married to Robert for 19 years.  

This time I came up with the story of an anchoress - a woman who would have been bricked up inside a church to live the life of a hermit. I was in a film called Anchoress some years ago, so I knew something about them, but the anchoress I emerged as during hypnosis seemed to be part of a completely different cult, from an exclusive community of women who were hostile to men.  

Most anchoresses were educated, well looked after and had gone into it voluntarily. But I was living in my own excrement, which rang alarm bells with the historian. I had foot rot and my hair was falling out.  

I named her - she was Naomi Gunter - and I said I was in Holland. Most anchoresses had all the comforts. People came to see them to tell them their sins. But mine was bricked up in the lepers' corner of this church and the visitors had stopped coming. She was dying and she'd been forgotten. I said the village had gone pagan.  

Also, she'd been forced into this life, aged 14.  

The researcher said that wasn't what usually happened, which led him to explore further, and his detective work suddenly pulled the strings together.  

In 14th-century Holland, there were women called the Beguines and, unusually, one of them was always chosen as an anchoress - so I could have been there unwillingly.  

If I had time, I'd research it further.  

Personally, I believe that we have genetic memory, as well as, very possibly, a memory of past lives. I think it's all there, stored away in the biological microchip of who you are. So I'm very openminded. The experience didn't really affect me, but the John Adams regression, years ago, did, because at that point I didn't believe in reincarnation. I thought about it for years after that.  

Have I Been Here Before? is on ITV1 every weekday at 1.30pm.

Daily Mail
21st May 2005