American Police Detective Recalls Past Life as Portrait Painter

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‘During my 30 years as a police officer, I have always searched for the truth. Sometimes the truth didn’t turn out to be what I expected, but still, the truth was what I had always searched for’

Solving crime mysteries was Captain Robert L. Snow’s whole life, until the mystery of his own life chased him down. He was the reputed commander of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, in charge of the homocide department.

As a police detective, Snow believed in concrete proof, and didn’t believe in concept of past lives. Upon coming across a police psychologist and regression therapist who dared Snow to go through the process and see for himself the outcome, Snow casually said “Sure, I’ll do it.” He didn’t really intend to follow through.

Due to his extensive training in his work life, Snow was long disenchanted by the hypnotherapy phenomena, especially from his experience working child sex abuse cases.

What he discovered about himself after his regression procedure was enough to challenge his lifelong conditioning, and eventually his entire outlook of everything.

Past Life Regression

Much to his shock, towards the end of Snow’s regression he was able to recall a number of his past lives.

The most prominent one was the life he lived as a minor portrait painter, Carroll Beckwith, who lived and worked in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century. Snow was able to recall 30 specific details relating to his lifetime as Beckwith, particularly a painting that he made of a hunchbacked woman.

This discovery created deep confusion in Snow’s mind, as what he always regarded as superstitious and false were now a part of his own experience. But as much as he tried to deny it all, Snow did a thorough investigation to obtain proof—in hopes to prove himself wrong—but more than that, to find the truth.

Quest for Proof

An author of six books about various police topics, Snow was an experienced researcher and highly intelligent. But after a year of pursuing the subject of the existence of the painter Carroll Beckwith, Snow had reached a dead end.

At this point, he became convinced that the painter must have been a part of his childhood encounter where he saw a picture or sketch of a hunchbacked woman somewhere randomly and now it came to him as a repressed memory.

Chapter closed and case solved!

Snow had now started to move on with his usual yet exciting life.

During this time, Snow was on a family vacation to celebrate his anniversary in New Orleans. On the last day of the trip, Snow found himself wandering in the French Quarter of New Orleans, when Snow had the most profound experience of his life, which he now recalls to be not random but spiritually guided.

It was the painting of the hunchbacked woman, and the artist’s name mentioned was none other than Carroll Beckwith. At this very instant, Snow was stunned to the point of being frozen.

He realized that the painting didn’t just resemble the one from his regression session, but he could also recall the process of painting it in his studio as every paint stroke while creating the painting appeared vividly in Snow’s mind.

Still in a state of denial, Snow inquired with the staff hoping that the painting could have been from a book or another source that he might have seen as a child, but the person in charge told him that, no, this painting had been in private hands for many years.

“And besides, let me be honest with you, I don’t think there has been an exhibition of Beckwith’s work in the last 75 years. He wasn’t that famous,” Snow recounted in his book “Looking for Carroll Beckwith: The True Stories of a Detective’s Search for his Past Life.”

Beckwith’s Diary

Upon further investigation, Snow was finally able to track down Beckwith’s diary. Beckwith was the President of the National Academy of Design in New York, where his diary along with his unpublished autobiography were found.

From Beckwith’s diaries, he found that 26 points of 28 matched with the life of Carroll Beckwith. His recollections included some crucial realities of Beckhwith’s life such as:

  • Even though he wasn’t disabled, Beckwith used a walking stick
  • He actually disliked painting portraits
  • He painted the portrait of the hunchbacked woman
  • His mother had passed away due to blood clotting
  • He had an art studio with a bank of skylight and a row of windows
  • He had a happy marriage even though he and his wife couldn’t have children and struggled with money

However, Snow noted, he had gotten Beckwith’s wife’s name wrong in his own memories.

With this evidence before him, Snow said he had more proof of his past life than he did most murder cases. He later recorded all the details of his experience in his book called “Looking for Carroll Beckwith: The True Stories of a Detective’s Search for his Past Life” (1999).

Epoch Times Photo
Carroll Beckwith and Robert Snow. (Walter Semkiw)

Snow concluded, “I cannot accept that with the 4 billions of people who have inhabited the Earth, my case is unique, that mine would be the only case since John the Baptist—who some say that Jesus described in the Gospel of Matthew as being Elijah Reborn.”

With over 100 published articles in Reader’s Digest, the National Enquirer, Police, and the Saint Detective Magazine, Snow has written 20 books. Now in his 70s, Robert L. Snow has retired from police work and lives in Indianapolis with wife Melanie Morphew Snow, presently working on book number 21.

Historical Fascinations

With a successful career as a dramatist in London, writing plays produced by the BBC, Ada F. Kay, also known as A.J. Stewart, had quite an established streak for a female writer in the 1950s. She wrote many plays, including “The Man From Thermopylae” (1959), which managed to receive some critical acclaim in those days. Published by Scottish society of playwrights, the story was set in ancient Greece, where the famous battle of Thermopylae was fought in 480 BC between Achaemenid Persian Empire under Xerxes I and Sparta led by Leonides I which lasted for three days.

Could the fascination with such a specific event in ancient Greece have deeper roots?

During this time, Kay was  writing another play in a similar genre, about the life of King James IV of Scotland.

As the story developed, she decided to visit the site of the Battle of Flodden which is known to be the premise where the king was killed in 1513.

Just the night before her visit to the site, Kay experienced a vividly traumatic flashback of being brutally hacked to death by spears in a battle.

As shocking as this scene appeared to Kay, she wasn’t confused. It eventually led her to accept that she was a reincarnation of late King James IV of Scotland, as this wasn’t the first time she experienced a life-like peek into a past life, but this incident settled her doubts of why she had dreamed of these battle scenes since childhood.

In retrospect, Kay said she understood why she always felt a strong aversion towards England, without any rational reason.

There have been many peculiar stories like these, where people believe themselves to be someone else, like the man who imagines to be Napoleon or the woman who claimed to be Cleopatra, but given Kay’s memories of not only King James’s life but the gruesome details of his death in her 1972 book, “‘Falcon,” which she subtitled an autobiography, revealed some shocking details of the battle and the king himself.

In an interview with the BBC, Kay recalls many graphic details of the battle of Flodden where the disastrous defeat of Scotland led to about 10,000 deaths by the English under commands of King Henry VIII.

“There are aspects about this case which make it more compelling and fantastic, though it may seem, even credible,” the host said.


Past Life Regression Story of Carroll Beckwith | Robert Snow

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