(When I find the link, I'll post it.)
It is one of my most visited posts, even if you discount the bots that do their thing on that and other popular posts. I've even been contacted by a reincarnation society of people who have memories of World War I specifically! I didn't know such a thing existed. Anyway, apparently, they use my story quite extensively as an example of what sorts of memories people can have.
I died in that war, in the 1910s, the "Edwardian" era, and I have a great nostalgia for that time period. I was British, upper class, from a small, rural area-- I'm going to say near Scotland, due to several reasons, not least of which I feel drawn toward the hills of northern England.
I was a man, a smoker, left-handed but taught to use my right for several things, so a little ambidextrous (which I still am to this day-- my right side has pain issues and I quickly switched to throwing, catching, and even using a mouse with my left more easily than my right). I was used to being respected and listened to, so this life I feel out of sorts being a working class woman who has never been taken seriously in that natural way I came to expect back then. I love the art and clothing styles and pop culture of that time. Lots of things come from that.
When I was a child and teen, I also had dreams of what I believe to be the life before THAT life, and that is what I'm going to write about today. I feel ready now.
It's hard to write about because it was ultimately so damnably sad in the end...
I remember being a woman in the mid-Victorian era, this time on the Northeastern shore of the United States, though possibly an island or the Southeastern shore of Canada. That part isn't so clear. Once again, I have a love of the Victorian era and it's styles and customs, and for the lovely seashores to be found along Maine, for instance. Lighthouses and windy, grassy areas overlooking an ocean tamer than the Pacific I know here are a part of these memories.
I don't remember my childhood in that life, only a bit about my teen years and later.
In the dream, which I had several times, each time waking up in utter desolation-- I was contentedly married to a sweet, gentle man. We had a medium-sized but lovely and distinguished home in a rural community, not on the beach, but still where we could see the ocean if we looked out certain windows of our home.
I loved books. I may have taught school in my youth. My husband was either a college librarian or a professor. He had a job working in academia, which he loved and found challenging, and I enjoyed talking about his day with him when he came home in the evenings. We led a quiet life and I was SO happy there. I had plans. So many plans for myself and my family. I loved to sit in a chair on our porch, looking towards the sea, and read and daydream.
My life had not always been easy. I escaped from a suitor who today would be called a violent stalker. He had done something while we dated when I was years younger that scared me so badly I left my home town to stay with friends or relatives in another place. And there, I met the man who became my husband and then he got a position even further away and I thought I would not be bothered again by my stalker.
The last week of my life, I went to some social function in the town. A celebration with people dressed up and both inside and outside buildings was going on and I had a servant taking care of my infant son. It was the first time I'd really gone out since giving birth, and I was happy to get back to my social life. I saw friends and spoke with the wives of other men at the college where my husband worked. Everything seemed wonderful...
... and then I saw someone from my past.
I thought I saw a man who looked like an older version of the guy who dated and terrorized me years before. I stared at him and at one point he turned and looked right at me, and I was convinced it was him. My heart fell to my feet in fear. But then he turned and continued talking to someone by him in a jovial way and I decided I was mistaken. How could my stalker have found me here and now? It was impossible, wasn't it? Still, I asked around-- no one seemed to know who he was and why was I asking? He looked like someone I knew.
It was a warm evening and so I walked home with my husband from the function. I laughed and told him that I thought I saw that horrible guy from my past-- thank goodness it couldn't be him! Still, my husband picked up on my nervousness and needed to reassure me it was surely a case of someone who merely looked like him.
Normally, my husband was home in the evenings as well as a servant or two who helped around the house and with child care. However, a few days after the town celebration, there was another event just for my husband. Was he at his club? Was it a college thing? I don't recall. But he wouldn't be home until after dark, which was unusual. The servants were also gone for some reason.
I wasn't worried. I got ready for bed like normal and settled my infant son to sleep. All seemed well.
Until I heard a crash!
It was glass, probably a window or maybe from a door with glass in it? I awoke with a start, but was befuddled from sleep for a couple of minutes. The sound woke my baby, and he screamed. I got up to find out what was going on, but fear was mounting. Something felt wrong.
Then suddenly, my son's screams were cut off. There was an awful gurgling sound that went with it. By this time I was nearly to my bedroom door, and I heard some strange shuffling sounds near-by. I didn't call out. I had a terrible feeling it was my stalker. I tried to believe otherwise, but I couldn't.
I padded in bare feet to the nursery, deep dread in my heart. All was silent as I reached the crib, and I reached down to take my son in my arms. But I floundered in confusion for a second when I touched hot wetness and odd soft shapes where my baby should have been.
Then my doubt was gone. I knew my stalker had found me and killed my baby. He had tracked me down somehow. Why didn't I believe myself and take precautions? How could I have been so stupid?
My last thoughts before I was grabbed roughly from behind were of my beloved husband. He would come home to his wife and child dead by violence. He might even be falsely accused of the act! I had kept my sordid past a secret from my new friends and neighbors alike. Only my husband knew I had seen a man who looked like a threat from my past.
I don't actually know how I died, by bludgeoning or stabbing or what. It was like I "gave up" after finding my baby dead and I let go within seconds of that. Victorian ladies didn't have much of a chance of fighting back. None of us were in shape to face an attacker, let alone an armed one who came from behind us in the dark!
What haunts me is the sadness of a good life lost to an evil man. And of the innocent baby who died with me. And the innocent man who would find us and face accusations. For myself as well, because I had finally found peace and happiness, and it was all ruined. All because the man who killed me was affronted that I didn't love him back-- he scared the shit out of me almost from the time I met him. Now I know with darned good reason.
I can understand much of my character now from what I experienced then, of course. From a love of books and seashores to the pursuit of a lovely rural town full of mostly friendly people. I remember the layout of part of the home-- where the bedrooms were for sure. I've also hated and avoided "bad boys" that many girls are attracted to (Gerick was too nervous and chatty to trigger any red flags.)
I've looked for New England cold cases that match and have yet to find any. Or solved cases for that matter. I'm not sure the place and exact time, let alone anything like a NAME that would help. It was 1870s to 1880s in that life. Given that I was around 20 in a new body by 1915 or so in my next life, that means I had to be born around 1895 for that- which definitely puts a limit on when I could have died in the life before. It's also odd that I jumped from one life to another so quickly. Maybe people murdered young do that if they don't become ghosts? I have no idea, really.
I try to take the happier parts of those lives taken too young and apply them to my life now. The energy and planning and anticipation and enthusiasm I had in both lives before murder or war still linger just a little. The feeling of being in those eras and the belief in the future people had then... I don't want to give those up. But I know I've struggled with some past baggage from both lives-- or I wouldn't have them as issues now, would I? But fear of attack at night makes sense given that. And a fear of stupid people getting me killed from the war life makes sense too.
Death is not the end of our woes it would seem.