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Observations placeholder

Whitton, Dr Joel - Case history Michael Gallander 02



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Life between life – Dr Joel Whitton and Joe Fisher

Michael wasn’t sure whether he believed in reincarnation. Until attending the lecture, he hadn't really given the idea much thought. All he knew was that Dr Whitton occasionally dealt with his patients’ difficulties by hypnotically regressing them to 'past lives’. And Michael was willing to try anything.

The first session yielded little. With his lanky frame sprawled across Dr Whitton's red leather couch, Michael succumbed, after repeated prompting, to a deep trance. When asked about an immediate past life, he murmured a reply, settling tentatively on the year 1915 . . . then drew away hastily as if he had touched a red hot iron in his mind. Trembling, Michael broke trance without even realizing what he had seen. And although he was coaxed once more into the hypnotic state, nothing could persuade him to pursue his connection with that year.

Dr Whitton's gentle probing was sternly resisted by his subject's subconscious mind. The emotional and therapeutic significance of this initial flashpoint was to elude both doctor and patient for years. Michael's resistance retreated steadily in the sessions that followed, allowing him glimpses of former existences. Preferring to lie on Dr Whitton’s broadloom rug rather than the couch, he revised his self-perception by inspecting a parade of personalities from the past. He saw himself as Gustavus, a Swedish itinerant carpenter at work in the churches of Cologne at the time of the Reformation. As Henri, a sixteenth-century French cotton merchant anxious about Turkish raids on his ships, he experienced-or re-experienced - symptoms of that middle-aged man's angina: chest pains and shortness of breath. He also spoke with a distinctive accent and uttered several words of archaic French. In gradually acclimatizing to the trance state, Michael instinctively accepted these characters as himself, a self that had evidently materialized in different incarnations. But it wasn't until he found himself back, way back, in the year 1216 that he was affected by more than mere fascination. Suddenly, his awareness was jarred with the most visceral of sensations . . .

On the brow of a hill stands a castle, its massive stone walls enclosing a tangibly repulsive atmosphere. Restlessly moving about a gloomy anteroom is the source of these negative emanations - a powerful, imposing man of harsh aspect and miserable disposition. He is a knight in late middle age, a Teutonic knight called Hildebrandt von Wesel, the lonely ruler of a small principality in southeast Westphalia. His life has been irredeemably barbarous and, because idealistic impulses grant him no reprieve, he is consumed with guilt, self-hatred and paranoia. But still he clings to his illusions. 'I am the Arm of God!' he yells at Dr Whitton in a rasping voice. 'I am the Arm of God!'

Within Hildebrandt, it seemed, lay a wealth of important material and, in subsequent sessions, Dr Whitton regressed Michael to various stages of the knight's existence. What Michael saw wasn’t pleasant - in fact it was downright horrifying – but, sometimes, he experienced almost pleasurable after-effects. A tentative feeling of internal consolidation told him that a tangled skein of repression, his repression, was being unravelled. It was an unravelling that fifteen years of painstaking analysis had failed to precipitate. But then, why would Michael, or the specialists he engaged, have suspected that many of his problems remained because their genesis took place not in infancy, but in former incarnations? Like a man cleaning a huge pane of glass with a toothpick rolled in cotton wool, Dr Whitton rubbed away at the screen of Michael's buried memories, trying to make them gleam again. He was endeavouring not only to retrieve but also to analyse the Michael Gallander of eight hundred years ago. While it took a long time to glean a composite account of Hildebrandt's life, Dr Whitton was aware from the very beginning that he was dealing with a man capable of great evil.

The source of the experience

Whitton, Dr Joel

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Psychological trauma