Silent Guns

A Civil War Past Life Memory

by Ivan Granger

 

How do we really know we have lived before? The concepts of reincarnation and past lives are almost taken for granted within the metaphysical community, but even those who believe in these ideas occasionally ask themselves if it's just wishful thinking. Afterall, who can really claim to remember past lives? You might be surprised.

Many people go through a difficult time in their teenage and early adult years, but my moods were extreme, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I would swing from mild depression to panic attacks so extreme that I would skip school or, later, call in sick to work. I felt like death surrounded me.

As I entered my early twenties, I began to overcome the worst of my anxieties, but they were still there. I had just learned to grit my teeth and get through the day as best I could.

Michele Anderson and I first started dating about that time. Early on, Michele told me that she was psychic. I was intrigued, on the one hand, but on the other . . . I guess I didn't know what to think. I had read and seen enough to believe such things were possible, just not in anyone I knew. Not normal, everyday people.

She hinted a few times that she saw me fighting in the American Civil War. I shrugged the comments off. When dating a psychic, one must expect the occasional odd statement. Actually, I've always had a mild interest in history, but it was really the period of the American Revolution that held my attention in history books, not the Civil War. The Civil War always seemed, well, depressing to me. I tended to avoid reading about the period.

Then an interesting series of events occurred. I was going through a rough week, and I went to get a massage -- something that felt comforting. As I was on the table having my abdomen worked on, I suddenly burst out crying. When the massage therapist asked me what was wrong, I started talking about the Civil War!

 

(The following dialog excerpts are taken from the notes I wrote within hours of the experiences.)
 
Massage Therapist: What's wrong?
 
Ivan Granger: So much death. I see rifles, a lot of them. With bayonets on them. I see lines and lines of rifles with bayonets sticking up like spiked fences. So many of them. It's like a field of spikes.
 
Kids are lying in dug out trenches with their pointed rifles sticking out. I'm standing above. I can see it all.
 
MT: What else do you see?
 
IG: I see myself. I'm wearing blue. There's a saber at my side.
 

I described myself as a young captain in his late twenties struggling with the crushing responsibility of leading young boys into battle.

 
IG: I have to order the kids to climb out of their trenches and attack. But I don't want to. They're going to die, a lot of them . . . I feel responsible for them. I'm afraid I'll make a mistake.

 

Thankfully, the massage therapist was willing to see where this would lead, so he kept me talking.

 

MT: Why are you fighting in this war?
 
IG: I don't know. Circumstances. At first, I was very proud. I believed in unity. I believed the Union needed to be kept whole and healthy. And my dark-skinned brothers, I wanted to protect them and to help. Things are so hard for them.
 
MT: You're a good man.
 
IG: But now it's only killing. I see that now. All I'm doing is killing. All you want to do is see the next day. When you wake up in the morning you hope to God you'll see the night! And you hope to God you'll see the morning when you go to bed at night!

 

Needless to say, this was not your typical back rub!

 

When I told Michele about the experience, she had me sit down and do some deep breathing exercises to help me calm down. As my breathing became more rhythmic, I started to feel the same flushed, floating sensation I felt on the massage table. Recognizing this, Michele went into an intuitive state and started asking me questions.

 

Michele Anderson: I see something about hospitals. You don't trust the doctors?
 
IG: The doctors aren't worth shit! Everyone's sick all the time. Still, I suppose it's easier to be sick than go into battle.
 

I talked at some length about how little the doctors seemed to know.

 

MA: I feel something around the stomach. Stomach problems.
 
IG: Everyone has stomach problems.
 
MA: Whatever it is, it's really bad. I can feel it in my own stomach right now. I'm getting a word: "grip," something like "grip." Does that word mean anything to you?
 

(Michele regularly hears words during her psychic readings. Some of them she's never heard before.)

I shook my head to her question. I was coming back into my normal state of awareness. I felt like I was just waking up.

Later that evening, we pulled out my Websters Unabridged Dictionary to see if the word "grip" was used in connection to stomach ailments. Sure enough, we found:

 

gripe, vi -- to feel sharp pains in the bowels.
(spelled with an "e" on the end, making the "i" long rather than short as Michele had mistakenly pronounced it)

 

Michele and I talked about all this further during the next few weeks, but after a while I began to question the whole experience. Did I make it up? I certainly didn't try to make it up, but could I have done it unconsciously, drawing details from a movie or book?

There was one element that made me uncertain about the reality of this Civil War memory more than anything else. At one point I had mentioned a wooden cannon. I mean, obviously the idea of a wooden cannon was absurd!

And then I stumbled across a picture that made me catch my breath. In Bruce Catton's book The Civil War, I discovered a photograph of a wooden cannon! It was called a Quaker gun, a roughly carved log painted black to fool the enemy into thinking you had more cannon than you did. Of course, Quaker guns never actually fired; they just had to look like cannon from a distance.

That was all the convincing I needed.

Now, you can explain this experience in many ways. You might choose to view it as something like a dream -- unresolved tensions and emotions working themselves out by telling a story in my mind (just with some startling coincidences). Or, you might choose to see it as a genuine past life memory, which Michele managed to glimpse before I did.

The truth, though, is that it probably doesn't matter. Although I believe the experience to be an actual past life, what is most important is that recalling it helped me to begin the process of facing my fears. It gave me a framework in which I could understand the panic attacks, why I carried a low level dread around with me even when I was basically okay. There's something interesting that happens when a fear becomes more defined: You discover it has boundaries. It has limitations. It no longer seems all-powerful. Recognizing this gave me the courage to overcome them.

 

Ivan Granger is a database designer and computer consultant in Colorado. He has been Michele Anderson's partner since 1990.

ivan@nilenet.com

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