“Let me tell you about the night I offered my WOR listeners a taste of reincarnation.”
by Long John Nebel
From FATE MagazineFebruary 1961 Vol. 14, No. 2, (reprinted Jan/Feb 2011)
“I’M GOING to teach you to contact people you knew in your previous lives. I’m going to show you and your radio audience how to do this, and I’m going to guarantee that some of the audience will get results—tonight! You may not believe in reincarnation, or the idea may be absolutely new to you, but I’m going to show you how to prove it to yourself with a personal experiment.”
That’s what the man said, right on my WOR Party Line show with its thousands of listeners. He said that he could conduct a do-it-yourself experiment in reincarnation, and we told him to go right ahead.
I know that many of you readers know my reputation for exposing frauds and fakes and I do not want you to think that the program I am going to tell you about was any effort to make light of the subject of reincarnation. Reincarnation is not a subject that anybody ought to treat lightly. After all, something like half the people in the world have a deep religious belief that they are going to be reborn into this world.
Myself, I’ve had two thoughts about reincarnation. First, I may have lived before, but unfortunately I can’t remember anything about it. Second, maybe I will be reborn but I won’t know for sure and certain until after I die.
Now I’ll go a long ways to find the truth of something, neighbors, so now let me tell you about a guy with an offer to give anyone who wants to try a taste of immortality and reincarnation. And all without asking anyone to go the whole hog and die.
If you are a regular listener to our WOR Party Line, you know what’s coming because you heard about this experiment right from the horse’s mouth during one of the most sensational programs ever broadcast.
The man who dropped the bomb on this fantastic show was a guy named Aaron G. Cohen. Mr. Cohen recently wrote a book called The Path to Reincarnation which was why we called him and asked him to sit around a mike with Long John and the members of the Party Line panel.
Mr. Cohen turned out to be a very solid citizen. He is in the real estate business in Hartford, Conn., and was named by Connecticut’s Governor Ribicoff to serve on the Connecticut Commission on Services to Elderly Persons. He is also very high up in a number of other civic and fraternal movements.
Sitting on the Party Line panel for our interview with Cohen were Warren Pack and Del Ray, both of whom are highly skilled at digging for facts in discussions on psychic and metaphysical problems. And, as our listeners know, I have a lot of experience along this line myself. I know all the gimmicks and I’ve seen most of the phony operations from the inside. But like I say, how are you going to know about reincarnation from the inside unless you’re dead?
This being the case and the problem, one of the first questions we put to Cohen was this: if we’ve lived through previous lives, why don’t we remember them?
Cohen answered that some people do remember previous lives. He also noted that there have been several large-scale investigations to establish the truth of facts remembered from previous existences. These include the well-known American case of Bridey Murphy and the even more elaborate case of the Englishwoman, Naomi Henry, who has been able to recall two previous lives while in a hypnotic trance. Cohen also noted that Buddha was able to recall hundreds of his previous births, and that many skilled Yogi are able to concentrate and recall former births. Even untrained minds, he pointed out, often remember places and scenes that are familiar.
Now the panel admitted that these things are probably very true, but they do not answer the question as to why the vast majority of people have no memory of any previous life or experience.
To this Cohen answered, “Look, you must admit that you have many memories of this present life that your mind has hidden, or repressed, because these memories are too painful for you to live with. Isn’t it a fact that we can’t even remember the simple occurrences of this life and the very happenings of a single day?
“In time man may be able to handle memory, but at the present it would be cruel if we recalled the incidents of former happenings, because we are not yet able to understand them.”
At this point Warren Pack really laid into Cohen. “Look, Mr. Cohen,” he said, “isn’t it true that reincarnation is just an interesting idea that is nothing more than a philosophical exercise, much like the argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a single pin? I mean that this is a miraculous thing that we have to accept on the say-so of ordinary, mortal men. Reincarnation is something that cannot be demonstrated in the same sense that the Christian miracles are demonstrations of the power of God. Reincarnation is all talk, the evidence is all talk, and it’s never going to be anything more.”
Warren was getting pretty hot because he felt that the interview was turning into a waste of time. But Warren’s heat didn’t shake Cohen at all. Instead he calmly made the offer with which I started this article, to conduct a do-it-yourself demonstration of reincarnation.
Naturally I asked Cohen for some details on this experiment before I let him fool around on a broadcast that reaches hundreds of thousands of people.
Cohen swore that it would be a simple and harmless experiment, and that at most it might put a few people to sleep. But even the sleep would be unusually refreshing and relaxing, he claimed.
I don’t exactly use my show to encourage people to go to sleep and stop listening to our station, but I decided that it might be worth a slight reduction in the WOR audience just to see what this guy could do. So I signaled our engineer to stand by to cut us off if the thing got out of hand, and then told Cohen to go ahead. Here is how he started the experiment:
“I am going to show you how to invoke ‘thought forms’, or as the Tibetans call them, tulpas. A thought form is a personality that you have known during one of your lives. You will first be able to bring up long-forgotten personalities from this present life, but with practice and discipline you will reach back into earlier incarnations.
“Try this with me and you’ll soon see that you don’t have to rely on second-hand experiences to believe in reincarnation. You are going to have a personal experience which can be a basis for your belief, Now these thought forms will not have substance, but they will be intelligent personalities and they will bring information and thoughts from your previous lives. You will see them and you will recognize them. Now just follow these simple steps with me. If you are willing and able to make a genuine effort, you are about to see part of your own forgotten origin.”
Now I’m a worldly guy, but I want you to know that the sincerity and power of this man can really sway you to believe in him. Warren, Del and I were ready to try this thing, and apparently so were a great many of the members of our radio audience.
Here are the instructions Cohen gave us:
“Sit quietly in a relaxed position.
“Take seven rhythmic, long breaths, holding them from 15 to 30 seconds, inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. Do not allow the lungs to remain empty.
“Now place the right hand on the solar plexus until a glowing warmth is felt.
“Place your left index finger between your eyes.
“Concentrate on the time of 77 years ago. (After you have obtained results, the next cycle should be about 144 years for a second incarnation, to be followed by similar cycles.)
“Will your consciousness to spiral upward, starting from a fine point at the solar plexus and expanding as it gains height.
“Thought forms of persons will occur at the borderline of sleep. Should you go to sleep, your consciousness will travel on during sleep. You will find it an enjoyable experience.
“Be sure to make notes of your experiences as soon as you awake. You may find that you are able to talk with the thought forms. I personally am not able to do so, but some people who are not mixed up with the material world and the tensions of modern living, have developed this ability.
“All right, start your deep breathing as soon as you feel fully relaxed.”
Did these instructions work? You bet they did!
Did anyone really see a “thought form” or is a “thought form” just a polite phrase for an hallucination? I don’t know, although we are looking into it.
This I do know, something happened to some of the panel members and to many of my listeners that night. Whatever it was, it was a great experience. At this point, all I can do is tell you to give it a try. It is a personal experiment, and you must evaluate it in your own terms.
Let me know how you all come out.
Voices from the Legendary Past
Before Art Bell, the nighttime airwaves were owned by Long John Nebel, who broadcast from the studios of WABC in New York. Hear a rare Long John Nebel interview with Richard Shaver and Ray Palmer for yourself –FATE offers this interview on a CD—yours for only $5.95 plus postage and handling.