"Got no presents..."


Is the young daughter of a New York couple the reincarnation of a girl who died 12 years before? That's the chilling question raised in the ITV film "Audrey Rose", starring Anthony Hopkins as the anxious father.

Much of the eastern world firmly believes in the rebirth of man and the idea appears in the teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism. And it's a belief gaining more credence in the West. To most people, the possibility that we have lived before, and therefore could live again, is an attractive and fascinating notion well worth investigating.

In recent years, thousands have claimed to have been 'regressed' to previous lives while under hypnosis. But most of their memories prove to be drawn from childhood memories of books or films, rather than from previous experiences.

So, in an attempt to provide new evidence for the continuing debate of the validity of reincarnation, TVTimes invited a group of television personalities to undergo hypnotic regression under Britain's leading exponent, Joe Keeton. Keeton is a hypnotherapist and researcher who declares: 'I am not in the business of creating sensations - for that you should look to the United States.'

The TVTimes session was conducted in a quiet sitting room in a modern flat adjoining our London offices. The first subject was Gary Holton, who plays Wayne in ITV's Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. He sat opposite Keeton in a high-backed armchair and was put into a trance - not by staring into the hypnotist's eyes or by watching a swinging pendulum - but by listening to Keeton's deep and resonant voice. 'It's tones match the Alpha-rythms of his brain,' the hypnotist explained.

Holton was a co-operative subject. Within minutes he was under hypnosis, his head slumped to one side, eyes closed. 'I now have direct access to his subconcious,' said Keeton. 'We'll take him back to his childhood, and then to the time before he was born...' To Holton he said: 'You are going back, Gary, back in time to when you were two. You ARE two! It is Christmas Day... Oh dear, why are you crying?'

Tears were streaming down Holton's face. 'Got no presents,' he replied in a childish voice. 'Why ever not?' asked Keeton. 'Got to eat my turkey up first,' the whimpering Holton explained.

When Keeton strived to reveal evidence of Holton's previous existence, this bizarre dialogue ensued: 'There are stones, rocks all around us...I'm putting them on piles and when there are enough we put them on to logs and float them down the river... we aren't paid any money, just our food... there are lots of us... they don't tell us what they're building... I don't know where we are, I was brought here in a ship. I don't know how old I am, but I'm big enough to carry heavy stones...'

At this point Keeton shouted angrily in a foreign tongue. Holton looked confused and squirmed in his chair. When he brought his subject back to his consciousness, Keeton explained: 'I think you were genuinely regressed. When I shouted at you I used an ancient Druid's chant. I've had regressed subjects leaping from their chairs and fleeing from the room when I shout that chant.'