"The Search for the Girl With Blue Eyes"
George Owen (Founder Toronto SPR) agreed that a past life regression where the participant claimed, "I'm William Lyon Mackenzie," would be "...evidentially useless as the facts of his life are readily available in books."
This report is of a past life remembered is of an obscure farmer's wife in an isolated area of Upper Canada and therefore in this author's opinion worthy of note.
Jess Stearn's Report:
Joanne MacIver was hypnotized inadvertently in 1962 by her dad when she was 14. Her dad, Ken MacIver had learned hypnosis while serving with the army and was an avid believer in reincarnation.
With two friends over after school, her father tried in vain to hypnotize one of these friends, when this failed, his daughter, Joanne, fell under the hypnosis which had been meant for her friend.
Joanne's dad, then asked her to remember her fifth birthday, the names she mentioned and aspects were not her own, after a time, she related (still under hypnosis,) that she was a girl named Susan Ganier living in a farm in Ontario in 1848.
He started hypnotizing Joanne regularly after this getting more details of her "past life".
This led to a lot of local media attention at the time.
In 1966 Jess Stearn went to the area that "Susan Ganier" said she resided which was near Owen Sound and Meaford.
Stearn called the research, "The Search for the Girl With Blue Eyes" as both Joanne, and Susan Ganier shared this physical trait.
Using Ken MacIver's and other's notes we are told that Susan Ganier was born in 1833 in St. Vincent's Township the child of parents from Quebec, Catherine and Mason Ganier. The nearest settlement was Massey and they kept cattle, pigs and had an apple orchard. Her father's grain was milled by a Mr. McKelver. Joanne (as Susan) spoke of MacGregor and Milligan, the storekeepers in Massey, she also referred to a farmer named MacGregor whom she had a fondness for (kindly man, not romantic...). She also mentioned folks she knew named Urqhart and Watson. She had a brother Rueben who married a woman named Rachel Brown.
Susan at age 17 got married to Tommy Marrow who was four years her senior. He had a small farm in Sydenham township that he bought for $100.00.
Their wedding ceremony was performed by a preacher named MacChern. She also mentioned one fellow, a man on their farm as a worker named Yancy who she was not at all fond of.
She stated that they did not have children.
After fourteen years of marriage, Tommy died in a farming accident within their barn. A Mr. Brown was present at the accident. A doctor named Black tried to revive Tommy, but with no success.
Susan then sold the farm and stock for around $400.00 and retired to a cottage/hut and led an extremely quiet life until the end. She had a vegetable garden and was given a pig every year by a Mr. Thompson who would help her with day-to-day chores. She was also befriended by a Mrs. Speedy, a local post-mistress.
The above history was gathered through Joanne during hypnotic regression hypnosis. While under hypnosis, she would not recognize her "current" life, but only knew Susan's life and memories. Her "normal" life would return only after waking up from the hypnosis.
George Owen asks, in his book, was this legitimate or was it merely fantasy? Jess Stearn and Ken MacIver would find out with a great deal of research.
Within censuses, they were able to track down some names that would seem to show relevance to the data obtained during hypnosis. Names such as businessmen from Sydenham that were in fact MacGregor and Milligan did show up. Other names were close or "near misses." Finding records of the Ganier family proved difficult as the only Catherine they found (no mention of Mason, the father) was a woman too young to be Susan's mother. They did, however, find a few "suitable" possibilities with the surname Granier. They also found a Mrs. Speedy was indeed the postmistress of the township in the proper time period.
The two men, accompanied by a Dr. F. Crawford Jones (an area psychiatrist and grandfather of BCGHRS director Heather Anderson) also interviewed a gentleman named Arthur Eagles who's parents knew the "Marrows" and even claimed he knew Susan when he was a young child.
The site that Susan (Joanne) had said was her old farmhouse with Tommy was located and key elements (such as a veranda and the like) seemed to be evident despite the fact the house was in ruins.
They were, however, unable to obtain Susan's death certificate or any "official" documents of her existence.
The prima facie evidence seems to indicate that Susan had existed and one must remember that in the early and mid-nineteenth century, communications and proper statistical keeping were not that good and it is possible that things got miscommunicated or missed by the statisticians of the time.
Still, without the full documentation it isn't a perfect case... one has to note too, that if this was a "hoax", why would they (possible hoaxers) pick someone so obscure and without the documentation to "prove" their case? Most "hoaxers" of this type would at least TRY to ensure they had all their "ducks in a row" with at least some of the necessary documents to support to their case.
While offering wide enough room for serious debate it's still a very interesting case... and well documented in it's own right.
This story was also covered by ALAN SPRAGGET 1965 - TORONTO STAR
Sources: "Psychic Mysteries of the North" - ARG (George) Owen - (c) 1975