23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Coco Chanel's life as a Mayan was totally off time-wise. Sylvia says Coco was born in AD 14 as a Mayan man but killed by a woman who was a Spanish spy in preparation for the Spanish invasion. The Spaniards didn't even discover the Mayan country for another FIFTEEN HUNDRED years. In AD 14, Spain was in the midst of the Dark Ages...certainly not thinking of Mayans or South America or even of Spanish Armadas. Even if it was a typo and should have read 1400, it would have been nearly 150 years off course. Aren't there editors to research these things and bring them to Sylvia's attention for her to address?
Bob Hope: Sylvia says one of the EARLIEST of Hope's 56 lives was in the 1700s (most recently he was born in 1903). Do the math: even if his earliest life she describes was ~ his 6th one, then that leaves 50 to cover in the next 200 years (that averages out to FOUR YEARS per incarnation). Did he spend countless lives dying as a child only too springboard back and forth again and again?
Also, she claims Dick Clark was greeted at Home by Elvis - but she states in a previous book (and on her radio show) that Elvis is already reincarnated - so could not have been at Home to say howdy to Dick 8 years later. Hmmmmm...didn't her editor read her previous books?
Is anyone besides me insulted at Sylvia's assumption that her readers lack the intelligence to question these inconsistencies?
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
Sylvia used to write some very interesting books. Now she is clearly trying to just make a buck. Even though I have noted along with many others that her psychic abilities are dwindling, I still would purchase her books. I even paid $700.00 for a 18 minute psychic reading and NOTHING came true.
This book should never have been written. There is no way to trust that what she hears from her guide on these past lives, is even legit. I am sorry for her. I do think she was a good author and was psychic. Now because she put greed before talent, she has lost her abilities, and her good name.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
If Sylvia couldn't even get the details of easily fact-checked lives correct, how could one trust her about lives of the long dead?
For example, for the Karen Carpenter one, Sylvia claims, "It was very much to Karen Carpenter's credit that after becoming a highly respected performer and celebrity, she spoke out about her anorexia, which encouraged other celebrities to open up about their own eating disorders."
Um, no. Karen wanted to speak out about it, but died before she had the chance. It was Karen's DEATH that encouraged others to come out with their eating disorders. I think Sylvia misinterpreted this from Wikipedia. If that wasn't even right, how can I trust the rest of this book?
Now, this is coming from someone who actually does believe in reincarnation and the like... *when it can be fact-checked* (see Ian Stevenson, Jim Tucker, Carol Bowman, even Carl Sagan in "The Demon-Haunted World," and the like). I didn't used to believe in it, because I thought the "believers" were all hucksters like Sylvia. She gives actual researchers a bad name. From what I understand from previous reviews, maybe Sylvia used to be more accurate, but has "lost it" as she's allowed greed to take over, and I think this book is evidence of that (not to mention other reviews that have listed her iffy track record).
If you really want to read about the past lives of celebrities, for free, and fact-check them, I suggest the blog "Channeling Erik" if you're into this sort of thing. It's a much more enjoyable read, and greed-free.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2013
Sylvia Browne claims that these peaks into the past lives of celebrities were channeled to her via her spirit guide. If so, her spirit guide (aka Francine) needs a research assistant or perhaps some lessons in how Google can assist with fact checking.
Among the book's most laughable errors concerns Lana Turner. According to Browne, Turner's previous life (in Oklahoma and Mississippi) began in 1860 as girl named Mary. She then proceeds to claim that Mary lives to be 83. In other words, she died in 1943. Well, by 1943, the Lana Turner we all know was very, very much alive and was already a top Hollywood star. So, apparently the talented Ms. Turner was living overlapping lives.
The book is filled with such slipshod errors - mistakes any decent editor or fact-checker would immediately sight.
Bottom line: so many inaccuracies clearly indicate that these tales of past lives are indeed just tales - pure fiction.
I got two-thirds through the book and, finally fed up with being fed such nonsense, tossed the book in the trash. It wasn't even worth recycling to a library or charity shop.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
It's been over a year since I last reviewed on Amazon, but a book this skin-crawlingly bad bellows out for commentary.
Confucius advised that a liar needs a good memory, but I doubt any well-practiced dissembler ever read Confucius, and based on how little she keeps track of her claims, Browne's memory must darn near be shot.
There was a time I halfway liked to read this snakeoil seller's books, just for a laugh at the collective gullibility of humanity, but honestly, Past Lives of the Rich and Famous was so terrible it wasn't even good for a chuckle. While deservedly disgusted, I have also never in my life been closer to genuine pity for a scammer than I am after reading through this utterly awful bit of hogwash from one of the most oft-labeled rip-off artists of our time. Heck, even her double-digit IQ die-hards are having trouble swallowing this tripe!
Where do I begin?
First off, as I am sure others have already noted, her grasp of history is ludicrous, even by the sad standards of America 2013. (Spanish meeting Mayans in the 1st century AD? The Spanish Armada destroyed by fire? Kansas long settled by white Americans in the 1830s? The Greek goddess Hera having a temple in ancient Babylon?)
Secondly she can't even keep her internal timelines straight, not even when they involve simple mathematics. Lana Turner living simultaneously as a woman in the Midwest and a star in Hollywood? That's the only way I can explain how her past life can overlap with the famous one, as Browne's arithmetic has happening. Also in this book Elvis greets a present-day celebrity in the afterlife...yet according to Browne Elvis reincarnated long ago and was already back on earth at the time of the celeb's passing. And then there's Bob Hope's seemingly having fifty deaths in a row in childhood. Wow, rough break, Bob! But heck it's OK, since we've all existed since the beginning of time, and we'll all exist forever. (Cause that's what being "eternal" means!)
I could go on and on but that'd just waste everyone's time when Sylvia's already done too much of that. Needless to say this is the woman's worst output yet, and that's saying something. This is the kind of book that lacks the good grace to give us a disdainful laugh, and it's not even much fun to pick on since writing this review feels too much like beating up on the mentally incompetent.
Don't waste your time/money/mental powers/or even the very muscles needed to hold up this goshawful book!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Here are the shocking facts:
- When she was on the Montel Williams Show Browne claimed a girl died by being shot; in fact, her body was found in her own bed, unmarked by any wounds whatsoever.
- Browne added the 'e' to her last name after being indicted on security fraud.
- She claimed Al Gore would win the election; Bush won.
- She claimed a person died in water who was killed in the Twin Tower 9/11 attack.
- Browne's spirit guide Francine apparently lied to her because Browne was all wrong about what happened to the trapped miners when she went on Noory's radio show.
- Browne called the church she founded 'Gnostic Christian'. Once again, her spirit guide lied to her. She later found out the ancient Gnostics were anti-woman, not proto feminists, anti flesh, anti sex, and anti life. She has confusedly retracted many of her Gnostic church belief nonsense.
- She told the parents of Shawn Hornbeck he was dead. He was later found alive.
Among hundreds upon hundreds of other wrong pronouncements. A survey of her predictions in criminal cases has shown her to be almost never right. Tossing a coin in the air would likely do better.
But what have scientists found out about all claims of psychic ability?
Despite lurid TV show claims, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2008 Jan;20(1):182-92 reviewed 75 years of research and concluded "there is no evidence that psychic ability exists". I repeat: 75 years, and no evidence any psychic ability exists.
What has research shown about those who believe in psychic powers and who hold New Age beliefs?
1. Rosemary Aird of the University of Queensland studied 3,700 21-year-olds in Brisbane and concluded that New Age spirituality was linked "with higher rates of depression, disturbed...ways of thinking, and anti-social behavior". Her conclusion: New Age beliefs undermine mental health.
2. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, v14 n3 p261-272 Aug 2009 " paranormal beliefs are strongly associated with higher levels of suicide.
3. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, UK. email@example.com : findings confirmed that paranormal beliefs were predicted by delusion and hallucination-proneness.
4. Psychol Rep. 2002 Apr;90(2):405-11. Narcissism and belief in the paranormal - found that scores for narcissism correlated with belief in ESP and New Age beliefs but not in a belief in life after death.
5. Professor Michael King, from University College of London, and his fellow researchers wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry: "Our main finding is that people who had a spiritual understanding of life had worse mental health than those who were followers of a religion. Those who called themselves spiritual but not religious were 77 per cent more likely than the others to be dependent on drugs, 72 per cent more likely to suffer from a phobia, and 50 per cent more likely to have a generalised anxiety disorder. They were also 40 per cent more likely to be receiving treatment with psychotropic drugs, and at a 37 per cent higher risk of neurotic disorder."
The study was based on a survey of 7,403 randomly selected men and women in England who were questioned about their spiritual and religious beliefs, and mental state.
And then there are the illogical, fact-challenged statements in her latest cash-cow book.
"...most of the world's great religions - including Christianity until Pope Constantine...embraced reincarnation" (p 4).
Reincarnation was certainly known and discussed in the ancient Greek world. It never, ever, was part of either Judaism or Christianity. Both rejected it utterly. As anyone with a capacity to read history books should know. Once again, Francine is mysteriously lying to Sylvia.
Sylvia invents a new version of reincarnation, about which she wheezes "We design literally every aspect of our lives" (p 20). Sylvia has none of that nastiness about being incarnated as a rat in your next life.
Look, reincarnation in Hinduism is a grim, fatalistic belief that has kept millions of poor, starving Indians locked into an evil caste system for thousands of years. Brahmin Hindus actually rioted recently against the idea of helping the poor Untouchables because it might hinder their fulfilling their karma.
And yes, that's why Mother Teresa had to go and help the poorest of the poor in India - because a belief in reincarnation preached against helping even those who are starving to death. Browne, in her vicious hatred against orthodox Christianity, has Mother Teresa in earlier incarnations persecuted by none other than the evil church. Oh, right.
Browne knows so little about history or religion that she makes a complete mess when she blathers on about reincarnation, reformulating it to appeal to the spoiled narcissists of the richest country in the the world.
We design every bit of our life to be? What if someone feels they really, really need to be a billionaire (I, personally, have felt this call for some time) but the world is already chock full of billionaires, how does that work? Does God have a say in this at all?
Why do so many really stupid people inhabit the earth if we had our say in our new incarnations?
And what about that pesky little problem of evil? In the Hindu religion, both evil and good are denied - they simply don't exist because everything is an illusion. So, apparently, why did all those Jews want, ask, and plan to be gassed to death by Hitler? Please explain Sylvia. And serial killers, too, they designed every aspect of their lives...because why, Francine???
Then, last and worst of all, there is Sylvia's pronouncement that God will never send us "to an eternity of hell" (p 3).
Really? Even if we lie about God, and lie about Christianity and lie to people about reincarnation?
How about if we drag other people to hell? Is that what your really believe, Sylvia, or is it what you desperately, urgently hope?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2013
Easy read, but not worth the money. Her instructions at the end of the book on how to meditate to see your own past lives was far fetched and I highly doubt it works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2014
Checked this out from the library because I'm certainly not going to pay money for this drivel.
I am a firm believer in reincarnation. I believe our traits, talents and personality can follow us through time. I believe phobias, some illnesses can be the cause of something from a previous lifetime. I've read everything I can find on reincarnation. I find especially compelling the work of Walter Semkiw.
So I find it particular disturbing that the late Ms. Browne's past life gleanings not only contradict Semkiw's past life ascertains, some of her facts appear to be outright wrong.
She says Donna Reed missed a flight from Texas to Burbank that ending up crashing, killing all those on board. Maybe Sylvia's book was written before the internet, because a quick google search shows no such crash every happen.
She also say Marilyn Monroe's incarnation would be her last. She surely was aware of Adrian Finklestein's book, "The Return of Marilyn," wasn't she? Probably the most incredulous thing she said was Michael Jackson was not a pedophile. Yeah, right.
Once has to take what psychics say with a large grain of salt anyway. Anyone who take Sylvia Browne seriously is a little too gullible.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It never ceases to amaze me how much Ms. Browne can con people, but then as the saying goes, there is a sucker born every minute, and Ms. Browne certainly has a talent for attracting said suckers.
I do not deny that the paranormal exists, and I do believe in past lives. However, Ms. Browne has been proven time and time again to be a fraud, and this book is one of these ways (as long as you're not a sucker)
She gets historical facts wrong. If Ms. Browne had bothered to do historical research, this book would be a heck of a lot convincing. Spanish spies in the New World in the first century AD? Bob Hope experiencing over 50 lifetimes in 300 years? If you're going to try to make up stories about celebrities, at least try to be a little more convincing. And of course, all the celebrities in this book are dead... how convenient.
Sylvia has been proven wrong so many times via the predictions she made on the radio or on television, and now her own book is proving her wrong. Way to go, Ms. Browne.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
Sylvia and Francine have once again traveled to the other side and spoken with our departed celebrity's to find out about their past lives and what had led them to their Celebrity and if they will be back again or not. EXCELLANT Book, God Love and Bless you Sylvia xxoo