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Looking for Carroll Beckwith: The True Stories of a Detective's Search for His Past Life Hardcover – December 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
This tale is improbable in more ways than one: Indianapolis police homicide commander Snow offers a dryly nonplused account of his discovery of his "past life" as 19th-century portrait painter Carroll Beckwith. Snow participated in (and taped) a therapeutic "recovered memory" session as a lark, and, once hypnotized, was jolted by a series of clear images and recollections that seemed even then strangely plausible, despite his cop's hard-nosed, empirical perspective. Later, when he walked into a New Orleans gallery at random and confronted a painting that had appeared to him in his vision, he determined to put his detective's investigative skills to work and research congruencies between his "memories" and the artist's life. Surprisingly, the evidence that he painstakingly assembled through retrieving Beckwith's journals and work from obscurity seemed fully to confirm that Snow's "recollections" were authentic. Snow relates all this ruefully, hardly eager to be perceived as "New Age." His crisp, unpretentious prose and descriptive skill go a long way in convincing one to follow his unorthodox journey. His researched account of Beckwith's lost life is impressive: Snow is remarkably sensitive to aesthetic concerns and has unearthed the compelling tale of an artist who was forced to rely on portraiture for support, and whose fast fade seemed foreordained, even as friends like John Singer Sargent found fame. Snow has the courage of his convictions: though his detective wife urged him to curtail his quest to avoid career risk, his book is provocative. Illus. not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Ever the seasoned police detective, Captain Snow dispassionately lists 28 seemingly random scenes from his hypnosis session that involve specific oil paintings, names, locales and events from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. But any correlation between his current life and these visions is elusive until `coincidentally' coming face-to-face with one of Carroll Beckwith's obscure portraits--in fact, the exact painting Snow had `seen' under hypnosis. Now armed with knowledge of the artist's identity, Snow methodically goes about either substantiating or disproving each of the connections between his existence and Beckwith's, all the while demonstrating his willingness to disregard the mounting evidence that his body houses the dead artist's soul in favor of a (much) more plausible explanation.
By the conclusion of his story Captain Snow suggests that had the 26 out of 28 evidential substantiations of this investigation been tied to a murder case, an easy conviction would be forthcoming; about this assertion I must agree: the facts are the facts, and it's folly to argue with such an honorable source. And due to the author's style, I discovered that reading this account was very much like watching a good documentary film (Ken Burns comes to mind); Snow's writing is so compelling that this book arrived on Thursday and I finished reading it Friday evening.
You can be sure that I'll be purchasing additional copies of `Looking for Carroll Beckwith' for my open-minded and `spiritually questioning' friends.
Captain Snow's writing is somewhat stilted and overly sterile at times, but it is none the less, what one would expect from a 30 year (+) veteran of the Indianapolis Police Department. Snow (because of his own profession) seems to spend an inordinately amount of time trying to convince the reader (and or, himself), that he is not what most police would describe as a "Loony Tune." Personally, I did not need that much convincing in this particular case.
In just one (1 hour) Regression-Session, Captain Snow gleans enough "prior life" information to confirm 26 major points out of 28 from the name and life of a man he had never even heard of! Perhaps Captain Snow could have eased his investigations after the initial session had he only gone back for a second or, even third regression session.
The information obtained during this paranormal adventure could only have two possible explanations: 1. "A "Walk-In" (theory that when one is in an altered state of conciseness, the soul of a departed "walks into the others physical body", or... #2. An actual glimpse into a past life.
What ever the case, Captain Robert L. Snow has given the reader the most interesting and reliable story of reincarnation in the United States since the early 1950's controversial case of "Bridie Murphy." However, unlike "Bridie Murphy", Captain Snow's experience is not part of any childhood subconscious recall or, psychological conditioning, but total and tangible historic proof supported by Carroll Beckwith's own 46 years of daily handwritten diaries!
This book was apparently written or, at least published in 1999. None the less, it would be interesting to know if, this event still maintains an impact on its author. The author even attempts to explain specifically "what lessons he learned from this paranormal experience."
Well done "Carroll Beckwith"....I mean Captain Snow...well done!!!!