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The strange case of the reincarnated Egyptian

Imagine you have a perfectly “normal” child, happy and healthy.

Then, one day when she is three years old, she falls down the stairs, is knocked unconscious, and declared dead by the family doctor.

When the doctor comes to retrieve your child’s body, she is awake and playing again, as if nothing has happened. Wonderful, right? Only problem is, you know she is not your daughter anymore.

This is what happened to the parents of Dorothy Eady in London in the early 1900s, sparking one of the strangest–and most convincing–accounts of a past life.

After her near-death experience, Dorothy pleaded that she be allowed to return home, describing her life in a large building with columns. She began to speak with a strange accent, and had an inexplicable knowledge of an ancient religion. Her parents no doubt dismissed all this as a child’s fantasies…until they took Dorothy to the British Museum a year later.

When they reached the Egyptian rooms, Dorothy ran through the exhibits, kissing the statues’ feet. When she saw a photograph of Seti I’s temple, she exclaimed “There is my home, but where are the trees? Where are the gardens?”

As an adult, Dorothy moved to Egypt and became known by the name Omm Sety. She worked for the Department of Antiquities and settled in Abydos, where Seti I’s temple is located. She spent a good majority of her adult life as the Keeper of that temple. Dorothy was extremely open about her “past life,” and would worship Egypt’s ancient deities in the old ways, claiming to be the reincarnated priestess of Seti’s temple.

As if that weren’t bizarre enough, she made a number of discoveries based on her “memories.” Following her direction, Egyptologists found the temple’s ancient garden–right where she said it would be. To this day, noted Egyptologists don’t deny her discoveries or her astonishing knowledge of ancient Egypt. If you’re interested in her other discoveries, there were quite a few, which you can find on Wikipedia.

Aside from her insistence that she’d been reincarnated, Dorothy appeared quite sane and thrived in both her personal and professional lives until she died in 1981.

As I prepare to visit Egypt myself in just over a week, I find Dorothy’s story especially interesting. What do you think–do you believe in reincarnation? If not, how do you explain stories like her’s? What would you have done if you were her parents?

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41 Comments

  1. An extraordinary story! I wonder if other individuals have had such experiences after coming out of dead-ness. They surely have I believe, coming out of a coma …

    Reply
    • JH

      I believe there have been other stories of “past-life memories” after a near-death experience, but I’ve never come across another which is so compelling.

      Thanks for reading, Susan!

      Reply
  2. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but something gave her knowledge of Seti’s temple. Who knows what she tapped into while ‘dead.’

    Reply
  3. Very interesting. I’m not sure about reincarnation. Certainly, some people have a stronger link to a time in history and the people who lived then. Maybe some spirits do enter new bodies.

    Reply
    • JH

      My work here is done. 🙂

      Reply
  4. I do believe in reincarnation and I have the philosophy that we keep coming back to gain a higher awareness or become better( Trump has a long way to go). I have read about this lady for decades and believe something was tapped when she suffered that injury. I think she did live at this time way back when and helped find many things that would have gone unnoticed. I think, if I was her parent, I would help her achieve her endeavours and never diminish her beliefs. Have fun in Egypt and stay safe and enjoy!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Birgit! I will try my best.

      Trump indeed has a long way to go. A long, long way.

      Reply
  5. Fascinating! I love the idea of reincarnation, and this is certainly an interesting case. Makes me wonder what connection was drawn between the child and the spirit. That could be a great short story exploration. Neat!

    Reply
    • JH

      Go for it, Samantha. I’d love to see the results.

      Reply
  6. I love articles like this. No matter whether you believe in reincarnation or not, it proves that we are all connected (past, present and future).

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Brigette! And thanks so much for reading.

      Reply
  7. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I do believe in a sixth sense or something similar, allowing some people to have a very strong connection with the past, with the dead, with animals, or anything else. If I would have been Dorothy’s mom, I would have taken her to Egypt for a visit as a child or teenager and see her thrive. It is nice that she achieved what she dreamed of and that she lived a happy, fulfilling life. Have a great time in Egypt and preparing for the trip, J.H. That is quite exciting!!!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Liesbet! It is cool that she ended up being in charge of the temple she remembered working in during her other life.

      She was definitely on to something if she was able to accurately tell archaeologists where to dig and what they’d find.

      Reply
  8. Wow – that is a weird story! Have a great time in Egypt. Look forward to reading your blog posts from your visit there. I’m not sure about reincarnation. I’ll guess I’ll have to wait and find out if it’s true in my next life 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Ha! If only it were that easy.

      Thanks for the good wishes. I hope it’s a wonderful trip, but I am a bit nervous, have to admit.

      Reply
  9. I’ve heard of her case. Despite what she knew, I doubt she was a reincarnated worker of the temple. I just don’t know how she knew those things.

    Reply
    • JH

      Yes, even diehard scientists couldn’t explain her knowledge, and she was quite well respected among Egyptologists. None of them felt comfortable affirming her past-life beliefs, but none publicly refuted them, either.

      Reply
  10. When my son was 3, he was paging through an encyclopedia one day looking at the pictures. Suddenly, he stopped and pointed excitedly at the picture of a soldier. He said, “That was me! Then I got killed and I became Timmy.” I asked, “Who told you that?” He gave me a look like he couldn’t believe how dumb I was. “Don’t you know, Mommy?” he said. “That’s the way it is.”

    Reply
    • JH

      Ooh, that is spooky, Naomi. That gave me the shivers! Thanks for sharing.

      Has it ever come up again?

      Reply
  11. One of the things that makes me believe is that she was just a priestess and not a queen. Have you noticed that all the loons who claim to be reincarnated always say they were originally kings, queens, or famous people? I’ve seen documentaries about a few children who have the memories of dead strangers. One of the coolest was a little boy who had the memories of a pilot. He started to be able to tell his parents all about WWII planes. Wishing you an amazing trip to Egypt!!!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lexa. And that’s a good point. At least she never claimed to be Cleopatra.

      Reply
  12. I am dubious about reincarnation just because no one remembers their past life as the shoveler of merde from the Pharaoh’s stables — and you know there are more common folks living than uncommon in every era.

    Yet Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah come again, so who knows? Certainly not me!

    It is a fascinating account irregardless. I love Egyptian history as my two Egyptian Victorian fantasies prove. I envy you your trip.

    Reply
    • JH

      I think there’s still space on the tour…;)

      Well, at least she was an “unknown” priestess and not Cleopatra. That’s something.

      Reply
  13. That is an interesting story. I like stories of reincarnation. They are fascinating.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Patricia! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  14. That is an amazing story! The fact that she up and moved to Egypt, worked there, lived well, helped with discoveries – just fascinating!

    I wonder how her parents handled everything? Did they ever consider locking her away in an asylum? Did they believe her totally or did they just go along with her “fantasies?”

    Are you planning a post or two about it? Any haunted destinations on the itinerary? 🙂

    Have a great time!

    Reply
    • JH

      I was looking into haunted destinations in Egypt, and there are quite a few, but since I’ll be spending most of my time in ancient tombs, I figured that was probably good enough. 🙂 I’ll take another look before I go, though.

      From what I learned in my research, I think her parents were quite supportive. I’m not sure they believed her 100%, but I certainly never found anything that suggested they thought she was insane.

      Reply
  15. I never know how to feel about stories like this. Clearly something happened to this girl and who am I to say she wasn’t awakened to a past life, or maybe the fall did kill her and a wandering spirit attached itself to her. Either is equally likely and unlikely.

    Reply
    • JH

      Ooh, now THAT would make a good story!

      Reply
  16. I think her fall and near-death experience could’ve shaken something in her (in her soul, perhaps?) that brought those memories of a past life. Or as Ryan said, the first thing I thought was another spirit entered her. So it’s not really her past life but the old life of the spirit now in her body.

    Fascinating.

    Reply
    • JH

      It definitely is fascinating. I love both those stories!

      Reply
  17. That’s quite life. No matter what you believe this is very extraordinary.

    Reply
  18. Now that is bizarre. If I were her parent, I would be so sad, missing the person(ality) of the child lost. I wouldn’t want to move to Egypt considering the political situation these days among other reasons, but I would support the child’s decision to move to where they would be happiest, I hope.

    If this was authentic, what a wonderful resource for studying ancient Eygptian times. I hope all her knowledge was recorded.

    Reply
    • JH

      I believe it was recorded, Tamara. They discovered so many things with her help that may have always remained hidden. As for living there, it’s safer than you may think. Just ask our fellow writer-blogger Lexa Cain! 🙂

      Reply
  19. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I do believe we are connected in ways we don’t always recognize. Then when you factor in being dead and coming back, there is just so much we don’t know about life and death and what happens beyond. We also don’t know a lot about the human mind and what it’s truly capable of. Whatever the case maybe, there was a reason she was connected to the ancient past.

    Reply
    • JH

      So true, Toi. All we can do is keep an open mind.

      Reply
  20. I really don’t know what to believe about her, but it is uncanny.

    Reply
    • JH

      It is, isn’t it? Makes you think.

      Reply
  21. Fascinating story that only tells us to open our minds to all possibilities–even those we’ve been told can’t be true.

    Reply
    • JH

      Good way to look at it, Lee. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply

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