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Georgia Rudolph: A Story of Possible Reincarnation

Georgia Rudolph: A Story of Possible Reincarnation

A woman believes she is the reincarnation of a girl who died in 1914. Georgia Rudolph had visions of a past life. As a child, she drew the same pictures over and over. This story was featured on Unsolved Mysteries.

In Macon, Georgia, a 41-year-old woman named Georgia Rudolph thinks more than thirty years of reoccurring dreams could mean she is the reincarnation of a young girl who lived during the turn of the century. Georgia described one of her startling dreams:

“There’s a lot of sensation. I feel the cold. I feel the night. I smell the horses. I smell the leather. I can feel the girl. But it feels like myself climbing on this carriage and going down the road, and I can hear the sound of the horses’ hooves.”

The dictionary defines reincarnation as “the rebirth of the soul in a new body”. But is reincarnation possible? Can anyone prove that they lived a previous life? Georgia believes she can. In all of her visions, there was a little girl and an older woman. The time and place are not familiar. Sometimes, they appear as dreams, but more often as distinct memories. They describe events she hasn’t experienced, at least not in this life. According to Georgia, there never seemed to be a common denominator of what would trigger the memories, which started when she was only five years old:

“As I child, I don’t think there was a month that went by that I didn’t have either memories or dreams. I used to draw a picture of this girl. I’ve also drawn a picture of a house since I was five. And the house would go with the girl. And if I didn’t get her right, I would erase her or tear it up and start all over again. I knew exactly how this girl was supposed to look.”

As Georgia grew older, the incidents became more frequent. Often, they were no more than a quick flash. But all of her visions seemed to come from the early 1900s. There were no cars or planes. But there were repeated images of paddle-wheel steamers, which Georgia said she had never seen in her own lifetime:

“It’s not like a childhood memory. It feels different. It’s like taking a picture from my mind, projecting it on a screen and just replaying it over and over.”

A river played a large part in Georgia’s dreams. So did a young man dressed in a brown suit and wearing a derby hat. Sometimes he was alone. Sometimes he was with the girl, and always there were the images of a horse-drawn carriage on a cold winter night. Georgia turned to clinical psychologist, Dr. Douglas Smith, for help:

“When Georgia first contacted me, I felt it might be something like an early traumatic childhood memory that she was trying to remember or experience or possibly it could be an aspect of a multiple personality where she was imagining herself or experiencing herself to be someone different, which sometimes happens in these cases. Other than that, reincarnation was probably the last thing in my mind about what had happened to her.”
Dr. Smith began regressive hypnosis with Georgia in 1984. This type of therapy allows the patient to go back in time but still remember everything. For our story, Georgia agreed to, once again, undergo hypnosis:

“During the first session of hypnosis, he asked me a question and referred to me as ‘Georgia.’ I remember very vividly saying, ‘I don’t know who you’re talking to.’ And he said, ‘Well, if this isn’t Georgia, then who is it? And I remember saying, ‘My name is Sandra Jean Jenkins.’”

During the hypnosis session, Georgia also revealed that Sandra was born in 1895, and had a boyfriend. She said she had brown hair and brown eyes. Dr. Smith was amazed by Georgia’s memories:

“Georgia seems to me to be a very down to earth person. And it surprised me when she came out with the amount of emotion and effect and details that she did under hypnosis.”

Georgia came to believe that the face she had drawn so many times had a name: Sandra Jean Jenkins. This was the girl in her memories and her dreams. In further sessions, Georgia filled in the details of her visions. She could now clearly see Sandra Jean on a paddle wheel steamer. One of the men on the boat was the young man in the derby hat. His name was Tommy Hicks. He and Sandra Jean were sweethearts. The sessions also revealed that the two of them were about to be married, which shocked Georgia:

“When this came out about Sandra Jean, not only did I feel I was crazy, it scared me to death. It went against everything that I have ever been taught as far as religion goes.”

Dr. Smith believed the memories were real experiences for Georgia:

“She is very sincere in her belief that she actually subjectively experienced all of the things that she has experienced in that past life that she described. She’s not faking or pretending.”

But were the visions that haunted Georgia Rudolph for more than thirty years really proof of reincarnation? Under hypnosis, she was repeatedly drawn to the town of Marietta, Ohio. So in 1985, she decided to visit, hoping to see if there was any truth to her dreams.
Georgia arranged to meet with a reporter named Ted Bauer, a life-long resident of Marietta who had worked for the local newspaper for 32 years. According to Ted:

“When Georgia arrived in Marietta, I said, ‘I’ll take you around and show you some of the places that you talked about over the phone.’ And she says, ‘No, I’ll show you where to go.’ I couldn’t believe her knowledge of Marietta. She knew as much or more than some of the old timers knew about the town.”

At one point during their visit, Georgia stopped in front of an insurance company and began describing the interior of an ice cream parlor. The ice cream parlor had closed in 1937, eleven years before Georgia was even born. Ted was amazed:

“She described the interior almost perfectly. I checked this with the son of the man who had run it for years. In a way it seems crazy, but what do you do? She was accurate about her descriptions. I was just baffled by her.”

Soon, Georgia realized her dreams might be reality:

“When I began to understand that I was being 100% correct, there was a fright, but there was an excitement that was starting to build in me. It was like this is really real. I really was this girl.”

Despite her vivid memories, Georgia could find no record whatsoever of a Sandra Jean Jenkins in Marietta. So she continued her search five miles to the north in the small farming town of Newport, Ohio. And once again, Georgia said she knew her way around the town:

“The first thing I saw when entering Newport was a big gray house. It sent chills through my body. This is my house. This is where I lived. I could see a room and I knew that that this had been her bedroom. This was the house that Sandra had lived in.”

Throughout Georgia’s life, one dream had always stood out as more haunting than all the others. In it, she saw Sandra Jean as a young girl alone on the steps of a church. According to Georgia:

“In the dream, I know she has to walk exactly two blocks and she’s standing in front of a cemetery. And there’s a path that goes off to the right and it curves and twists in different directions. And then the path eventually straightens out. And when she gets to the point where it straightens out, she’s on the side of hill, looking down on a grave, which I know to be her grandmother’s grave. But I’m never able to get the name off the headstone because it’s that point that I wake up.”

In Newport, Georgia found the church from her dream. She described her journey to identify the name on the headstone:

“I walked the two blocks that I knew I had to walk in my dream and I found myself in the cemetery. And I started walking this path and as I walked it, it began to dawn on me that this was the path of my dreams. And when I stopped where the dream stops, I was looking down on the grave that I knew to be my grandmother’s and it said ‘Mary Bevan Greene.’ And I finally got a name.”

The gravestone provided the missing link to the house Georgia had seen in her dream. In the early 1900s, this house had been the home of the Greene family. They had also owned a fleet of paddle wheel steamers that worked the Ohio River. Now, the story of Sandra Jean Jenkins and Tommy Hicks became clear.

Under hypnosis, Georgia recalled that just days before Sandra Jean and Tommy were to be married in 1914, he was swept overboard in a storm on the Ohio River. His body was never found. Sandra Jean Jenkins was left alone, and to her family’s dismay, she discovered she was pregnant with Tommy’s child. Georgia also evoked the memory of Sandra committing suicide by drowning in a lake and that the young girl was buried on a hill apart from her family.

Georgia was convinced that because Sandra Jean took her own life, she was buried in an unmarked grave a few feet away from her grandmother. Under hypnosis, Georgia said that from Sandra Jean’s grave you could see an angel with one arm raised up. When she looked south from Mary Greene’s grave, Georgia saw the statue of an angel with its right arm extended upward.

Georgia’s discoveries in Ohio do seem convincing, but is there any real proof that Sandra Jean Jenkins or Tommy Hicks ever existed? Georgia couldn’t find a record of Tommy, but she said she did find his parents:

“When I was under hypnosis, I had said that Tommy’s parents’ names were Tom and Jenny Hicks. The only proof that I have that Tommy existed was that in 1906, there is a farm registered to Tom and Jenny Hicks in Newport, Ohio.”

Georgia also located the Greene family’s nearest living relatives, who gave her evidence that Sandra Jean Jenkins actually existed:

“They brought out a picture taken in 1908. It’s a family reunion picture. And the girl that I call Sandra that I have drawn my entire life is standing in that picture. There was a statement made by a member of the family, ‘I don’t know this girl’s name, but I know she drowned out back of the house.’”

In the family photograph, the girl from Georgia’s dreams seems to be standing slightly apart from those around her. The photograph includes a roster of names. Every single person is identified, except the girl Georgia recognized as Sandra Jean.

Although Georgia’s findings are amazingly accurate to her memories, her clinical psychologist, Dr. Douglas Smith, still has doubts:

“Almost every culture at one time or another has had a belief in reincarnation. Sometimes I think, in fact, that it’s a metaphor for man’s anger over the brevity of life. In terms of whether reincarnation is a real fact or not, as a scientist, I don’t know. I want proof. I’m a doubter. But as a human being, I would love to have it be the truth.”

But Georgia Rudolph:

“I believe that reincarnation is real, but I’m not sure what reincarnation is. I know there’s something to it. I have had an experience that a lot of people don’t get to have. My logic often times will tell me now this isn’t real. But my heart tells me, yes it is.”

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