Monday, July 20, 2015

Helping the debunkers out

Recently I was searching for information online regarding Omm Sety (Dorothy Eady), the British lady who remembered a past life in ancient Egypt.  Unfortunately, the two main books about her quest ("Omm Sety's Egypt" and "The Search For Omm Sety") are not on Kindle, though I've had the paper editions for years. The story has long fascinated me. Wikipedia seems to have an exhaustive and sympathetic discussion of the subject--which is surprising, given the subject matter.

There's also a cursory review of the story at international skeptics dot com (I won't link to it for fear of bringing a boatload of skeptics down on my head, but it's easily findable). A poster at said forum is looking for help convincing his gullible paranormal-leaning wife that the story is bogus. The responders can't really help--there's no real debunking of the story to be found, and the skeptics conclude that it all boils down to the question of belief. Reincarnation can't be proven or disproven--you either believe in it or you don't.  And I tend to steer clear of blind, unquestioning belief. I'll lean toward the skeptics.

All which is very reasonable and true. But there's a problem.  Dorothy Eady's story may be hard to disprove. Learned Egyptologists as a whole were impressed with Eady's knowledge, and those are the only critics that I care about in this case. The others don't matter, not even Carl Sagan... They're just like me--someone with an opinion.

I did find one minor flaw in Dorothy Eady's story and I'm surprised that it's never been mentioned. In one of the two books (can't remember which one but probably "The Search For Omm Sety"), the child Dorothy is described as being very attracted to a local band of Gypsies, presumably because Gypsies came from Egypt--or so it was commonly thought. Of course, we now know that they didn't--the current scholarly opinion is that the migrated from northern India about a thousand years ago.  But Dorothy apparently though they did.

So, does this debunk Eady's story?  Not really... The young Dorothy was simply wrong, about a subject that she would in later life become expert at. But it is a flaw, and it's always bothered me. So in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, I'm compelled to bring it up.  And if the Dorothy Eady story is ever proven to be a complete fabrication, the skeptics can thank me later.

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