“I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side” – Steven Wright
Occasionally, the rabbit hole goes deeper than one expects. I was doing a little research on a particularly odd experiment by the famous French parapsychologist Eugène Auguste Albert de Rochas d’Aiglun (1837-1914), and discovered that he is uncredited with spawning what looks to be something of a modern industry, that is, “future life progression” (FLP). Google the term. There seem to be a virtual army of hypnotherapists out there offering this service. According to the Future Life Progression Academy (and one assumes they would know), FLP “combines, NLP, Hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy, and Meditation. It is a guided therapy which enables your energy to align to the correct vibrational frequency to glimpse your future and bring forth that which is for your greatest good”. Perhaps I don’t have the proper vibrational frequency to understand what the hell they’re talking about. At any rate, people seem to be making money doing this. Whatever floats your goat. Yet, I’m a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, thus onto our friend Albert de Rochas.
Albert de Rochas was an impressive dude, mostly regarded by the dwindling number of people who actually remember him for his extensive work in parapsychology, studying hypnotism, telekinesis, “magnetic emanations”, reincarnation, spirit photography, and past life regression – and mostly was interested in looking for a scientific basis for occult phenomena. Before he delved into parapsychology, he had a distinguished career as a military engineer, and by 1887 was Chief of Engineers for the French Army. He received the Legion d’Honneur in 1875, made significant academic contributions to the study of military engineering history, and even won a medal from “Société des Études Grecques” for his Greek translations. For a while he was the Director of the École Polytechnique, but was asked to leave due to his parapsychological interests. Turns out Ghostbusters gave a pretty accurate depiction of academia’s response to parapsychology.
Well, de Rochas spent a lot of time hypnotizing people and regressing them to past lives, which was not all that odd for the turn of the 19th Century. Everybody was doing it. You should try it. It’s fun at parties. After regressing a particular subject named Eugenie in 1904, he thought he’d try something a little different, and the results surprised him.
Here is where the operation becomes curious. In order to obtain these regressive states, M. de Rochas made longitudinal passes over his subject; and to recall her, transversal passes. In the course of these experiments, he perceived that if he continued the transversal passes, the subject would go beyond her actual age — in other words, was able to see herself in time to come. Here we must beware of the somnambulistic dream, the tendency which a subject always has to satisfy her observer, and the possibility of a change of personality; the pictures thus obtained are rarely correct (Chevreuil, 1920, p58).
Although de Rochas was into weird stuff, he was also scientifically minded, and wanted to explore the phenomena he encountered a little further, taking the entire effect as hypnotic tendency to obligingly follow the instructions of the hypnotist.
Thus I made her grow older, little by little; at thirty-seven years of age (she was then really thirty-five) she manifested all the symptoms of child birth and the shame of this event, because she was not re married. This was to take place in 1906. Several months afterward she seemed to be drowning herself. I caused her to grow older by two years — new symptoms of birth. I asked her where she was at that time, and she answered, “Upon the water.” This strange reply caused me to suppose that she was wandering, and I brought her back to her normal state (de Rochas, 1911).
Not sure what to make of her response to future life progression, de Rochas appears to have kept track of Eugenie.
Everything that she had predicted came true. She took for her lover a glove-maker, by whom she had a child in 1906. Shortly afterward, grown despondent, she threw herself into the Isere and was saved by being seized by the leg. Finally, in January, 1909, another child was born, upon a bridge of the Isere, where she was taken suddenly with the birth-pangs in returning from her work. This is a curious fact and should be recorded, though there must be many added before we can pronounce upon it (Chevreuil, 1920, p59).
Personally, I have enough unresolved issues in my current life and see no reason to complicate things by bringing up unresolved issues from past lives. And I prefer to be surprised by my future. It certainly does make one wonder about the malleability of time. As Victor Hugo said, “What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.”
Chevreuil, Léon, and Agnes Kendrick Gray. Proofs of the Spirit World: (On Ne Meurt Pas). New York: E. P. Dutton & company, 1920.
de Rochas, Albert. Les Vies Successives. Documents pour I’Etude de Cette Question. Paris, Bibliotheque Chacomac, 1911.
Yet another intriguing story. I enjoy reading multiple woo-woo books, like Edgar Cayce, but this “future progression” reminds me of the Seth material recorded by medium Jane Roberts. According to Seth, there are an infinite number of “probable futures,” and a “probable” version of you travels every one of them.
If that’s not confusing enough, he also says there are an infinite number of probable pasts, and that all time is simultaneous. so there is no past, present, or future in the linear form we believe in. From that perspective, all time converges in the present moment, and you can change past and future by focusing in the present.
I agree with you about not wanting to know “the” future, because it is only a “probable” future, given current beliefs, attitudes and inclinations. Better to steer moment by moment to a future you want to manifest and avoid predictions or other binders on freedom of choice.
The account is consistent with the block universe theory of time. It might be possible to concoct some sort of quantum explanation for the apparent ability to retrieve information from up and down an individual’s world line by making the case that we are somehow “entangled” with our past and future selves. It may be a bit of a stretch to make it work at the macro level but why should the phenomena we label as thought, mind, and consciousness be limited by macroworld physics? Nevertheless, I continue to object to the block universe theory on aesthetic grounds.