Jessica Jewett / Fanny Chamberlain
Physical comparison of Jessica Jewett and Fanny Chamberlain.
My journey of discovering my past life as Fanny Chamberlain began when I was a toddler. I began suffering from spontaneous past life memories at such a young age that I couldn't even read yet and I spent much of my childhood frightened and bewildered by the things I remembered. The memory of a life presumably not your own is frightening enough when you're an adult jaded by the ways of the world but going through it with the innocent, untouched mind of a child could cause lasting damage if not handled properly. Some of my earliest memories were of a series of similar scenes such as being a fully grown woman bending over an extremely ill soldier in a tent part of a military hospital complex. The blood, the smell and the horrifying fear of this man dying left a traumatic mark on me well into adulthood. Occasionally through my childhood and teenage years, I experienced flashbacks of more pleasant scenes that tempered the painful ones, such as walking along a river and looking over my shoulder to see a younger version of that man from the military hospital. I felt extremely adult feelings of love and respect for that man even though, as a child, I had no idea who he was, nor did I understand why I experienced those feelings as a grown woman.
All the while during these episodes, I felt inexplicable desires to participate in activities such as drawing, painting and music. It went beyond normal childhood curiosity because of how intensely I worked, as if I knew the techniques and compositions of paintings, yet my undeveloped brain could not pull from those skills with the talent that I expected of myself. My artistic skills were, however, far above average, especially considering that I had to paint and draw with the tools in my mouth because I was born a quadriplegic. No one ever taught me to draw or paint either. I began doing it on my own long before I could ever read. The subjects of my compositions were strange as well -- often men dressed in blue, women with wide billowing skirts, and houses built in old architectural styles not typically found in my city. When people asked me why I was drawing those things, I never had an answer. I felt compelled to do it.
Strange phobias have plagued me since birth as well. Like all American children, I went with my parents to Independence Day fireworks shows but most of the time through my childhood, the sounds of the fireworks frightened me to the point of full-fledged panic attacks. I eventually discovered that my phobia was not of fireworks themselves but guns and cannons. To this day, despite being a Civil War reenactor, watching battle reenactments is torture for me and something that requires a lot of internal force to do. Aside from that, for as long as I can remember, I have been extremely fearful of boats and ships of all shapes and sizes. This phobia has been slightly easier to overcome and I have been on a cruise even though every boating excursion has made me terribly seasick. On the other hand, being close to the ocean has never bothered me. Quite the opposite, in fact. I feel very at home near the ocean and it relaxes me and comforts me in every imaginable way. Only asking me to swim or boat in the ocean brings about feelings of dread. I never understood why.
Stranger things happened periodically through my life, like an obsession with the Civil War period but an equally obsessive avoidance of anything related to combat. I watched the film Gettysburg when I was in my early teens but I made no connection between Jeff Daniels' portrayal of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the man in my memories because Daniels was blonde and the man was not. At the critical moment in the film when Daniels as Chamberlain bellowed, "Bayonet!" I blurted out, "It didn't happen that way." I hadn't studied the battle but I knew deep down that the moment was portrayed incorrectly. I put it out of my mind, however, and carried on trying to fit in as a teenager in Georgia. In the summer of 1999, the mysteries of the people in my dreams, my unusual talents and phobias began to reveal themselves on a trip to a Georgia bookstore. I came across a book that someone had ordered but not picked up and the curly writing on the spine suggested that it was a romance novel. I asked for it to be pulled from the shelf and found pictures on the cover of Fanny and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain -- the people locked in my memories since I was a toddler. Suddenly I knew that it was not a haunting or a random series of dreams. I was Fanny. I didn't buy the book that day. In fact, I became terribly lightheaded and had to be taken outside for air.
Physical comparison of Jessica Jewett and Fanny Chamberlain.
For the next few years, I did everything in my power to suppress and avoid anything about reincarnation, the Chamberlains, the Civil War or anything else that might have triggered more unwanted memories. I wanted to be a normal person. I couldn't handle the possibility of reincarnation being a real, true concept. The more I tried to suppress the part of myself that was Fanny, however, the more it forced its way out. My nightmares of the military hospitals became exaggerated caricatures of their reality, and nightmares of my babies dying in my care added to the repertoire. The anxiety disorder gone undiagnosed for my whole life became full-blown and that led to drinking and painkillers with the blessed side affect of making the memories stop. My life became so dark and isolated for a time that I drifted into an abusive relationship, had a miscarriage and contemplated suicide more than once. It was not entirely because of my past life but the fear of being discovered and judged as even more "crazy" than the existing anxiety disorder contributed heavily to my state of mind.
I eventually came to realize that if I didn't deal with all of my demons, past life-related and otherwise, I wasn't going to survive this life. Slowly and secretly, I began looking into Fanny's life to find any clues that would tell me if there were any more parallels between us because I had read on a reincarnation website that legitimate cases typically have repeating dates, names, personality traits, life events, tastes, talents and so forth. I found out that repeating dates can carry over multiple lifetimes, including October 16 -- my queen in the 18th century, Marie Antoinette, was executed in 1793, Fanny's first child, Grace, was born in 1856, and I suffered my miscarriage in 2005. Many other parallels of that nature came to light the more I ventured into Fanny's life. I discovered that Fanny was a lifelong professionally trained artist who gave up a somewhat Bohemian independent lifestyle to be a wife and mother. My driving need to become an artist and feeling like I already knew technique suddenly made sense. There were also numerous documented references to Fanny's tendency toward violent seasickness and fear of ships and boating, which were, again, things I was reborn with in this lifetime. Physical ailments carried over from my life as Fanny as well. In 1905, she fell at home, broke her hip and that incident lead to her death. I was born with hip dysplasia, which is a deformity in the hip joint that resembles a broken or dislocated joint. She also struggled with her eyesight and headaches for most of her life, leading to solid blindness by 1893, which I found interesting because I was declared legally blind in 1993.
The search into my past life as Fanny Chamberlain led me to traveling to Maine in 2008 to experience the atmosphere of that life firsthand. I knew my way around Brunswick and Portland within minutes even though I had never set foot in Maine before. I knew things about buildings from Fanny's lifetime, I knew things about her church, etc., that I could not have known unless I had lived there before. Years of research brought me to so many conclusions, chief among them that Fanny is vastly misinterpreted by historians, that realizing the truth of my past life has changed my present life for the better. It has changed me in every conceivable way and I use my story today to help other people in ways that I was not helped.
In 2009, I published the full story of my reincarnation case in Unveiled: Fanny Chamberlain Reincarnated.
To read about my other past life case, go to Lady Amy Robsart Dudley.
Jessica Jewett visiting the home and grave of Fanny Chamberlain.