“To Whom it may concern:  As of this date, reincarnation remains a very controversial issue.  It has neither been proved or disproved regardless of how much has been written about it.  Whether or not the people who witness this statement or the people who open it on April 30, 1993 believe in reincarnation is of little importance to me at this time.  I am concerned only with the following facts as I have seen them to be in the future.  The basis of these facts are the results of dreams and/or mental images produced during many hours of sleep.  It is not for me to even consider the evaluation of these dreams; I can only  rely on the future to validate the following facts.  In my mind as of this date, there is no question whatsoever that the following will occur.” … So was written by my father on November 4, 1975.

I wasn’t a skeptic.  When you’re nineteen, twenty years old your mind is open and anything is possible.

In the 1970s my father started having strange dreams; dreams that made him feel as though he was living some one else’s  life while he recovered in the hospital after some heart-related problems. They continued long after he convalesced at home and happened so frequently that when they awakened him in the middle of the night he would jot them down on a piece of paper by his bedside. Because of my open mind and curiosity  I was dad’s assistant in this incredible journey to document, and in some cases, corroborate these dreams or recollections of another life.  You can be a skeptic or you can be a believer; it is your choice.


During the wee hours of the night Richard L. Swartz of Natick, Massachusetts “became” Jeremy Wesley Porter from Bennetsville, South Carolina.  Living in the late 1890s and early 1900s in a sprawling plantation with his grandfather, Jeremy was a privileged boy being attended to by a housekeeper and maid.  His grandfather loved to entertain many guests, including the military  in his large white-columned home;  one such party held on June 3, 1910 commemorated the birthday of Jefferson Davis.   Jeremy and his best friend, Robert Martin, enjoyed fishing in the Pee Dee Creek which was not too far from home.  The two pals were such good friends that Jeremy would often accompany Bob to  St. Michael’s Cemetary to visit his  Uncle William Martin’s (prominent attorney) gravesite.

A romance began to blossom between Jeremy and Mae Powers, a local girl whose father was very well known in the town.  The couple would meet under the wagon wheel chandelier at the Powers Hotel, proclaiming their young and sometimes desperate love. It was a time of adventure, romance and of impending war.  Jeremy was called to fight and his orders were to leave for Charney, France.  Before his departure he gave his girlfriend an engraved necklace; a promise that he would return to her.  In return she would wear it every day until they were in each others arms again.  That chance never came.


My father, Richard, had never been to Bennetsville, South Carolina; in fact he had never heard of it.  When he began amassing these stories about Jeremy’s life the first action I took involved making a call to the Bennetsville, South Carolina police department.  Through them I confirmed that there had in fact been a Powers Hotel which had been famous for its wagon wheel chandelier; it  had burned down many, many years ago!  I will never forget my father’s face when I authenticated one of the pieces of his mysterious puzzle.  He had been playing pinochle with a few friends around the kitchen table and his face went white; ashen.  After that incident my dad wrote many letters to the living members of the Martin, Porter and Powers families in the Bennetsville area with the premise that he was trying to track down lost members of his family.  He couldn’t tell them the truth; HIS truth; that he had been Jeremy Wesley Porter but now he was some one else.  My dad soon found out that Jeremy was listed as “Missing In Action” in Charney, France and a few of the responses corroborated some of his dreams.  However,  quite suddenly all correspondence from South Carolina mysteriously stopped. Could it be that the Porter family thought that Jeremy was still alive after all these years and wanted to claim the remaining fortune? Dad stopped sending letters and decided at that point to put things down for a while but the dreams continued.

One morning dad woke up from his sleep.  It had been a long fitful night full of strange dreams. He looked over at his pad of paper and was shocked to see that he had written down some information in a foreign language that he had never seen before!  Going over the dream in his head he remembered an older man from a small village who was clothed in burlap.  He had five children.   He was watching over his beloved wife as she lay dying and as he cried and prayed for her recovery he heard the comforting voice of God speaking to him.

Dad decided to take the pad of paper to the Boston Public Library to see if he could decipher the language and words. However, he had no luck because even though some of the letters looked to be a certain language others were not.  Almost ready to give up he brought the paper to the librarian, asking her if she could help in some way.  She told him that a professor from a local college was in the library and perhaps he could show the paper to him.  Dad was thankful and made his way to the professor, making up a story that the paper was given to him as a practical joke and asking him if he could figure out what the words said.  My dad certainly couldn’t tell the professor the truth!  The man looked at the paper and back at dad and said “Are you kidding me?  This is a very old Slavic language spoken in the 16th and 17th century and not commonly used except in remote Ukrainian villages!”   My dad just laughed and asked him if he could please try and decipher the meaning of the words.

These are the words from the dream; the message that the man heard as he prayed for his dying wife:  “Please don’t be sad.  You have lived a happy and kind life and you will be rewarded.  You have been together before and will be together again many times in the future.”


In 1975 when he was 52 years old my dad had another dream in which he would be reborn on April 30, 1993. The event would take place at the Cincinnati University Medical Center, 234 Goodman Avenue at 10:15 am.  His parents would be Joseph and Chris Perrone and he would be named Michael Perrone. He wrote this all down on an official piece of paper which he had notarized and put away in a safe place.  Hearing this information was not easy for me; it would mean that he would die and be reborn before he was 75 years old.


My dad died when he was 63 years old from a sudden heart attack, several years before his predicted rebirth in 1993.  As the year came and went the curiosity that I had in my youth still lingered within me.  One day I reached out, grabbed the phone and made my first phone call.



  1. Jen Weinberg said,

    June 27, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I love this and not only read it once but just read it to Eric in bed. I remember always being sooo fascinated by your dads gifts (how did he bend spoons?)…was a boy named Michael Perrone ever born?? Thanks for sharing this amazing memoir. Xoxo

    • lapetinaa said,

      June 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Thank you so much for reading this Jen. It was important for me to write and document his incredible story.

  2. Chris W said,

    June 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    This story is fascinating! I’m speechless over it, not sure where to begin. My love to you and keep sharing this stuff.

    • lapetinaa said,

      June 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Love to you, too, Chris. Thanks for your comments; they are very much appreciated.

  3. Sue said,

    June 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I am sooooo glad you are finally getting around to writing this. You write beautifully by the way. Uncle Dick’s stories were incredible and I, for one, believe every single word!

    • lapetinaa said,

      June 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      It took me long enough, right? Well now I have the story in writing for the whole family. Thanks for reading!! xxxxxx

  4. Mari L said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Simply good to document in writing.

  5. Jerry Schneider said,

    June 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I was watching a tribute to Shirley MacLaine on TV and I remembered your father’s fascinating stories on the hereafter. This was a beautiful story and thank you for sharing it with us.

    • lapetinaa said,

      June 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you, Jerry. It was so interesting and exciting for me to be his assistant. These are memories I will never forget.

  6. June 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I am excited for you. Seeing you revealing yourself in new and more daring ways is great. I look forward to all that is yet to come. AND as always, I am curious about how these things have influenced you and helped to create the person you have become.

    I do remember your dad talking about this and sort of remember your response to particular details. What I would love to hear more about is, how did having this experience impact or shape the 19 year old who became the woman you are today. Did it shift your understanding or life or death???

    I hope in the future you will share some of these mysteries with us.
    much love to you – Brave Woman on a mission to mend her life!!!!!

    • lapetinaa said,

      June 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      It’s interesting that I seem to be thinking and writing about my dad’s influence on me more than anything else these days. As I move along I hope to uncover more about myself and the way all of my experiences with him changed my life. Thank you for your encouragement, Beth. xxx

      • July 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

        woohooo can’t wait. so loving you.

      • lapetinaa said,

        July 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Thanks for your encouragement because, as you know, sometimes it is difficult to get the words out, especially when they are painful. I love and admire you so much, Beth. xxxxxx

  7. Joycd Weinberg said,

    July 1, 2012 at 6:05 am

    I remember that Skip and I were at your parents house and Uncle Dick shared all these stories with us. He brought files of all the places he researched, visited to confirm his dreams/thoughts. It was so fascinating listening to his story. We were with your Mom, Natalie and Wilma that evening. Will never forget it. So glad you are preserving these memories by writing it all down, as it should be. It is an important part of your Dad’s life and beliefs. And therefore yours. Nice job, Amy!

    • lapetinaa said,

      July 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      I’m sorry that it took me so long to put it down on paper but now that it is written it can be shared with everyone in the family. Thank you, Joyce, for your memories of that special time.

  8. Jody said,

    July 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Beautiful writing, and so important to document you amazing family history . . . which it seems is connected to many family histories. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • lapetinaa said,

      July 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks so much for your input, Jody. I’m happy to have shared my story with you.

  9. July 4, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Amy, these memories of your father, and the fascinating life that he lived, were amazing. Somewhat freaky even. You know I believe in reincarnation, but I have never heard about it impacting someone’s life like it did for your father. What you have perserved here tells a lot about your father and the life he led. How fortunate that he was actually able to make sense of his dreams enough to pursue their meaning. It’s so important to share our memories with those we love, that way they are never really ever forgotten. As always, I love how you put pen to paper. This is a great story, and like a great book, I want to hear more.
    Love you xoxoxo

    • lapetinaa said,

      July 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      He was a eccentric, a little weird but a really good guy. I’ve been thinking about him a lot these days and I’m happy I was encouraged to do some writing as therapy. I feel like I am bringing him to life in some ways. I love you, too, Min. Thank you for reading. xxxxxx

  10. Debbi said,

    July 5, 2012 at 2:44 am

    I never forgot the stoties your father told and to this day, I believe in reincarnation because of your father. Reading this brought back so many memories. I look forward to reading more if your stories.

    • lapetinaa said,

      July 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

      I do, too, Debbi. How can it not be true? How can we possibly think that we know it all? Thank you so much for your comments. xxx

  11. ijwoods said,

    July 7, 2012 at 12:51 am

    It sounds like your father had a strong experience that had a deep effect on him. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I am neither a believer nor a disbeliever in reincarnation but after reading the book Many Lives Many Masters I definitely became more open to the possibility. The stories you described have a similarity to the stories of a patient that Dr. Weiss (a distinguished Psychiatrist from New York) worked with which forms the basis of his book.

    • lapetinaa said,

      July 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      I was a firm believer of reincarnation when I was in my twenties going through this with my dad. Now, as I am almost through middle age, I WANT to believe that there is something more than what we can see but I’m not so sure. Thank you for the information on Dr. Weiss and his book; I will definitely read it.

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