THE ENDING? PART TWO OF THE REINCARNATION OF RICHARD SWARTZ

My father’s last dream precipitated the two final entries in his notarized document written on November 4, 1975.  They are:

“1.      I will be reborn on April 30, 1993.

2.         On May 3, 2001, late in the afternoon my home will be visited by one woman and two men.  One of the men will be full-bearded.  I do not know who these two men will be.  I do know that the woman will be Amy Swartz or whatever her married name will be.  Her visit will be pre-planned at this time (November 4, 1975) with me.  I will have the ability to recognize her at the time of her visit but I will not know how until and/or if she chooses to explain to my parents and/or me about this reincarnation which will be the purpose of this visit. This item will occur some eight years after the original opening of this statement and will further substantiate the above facts.”

***

My dad and I had had a love/hate relationship when I was in my teens.  He was my “enforcer”, my “grounder”, uncovering every lie and mistake I had ever made.   I had been focused on my social life when I should have been getting better grades.  At that time there was such a sense of not knowing who I was and where I was meant to fit into the world.  When I dropped out of college after a year, depressed and lonely, my father was the person who kicked me up off my butt which had been firmly planted on the sofa in front of the television.  He found a job in the local paper and forced me to make a phone call to set up an interview. Shockingly, they hired me!  That job began my metamorphosis from a self-loathing slug to a happy, fulfilled person with a growing sense of self esteem.  In some ways I saw my father as my savior.  When he took me as his assistant in the search for answers to his past life, it was the cherry on top of my sundae.  Soon after I took that job that my dad’s dreams began.

During that time my parents went on a sightseeing trip to Washington, DC.  After their arrival they began to visit the local attractions — the Smithsonian, the Capital building, the White House…and the Arlington National Cemetery.  They were just inside the gate at the information booth, when they heard a family asking for the location of some one’s grave.  Minutes later the family was handed a computerized map indicating the exact spot of the grave site they were seeking.  My mom and dad made their way into the cemetery, excited to be able to look upon the places where famous military dignitaries were buried.  After a short time my dad told my mother that he needed to do something and asked her to wait for a little while.  He walked away and left her standing at the JFK burial plot.  My mom waited…and waited…starting to get a little bit worried.  Finally my father came back looking like a ghost; pale, shaken and almost unable to speak.  While my mom tried to find out what was wrong he handed her a piece of paper.  It was a computerized printout of the cemetery, and there, in Plot #885, was listed the grave of “Jeremy W. Porter!”

My dad brought this information home to me and we discussed whether or not the grave was an empty one used to mark a missing soldier (Jeremy was listed as Missing in Action after being sent to Charny, France) or if there could have been another person with the same name. He seemed too agitated and upset at that time to investigate further and we put it on hold, not wanting to give his heart more stress than it could handle.

After that the dreams seemed to abruptly stop and eventually his stories became “party talk” or something cool that other family members brought up.  It wasn’t until his death that reincarnation became a recurring thought in my head that wouldn’t go away.

***

My dad died suddenly on April 8, 1987, twelve years after writing about his future rebirth in 1993.  It was the first time I had confronted the death of some one so dear to me.  It was devastating to be unable to say goodbye to some one I loved so much.  Even though I had the hope of reconnecting with a reincarnated version of him at a later date it did nothing to assuage my sadness and pain.

Hans Holzer was a famous paranormal researcher and author, living in New York City, who wrote over 100 books on the supernatural and the occult subjects for the popular market.  A short time after my dad’s death I sent Mr. Holzer an outline of my father’s story.  I wanted an opinion and some advice from a true expert but I really did not expect to hear back from him.  About two weeks later the phone rang and it was Mr. Holzer, asking me to come to New York and to bring my father’s papers with me; he was very intrigued!

Nervous and anxious about what to expect, I brought along my mother and husband for their moral support.  It was a long drive.  We finally arrived at Mr. Holzer’s home in NYC and rang the doorbell.    The person who opened the door was an older man with a receding hairline and a kind face.  Hans offered us tea, sat us down and got right down to business, asking me to tell him my father’s story in my own words. It was not an easy task; my dad had just died and I was very emotional.  Hans was understanding and let me take my time as he handed me Kleenex to dry my eyes.  Having written so many books about the paranormal he was extremely knowledgeable on the subject of reincarnation and made us feel as though what my dad had experienced was interesting, thought provoking and worthy of his time.

When I finished the story Hans sat for a few minutes thinking things over.  He then made his offer.   He would give me full use of his research team to corroborate the dreams and assist in the writing process but he wanted ME to be the author of the book! That was something that I had never considered.  I wasn’t a writer and didn’t know where to start.  The wound of sadness over my dad’s recent death was too raw and I didn’t know if I could tackle something so huge; it would sap all of my emotional strength.  We thanked him for his time and I told him I would think about his  generous offer.  The trip back home was quiet, each with our own thoughts about what should happen next.

When I got back home I needed the time to mourn.  I was so sad and worried about my mother.  I couldn’t think about anything but making sure that she was okay.  Life went on, eventually I got pregnant with twins, and any thought I might have entertained about writing a story or book about my dad’s reincarnation didn’t enter my head again for many years.  Mr. Holzer called me once to find out what I had decided to do.  He understood when I told him I just couldn’t do it and kindly told me to call him if I ever changed my mind.

I never did change my mind until now, thirty plus years later.

***

On April 30, 1993 I picked up the phone and dialed the Cincinnati University Medical Center to find out if a Michael Perrone had been born to a couple by the name of Joseph and Chris Perrone.

There was no record of his birth. I tried the next day and the next day and the day after that.

According to my dad I was supposed to visit him (Michael Perrone) on May 1, 2001 accompanied by two men.  That day came and went like any other day.  Over the years I have tried to find Michael on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn …every tool I can think of…but I have had no luck.

I have asked myself the same questions over and over again.  What if my dad had one small piece of his dream mixed up?  What if Michael was born in a different city or on a different date? What if one important letter in his name was wrong?

And then…was all of this really real?

My dad was somewhat eccentric and loved to stir things up.  Could this all have been an incredibly elaborate hoax? And what about all those letters we wrote and the letters we received back from the living relatives of the Porter and Martin families in South Carolina? What about the funny Slavic language he had written in the middle of the night after one of his dreams?  Were all those stories made up?  It would have taken my dad months or even years to come up with something so layered, so textured, so interesting.

I may never know the answers to these questions but I can say wholeheartedly, and without any doubt, that it has truly been an incredible ride.

Thank you, Dad.

Mom and Dad at my wedding; two weeks before he died.
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THE REINCARNATION OF RICHARD SWARTZ

“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.