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Past Life Talent, Gender Change and Physical Resemblance:

Reincarnation Case of Charles Parkhurst | Penny Peirce






Past Life Story of Charles Parkhurst | Penney Peirce


Spirit Being or Spirit Guide Past Life Identification in a Reincarnation Case

How Derived: Past Life Identifications made by a Spirit Being
Researcher: Penny Peirce
Article by Walter Semkiw, MD From: Return of the Revolutionaries &

Born Again: Reincarnation Cases Involving Evidence of Past Lives with Xenoglossy Cases Researched by Ian Stevenson

Introduction to a Spirit Guide, Bobby Jo & Penney Peirce

In 1999, I joined an e-mail discussion group called Inpresence, which is made up of published authors whose works focus on the development of intuition and related topics. At one point, I sent an e-mail describing the reincarnation research that I was doing and I asked if anyone in the group knew of other cases that I could study. One person who responded was Penney Peirce, who related that she had a possible a past-life story.

Penney is a professional intuitive, counselor, perceptual skills trainer and lecturer who works throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. She is the author of FrequencyThe Intuitive Way: A Guide to Living from Inner Wisdom, The Present Moment: A Daybook of Clarity and Intuition, and Dreams for Dummies. I met with Penney in her Novato, California home, north of San Francisco, to learn more about her case. Let me share her story with you.

Penney moved all over the country growing up, with much time spent in the Midwest and some on the East Coast. She moved from New York City to California in the early 1970s. She worked as a corporate art director and graphic designer, but pursued meditation and clairvoyance development in her spare time, in California's then-burgeoning self-help movement.

During that period, a medium, who I will call Bobby Jo, regularly visited the San Francisco Bay area. In her work as a medium, Bobby Jo let non-physical spiritual beings speak through her to provide clients with information about past lives.

Bobby Jo, who remained in a meditative state during this process, would have no memory of the information conveyed. Past-life information was reportedly accessed from the Akashic Records, a set of memory banks or a library of the planet's history, found in the spirit realm. Peirce describes Bobby Jo as a dramatic character, with by a jovial nature and a naïve faith. Bobby Jo knew nothing about Penney when they met, nor did Penney reveal information about herself at the time of their private session.

Given this background, Penney was shocked when in her reading Bobby Jo started to rattle off facts regarding a past lifetime as if she were reading out of an encyclopedia.

Penney Peirce: Reincarnation of Charles Parkhurst

Bobby Jo related that in a past era, Peirce's name was Charles H. Parkhurst, that he had been born on April 17, 1842, in Framingham, Massachusetts, had lived on a farm and then become a prominent minister. Parkhurst enjoyed mountain climbing and used the pulpit to fight crime.

Bobby Jo then reported that Parkhurst had written many books, among them: The Sunny Side of Christianity; A Little Lower than the Angels; Analysis of the Latin Verb Illustrated by the Sanskrit; What Would the World Be Without Religion?; The Blind Man's Creed and Other Sermons; The Pattern in the Mount; The Pulpit and the Pew; Talks to Young Men; Talks to Young Women; and My Forty Years in New York.

Bobby Jo told Penney that Parkhurst had died on September 8, 1933, at the age of 91, and Bobby Jo then exclaimed in a drawl, "And honey, you died sleepwalking off a roof!" (1)

Given this degree of specific information, after the session was over, Peirce sped off to the nearest library to see if she could verify the past-life detailed by Bobby Jo. In her investigation, Peirce struck gold. She found that there was a record of Charles Parkhurst and that Bobby Jo's description of him was accurate in every detail, including the long list of books Parkhurst had written.

Penney realized that there were many similar personality attributes between Parkhurst and herself, and that there was even a physical resemblance.  In assessing this proposed past-life match, Penney reflected that there was no way that Bobby Jo could have memorized all that data on Parkhurst. Further, in Parkhurst, Bobby Jo had identified an individual with character features that matched closely with Penney's personality, even though Bobby Jo knew next to nothing about her.  Let us review some of these common traits.

Reincarnation Similarities Between Parkhurst and Peirce

Writing Past Life Talent

First of all, Parkhurst and Penney share the distinction of being published authors. Penney, as a writer, demonstrated talent at an early age, winning a National Scholastic Magazine award for a short story.

Peirce has had three books published, as noted above, and in addition she has contributed to a number of other titles, such as The Celestine Prophecy and Tenth Insight Experiential Guides by Carol Adrienne and James Redfield; The Purpose of Your Life by Carol Adrienne; Intuiting the Future by William Kautz; and Channeling: The Intuitive Connection, also by Kautz.

In addition to his scholarly works, Parkhurst also wrote for young people. Similarly, Penney has been writing children's books since college, incorporating spiritual themes into these stories.

Spirituality as a Past Life Mission

Parkhurst and Penney have shared an interest in spirituality and providing service through the ministry. Parkhurst earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Amherst College, then studied theology in Halle, Leipzig, and Bonn. He returned to teach at Williston Seminary, in Massachusetts, and went on to become a Congregational Minister in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he spent six years. He then became the pastor at Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City and earned a Ph.D. and a doctorate in divinity (DD) from New York University and Columbia.

Penney Peirce also has had a lifelong affinity for spiritual studies. Ever since she can remember, Penney says that "Why" was the word that motivated her behavior, and she voraciously read books on world religions, psychic phenomena, and philosophy. Penney was in search of the core truths contained in all religions and became a licensed minister as a result of this interest. She has even served as a substitute minister at a Unity Church.

Past Life Talent as Latin Scholars

Like Parkhust, Penny has had a natural affinity for ancient languages. Parkhurst taught Greek and Latin and wrote a book called Analysis of the Latin Verb Illustrated by the Sanskrit. Peirce took advanced Latin in high school and scored highly in a state Latin competition. She has also had a fascination with Sanskrit and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Peirce relates that she once had a series of dreams that featured ancient Greek words, words that she had no knowledge of in her waking consciousness.

Past Life Social Activism: Tammany Hall and Whistle Blowing

Charles Parkhurst used his pulpit to right social and spiritual wrongs. Parkhurst lived in New York City at a time when political corruption was a major issue. Tammany Hall, the political regime that held power in the late 1800s, was in collusion with crime bosses. Tammany Hall police officials routinely took bribes, while the general populace stuck their heads in the sand and said nothing.

Parkhurst, who served as President of the Society for the Prevention of Crime, preached perhaps one of the most famous sermons in American history in which he denounced the corruption.

Parkhurst described New York City as "hell with the lid off" and challenged the public to do something about it. A roving reporter happened to be in the audience and the story made the news, arousing much public excitement and a vehement backlash from officials. Parkhurst was attacked and challenged to prove his accusations. He launched his own investigation and soon appeared before the grand jury with facts in hand.

As a result, there ensued the Lexow Investigation and the election of a reform government, the Strong Administration. The appointment of Teddy Roosevelt as the new Police Commissioner followed.

Like Parkhurst, Peirce also has the inclination to act as a whistle-blower and reformer. In her college newspaper, Penney published articles protesting departmental and curriculum changes that she thought were to the detriment of students. When she worked for a large corporation, she launched a letter-writing campaign to warn of unethical practices she observed taking place in her department.

Reincarnation & Love of the Land

Charles Parkhurst and Penney Peirce both grew up on farms and have shared a love for agriculture. Parkhurst, in his autobiography, wrote: "Agriculture is the physical basis of all civilization. It stands to civilization as the body stands to the soul." (2)  Parkhurst went on to say that, "working the soil is the great original art." (3)

Penney began keeping a journal at age seven and much of her inspiration stemmed from nature and the farm. Further, the National Scholastic Magazine award she won was for a short story about the wheat fields of Kansas. Penney has also loved "working the soil" and has planted a vegetable garden every year since she was twenty.

Past Life Love of Climbing

Parkhurst and Peirce also have shared a love of climbing. Parkhurst was an avid mountaineer, who vacationed annually in the Alps, climbing the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, and other great peaks. Peirce demonstrated an early affinity for climbing also. At the age of three, she climbed a cedar tree adjacent to her home and peered into the family's second story bathroom, where her mother was applying makeup. When Penney's mother looked outside and witnessed her three-year old daughter waving to her from a tree, she almost had a stroke!

Reincarnation Phobia:

The Sleepwalking Death of Charles Parkhurst &

Penney's Nightmares of Falling

In a tragic, though amusing, incident, Parkhurst's demise was associated with his love of heights. At the age of 91, Parkhurst had an episode of sleepwalking during which he strode off the roof of his porch, falling to his death.

In what appears to be a residual effect of this traumatic event.  Penney Peirce relates that for years she experienced recurring nightmares of driving off cliffs, falling in elevators, and falling out of trees. At the end of every dream, when she realized that she would die, Peirce would wake up in an agitated condition.

When Penney had her session with Bobby Jo and learned that Parkhurst had died by falling off a roof, her nightmares abated. She had one last dream in which she fell out of a tree in "super slow motion," consciously reviewing the stages one goes through in dying by falling. After that dream, the nightmares stopped entirely.

Penney believes she had these nocturnal images of falling because Parkhurst was asleep and confused when he died, and that the experience had never been processed in a conscious manner.

Peirce also feels that Parkhurst's death by sleepwalking out a window and off a roof might be related to her own subliminal desire to leap off high places and fly like a bird.  Perhaps Parkhurst had the same urge and found a way to let himself fly that fateful night.

Paradoxically, Penney notes that to this day she still has an attraction, rather than an aversion, to elevated locations, to heights.  Fortunately, in this lifetime Peirce lives in a one-story, ranch-style house.

Principles of Reincarnation & Understanding Past Lives

Physical Resemblance: Despite the change in gender, there is a striking resemblance between Charles Parkhurst and Penney Peirce.  It even appears that they visited at the same optician shop, as their eyeglasses are very similar.

Reincarantion & Change in Gender: Parkhurst was a man, while Penney is female.

Reincarnation & Innate Talent: Penny, at a young age, had natural talent for writing and won a National Scholastic Magazine Award for her writing as a teenager.  She later became a published author, much like Parkhurst.  The written works of both Parkhurst and Penney focus on spirituality.

Reincarnation. Nightmares & Phobias: Penney had recurrent nightmares of falling out of trees and other elevated locations, which seem to reflect the demise of Parkhurst, who fell to his death while sleepwalking off a roof.  Penney's nightmares ceased when she learned that Parkhurst had from a fall from his roof.  Paradoxically, in her waking state, Penney has been attracted to heights, as was Parkhurst.

Go to: Alice Cary | Penney Peirce Reincarnation Case

Go to Split Incarnation in the Alice Cary | Charles Parkhurst | Penney Peirce Reincarnation Cases


Go to: Independently Investigated Reincarnation Cases, featuring the Children's Past Life Research of Ian Stevenson, MD

Go to: Ryerson-Semkiw Celebrity & Historic Figure Reincarnation Cases

Go to: Reincarnation Cases: Alphabetical


1. Semkiw, Walter: Born Again, Reincarnation Cases Featuring International Celebrities, Ritana Books, 2006, page
2. Charles H. Parkhurst, My Forty Years in New York, MacMillian, New York, NY, 1923, p. 20.
3. Charles H. Parkhurst, My Forty Years in New York, MacMillian, New York, NY, 1923, p. 20.



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