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The Reincarnation Case of John B. Gordon | Jeff Keene
The Extraordinary Becomes the Ordinary
Jeffrey Keene is a retired decorated fire fighter and a retired Assistant Fire Chief of Westport, Connecticut. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, Keene received a special tour of “Ground Zero.” A relationship has existed between the two fire departments, as Westport’s firefighters have had a tradition of “riding along” with Rescue #1 of the Fire Department of the City of New York. Eleven members of this elite unit, Rescue #1 lost their lives on the morning of September 11, 2001.
As with Police Captain Robert Snow, Mr. Keene is a highly responsible member of his community who, unexpectedly, found himself researching a past-life identity. In this pursuit, significant information came to him through synchronistic events and in time, Keene came to the conclusion that he was being spiritually guided in his research efforts. Let me quote from the forward of his book, Someone Else’s Yesterday:
“Like most people, I was stumbling through life minding my own business when all at once the world started having its way with me. Suddenly, the extraordinary became ordinary and strange occurrences throughout my life started to make sense. I found that I had been a friend to some very famous people, people that I was not even aware that I had met. I was being given insights that answered some of life’s greatest questions. Before too long I found myself on the front page of a state wide newspaper and featured in an Arts and Entertainment Network documentary titled, Beyond Death. Getting to the point were the word “coincidence” was worn very thin, I decided to accept the fact that I was being guided and opened myself to what life wanted to show me. Long after I had been convinced of a past life, unusual events kept reinforcing my conclusions, so much so that the only reason I could come up with for such revelations was that I was to share them with others."
Spiritual Guidance Pushes Jeff around like a Shopping Cart.
Jeff has related to me that the element of guidance in his past-life research has been so strong that he has felt like the spiritual world has been pushing him around “like a shopping cart.” Jeff’s story began in May 1991, when he was on vacation with his wife, Anna. They were looking for antiques and stopped in Sharpsburg, Maryland, which was where the Civil War battle of Antietam was fought. Though Jeff had never read a book on the Civil War or had any affinity for that era, he felt compelled to visit the battlefield.
A Flood of Emotions at Sunken Road
At a portion of the field called Sunken Road, Jeff listened to an audio taped narration of events that took place in 1862. The battle involved a regiment called the Sixth Alabama, which was commanded by a Colonel John B. Gordon. After listening to the tape, as he walked along the old farm lane, Jeff unknowingly strolled into the area that had been occupied by Gordon and his men. At this location, Jeff Keene had the following reaction:
"A wave of grief, sadness and anger washed over me. Without warning I was suddenly consumed by sensations. Burning tears ran down my cheeks. It became difficult to breathe. I gasped for air, as I stood transfixed in the old roadbed. To this day I cannot tell you how much time transpired, but as these feelings, this emotional overload passed, I found myself exhausted as if I had run a marathon.
Crawling up the steep embankment to get out of the road, I turned and looked back. I was a bit shaken to say the least and wondered at what had just taken place. It was difficult getting back to the car because I felt so weak.
I had regained most of my normal composure on the way back and said nothing to Anna about what had just happened. What could I say? How could I explain it to her? I did not have I did not have any answers, just questions."
Before leaving Sharpsburg, Jeff and Anna visited a gift shop. A magazine, Civil War Quarterly (Special Edition, Antietam), caught Jeff’s eye and he purchased it, along with a souvenir bullet found in the area. At home, Jeff placed the magazine in a drawer that held the family’s phone books, though he did not look at the journal until a year and a half later.
A Psychic Revelation and Jeff Exclaims, "Not Yet"
In October 1992, Jeff and Anna attended a Halloween party. A clairvoyant named Barbara had been hired to give readings at the party. When it was Jeff’s turn, his experience at Sunken Road came up. Barbara told Jeff that he was a soldier then and that he had been shot full of holes at that battlefield. He then had floated above his body, which was lying, apparently lifeless, on the bloodied ground. Barbara then said, “When you were hovering over your body looking down, you were very angry and yelled no!” Jeff relates that there was a pause at that moment. Jeff corrected Barbara, for reasons unknown to him, and exclaimed: “Not yet!”
The next day, Jeff decided it was time to read the souvenir magazine regarding the battle at Antietam that he had purchased in May 1991. Jeff reflected again that it was the first Civil War magazine that he had ever purchased. Jeff opened the journal to a page that had a picture of Sunken Road; the spot were Jeff had experienced the strange flood of emotions. As he scanned the text, he saw a quote: “Not Yet.” The hair stood up on the back of his neck.
Reading on, Jeff learned that “Not Yet” was an order given by Colonel John B. Gordon to the Sixth Alabama. Yankee troops were approaching and the men of the Sixth Alabama were anxious to fire. The order to fire was not given until the Union troops were less than one hundred yards away. Gordon himself was quoted, regarding the encounter.
“A huge volume of musketry spewed out from the sunken road. My rifles flamed and roared in the Federals faces like a blinding blaze of lightning. The effect was appalling.”
Reading of Gordon Brings another Flood of Emotions
As he read Gordon’s passage, Jeff started to experience the same emotions that he had felt at Sunken Road, and tears came to his eyes. The article then described the wounding of Gordon.
“John B. Gordon of the Sixth Alabama was hit in the left arm, the right shoulder and twice in the right leg before passing out from loss of blood after receiving a wound in the face.”
Jeff himself writes of what happened next. “I turned back to the page with the picture of the Sunken Road, and on the page across from it was another picture. This time a chill ran through me and the hair on the back of my neck stood up again. The picture was of Brigadier General John B. Gordon. The face was not unknown to me, I knew it well, I shave it every morning.” Jeff noted that in the caption Gordon was identified as a general, whereas in the article Gordon was identified as a colonel at the time of his wounding. Gordon apparently had survived the battle at Antietam.
In his book, Jeff describes how he later retrieved memories of his lifetime as John B. Gordon. Jeff also describes habits and traits he has in common with Gordon. These include a preference to stand with arms crossed, similar clothing tastes and scars on his face and body that reflect Gordon’s battle wounds.
Anniversary Phenomena and Synchronistic Events in Reincarnation Cases
Jeff describes two symbolic events that occurred in relation to his reincarnation story. One involved orders written by General Lee on September 9, 1862, which defined the Confederate Army’s plans to invade the North. Nine copies of the orders were made; one copy was lost in transit and recovered by Union soldiers. This information gave the Union Army detailed information regarding the position of Confederate troops and led to the battle of Antietam. In sum, orders written on September 9 resulted in the Civil War conflict in which John B. Gordon was severely wounded and almost died. The symbolic event in contemporary times is Jeff Keene’s birthday, which is September 9.
Another symbolic event involving the date September 9 occurred on Jeff Keene’s 30th birthday. On that day, Jeff was taken to the emergency room to be treated for facial and neck pain. Doctors could find no physical cause for Jeff’s pain syndrome. The location of his pain corresponded to the facial and neck wounds incurred by John B. Gordon at Antietam. Gordon was 30 at the time of his injuries; Jeff’s facial pain occurred on September 9, 1977, his 30th birthday. This incident appears to represent an anniversary phenomenon related to Gordon’s wounding. Keep in mind that Jeff’s emergency room visit occurred in 1977, which was 15 years before Jeff became aware of his connection to Gordon.
The Linguistic Writing Style of Gordon and Keene is the Same
In his book, Jeff includes documents that show similarities in writing style. In his later years, General Gordon wrote a book called Reminiscences of the Civil War, which provided material for Jeff’s analysis. Let us compare two passages, one from Gordon’s book, describing the efforts of his men to put out a fire in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, and one from Keene regarding his fire department’s response to an emergency incident. My observation is that the two documents seem to be written in the same “voice.”
At my request, Miriam Petruck, Ph.D., a linguistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a linguistic analysis of these documents, which is provided at the end of this narrative. This analysis confirmed that the two passages have definite structural similarities. This analysis shows that not only do facial features remain consistent from lifetime to lifetime, but the way we write and communicate can remain the same. It appears that we are the same mind from one incarnation to another. Only circumstances seem to change.
John Gordon (from Reminiscences of the Civil War):
"With great energy my men labored to save the bridge. I called on the citizens of Wrightsville for buckets and pails, but none were to be found. There was no lack of buckets and pails a little while later, when the town was on fire...My men labored as earnestly and bravely to save the town as they did to save the bridge. In the absence of fire-engines or other appliances, the only chance to arrest the progress of the flames was to form my men around the burning district, with the flank resting on the river’s edge, and pass rapidly from hand to hand the pails of water. Thus, and thus only, was the advancing, raging fire met, and at a late hour of the night checked and conquered."
Assistant Chief Jeffrey Keene (from a letter to the Westport, CT, Fire Chief):
"With my radio restored, man power and apparatus were brought in and put under the guidance of Acting Lieutenant Christopher Ackley. While setting up a plan of action, Lieutenant Ackley displayed good common sense, knowledge, training and a deep concern for the safety of firefighters under his command. A large amount of gas entered the structure by way of a open window. Though we tried to remove all possible sources of ignition, we were able to remove all but two. The owner informed us that the house contained an oil-fired furnace and a hot water heater. There was no way to shut them off from the inside or outside. Using metering devices, a positive pressure fan and opening and closing windows, the hazard was removed."
Reincarnation of Soul Groups
As described in the section Principles of Reincarnation, people reincarnate in groups, based on shared karma, emotional attachments, and joint projects. Due to the premise of group incarnations, both Jeff and I suspected that his fellow firefighters in the Westport, Connecticut, Fire Department were likely military acquaintances of John B. Gordon during the Civil War. Subsequently, Jeff established several matches between colleagues in his firehouse and officers that fought with Gordon. One of these proposed past life pairings, which demonstrates a striking similarity in physical resemblance, involves Confederate General Cadmus Wilcox and Firefighter Wayne R. Zaleta. Images comparing General Wilcox and Mr. Zaleta are provided to the right.
Past Life Memories
In terms of past-life memories, Jeff describes three kinds. First, through a series of meditations, Jeff was able to visualize or remember details of his life as Gordon. Jeff purposely conducted these meditations before he read Remembrances of the Civil War. He documented these experiences and later was able to confirm many details through Gordon’s book and other sources.
A second type of memory involves spontaneously knowing details of Gordon’s life without having learned the information from any other source. As an example, Jeff toured a visitor’s center where artifacts of a Confederate surrender ceremony were housed. Gordon had participated in this specific ceremony. An image depicted the setting of the ceremony, complete with the flag used by Gordon and his fellow Confederate officers in surrendering. Jeff knew that the flag in the display was not the flag actually used in the ceremony. Jeff recognized the correct flag from an assortment displayed at the visitor’s center. Upon questioning the staff, he verified the flag in the display was indeed from a later era and that Jeff had identified the authentic flag used in the ceremony.
A third type of memory Jeff has experienced can be called emotional memory, as described in the incident at Sunken Road, in which Jeff had the intense emotional reaction when revisiting the scene of a past-life trauma. This event can also be seen as an example of guidance from the spiritual world, where Jeff was purposely led to the spot where he was almost killed at Sunken Road in the Civil War.
for our Global Village
Jeff Keene has reflected that during the Civil War, he was a general in the South’s Confederate Army, yet in this lifetime, he lives in the North. Jeff has noted that an ancestor of his fought with the Union Army and as such, when he was John B. Gordon, he may have gone to battle against his own ancestor from his current Connecticut lifetime. Reincarnation gives us a different perspective on war, one that lets us see how wasteful war is in terms of lives and resources.
I would like to bring this chapter to a close with a section taken from Jeff Keene’s book, Someone Else’s Yesterday. It has great import for our times, given the amount of conflict we observe on our planet today. Note that the passage comes from someone who was, in a past lifetime, one of the greatest battlefield generals that the United States has ever produced. Reflect on how an understanding of reincarnation mollifies the character of even battlefield heroes. Jeff Keene writes:
"Pause for a moment and contemplate what the world would be like if reincarnation were proven to be a fact of life. How would we then treat others? When dealing with family, friends or acquaintances, we would need to ask ourselves some questions like: Who are these souls? What is their relationship to me? Am I to learn something from them or am I to be their Teacher? The possibilities are endless. We all live in the same house and that house grows smaller everyday. This planet has become a “Global Village.” No longer does it take the written word to tell of events on the other side of the earth. With the flick of a switch we can sit and watch events unfold. Every country affects all others with their finances, pollution problems and petty hostilities. Now more than ever everyone needs to change his way of thinking. No more I, but US. No more Them, but We. We leave a mark on ourselves and those around us, so let us strive to use a gentle touch."
In the image provided below and to the right, Jeff Keene poses at the grave of John B. Gordon, his own past life persona.
Physical Resemblance: Jeff's case provides one of the most dramatic examples of how facial features can remain the same in reincarnation cases. The similarity in appearance is stunning.
Linguistic Writing Style can Stay the Same: In comparing letters written by John B. Gordon and Jeff Keene, we see that the way we communicate, the way our minds work, can remain the same in reincarnation cases. We remain largely the same from lifetime to lifetime, only the circumstances and lessons change from one incarnation to another. The formal linguistic analysis comparing the letters is provided below.
Spirit Being Involvement: It is my contention is that it was not by accident that Jeff Keene went to the very spot at Sunken Road where he was almost killed in the Civil War as John B. Gordon. It is very likely that he was intuitively led there by his own soul or by a spirit being so that he would experience emotions related to his past lifetime. This incident is very similar, in particular, to Captain Robert Snow being led to the portrait of the hunchback woman in New Orleans, which allowed Bob to solve his reincarnation case.
From such reincarnation cases, where spirit being involvement is observed, it appears that beings in the spirit world want us to become aware of our past lives.
Soul Groups and Renewal of Relationships through Reincarnation: Jeff has identified several members of his firehouse who he believes fought with him in the Civil War. One example involves Wayne Zaleta, who Jeff believes is the reincarnation of Cadmus Wilcox. An image comparison of Wilcox | Zaleta is provided above.
Change in Political Affiliation: Jeff noted that in contemporary times, he was born in the North of the United States and he describes himself as a Connecticut Yankee. As John B. Gordon, he was a Southerner who fought with the Confederate side in the Civil War. Jeff has even mused that his ancestors in his contemporary lifetime could have even fought against him in the Civil War.
As such, this is another case which demonstrates that national and political affiliations can change from one incarnation to another, which shows that war is futile in the long run.
Summary of Linguistic Analysis comparing letters written by Gordon and Keene performed by Miriam Petruck, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
1. Close in average number of words per sentence: Gordon-21; Keene-18
2. Use of compound sentences:
Gordon: “the only chance to arrest the progress of flames was to form my men around the burning district, with the flank resting on the river’s edge, and pass rapidly from hand to hand the pails of water.”
Keene: “While setting up a plan of action, Lieutenant Ackley displayed good common sense, knowledge, training and a deep concern for the safety of firefighters under his command.”
3. Use of preposed clauses in complex sentences:
Gordon: “In the absence of fire engines”
Keene: “While setting up a plan of action.”
4. Use of existential-there sentences with negation:
Gordon: :There was no lack of buckets.”
Keene: “There was no way to shut them off.”
5. Adverbial clauses at beginning of sentence:
Gordon: “With great energy,” “In the absence of fire-engines”
Keene: “With my radio restored.”
6. Most of text is in active voice except at the end. In both passages, paragraphs end in passive voice, as if the success came about without the intervention of those involved. Excitement is achieved by altering expected word order, separating two parts of the verb.
Gordon: “was the advancing, raging fire met, and at a late hour of the night checked and conquered.”
Keene: “Using metering devices . . . the hazard was removed.”
Note from Dr. Petruck:
Given the similarities already noted, we must, nevertheless, include a disclaimer about authorship. More specifically, because the texts are very small and the analysis is (necessarily) limited to major structural features, any claim about authorship is, at best, tentative. Further analysis is required to make a stronger claim in this regard.
Larger sample texts that have not been preselected would facilitate a variety of frequency tests on different subsets of words. In addition, it would be instructive to examine such text to answer other questions about the substylistic features of the texts. For example, do they use distinctive vocabularies? Do the texts employ rare collocations (combinations) of common words? Is there any irregular spelling or hyphenation of words, or more generally, punctuation of sentences?