A Skeptic/Atheist Critic of the Bestseller ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ by Brian Weiss

Critique: “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Dr. Brian L. Weiss

Written by Wes Hagen, 5/24/10 (I was amazed that i couldn’t find a single article discussing this book critically on the internet.  So I gave it a shot after reading the entire book carefully.)
Thesis: While constituting a beautiful modern religious parable describing a physician’s relationship with an anonymous, angelic patient, the book ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ can only be appreciated in a poetic sense. Just like the Bible, when read as a newspaper instead of a poem, the story becomes ridiculous and meaningless.
A Word from the Critic:
First, I found the story in Many Lives, Many Masters meaningful from a poetic sense. I have a strong background in Jungian Archetypal Criticism as well as a deep interest and life-long scholarship focusing on comparative mythology. I have finished the four book series of Masks of God by Joseph Campbell as well as James Gordon Frazer’s The Golden Bough, which I’ve been studying for longer than a decade. I have also read every major work of western and eastern religion: The Bible (although I needed an extra cup of coffee to get through Deuteronomy), am currently reading the Qu’ran, have read the Book of Mormon, the Upanishads, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Taoist and Buddhist manuals. I even read the Necronomicon. Interestingly, I found more similarities between MLMM and both modern and ancient religious texts than I expected.
If I had to define MLMM, I would call it a series of dream-parables aimed at assuaging man’s fear of death in a a modern society by replacing faith with a quasi-pyschological assertion that the transcendent can be defined. Taken loosely and poetically, as I implied above, there is nothing wrong with the message. This life is one of many physical tests for an immortal spirit…tests that promote : “balance and harmony” , and suggests that “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
The revelations are purely retold in a persistent mythical archetype evident in most religious traditions: the Anunciation. Like Moroni to Joseph Smith, Gabriel to Mohammed, Gabriel to the Virgin Mary (see a pattern here?), Catherine is presented in Weiss’ book in purely angelic terms. Even though she is a philandering bathing suit model, she becomes more and more angelic through MLMM, and Weiss himself becomes more of the prophet/messenger archetype. Catherine is unfailingly described in terms of her other-worldy beauty after the first two chapters, and never treated as a human with frailty of failings after she begins anunciating her mystical wisdom.
Each chapter begins with a description of Catherine as she comes into the office for her hypnosis:
“Beautiful to begin with, she was more radiant than ever.”
“Her face was peaceful and she was enveloped with serenity.”
“..she was radiant, serene and happy beyond my wildest hopes.”
“The inner diamond that was her true personality was shining brilliantly for all to see.”
And their relationship becomes the clear connection of an angel with his/her prophet:
“I had a vision of Catherine’s face, several times larger than life sized.”
Before I make this critique as long as the book itself, I would like to point out my general criticisms of the book: some inconsistencies and some commentary that I found inescapable on a careful reading.
• Many Lives, Many Masters follows the traditional religious structure of a relationship between an angel and a prophet: the angel speaking secrets to a prophet who can offer no concrete proof of his convictions. Whether it’s the missing tablets of Joseph Smith or the protection of doctor/patient confidentiality, the process is the same. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and without any peer reviewed and scholarly review of the evidence presented in MLMM, the book relies greatly on faith to be believed.
• While it’s easier to believe a doctor than a prophet of old for most modern humans, the text of MLMM are very similar to ancient religious texts.
• The angel can only recount her wisdom after sacrificing his/her previous life, by going through a sacrificial death through regression hypnosis. After the Jesus-esque sacrifice of recounting pain and giving the universe its due, the ‘spirits’ speak through her as a conduit to the prophet, Dr. Weiss.
• Each description of a previous life by the ‘Angel’ Catherine is a spiritual parable that serves as an introduction to the lesson that follows, given to the Prophet Weiss by the ‘Masters’.
• Religion evolves like all life: MLMM is an example of a purely post-Freudian spirituality, where the scientist/doctor becomes the prophet and we have a quasi-scientific basis for believing on the surface, but this is only related to the messenger. The lack of any type of peer-reviewed evidence, or the fact that the session/regression tapes are not able to be studied, makes this just another religion of faith.
• Like all religions, belief requires us to shut off our critical faculties. When Catherine goes into one of her first hypnotized regressions (that she supposedly has no memory of afterwards), she says: “We live in a valley, there is no water. The year is 1863 BC.” Wow, I have to admit I’m impressed. Not 1864 or 1865. I’m amazed that she has the foresight to know when Christ will be born almost 2000 years before the event is said to have occurred. Either she is consciously lying under hypnosis, or her ‘Aronda’ character has an amazing ability to use BC dates more than 2000 years before they were brought into common usage. Whoops! Guess that didn’t get caught in the editing.
• All the details that Catherine provides are vague in a historic context of someone who is living there. Only first names are offered, and there are never details provided that could prove these lifetimes in a way that would satisfy any serious secular historian. There are no details provided that couldn’t have been studied and memorized between hypnosis sessions. The fact that she knew the Prophet’s father’s Jewish name and the fate of his first son could have been gleaned from a number of sources.
• Certain passages smack of the same type of manipulative, religious fervor that is common in religious texts such as the Qu’ran. Reading the Qu’ran was an exercise in patience. It seems the first 50 pages were mostly devoted to a repeated chorus of “Everywhere you go, people will test your faith. The devil and the infidels will tempt you at every opportunity.” Over and over the Prophet Mohammed’s warnings repeat: ‘Your faith will be tested.” In Chapter 6, Catherine admits that her life and death in the ‘body’ of an Eighteenth Century servant girl (no name given), helped her learn that she had no faith in the ‘Masters’. The reliance on religion to believe in an antiquated and disgusting Master/Slave relationship (which finds its highest poetic representation in the Holy Qu’ran), is not pruned out of the Prophet Weiss’ new quasi-religion, shown when Catherine the Anunciator tells the doctor/prophet: “I want control, but I don’t have any. I must have faith in the Masters. They will guide me throughout. But I did not have faith. I felt like I was doomed from the beginning.[…]We must have faith…we must have faith. And I doubt. I choose to doubt instead of believe.” This is pure Old Testament religion. Based on nothing but a belief that there are invisible Master(s) in the sky that will guide and judge us.
• For a ‘skeptic’ and a ‘man of science’ I find it very odd what Dr. Weiss’ first reaction to Catherine’s hypnotized regression. “Go back to the time from which your symptoms arise,” he tells Catherine. Catherine responds with a description that is in no way indicative of a past life experience. She describes a building and pillars, her long white dress, “My hair is braided, long blond hair.” Earlier the Dr. notes that Catherine has medium length blond hair. There is nothing in the passage that could not have been a simple memory from her own life. Why then does the doctor reply: “I asked her what the year was, what he name was.” Why would this skeptical man of science ask her who she was? That’s like a therapist asking someone under hypnosis: “Do you see hooded men standing in pentagrams, touching you in strange ways?” From the VERY beginning of this hypnosis, the Dr. SUGGESTS to a hypnotized patient that she may not be herself.
• Depending on what you prefer to believe, this book presents an unbelievable or at least a questionable narrative that could have been faked by Catherine, Doctor Weiss, or both. It is clear that Dr. Weiss has profited greatly from the book being on bestseller lists for 22 years, and from giving paid lectures on the subject past-life regression therapy. Perhaps it started as a=n attempt to rebuild a spiritual core in America by suggesting, pretending or inventing ‘evidence’, and then shoring up his defenses as the project took a life of its own, or was edited to be more exciting and compelling.
• I certainly do not impugn Dr. Weiss humanity, compassion, or his attempts to help his fellow humans. But by creating a quasi-religion based on clearly fallacious ‘recovered memories’, he destroys his own message by not providing any peer-review or replicable study of his outrageous claims.
• Read like poetry, Many Lives, Many Masters is a brilliant modern parable of humanism—it clearly wants to guide people down a path that will help society gain understanding, peace and harmony. The problem is that it tries to sell us a ghost story that is clearly fabricated. Whether it was done on purpose, or even if it was miraculously true, doesn’t matter. I don’t see a problem with people drinking the Kool Aid offered by this short, fun and easily consumed Fairy Tale—I don’t see those who believe in the Masters warring against Christians or Muslims. At least not yet, until the believers start to break into sects, fundamentalists. Seems unlikely until you read some history.

MLMM p.209
MLMM p.219
MLMM, p35
MLMM, p.162
MLMM, p.133
MLMM, p.115
MLMM, p.153
MLMM p.27
MLMM p.85
MLMM p.27
MLMM, p.27
MLMM p.15
MLMM p.27


226 Responses to “A Skeptic/Atheist Critic of the Bestseller ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ by Brian Weiss”

  1. Anthony Weir Aguilera Says:

    Brian Weiss and many others write aout this subject, I have had a regression therapy that changed my life and actually cured me of my fear of heights…
    I respect your opinion but I do not share it, thank you.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful commentary. I’m not trying to say that I’m correct, just that the book matches every aspect of a created and reinterpreted mythological archetype too replicated to be novel.

    • If you ever come across peer-reviewed, double blind studies that show the efficacy of this type of treatment, or show the accuracy of past life memories, please pass them along. Until then, I have to call BULLSHIT!

      • I would understand why you would be deeply critical. I have read all of those religious tomes you listed above as well, and they have been rewritten a thousand times over (well, the old ones, not campbell…yet) to shift the power of control to fit the times. Obviously if reincarnation were considered a reality it would have been much harder to get people to buy all that crap. The adage ‘you only get one life’ helps people to not give a damn about the environment, other people, etc. You will probably never see the much deeper intricacies of life, and that my dear, will be your lesson to learn from now on. I used to believe in ghosts, until I actually saw one. It was then I realized that I didn’t really believe, I just ‘wished’ I believed. The same was true with me and reincarnation. I ‘wished’ I believed, until I remembered. One loses a lot of the caring and unwanted desire for objects, status, etc. when one is shown that they are truly immortal. I’ve been around for thousands of years. You’ve probably been around for at least a few hundred. How awesome is that man? I hope you remember, it’s one of the coolest things in the world. Godspeed, you godless freak! Haha, just kidding

    • I have written several articles about this book, which whilst entertaining is of course a work of fiction.

      See: http://www.pastlives.mythexploder.com

  2. hahahaha….

    1863 BC

    that confounded me also…
    there’s something fishy….

    i doubt the authenticity of all of it…its just a re-telling of a religious teachings in modern way…a nice story though 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment!

    • why is that so odd? if i were alive for three thousand years wouldn’t i be able to discern and describe dates as they change over time? isn’t the point that one continues onward learning more and more as each life goes on?

      • Yes, “1863 BC” caught my eye too! I was skeptical at first – thinking the same – that this story could have been fabricated. But then I thought about it, if her Spirit has been around since 3000 years, obviously she would know which year that was. And also, one thing we have to remember is, it’s actually Catherine talking what she was seeing, not Aronda. So, it’s Catherine seeing the year when Aronda was alive. Not Aronda herself.

  3. loved this review. i just saw a documentary about the Old Testament and found many similarities with MLMM (which I’ve finished reading today, coincidentally).
    – The death by poisoned water may be one of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians
    – The death by drowning may be the flood? Maybe the opening of the Red Sea (Chatherine always seems to be a sinner, or pagan, of some sorts in her past lives…)
    and some others…
    My initial feeling was that Chaterine, as a christian, either faked it or imagined the stories based on her knowledge about the Bible. Reading your post, it is clearer to me that Dr. Weiss might also have either:
    1) Created the hole thing
    2) Induced Chaterine to false conclusions (or purpose or not)

    But still, as you mentioned, it has the great underlying message that can lead people to a more balanced life and maybe understanding of true reality.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful read.

    • why do you all “assume” her memories are of a “mediterranean middle eastern” person what are the origins of the name aronda or cleastra? who in 18oo b.c. would have any idea of what year it was .People just didnt think that way! Long blonde hair in the Middle East! re the desert like arid description. Blondes are Northern Europe scandanavia.!

      • I’m not sure if I understand your comment. If you read my critique, all of my comments are footnoted to the page where the quotes exist. I tried not to assume but instead give proper critical textual analysis of a very unbelievable story about a doctor and his patient.

        Are you as concerned as we are that the descriptions and the discussion of ‘BC’ could exist in in a recovered memory?

  4. Saaz Aggarwal Says:

    I enjoyed this post and have linked it to what I wrote about this book on http://blackandwhitefountain.blogspot.com/

  5. D. Crouzet Says:

    I didn’t Read MLMM and I won’t. Instead, I did read Through Time Into Healing and found it rather interesting, especially given the author’s credentials. This book enticed me into reading another: Same Soul, Many Bodies. And then I understood that Mr Brian L. Weiss is a liar who makes money out of his credentials combined with the common people’s credulity. When you read SSMB, you cannot be but flabbergasted by the horrendous new-age clichés it includes. There is many, and you get them all. Just to cite a few:
    — Patient’s brother was a phararoh’s cousin in a past-life, and thus you have the usual cliché of remembering you were Cleopatra in a former life… Then in another Egyptian past life, patient was healing people with a secret (and efficient) method involving crystals. So you have the usual cliché about crystals and supernatural powers of ancient Egyptians.
    — Other patient who has grave cancer met Jesus Christ two thousands years ago when she was a poor peasant unjustly beaten by mean Roman legionaries just because she wanted to save a wounded bird… THEN, author knows this story to be true because himself was there (in a former life) and too met with Jesus Christ, but also met with patient as poor peasant. Once all of this is remembered, patient is miraculously cured of her cancer…
    — Another dude was an extra-terrestrial in a former life 60,000 years ago. These E.T came to Earth and merged with human race (even though their DNA from another planet might have been totally incompatible, and I won’t discuss their supposed advnced technology…).
    — And of course a “renown psychic” was an Atlantean scientist 40,000 years ago. The villain developped psychic powers to dominate the world, in a civilization that had great sky-scrapers and flying vehicles 40,000 years ago…

    I wonder the kind of Karma Mr Weiss is creating for himself with all these outrageous lies he sells to the world….

    • I suggest Mr. Weiss has learned to fool himself that this really happened the way he wrote it.

      Denial is a powerful mistress, especially when she beds you on stacks of $100 bills.

      • I’m pretty sure he’s a doctor, let’s not rob the man of the credentials he has earned through a lot of sacrifice and hard work (and I know this as I am currently undergoing the same sacrifices). With that said, it goes against his ethics (as a doctor) to publish something without proof. I am also pretty sure he’d be at risk to lose his license if he could not provide any proof to what he is publishing as a doctor. Believe in the unbelievable. I’ve felt energy and anyone who has any background involving the sciences knows the basic law of conservation of energy and how energy can never be created or destroyed, it can only shift from potential to kinetic. If this is the case and we are all made of energy and there is so much of it circulating throughout our bodies, then what happens to that energy once we die?

  6. Eric Newport Says:

    A very cogent critique, thanks.

  7. I find it kind of odd that you require proof of his claims, and religious claims in general, but on the other hand do not require proof that he is lying. It seems to me (an agnostic looking at the whole situation with a skeptic yet completely open mind) that you are not acting in good faith (sorry for the pun) and instead acting hypocritically and biased towards a preconceived, skeptical view. The fact that some of the details are fishy does not prove he is lying – the whole BC thing could be explained by a knowledge of the collective unconscious; his hypnosis questioning is nothing concrete; and the fact that he hasn’t provided peer-review doesn’t prove anything. So to remark that the story is lacking proof and “clearly fallacious,” without actual proof of fallacy, is in my opinion hypocrisy and biased skepticism.

    • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      My claim stands. We would love to believe it because it gives us comfort and a bulwark against the dark promise of death.

      If someone tells me they saw the Loch Ness Monster, I am going to assume they are lying until I get some substantial evidence to the contrary.

      That’s not being a hypocrite, that’s being intelligent.

      • loool! What’s intelligent in you doubting the work of another person?? that’s very primitive if you ask me…

      • If skepticism is primitive, call me Neaderthal! Thanks for taking the time to respond, although you should have taken more time in your consideration

      • Did you ever go through past life regression yourself?There are many professionals doing it with success. You claim it this is all a lie,yet you never tried. Typical skeptic. If you would ,you would be surprised by the power of it.When all those memories are coming forward and you know that it happened to you ones long time ago in another body. Try it and then you wont talk like this.

      • Being close-minded is not the same as being intelligent.

      • I cannot fathom how rejecting easy answers and a book about infantile wish fulfillment is being ‘closed-minded’. Critical intelligence means we break down arguments so we can rebuild them to reflect the truth. Nature has provided me with this critical brain and I will use it. Or from your perspective, the Masters gave me this brain so I could argue they don’t exist.

    • Jackie Chan Says:

      We aren’t in court. It it not a case of “innocent until proven guilty”.
      When submitting new / questionabke theories, one is usually required to provide eveidence to support the case.
      It makes, errr, sense.

      I am God.

      You will believe me until there is proof that I am lying, right?
      You wouldn’t want a reputation for ‘hypocrisy and biased scepticism’…

    • The only response that comes to my mind on reading your demand for proof is this: Russel’s teapot. Please do Google it up!

  8. Hi Wes

    Thanks for your thoughtful, thorough and insightful review of MMMS. I, too, am a life-long student of Frazer and to a lesser extent, Jung. I’ve always held an intellectual fascination for the notion of reincarnation, and picked up and read this book randomly without being aware of any of its context. I, too, got caught up in world of it, yet immediately after finishing, went online (oh the humanity) to find its disproof.

    While I am sympathetic to the idea of reincarnation, I found a number of problems in MLMS that gave me considerable pause. Aside from the problems you pointed out above, I became increasingly concerned with the “mystical/theosophical” language that increasingly crept into both narratives. This is not an uncommon problem when one looks into any subject sufficiently fringe. “Catherine” increasingly uses words such as “plane,” “masters,” “dimension,” “astral,” “vibrations,” etc… even going so far as to talk about seven planes of experience. While I am open to the possibility that the ubiquity of this language points to a common/divine source for it all and thus its truthfulness, more prosaic conclusions are sadly much more likely.

    As you pointed out, we never got to see any of the complete transcripts, therefore we can never be sure if it were not Weiss himself who introduced this language into the dialogue, and through his rapport with “Catherine” was able to goad her into reporting what he wanted to hear. Also distressing is the fact that Weiss almost immediately began looking into past-life literature, and researched it rigorously in between sessions.

    All of that said, I am convinced there is something to Catherine’s story. While I feel that Weiss went down the rabbit hole — a perilous trapdoor for any student of the paranormal, where reason, cause+effect and so forth are abandoned for synchroncity and a more animated form of reality — and got caught up in his role in the ongoing psychodrama, I feel there is an element of truth in “Catherine’s” story (as reported by Weiss.) The difficulty lies in stripping away Weiss’s biases and shadings, which is difficult to do in this case, and finding what is novel in “Catherine’s” reports — and there were certainly several lines that rang true for me.

    Yes, science is double blind tests and extraordinary evidence, but it also making our best guesses. No less an authority than Feynman said that most of science is just guessing — guessing within a formalized framework, but guessing nonetheless. Further, a common and use technique of science is to start with a concept — i.e. parallel lines tend to stay parallel, light speed is the cosmic speed limit — and then build a model around that assumption. The model will never be complete or completely correct, but it can be very useful, even if fundamentally wrong (see Maxwell positing the existence of the ether in order to work out electro-magnetism.) Not surprisingly, in the far east where the idea of reincarnation is taken as a given, there are far more reports of reincarnation.

    I am sympathetic to the idea of reincarnation because at strange moments in my life, it feels true. It is certainly no less outrageous than our current scientific theories of the mind, which are derived from placing subjects in MRIs, asking them questions, and blasting their brains with rays. Not much better than phrenology — for now.

    Thanks for the engaging read.

    • I cannot say that the experience that Weiss had was false, only that a critical reading renders some serious concerns that should be addressed.

      Patient-client confidentiality seems a nice tree to hide behind, and why would he offer forth any truth while the phone still rings, the book still sells, and he gets thousands of dollars to show up to conferences and sell the idea that ‘Everything will be all right after you die.’

      Easy answers never are. That’s my point, really.

    • Thanks for the wonderful comments, by the way. I appreciate what you’ve added to the conversation.

  9. harrison Says:

    I also noticed the odd mention of BC. However, my thought behind that was that it was still Catherine describing her past life. Similarly if someone asked me to close my eyes and describe in detail my earliest memory. I might say “I am five years old and I am bouncing a red ball with my father.” While I am describing what I am envisioning in the present tense it is still a memory of the past. If this is the case, then Catherine understands what year it is currently but it still describing her past life in the present tense, thus throwing in the BC (if that makes sense). I am still very skeptical of this book and am not even sure I agree with what I just wrote however, I do think that the possibility of this being the case needs to be examined.

    Also, I find it funny how Dr. Weiss is never a lowly servant or working man but always a wise teacher in his past lives. Talk about someone who is very fond of himself haha.

    • There’s lots of Napoleons in mental hospitals, but very rarely does a deluded individual remember that they were a British serf in the 11th Century that cleaned stables all day.

    • Krish Soundar Says:

      To me the two dimensionality (event -time), of the past life recollections, is not credible.
      Could be possible that he had an interest in Eastern spriptures and read up stuff on Hindu beliefs on reincarnation, maybe attended some Indian Guru’s talks, and came up with this idea of presenting it as a doctor-patient interaction.

      There was an Englishman who (Cecil something) claimed to have been a Tibetian Monk in his past life. He wrote many books and made a lot of money. He called himself Tuesday Lobsang Rampa. Classic case of going overboard with a fascination.

      In one of his books (like the BC reference here) he was careless in stating that in Tibet in his past life, they actually drilled a hole between his eyebrows to ‘open’ up his Third Eye. That is complete non-sense since the Third Eye is a concept and not a physical entity.

      There is no such thing as a perfect murder.. there is always at least one critical piece of evidence left at the crime scene that the culprit overlooked.

      • Krish, thanks for adding to the conversation. It makes my heart glad to see other skeptics using their brains and rejecting easy answers and a wish-fulfilling universe.

      • drpradeepkrishnan Says:

        Intelligent sounding inanities, Mr Krish sounder. Simple sounding arguements make sense. Pradeep Krishnan.

        Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

      • Simple sounding arguments usually do make sense. Apply the Razor: is it more likely this is fiction or that the ‘Masters’ are an actual part of reality that will only reveal themselves through hynotherapy and have let humans wander aimlessly and with no real understanding of the true nature of reality until Dr. Weiss captured their ideas in this book. Be smart. be honest with yourself.

  10. A few critiques of your critique..

    “Slowly I took Catherine back to the age of two, but she recalled no significant memories. I instructed her firmly and clearly: ‘Go back to the time from which your symptoms arise.'” (p. 27.)

    Probably the reason that Weiss believed these memories could not be of Catherine’s current life is that infants do not generally have enough hair to be braided. It seems to me that you have taken the quote out of context.

    Also, concerning your first point about Catherine’s knowledge of the year 1863 BC: This same lapse in logic, as you would have it, arises when you consider that Catherine was not recounting her memories to Weiss in any ancient language, (as they must have originally been encoded,) but in English. In order for her to be recounting the stories of these lives at all to Weiss, she must be observing them from an all-recognizing standpoint in which she holds the additional knowledge of all other lives she is conscious of. This would account for her knowledge of B.C.
    (At the same time, I’m a bit skeptical of this myself, since she seems to be experiencing the past lives rather than observing them – gagging, shaking, speaking like a child, etc.)

    • ‘An all-recognizing standpoint’ implies omniscience, and that’s too big of a leap for me to consider it credible.

      As far as the quote, I was suggesting that, at the beginning, that there was no reason that Catherine wasn’t describing herself, and then was ‘led’ by hypnosis to believe she was describing past lives.

  11. Herbert molano Says:

    My thanks for Wes Hagen for providing this website. I too found it rather odd that I could not find easily a skeptic site for the claims of Dr. Weiss. The observations of many reviewers are spot on, as it regards the mythic, new-age spiritualism wrapped in a cocoon of exalted consciousness.

    Excerpt page 43-44: “Catherine herself was becoming increasingly more psychic.” “On one occasion …To prove him that it was true,she took him to the racetrack (her father.) There right before his eyes, she proceeded to pick the winner of every race…. she took all the money that she had won and gave it to the first streetperson she met on her way out of the track.

    The problems with just this claim are numerous. Never mind that streetpersons or the homeless would be allowed at the track, but her other profound insights would not extend to use that practical psychic gift into a terrific way to fund homeless shelters. But alas, in the same page “…she lived in a world of detail, oblivious to the genius within her.”

    Catherine’s recollections when prompted by the good doctor, are amazing. She is able to see herself more than a thousand years B.C. even to the exact year. How was anyone living at the time be able to so accurately name a year in a manner not created until thousands of years later? But I forget that psychics themselves could re-incarnate making all things possible.

    But the good doctor makes some claims about himself that I find out of character with the self-descriptions of those publishing scientific papers. Page 38, “I was quite a hotshot in my field.” As for his interpretation of a good doctor, “I was a bit obsessive, intense, and inflexible, but these were useful traits in a physician.” Personally, I would try to stay away from any medical doctor with those personality traits.

    His insights into people in comas (page 70) is no less astonishing, and more fitting to a “cloud of darkness.” and not much more insightful than the world of devotees to Deepak Chopra and Benny Hinn

    Herbert Molano

  12. At first I thought your critique was interesting but then I quickly realized you were making a correlation fallacy. Just because there are similarities between myth and the story presented in the book means nothing. Under this reasoning all stories of history that mirror the human condition would be fiction. Then I discovered something far more sinister in your critique.

    “She describes a building and pillars, her long white dress, “My hair is braided, long blond hair.”

    You deliberately left out a important part of this context which was what she was wearing which would suggest the period in which she was talking about was not the present. You are completely dishonest in this critique. You say, ” There is nothing in the passage that could not have been a simple memory from her own life.” This would be true if you had actually quoted this correctly and honestly. I never say this but shame on you!

    The real quote:
    “I see white steps leading to a building, a big white building with pillars, open in front. There are no doorways. I’m wearing a long dress…. a sack made of rough material. My hair is braided, long blond hair.”

    • What in the ‘real quote’ disqualifies it from being a simple memory from her own life? I don’t see how my commentary is disingenuious in any way. Sinister, meaning left-handed or ‘underhanded’ is a confounding descriptor that I don’t understand in context of your commentary.

      As far as the ‘correlation fallacy’, I think you make too big of a leap to say that because Weiss uses mythical language that is blatantly steeped in quasi-Christian turns of phrase, that is analogous to saying all primary source documented history is fiction.

      I’m interested in your point, but I’d appreciate if you’d flesh it out beyond saying ‘shame on me’ and I’m sinister without explaining yourself.

  13. Sarah Jayne Says:


  14. It’s hard to start a genuine conversation with someone who has committed to a philosophy that is by its nature unprovable.

    Also, it’s considered rude and brutish to use all caps on the internet.

    Your ALL CAPS points concerning the nature of past life observation is conjecture at best, and dangerously naiive at worst.

    Note that you fell into Weiss’ own tricks of the trade: using analogies of ‘rewinding videos’ and ‘seeing all like it’s now’.

    I’m curious how you know these things.

  15. Thomas Studer Says:

    This is all very fascinating. I’m researching my own grandmother’s regression in 1957 (by her distraught husband’s effort to relieve her pain through hypnotherapy). I contacted a woman who owns an old mill where her past may have revolved. I was reluctant to tell her the basis of my inquiry. When I did, she was surprisingly non-plussed and asked if I had read MLMM. She is obviously a huge fan and wants to help with my research in validating my grandmother’s account. I had not read the book and promptly did so, just finishing moments ago. I was delighted at first and with every page became dis-enchanted.

    The author is adamant about espousing scientific method yet never uses any. I agree that it is a very, very pleasant parable. I think my first pangs of skepticism came when God was mentioned by one of the “Masters”. There was no discussion in the book of who or what God was. It was as if Catherine, the good doctor, and all of us , had a pre-determined agreement that God exists in the sense that we are all familiar and comfortable. I’m not saying that is right or wrong, but seems to me to be a conspicuously missing discussion. That elephant leaves no space for anyone else in the room. Everything seemed to get fluffier and fluffier after that, spiritual pop-culture. A pleasant read though. I will continue researching reincarnation because it is so comforting.

  16. I was also doubtful when she mention the year 1863 BC. I am currently reading this book and haven´t finished it yet. I will however say that I am open minded and I will leave the possibility of it being true hanging. My explanation for her knowing the year is that while she is under hypnosis she is a Channeler as well. She has knowledge that she is not aware of. So perhaps the knowledge of the year came to her from the Masters. I don´t doubt that the Masters, if they really exist, would not know what the year is. I have a question though. Does she live these different lives in chronological order, or does she move through time changing thus its boundaries?

    • Thanks for the read and I would hope you hold concepts like this to a standard of evidence that is appropriate to the claims. Your last question/sentence shows that you atre, indeed wonderfully skeptical. 🙂

  17. Dave Mann Says:

    “I’m amazed that she has the foresight to know when Christ will be born almost 2000 years before the event is said to have occurred.”

    Exactly. I am a counsellor with 17 years’ experience and also a rational sceptic with a leaning towards Buddhism which I practiced for many years and I spotted this immediately in the first few pages.

    Regression techniques take the subject into the past as if they are in the present and in this example this can be seen by Catherine speaking about herself in the present tense…. and so she would never have then gone on to use a dating system that would not have been invented for another 2000 years.

    I now have a lot of work to do on the domestic front because my wife is a firm believer in this claptrap and there was a bit of a household crisis when I exploded into fits of laughter upon reading this nonsense right at the beginning of the book. She snatched it off me with comments about the need for an ‘open mind’ etc and so I’m afraid I haven’t been able to read any further yet!

    • Don’t waste your time finishing it. Nothing worse than fiction that is presented as real-life. ‘Small boat’ Buddhism, zazen meditation, is the closest I get to religion as well.

      Cheers to you in New Zealand. We grow Pinot Noir and raise sheep, so we have a lot in common with your country! Love Flight of the Conchords too!

  18. Jerry Adams Says:

    Great review. One more point that could have been made is Weiss claims reincarnation was eliminated from the bible “during an Ecumenical Council meeting of the Catholic Church in Constantinole sometime around 553 AD” pp.234-5 There is no evidence of this. See http://www.probe.org for a detailed explanation.

    • I understand there are two Biblical phrases that are usually used to show that Judeo-Christianity clearly rejects ideas of reincarnation.

      Hebrews 9:27 states “It is appointed unto man to die once, then judgment.”

      and Second Corinthians 5:8 which says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

      But I also reject Biblical authority, so for an atheist and skeptic like me, these passages don’t impact the discussion of MLMM.

      Thanks for the comment!

  19. I’m curious if you’re familiar with the Seth Material. For 21 years until her death, Jane Roberts channeled a personality called “Seth”. According to Roberts, Seth described himself as an “energy personality essence no longer focused in physical reality”, who was independent of Roberts’ subconscious. She said Seth would assume control of her body and speak through her, while her husband wrote down the words she spoke. The Manuscripts and Archives division of the Yale University Library currently maintains a collection donated by Robert’s husband.

    • I am familiar with it and it’s a point of contention between my best friend from high school and I. Of course as an atheist and a skeptic I don’t believe in spirits or channeling, and even with your short description I want to start pointing out obvious inconsistencies. Like if ‘Seth’ is ‘no longer focused in physical reality’, why would ‘he’ have any interest in making some random woman a puppet to his spirit? Seems to me much more likely (even obvious) that of all the hoaxed spirit communication, there’s stands out as one of the most credible, which in my world means not at all.

      The problem is, that in the end, that it’s two people making incredible claims without incredible evidence. In the end its their word against ours, and I’m going to go out on a limb, channel Mark Twain once again, and call bullshit.

      I’m sure the Yale Library has a copy of the Book of Mormon in their collection, as well, and it’s still a boring piece of ridiculous fiction.

      • What makes you feel connected spiritually?

      • Nothing. There are no spirits and there is nothing in my experience that requires a spirit or mythological being to function.

        I know what you mean by spiritual–I define it as humanism–the connectedness I feel to other human beings, their intelligence, compassion, craft and art.

  20. I do not believe in spirits, so nothing.

    • Did you ever hear of near death experiences? How it changed people’s life,even skeptics? They became believers? You are full of hot air. Research the paranormal,don’t read the bible or the koran .Check out http://WWW.victorzammit.com you will learn a few things.

      • I stand by my critique, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and to be honest, I haven’t met a regression therapist that I would trust under hypnosis. To me, MLMM is a book of fanciful and wishful thinking that contains too much evidence that it’s fabricated for me to take as serious inquiry, science or anything I could benefit from engaging in.

        If there’s a single, reputable scientific journal that you can recommend, I’d love to read it. Some paranormal dude named Victor just doesn’t cut it for the way my brain works.

        And I have had a near death experience, as a very young child, drowning. It was very peaceful and serene, one reason I’ve never searched for a belief that my consciousness extends past death.

        $1 million has been offered to anyone who can prove life beyond death. That prize has been unclaimed for 25 years.

      • Big surprise that website you linked is selling books that provide the ‘evidence’. And the dude is a LAWYER, so that must mean he’s being honest! LAUGHABLE! My mom is a lawyer and she believes Jesus and zombies wandered the streets of Jerusalem and the sky went black too!

        Besides providing a collection of poorly written summations of different types of paranormal quackery, this site did nothing to sway my opinions.

        (LOUD BUZZER) Next!

    • You are such an ignorant fool it is funny. See you on the other side dude.

      • If your definition of a fool is someone who requires actual evidence and will not be swayed by emotion and wish fulfillment…

        Ad hominem attacks are the last option of the charlatan. Again, any reputable journal that has published anything supporting your claims?

      • ..tap…tap….tap This thing on?

        Funny how calls for science scares all the ghosts and boogeymen into the shadows.

  21. psychotrope Says:

    I’m a couple dozen pages from the end of this book. The copyright is 1988. I searched the net to find out if actual recordings of these tapes exist by now. I was also surprised to find an overwhelmingly positive result, so naturally, I was drawn to this site where I could read the critiques side of the argument.
    My mind wandered quite a bit after a while as I was simply becoming bored of the seemingly insignificant recall after recall. He did not Catherines beauty quite a bit, which just annoyed the shit out of me (that matters why?). The mention of BC did not bother me, I have no idea how this stuff works.

    I want to say that in regard to reincarnation, I have read two very intersting books that talk about it similarly. It’s just concerning the transformation of energy, but neither assign an actual person with the phenom. I do believe in a governing connectivity that bonds all living things, but come on, once you give it a name, a gender, a story, then it all starts to sound kind crazy.
    As with a lot of people, I imagine, if energy manfests physically time and time again until our debt is paid, then why wouldn’t we have a memory of our energies own history? Also, a lifetime does seem like an awful lot of trouble to go to, one after the other.

    The book can offer a glimmer of hope to those in need of a message of immortality of the soul and the herefter. That’s a great thing. As to what harm this story can do? If it’s a delusional tale, so what. Santa Claus, superheroes and storybooks were good for the imagination. This one just claims to be real. I doubt the skeptics are having more fun……

    • Thanks for your cogent response. I am thrilled to offer a breath of fresh skepticism to this deceptive book, in an otherwise embarrassingly sea of brainless belief.

  22. […] in the book. I am giving below a link to the site where critical review of the book has been done. https://weshagen.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/a-skepticatheist-critic-of-the-bestseller-many-lives-many-m… However, my basic question still remains…… Dr. Brian Weiss, being a qualified doctor of […]

  23. PsychAnalys Says:

    I found myself tempted to belief through the sympathy for the danger involved of professional suicide in publishing such claims. At the beginning I was very eager to see how it all unfolds. Yet, with the turn of each page, the thinkig of Dr Weiss seemed less and less that of a scientist. It seemed that he was biased through the evident attraction towards Catherine, the wish that his dead son still exists, a narcissistic tendency to glean glory through achievements beyond his profession,through finding support in others, confirming his own belief, etc.
    I am an agnostic leaning on pyrrhonistic scepticism, and think (at now) that, if such spiritual claims do exist, we are currently unable to prove or control them.
    Following that, if they do exist then so with too many variables, variables that are multi-dimemtional, beyond cause-and-effect and material proportions, and as such, intangible for our current, this dimentional scientific methodologies – if so, it is the completely wrong tool for such phenomena. As such, the un-scientific approach by the author makes some sense, and yet…
    Assuming that those sessions did exist, and that spiritual events did occur, then they did in conjunction with all the human psychological qualities and traits (unconscious and conscious); even real events get distorted, so channeled ones would much more so (if they exist).
    It would thus be unwise to judge every discrepancy, and deny the whole thing, althogh (and very annoyingly) they are presented as truth.
    Consider, they acctually might exist, and if they do, possibly without a predictable, cause and effect nature. My choice then is to just take into account, not believe or think to know; prehaps the best apporach to arrive at truth?

  24. therearenozombiespeople Says:

    I am reading the book and read some of the debates on here….I cannot say that I am as yet a true believer in the doctrine of reincarnation, but there is a lot of food for thought and arguments for and against reincarnation and regression hypnotherapy. I personally believe that there is continuance of the soul, spirit, or whatever “entity” exists after physical death, not based on MLMM per se, or randomly ingested Kool Aid. At best, this urges us to use our time on earth productively and positively…after all, it could be worse…we could all believe in Scientology and worshipping Tom Cruise!

  25. How wonderful. How refreshing and how gentle you were. To say that Wiess causes no harm is understandable but I would suggest that he does. Wherever the supernatural gains a foothold, no matter how apparently contemporary, no matter how many appearances on TV or indeed any where, peddling supernatural explanations has the various affect of frightening vulnerable minds, grossly misleading reasonable but uncertain minds and, perhaps worst of all, aligning science with mysticism such that so many are free to make the dangerous claim that science is just a way of testing reality but far from the only one. And as for what it does for psychiatry, one can only hope that he is alone in his beliefs.

  26. Thank for for this excellent and much needed critical review. I am going to translate it into Chinese since there are so many Chinese people passing this book around on the Internet. Most of them use this book as scientific evidence of after-life. I’m ok with believing in after-life but I cannot tolerate the usage of this kind of non-peer reviewed books as “scientific evidence”.

    I completely agree with you on the part that the language of the book make it looks suspicious. It is filled with poetic languages that describes what is calms to be amazing discoveries of after life. To me this just doesn’t look like how a scientifically trained, rigiriously-thinking person would write. For example when physicists discovered faster-than-light objects with six-sigma certainty, they didn’t write a huge book calming that Einstein is wrong and time travel to the past is possible. Instead they published their detailed techniques and asked their colleagues in other parts of the world to try to repeat the experiment and see if they can get the same result. The writer of this book did the exact opposite by making extraordinary claims without making them verifiable to other professional psychiatrists. And for this reason, the book is best treated as a fary tale.

  27. No doubt that this book was written with noble intentions.However the end does not justify the means.The book was written totally on blind religious faith and isnt it blind faith which is the root cause of religion based terrorist activities.All the religions were mostly founded on faith for spiritual development of human beings,but gradually almost all of them fell into the grip of fanaticism.This book if read by people with limited knowledge and a lesser analytical mind may lead to more superstitions and normal psychiatric probles may be related to the reincarnation theories and people would be further fooled and tricked as done by the soothsayers,snakecharmers,astrologers,palmists etc.Such books instead of contributing to spiritual development,may lead to grave consequences.

  28. This isn’t really an academically structured critique. Firstly your initial attempt to build authority of your knowledge on the subject consists of many different types of material you have read, however you do not mention whether or not you have yourself been critiqued on your comprehension of these texts or what your background with it is? It is important to build authority of your knowledge and it is the first thing every academic is taught to do. However, claiming to have read a text over a cup of coffee or two is very different from critically analysing a text. Having your analysis peer reviewed or marked and advancing on your knowledge is important for building a solid reputation that can be trusted for the material you are claiming to have authority in. Your quotes have no in-text referencing and some have been taken out of context to promote your own ideas relating to the text, this is deceptive. An example of this is your claim for the angel/prophet analogy where you quote Weiss as saying the subject’s head was larger than normal, inferring a correlation between the statement and the analogy you have made. However, what was not included is that this statement was in reference to a distressing situation during a dream where the author is self-analysing and not, as your critique suggests, projecting a larger than life angelic metamorphosis to the subject in treatment. Your critique attacks the subjects sexual activity by calling the subject a philanderer, from what appears to be an inference made due to the subjects work as a model. The author does not state anywhere in the book that his subject is promiscuous, nor does the author infer such a possibility. To describe the subject as promiscuous only because of their work in modelling is making the assumption that all models are philanderers. In philosophy, this premis would not reflect true logic. Your critique is not objective but rather subjective and your choice of words like “oops”, “wow”, “smack” and “whoops” do not reflect an academic background nor does it reflect an academic discourse. Your referencing at the end of your blog needs to be corrected and your thesis statement also needs to show referencing for the religious and philosophical texts from which you are claiming to draw your conclusions from. Stating the Bible as a source does not count as referencing, you need to be specific from which Bible you read i.e King James…
    “Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence” is a saying popularised by Carl Sagan, and you are writing it, not verbalising it, so reference it!

    The conclusion is very well thought out, objective and well written: “Depending on what you prefer to believe, this book presents an unbelievable or at least a questionable narrative that could have been faked by Catherine, Doctor Weiss, or both. It is clear that Dr. Weiss has profited greatly from the book being on bestseller lists for 22 years, and from giving paid lectures on the subject past-life regression therapy. Perhaps it started as a=n attempt to rebuild a spiritual core in America by suggesting, pretending or inventing ‘evidence’, and then shoring up his defenses as the project took a life of its own, or was edited to be more exciting and compelling.” It is a shame the rest of this critique is not written in the same manner of objective evidence based criticism.

    One final note, this book is not written as an academic text, nor is it intended to be used as an academic text and personally I would consider someone foolish to attempt to use this book as an academic reference. It is clear from the way the book is presented that it is not an academic text and you have made that point clear in your critique. For this reason peer reviews are not necessary. Also because of the way the book is presented, with a dialogue combining a peripheral subjective narrative to guide the audience through the story, no academic would attempt to peer review this material, unless they were intending to end their professional career. Your critique should objectively treat the material as it is presented and not treat it as something it is not, and it is not an academic text. Therefore asking for peer-reviews for this type of published material is a careless and lazy attack from your end. Based on the insights from your concluding statement quoted above, I would suspect better from this critique but have failed to see better.

    The greatest criticism of Dr Weiss and his 1988 book ‘Many Lives Many Masters’ found in this blog appears to be what the blogger himself has failed to provide, that is objective, consistant evidence based arguments. This critique appears to have been emotionally written and not objectively and is not consistant with expressing sound verifiable research or background.

    • I hope you engage as deeply and intellectually with your critique of Weiss as you have with me. I will take your criticism to heart, not to believe in a fairlyland afterlife, but to improve myself in the small amount of time I have on this planet.

      I take it you believe, on faith, Weiss’ claims that he has tapped into cosmic forces that decided he, and he alone, should understand the true nature of the Universe?

  29. I have no opinion of Dr Weiss’ claims. Nowhere in my critique of your blog did I defend or try to prove Dr Weiss’ claims. It is my belief that if someone is going to objectively set out to disprove something then it should be done correctly and not create yet another fairytale land armed with no credentials and a lot of hot-air. If you have to attack then you haven’t got a very sturdy foundation for your argument. A sound argument doesn’t need to rely on petty discourse to hold it’s ground. I hope you do take something away from this because you made a couple of interesting points and almost made a thought provoking conclusion. It would be nice to read an article that expounded some of those points in a truly scientific and intellectual manner. Unfortunately your anger and agression towards this topic ruined any credibility I might have given to your argument. Science doesn’t get angry and sling mud about, it looks objectively and logically. As your blog is the only alternative opinion on Dr Weiss’ work I was very disappointed to find you making the same mistakes you accuse Dr Weiss of making in regards to remaining objective, consistant and providing evidence based arguments.

    • I appreciate your commentary and time put into the critique of my critique. I never really thought that this was an academic critique–more of a blog where I published this short essay that I was asked , by my wife’s therapist, to write after reading MLMM. I am a winemaker by trade, not an academic, and perhaps I am a little emotional and stylistic (sensational?), but I did think that Weiss’ work was disturbingly misleading and represents a lack of genuineness that I wanted to address. If you want to provide a link to a ‘properly structured academic critique’, I would love to see what it looks like.

      • Here is a link to the Australian National Universities website where you can read a quick guide on how to review and critique (generally the same thing as review) another persons work. The process is relatively simple but yields positive results in formulating a sound argument. With some practice you will find your ideas are more solidified and accessible to a larger audience. Structuring your ideas in a well-thought out manner not only allows your work to be more comprehensible but it also invites critical discourse from which you can gain greater insights into your work:


        Writing therapy is a really positive and interactive way to not only express yourself, but also to clarify your ideas. However, if you are intending on posting your ideas online be ready for someone to critique your work, it will happen and not everything will be positive. I just recently attended an anthropology symposium in Sydney, Australia where anthropologists were giving lectures on their most recent work. The critiquing of their work was sometimes just plain brutal and they not only had to take it, but defend their choices in a calm, objective and rational manner. Being an online blogger your work will be open to criticism from a wide rang of people and it can turn nasty very quickly. For this reason it is a good idea to arm yourself with proper discourse and writing skills. You have some good ideas, so why not refine your work and offer your readership something powerful and substantial. I will just end by saying that I neither agree nor disagree with your conclusion, but you certainly did make some interesting points worthy of consideration.

    • Relax. It’s a blog, it’s not an academic journal and it never purported to be. It’s 2013 and I know that it probably really bothers people like you, but standards for writing outside of academia have become far far far more casual than you and the rest of the English Department wish they’d stay forever and they’ll probably keep getting more casual. Have you seen résumés these days? Yeah, sorry!

      • Thank, you love! I did study grammar and linguistics, and I believe firmly in a descriptive grammar instead of a prescriptive one. I’m not going to bust into LOL’s and fucking this and fucking that in an informal essay.

        I may have not mentioned this, but I read MLMM and wrote this as a reaction to my wife’s psychologist asking her to read it and consider regression therapy. NIX!

  30. I am not an expert at anything ,but i would like to put down my comments on what i felt.First of all ,the hypnosis thing evokes a phase of sleep in which we get dreams,the entire hypnotic description by catherine has a dream like description and can be related to anything and everything she might have read,heard or watched during her presnt lifetime……if we really want a proof we should try and hypnotize an average ordinary 3 yr old who is not very well aquainted with the world.If the child talks something apart from dora,deigo,fairies and dragons we can get a concrete proof…….this fact is further fortified by the fact that their is hardly any mention of the cultures to which an average north american is not aquainted to……Catherines story does not give me any assurance or guidance and leaves me clueless as to what r we exactly gaining through constant rebirths….she doesnt seem to learn anything through them and nor do we.t…….

  31. Thanks, Alexis. You are a true humanist…one willing to help me become a better thinker. Thanks for that.

  32. ABitSkeptical Says:

    Wow! This post and the comments attached made for some great reading. I am just about half-way through MLMM after having it recommended to me by someone quite close.
    I must say I reacted quite emotionally to it due to several reasons, one of them being “how to objectively discuss this book with my friend without causing an argument”. One other being “Geeez, this Weiss-guy (pun intended) must be making a fortune!”

    However, what concerns me the most, and as I noted that you Wes also reacted to, is the lack of online reviews with even a hint of objective reasoning.

    Maybe I’m just happy to find someone with similar views on this (yet only half-read book) and that is fine by me. You can however rest assured that I will present this text WITH comments to my friend and see what “hen” (swedish gender-neutral pronoun) thinks of it.
    Thx to all contributors! Let love rule.

  33. ABitSkeptical Says:

    Hi, it’s me again, after some intense googling I found these rather interesting contributions.
    This first one is a post from a forum (if not directed straight there go to post #4): http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?4181-Past-Life-Regression-Brian-Weiss–So-many-questions-&s=1207d864b70660c0e8eabf56a3c5a0fe&p=37315&viewfull=1#post37315

    The second one is to the book mentioned in before-mentioned post: “Old souls – The Scientific Evidence For Past Lives” by Thomas Shroder.

    I have NOT read the book “Old souls-…”, but I think I might give it a try 🙂
    Be kind!

  34. ABitSkeptical Says:

    Wow! This post and the comments attached made for some great reading. I am just about half-way through MLMM after having it recommended to me by someone quite close.
    I must say I reacted quite emotionally to it due to several reasons, one of them being “how to objectively discuss this book with my friend without causing an argument”. One other being “Geeez, this Weiss-guy (pun intended) must be making a fortune!”

    However, what concerns me the most, and as I noted that you Wes also reacted to, is the lack of online reviews with even a hint of objective reasoning.

    Maybe I’m just happy to find someone with similar views on this (yet only half-read book) and that is fine by me. You can however rest assured that I will present this text WITH comments to my friend and see what “hen” (swedish gender-neutral pronoun) thinks of it.
    Thx to all contributors! Let love rule.

  35. ABitSkeptical Says:

    Hi, it’s me again, after some intense googling I found these rather interesting contributions.
    This first one is a post from a forum (if not directed straight there go to post #4): http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?4181-Past-Life-Regression-Brian-Weiss–So-many-questions-&s=1207d864b70660c0e8eabf56a3c5a0fe&p=37315&viewfull=1#post37315

    The second one is to the book mentioned in before-mentioned post: “Old souls – The Scientific Evidence For Past Lives” by Thomas Shroder. http://www.amazon.com/Old-Souls-Scientific-Evidence-Lives/dp/068485192X

    I have NOT read the book “Old souls-…”, but I think I might give it a try
    Be kind!

  36. Dr Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist and self-proclaimed ‘scientist’ whose best-selling book, “Many Lives, Many Masters”, has apparently “scientifically proved” reincarnation by recounting the hypnotic regression to past lives by one of his patients. His book has sold over 1.5 million copies with rave reviewers mostly giving ratings of 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

    I give the book zero stars. I believe it’s a sham, pretending to be a work of scientific discovery when it’s nothing of the sort. The book gives doctors, and science, a bad name. The fact that so many readers believe that this book provides “evidence” for reincarnation shows that modern universal education has in many ways failed to properly explain the principles and discipline of science.

    I’ve now written my damning review of this ‘work of fiction’. I’ll let Dr Weiss sue me in the next life. 🙂 Here’s the link for my review on ‘Good Reads’:


  37. My follow-up article about Dr Weiss’s book: ‘Fact or fiction: The girl, the hypnotist and past lives’


  38. Has anyone attended his seminars? If this was all fabricated
    what is that event like?

    • Probably a lot like going to church.

      • Ian Stevenson was as good a scientist as any other in the 20th century. His 2000+ page magnum opus Reincarnation and Biology demands an explanation, for which neither Wes Hagen nor his supporters have any. One cannot just critique the weaker (but still provocative) anecdotal evidence found in MLMM and ignore the implications of the strongest supporting work in this field. As far as the universe and its deepest workings are concerned, our knowledge and understanding is still in its infancy. As scientists, we must remain both rigorous and open minded. In my opinion, Dr. Weiss is a compassionate and courageous physician who has enriched the lives of many.

      • I still don’t believe furnishing a work of fiction as non-fiction is either compassionate or courageous. I will remain both open minded and brutally skeptical, because that is the way the universe created me.

  39. Thanks to my father who informed me regarding this webpage, this web site is truly awesome.

  40. I read it a few years ago. I recall him describing the beautiful poetry that was being communicated from one of the masters. But not a single line of it was provided…very fisht

  41. Even I agree that something is fishy about the story . Catherine says the date as “1863 B.C. “. I believe at that time , there was no date system as BC or AC. If she is experiencing herself in that life, she should not be able to tell the date. She should have described the time/date in some other way. How can her past life memories have date associated with it. According to me, she must have red all these somewhere which might have registered in her subconscious mind.

  42. Gray Phantom Says:

    I am of the opinion that Catherine is a beautiful, loose moraled woman. The number of doctors, married and unmarried, in her life, lead me to question her ethics. I believe Dr. Weiss was drawn in by a pretty face and then was captured in his own fairy tale.

    How many blonde Egyptians have you encountered? That hair more suits fairy princesses.

    As far as religion, this story is more suited to Genesis and the story of Eve and the serpent…although it is hard to tell which is which.

    • There’s no way we will ever know the truth of what really happened, as Weiss claims patient confidentiality to keep the speaking gigs coming and to keep selling his books.

      Without empirical evidence, this book gets stacked with all the other fiction in my library. Fiction until proven otherwise!

  43. Provided that Dr. Weiss did not fabricate this whole thing, then how does one explain how Catherine knew about Dr. Weiss’ father and first son? After my read I found myself making arguments both for and against the contents of the book, and as one of the posters have said above there are certainly merits to your criticisms so I thank you. However the one thing that bugs me is how she could possibly know such details.

    Even if all the ‘past lives’ are accounted for by hypnotic suggestibility, it still does not explain that miraculous feat of knowledge which Catherine showed.

    Perhaps it is all just a massive sham. Or perhaps there’s something going on here that Dr. Weiss did not scientifically record due to his fallibility as a human and succumbing to the overwhelming nature of this ‘discovery.’

    • Anything is possible in a work of fiction. You can play sports on brooms or visit the future!

      • Hoku Ao Says:

        Are you suggesting that Dr. Weiss fabricated that part of the regression with his patient?

        Yes. Ask yourself which is more reasonable: that Masters have chosen ONLY Weiss as their mouthpiece to reveal the greatest metaphysical secrets ever….or he is lying for the attention and the money. Really not difficult to discern if you have a brain and a healthy dose of skepticism.

      • Fabrication is a slippery slope, especially when a lot of money and material comfort is at stake. i believe Dr Weiss may have once believed something ‘atypical’ and ‘fascinating’ was happening with one of his clients. But as a result of editorial pressure, material wants or just plain greed, at some point this statistical anomoly became a cash cow and he went all in on easy answers and a forming a modern religious cult peddling easy answers that he, himself, became the sole prophet. It’s a story as old as humanity.

  44. Deon Oberholzer Says:

    Hi Wes!

    Let’s spice up the conversation slightly, shall we?

    If you agreed to be ‘put under’ and regressed by a psychiatrist/hypnotist of your choice, and then recalled information from previous lives – what would your reaction be?

    Let’s assume the entire session is recorded and supervised by a hardnosed scientist of your choice.


    • Same reaction as having dinner with Jesus Christ or riding a unicorn. It would fundamentally change my view of the universe. But as this type of regression/recall has never been achieved while science is watching, I’ll go ahead and expect regression and past lives with the return of Jesus and a willing unicorn mount.

  45. ThinkYo!! Says:

    Once you accept the fact that we humans evolved from muck in the ground….it becomes very difficult to even reach the point of entertaining the existence of a “soul,” whether eternal, or beginning at some arbitrary human life and lasting some arbitrary time period (or eternally).

    Assuming a “soul”, or “spirit”, or whatever you wish to call it resides within humans, many questions beg answers:

    At what point in human evolution did souls begin inhabiting bodies? Did this require a certain level of intelligence to “create” souls, or were existing souls simply waiting for a sufficient host?

    If souls did begin existing at some point in human evolution, what determined that point? Surely it is hubris to assume we are some pinnacle (or tipping point) of evolution that is worthy of souls; and it is certainly illogical.

    Taken that it is folly to assign souls to humans at any particular point in our evolution, we can’t rule out the “lesser” species having souls if we do….which leads even further down the path of evolution all the way down to single cell organisms, many of which are now specialized to reside within complex beings such as ourselves!!! Do they all have souls as well? Taken the fact of evolution, there’s no reason not to believe this, if you do in fact believe humans have souls. That’s a lot of souls….just on earth….

    Taking the above into account, as well as the questions already posed about the consistency / originality of this book, and the literal and complete lack of existence of any proof of souls or past lives, the book becomes absolutely laughable, and the underlying concept extremely unlikely.

  46. Great review and great debate, thanks for it. I would be even thankful if you could review another sinister charachter of this alleged “science”, an italian bio-therapist called Mario Azzoni. Not sure if someone translated in english this crap, but, oh well. Thanks

    • I’ll look up Azzoni and see if there’s a translation. I’d rather read Ovid though.

    • It is vital to formulate sincere requests
      “in order to make us better.
      We obtain from the cosmos
      what we ask with sincerity. ”
      Mario Azzoni

      You go ahead and ask the Cosmos for things, and I’ll keep working on this planet with joy and determination and we’ll see who gets what we seek. yeah, that guy’s a modern Rudolph Steiner.

  47. Dear Wes,
    Why don’t you consider regression under Dr Brian. Then tell us what you experienced; all of it non-judge mentally and without editing. Wouldn’t that expose the truth ; either Brian’s or yours.Because this is otherwise an uneven contest-your arena, your rules, your audience, and a convenient alibi of science; just like Brian’s alibi of confidentiality.

    • I believe in hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion, but I would not use regression therapy because I cannot imagine how it could help my life or give me clarity into the actual reality inherent in this universe. I would see the exercise exactly like going to church or hunting the loch ness monster. It could be an experience that could teach me something, but the actual foundation of the experience would be based in fantasy.

      I love your phrase ‘convenient alibi of science’. Please consider your own ‘alibi’ next time you get an x-ray, get a flu shot, or use modern transportation. I’ll make you a deal. If my wife can record the session independently, I will agree to regression therapy with Dr. Weiss. But you have to go to a mosque and pray. We will be equally uncomfortable. Deal?

      • Pradeep krishnan Says:

        Hi wes
        Science is the truth , the idea of which germinates in a fertile mind ( scientifically put as that mind which has a good coordination between the different lobes in the grey matter and philosophically put as the mind which sees the truth ) and which is recreated and replicated by others less gifted ,who would nevrtheless call
        themselves men of science.Science is never an alibi but the usage of it cretainly can be( like religion). Just as people quote religion people quote science ( mark the fact that i said quote, not use). That which we dont understand now, and which cannot be slotted into the existing theories cannot always be dismissed as loony. We need to respect the credentials of men who dare to espouse an unpopular theory, provided it does no harm to the individual, the society, and the environment. Possibly regression may have an explanation years from now. The flu shot and xray didnt exist in 1880. Galileo was thought of as being crazy, Darwin still is.
        I am sure Brian will not mind your session being monitored by your wife and i have no issues with praying in a temple, a church, or a mosque.

  48. I believe in life after life. I believe in reincarnation. How, do I know? Well, I just believe. Isn’t this what Masters recommended? As Dr. Weiss’ grandpa used to say, “Vaaht ze hell!!” I do know there are much more than we can see in this world, and, it has been scientifically proven! I would very much like to believe this beautifully written fairytale MLMM as well! But…

    I only read the book once, however, sadly, there are quite a few things that do not match.
    Catherine enters Dr. Weiss’ office in the 70’s. She is 29. So let’s assume she was born in 1945 or so, roughly when the WW2 ended. Eric, her last incarnation died in that war, somewhere in between 1939 -1945. Probably Eric died closer to the end, or in the middle of the war, because that is when the Germans were having really great losses. How many years does it give Catherine to go through all of these plains in-between lives? 2 years? 3? Maximum 10 -11? Did masters mention there were 7 of the plains? 10 years of earth time must be really minutes out there…. Does this give enough time for Catherine?

    But let’s assume, Catherine didn’t really need so much time and she just jumped into her new life in Florida real fast. I’ve heard of people who reincarnated unusually fast. One can search for a documented story of an American boy who died in the plane in WW2 or there is a popular example of an Indian boy. But those two boys were extremely confused about their current lives and their memories of recent lifetimes were extremely shockingly vivid.

    How come events from so recent Catherine’s lifetime were so insignificant compared to those in ancient Egypt? She seems to be influenced by her lives long time ago much more, than by the one that happened in Germany.

    I am sure that if I read the book even more times, I would find more details that would keep me doubtful about whether the whole thing actually happened in Dr. Weiss’ office with that blonde swimsuit model. (Gee, I almost picture Pamela Anderson in her classic red swimsuit running on the beach) I simply do not understand how this irresistible Catherine does not appear on the google search engine, unless she is a character of MLMM. It is impossible to hide somebody of such irresistible beauty with so many talents, unless she is a fiction. Perhaps I am wrong. I would very much like to be proved wrong.

    Please, understand that I am on this internet page for skeptics because I need help! I need to escape the pain of this lifetime of mine. I have been searching for the ways out for quite a while now. But then is it possible? According to masters, we need pain because this is how we learn. Wouldn’t reincarnation therapy a too easy way out, because it would spare me the pain? PLEASE PROOVE ME WRONG!! I insist.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful commentary, and I’m so sorry you are in pain. My wife has fybromyalgia and other health issues so I know what a struggle it can be just getting up in the morning.

      As a secular humanist, I believe this is the only life we get. In this philosophy I recommend trying to appreciate every breath, every forest, every ocean. Live life as it’s your last, as it probably is!

      If you need to feel better, I suggest volunteering at a retirement home, at an animal shelter, or trying to produce some art or craft. Stay in touch and thanks for your comment.

      • Pradeep krishnan Says:

        Hai wes
        I dont remember reading anything about the masters commenting on the need for pain before liberation. Thats the bible ,or arnold schwarznegger ,depending on your worldview.
        Of course you are on the site as you have a radically different opinion. The lay public ,including me, are entitled to a different opinion such as yours.
        In fact many would be compelled to shake up their beliefs if people like you actually underwent the session, and then disproved it. But it probably is asking for too much.
        If you are on to anything in this regard, please let me know

      • Pradeep krishnan Says:

        Also wes, i an 40 fit ,and not yet in physical or mental pain unlike what you believe.

      • Thank you for your understanding and compassion! Sorry about your wife, compared to her pain, mine is really a joke. It is true that if one’s efforts are directed towards creativity and away from one’s ego, pain can be lessened or even disappear. So, surprisingly, that very pain that most are trying to avoid at all costs can be productive.

        We are only given one body and no conscious memories of past or future. So, after all, it is one life of a soul in one particular body. By the way, time is for humans. Past, present and future are purely human concepts and a sign of linear thinking. On that subject there are many scientific things such as String Theory and Parallel Universes associated with such names as Brian Green and Michu Kaku, for example. And don’t forget good old Einstein with his quantum physics. Things are happening on many different levels and there is not necessarily moving to the future with improvement, i. e. “having learned lessons.” Future versions of a human soul may not always be as good and perfected and his past. I hope one day to have a better understanding of it.

  49. Hi Wes,

    I happened upon your blog because I recently finished Dr. Weiss book and wanted to see the reviews. However, I am not here to contribute as everyone else has, but to share some info with you. I read every post including the one about your wife’s fibro, which I have suffered from myself the last seven years. I was referred to a doctor who specialized in fibro and saw him for the first time last week. His name is Dr. Michael Powell and he practices in Sacramento, CA. In any case without pain meds my level of pain hovers around an 8/9, 10 being the worst. He spent well over an hour with me and he gave me a shot of Oxytocin ( not to be confused with OxyContin). Within 5 min. my pain had almost completely subsided. Quite frankly I was shocked, because through the years I have sought out every imaginable treatment, all to no avail. He also started me on different vitamins and ordered blood tests. It’s only been a few days and my quality of life has improved 100%. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

  50. I met Dr B Weiss at a book signing when i was 19 around 2008 in NYC. My only brother died and I began reading a slew of religious book and texts to make sense of life and afterlife. When I read “Many masters many lives”, his other books, and other books on reincarnation and buddhist teachings …they all spoke to me and just felt right (by the way there are similarities between his ‘poetry’ and psychic sylvia brownes books). However, the other books like Same Soul many Bodies…each book became more BS as the books went on… So I was eager to meet the guy, and when I met him I told him how the book helped me get through a difficult time in my life. I swear, the guy blinked twice smiled and didn’t say a word, he was signing the books like a robot at a convention. I felt off after that, like he was a con artist, I saw it in his eyes and felt it in his presence, at least that was my intuitive sense. Immediately following, at the lecture he tried doing a group hypnotherapy with like 30 people in the room. It was ridiculous. Point is, my gut and my heart and my logic tells me there could be much truth in reincarnation, and this guys “poetry” is beautiful and speaks to the human heart. Too bad he can’t share his “evidence” that he claims to exist with the world. I think he is a psychiatrist, who’s good at writing, evoking emotion with his words, and connection with spirituality.. Me and this guy share the same birthday, November 6th, I see right through him ;). I think he was trying to make a name for himself…maybe he had one episode of truth in regression therapy with a client and that sparked an idea to set a name for himself and corner a market…After reading your blog and criticism and my own experience with the Doc, I see your point…this guy smells like a con artist to me, but you just can’t be sure. Since hypnotherapy is so widely used, it would be nice to see many accounts of these kinds of stories across the world…people regressing, and hearing evidence of it. As Penn and Teller would say, I call Bullsh**

    • Thanks sooo much for your addition to this–perhaps the only intellectual criticism of this book on the internet! Your personal experience is the lynchpin in understanding his personality and his intent in milking this book and the false idea it perpetrates, for every dollar he can. It’s a fabulous and instructive story of the ‘genesis’ of a religion. Jesus. Buddha or Krishna discovers something that can positively influence the world, but they struggle to bring it forward into the public, as it is a PERSONAL revelation–which is almost impossible to explain or give to another human. In this case Catherine is the avatar (‘he who comes down’), and Weiss is the tent-maker, the Paul on his way to Tarsus–he figures out the ‘gimmick’ to carry the message into the world, and as the message spreads and the checks start to come in (for Weiss and the publsiher) the message is changed and corrupted, necessarily, by it becoming a business. It is to Weiss’ benefit to ‘lobotomize’ himself as a scientist and free thinker, and believe the bullshit that he himself invented.

      Thanks again, Mel, your actual real-life experience with the author means so much more to me than folks spewing religious and spiritual platitudes that are transparently based in wish-fulfilment.

  51. lettersquash Says:

    MLMM. Multi-Level Marketing Manual.

  52. I appreciated this review, and I’m sorry my comment is so late. I, too, am a skeptic and so it follows that I am also atheist. I was begged to read this book by a friend. He even sent me a digital copy of it. I am halfway in and already feeling like I’m reading a fictional story that reads like a very long chain letter meant to be forwarded to ensure my “safety.”

    Here is my criticism, and this will be a failing of any book or person who ever attempts to sell me on his new and different religion- Why are the Masters always men? Why do they have gender at all? ONLY a human being, particularly a male one, would create something that is led by men. Some religions will try to throw women a bone by including one to see over fertility and nature, but overwhelmingly, my bullshit detector is set off the moment a “god” has human qualities and one of those human qualities is a penis. Humans are so egotistical that even while Dr. Weiss mentions energy and attempts to poke at science, he can’t stop himself from turning energy into masters which are male, nor himself from being the recipient of special information. Notice that prophets are never female either? Amazing.

    My next criticism is that this book does what most religious books do -claims that human suffering is brought on by the ones doing the suffering. There are apparently people who were born to bear burdens, and there are other people who are better than that somehow. The more I think about it, the more Dr. Weiss comes across like a narcissistic ass. His dead SON cleared his karma for him. How sweet for a man who has never practiced a belief in karma to be saved by his dead baby (who apparently does believe in karma) from having to endure such a life of unenlightenment and suffering. How lucky for him.

    Finally, the book actually puts on a pedestal (he cites that religious leaders are higher beings or something along those line) the very religions that have started almost every war since the beginning of recorded history, that oppress and kill women and children as “honor,” whose religious figures rape and molest children. Nothing is more telling that this book is about Dr. Weiss’s beliefs and nothing more than the egocentrism maintained throughout. He believes in Abrahamic religions, therefore they are placed on a pedestal. He believes being a psychiatrist is his calling, therefore it is confirmed to him. He believes he is a special recipient of this information, therefore Catherine becomes a vessel to help lead Dr. Weiss down his path. Frankly, I’m kind of disgusted with him.

    • Victoria. I love your brain! You are spot on in your extrinsic feminist literary theory. The male Masters have the power and poor, beautiful Catherine is the angelic vessel. But I think it goes beyond that.

      I think we can climb an additional hierarchy and see that all religions exploit mankind’s need to be ruled. What religion or God is not described in worldly language as a ‘King of Kings’, ‘Lord’, and all 124784 names for Allah and the prophet.

      Being a passive plebian is quite important to the dull and unexamined human psyche and folks have exploited that since the shaman of the paleolithic all the way to L. Fucking Ron Hubbard.

      Thanks for your words and your excellent criticism.

    • Victoria is the new Queen of Rational thought!

    • I don’t get the same vibes as you do from Dr. Weiss. I do not think he wants his work to be interpreted as “religion,” I actually despise religion. Once something turns from a spiritual theory to a religion, it turns BAD! I also would like to know what page Weiss refers to the masters as having any sex at all?? Please share the page number if you would. If anything, souls are sexless, and switch sex’s often. I’m sure Weiss would be the first to say that he has been female in the past, just as often as he has been male. I also do not believe that Weiss thinks he is a special recipient of information. He teaches that we can all gain insight through regressions. I don’t know how Catherine accessed the masters, whom shared insight into Dr. Weiss’s life, but it absolutely helped Weiss gain insight into why bad must sometimes occur. Please share where the MLMM mentions that through the loss of his son, he has been freed of Karma. I think he rather feels as if we go through experiences such as loss, to gain insight, and to become stronger. Most likely, we plan such experiences before each incarnation. Anyway, your comment comes off as very angry and closed minded. I don’t think it’s fair. You present Weiss as though he’s just another Jim Jones type, which he is not.

  53. My reviews about this book:


  54. Interesting question is, how could Weiss overlook all of these stupid mistakes and discrepancies, that we were able to notice right away? Scientist will not make those, even recklessly. And if it is a scam, why did he not create a more sophisticated lie? Was the book oriented at the non-sceptical part of society from the beginning? Why he didn´t try to convince others as well – the non believers? He gave us arguments to refute his claims too easily, or “on the silver platter”. Why?

    • I can’t speak for Weiss–but once the story was put down in its original form, just like the Bible or a husband lying about being at a strip club, he had to defend it or risk being proved a charlatan.

      If your question is ‘Wouldn’t a lie have a more defendable structure, as it was purposefully constructed?”, that is a fallacious argument in its most fundamental definition.

      Here’s another crazy trope still believed by 90% of Americans:

      A rib-woman was tempted by a talking snake to eat a cursed piece of fruit and put a dark curse on the soul of every human being that came after, even the millions that would never hear of God, Christ, Abraham or David before dying in a dark corner of the world.

      So your argument boils down to: ‘How could Weiss make such a lame lie, and therefore it must be true?’ I’ll pass on that line of reasoning.

  55. Elisabeth Meehan Says:

    I have read a couple of Dr Weiss’s books, and am similarly skeptical.
    Past lives MAY be true. Healing MAY come from remembering them – it would be presumptuous for anyone with an open mind to be certain.
    The thing that makes me very skeptical about Dr Weiss’s motivations is the amount of money he is making out of all this. He charges approx $600 per person for people to attend a seminar of thousands of people.
    Genuinely spiritual people have little need of materialism to this level, he doesn’t need the money, but presumably the high fees feed his ego, and also ensure only very naive and suggestible people attend his workshops.
    A scam, whether conscious or not, is still a scam.

  56. miamibeachnative Says:

    I think that this question and response on Weiss’ website says it all:

    “Is it possible to schedule an appointment with Dr. Weiss ?

    I am no longer seeing private patients as I am trying to concentrate on writing, teaching and reaching many more people in experiential workshops.”

    I am from Miami Beach and was a 25 y/o lawyer and owner of various fitness studios about the Beach in 1988 when this book hit the shelves. Many of my fitness clients were Weiss’ (medical) peers at Mt. Sinai and they were not very complimentary of the man or his tome.

    I read the book and actually was dragged to an early workshop (coincidentally, these workshops started within a month of this book’s release) where I felt like an outsider at a Born Again church as all the “congregants” went through apparently contrived physical manifestations so as not to look as if they too were not experiencing “the deep and the profound” while being guided from the stage as what to visualize while we sat on the floor with pillows, blankets, and of course a copy of this book and a workbook which we were given after paying for the seminar. I found the whole seminar to be absurd and feigned illness half way through taking a taxi home and leaving the party who invited me to the seminar to finish the day up on her own. She thought that this was the most enlightening experience of her life, I felt like I had just left a Vegas nightclub act.

    As an aside, I also met Iris Saltzman on 4 separate occasions, had a personal reading done by her, and had dinner with her in a home I was renting at the time with a housemate in Normandy Isle. I met Iris before Weiss’ book came out and already had mixed feelings on veracity.

    Iris was known for doing once a week group readings up in the 170th st area of Collins Av (in the same complex as the old movie theater). Every hippie seeking spiritual enlightenment (or salvations) in the Miami Beach gay community and every bored housewife I knew would flock to her hoping to garner some deep insight into their messed up lives. My housemate during law school was such a 45 y/o gay male who believed more in “fate” than hard work and patience (it was his connection which brought her to our house for dinner after she did a reading for him and told him he was going to be a big star – fast forward 30 years – surprise, he never was a big star outside of the small fitness scene of the middle-1980’s in Miami/Miami Beach). Now what I will say is that Iris had a knack for reading people REALLY WELL. Additionally, prior to the “mass weekly readings”, Iris’ husband would make the rounds about the room chatting up the various attendees and voila, miraculously, those that he spoke to would become the focus of some part of Iris’ reading (done in a trance state with her eyes rolled back into her head). I also mentioned that I’d had a private reading with her – yep, just to disprove her, I shelled out $500 (a discounted rate because she was friends with my housemate) and sat with her and a cassette recorder for 8 hours. Besides her guessing that the dynamic between my mother and I was sour (an easy read to anyone with their eyes open at the time), she told me I’d been a Russian Princess and an American Indian Warrior in past lives. She also led me to believe that I’d die in a commercial airliner crash and clearly told me that I’d have an unremarkable life ( I guess that my dozing off after the 3d hour was irritating her). The only weird thing that I will say happened is that every time she had an “eyes rolled to the back of her head” revelation, interference showed up on my tapes. Her husband explained this to me as electromagnetic interference apparently caused by Iris’ communication with the force giving her my information. I say she had some “jamming” device from Radio Shack or the Spy Shop.

    Clearly I am unconvinced about Iris as well as Weiss. My undergraduate degrees are in Physics and Mechanical Engineering so needless to say, I don’t accept one’s uncorroborated “word” or “faith” as proof. Weiss has made more money as a reincarnation specialist than he would have ever made as a shrink at Mt. Sinai, U of M Med Ctr, or any other hospital in Dade County. I don’t like to call anyone a fraud, but in this case I have to shake my head a little at some of the naiveté I am reading on this board. Weiss failed to prove or disprove reincarnation and is making a mint off of nothing more that an assertion of “trust me”. I haven’t any idea whether reincarnation exists or not. Reincarnation is a soothing notion and I would hope that when a human dies one’s “essence” isn’t just eradicated from the annals of Universal history forever – essentially making each of our lives basically meaningless. However, hope doesn’t make for proof and hence, regardless of my hopes that there is “more to the reality of human existence” I have to say that Weiss’ MLMM completely failed to prove the existence or non-existence of reincarnation.

  57. Lupe Lamenta Says:

    I want to believe in Weiss`s assertions but there are two reasons I am finding them bullshit. Number one: where is Catherine? Why have we never heard from her? Surely on a practical level, she is due some of the considerable fortune Weiss has accumulated from recounting her story. Number two: in describing Catherine, the good doctor is unbelievably sexist. He asserts that she couldn’t possibly be able to fake the deep-throated messages from the masters because she was basically (and I paraphrase) a dumb blond lab technician. And finally, Weiss is a classic narcissist. This whole thing is about how wonderful he is.

  58. Why would you not let your wife believe what works for her? Why do you need to interfere with her attempt to cope with pain and suffering that you don’t share yourself? Sounds a bit paternalistic to me…

    • You have fundamentally misread my words, I am my wife’s caretaker and would use anything that I thought would help her improve health and her quality of life. Please re-read and tell me where you got this odd idea?

  59. Being an Indian I did not have the surprise that Dr Brian Weiss desribes in his text when he first met the idea of rebirth.In Bhagavad Geeta Lord Krisna inform Arjuna when he got depressed about killing , that “you me and all the kings here have lived before and live again……” In the famous book Autobiography of a Yogi all the mysteries of life and death are revealed. India is rich with self realized masters who can give answers to the puzzle. .Ultimately
    it is energy energy that will never be destroyed

    • Seek those with the wise questions.

      Avoid those that say they have found the answers.

      I too have read the Upanishads and the Gita–interesting poetry, but it is just another spice in the rack of spirituality. As true and as false as any other religion.

  60. Very useful blog. i will follow this blog. continue the
    good work.

  61. Thanks for the tips you have provided here. Cheers!

  62. I really like your article. It’s evident you have plenty of knowledge on this topic.
    Your points are well made and relatable. Thanks for writing engaging
    and helpful material.

  63. Hi, Im trying to cite this website, could you help me?

  64. Your article is actually educational. More than that, it is
    interesting, convincing and well-written. I would desire to see even more of these types
    of wonderful writing.

  65. Hi, Weshagen,

    I’ve been reading all this comments in your blog and all that i can say is that your resistance about experiencing hipnosis says very much about your one secret reasons about death an after-life. Allow me to say that you should consider questioning the ‘real’ reasons why you have initiated this vibrant comment on Brian Weiss book. In the end, this is not about science or faith, this is all about you.

    • I am fully aware that hypnosis can be a powerful clinical tool, but even with that admission I still see no reason to give credence to the MLMM ‘mythology’. You know about my ‘inner monologue’ and secrets as much as I know about yours. I’m not interested in agreeing with you, I’m interested in calling a lie a lie, and a spiritual lie is the worst kind. Weiss’ insistence that these ‘Masters’ exist is criminally irresposible, because people are leading their lives believing these spiritual wish-fulfilments are actually real. Ana Ana, can you help me understand why I should believe Weiss’ book–how do YOU know the truth when I have so ‘obviously’ been misled by my silly skepticism.

    • Pradeep krishnan Says:

      Absolutely spot on ana. Mr Hagens bluster and swagger can be analysed by him and him alone.

      • Yet he still approves these comments as if he wanted to have an open and frank discussion.

        Please, go ahead and show me where I have made my error in judgement! How should someone who requires proof (over wish-fulfillment) proceed in their criticism of an obviously fictionalized account of reincarnation?

        What is it that convinced you, in the end, that this is the way THINGS REALLY ARE?

        I approve your comments and provide honest answers from my perspective, but I have seen nothing in your responses that would sway even a child to the belief of Masters and Reincarnation.

        You should be confident in your faith, for what you believe will likely never be proven, to allow intelligent secular humanists to discuss these issues and this book with a critical eye.

        And please provide the rationale why you would live your life according to a spiritual path that seems self-serving and infantile to so many here.

      • Unlike most narcissists, I’m the real deal! Enough analysis for you? I notice most of those that support Weiss’ assertions will not engage in the actual reasons they believe. It has to be more than, ‘The book seemed real to me!’. To base your entire cosmology on a philosophy that is being sold by the conference ticket seems short-sighted to me. How do you KNOW you’re not being exploited by a charlatan selling easy answers?

  66. Actually nobody knows the whole, universal Truth. Make no mistake: you ‘ve absolute power on your own opinion. You can call it a terrible lie, but in a democratic system people are free to choose and you can’t do nothing about it. You can call it a sham, a lie, a fairytale, but Weiss’s books are still best-sellers and will continue to be, and the idea of the Masters and life after death will continue to enlighten people’s present lives. As long as it works….
    All New-age thinking is a strong sintom that in fact something is missing in this world, society, relationships, etc.

    note: skepticism is vital in so many areas, and your’s is not silly.
    If Weiss wrote a bunch of lies some day someone will come out with the truth.
    Weshagen, best wishes!

    • Please describe how Weiss’ theory of Masters improves people’s lives, and what ‘enlightenment’ it offers.

      You are correct, neither of us knows the Universal truth. The difference is I respect the Final Ground by admitting ignorance, while you believe some American Psychoanalyst was chosen by some vaguely described ‘Masters’ to tell the world of this truth.

      Which seems more likely? That Weiss’ theory is true where the ideas of thousands of spiritual paths have failed before, or that Weiss wrote a queer little parable about a patient he may or may not have treated.

      You are saying that of the Billions of humans that have lived on this planet, only Weiss got the secret of human spirituality correct because of an ex-bikini model who was the chosen mouthpiece of hidden Gods in the Sky?

      If this is your definition of the Universe, please let me know. I’d be interested.

    • hi,

      First things first. Weiss does not make part of my concept of Universe, God or faith. I ‘m seeking for acknowledge in this matters. What I believe, for now, is based on my personal, intimate experience, what is real for me.

      i believe that all the public that reads Weiss, found a strength to keep their lives going on, despite illness and all the existence problems. I don’t understand this as an alienation from real life. For me it is all right. Everyone as free will, so they can always choose. So do you. so do I.
      I choose to try to understand other perspectives, even if they become non-sense eventually. Even if Science strongly rejects these matters.

      I think that Weiss is not a messenger of God, or the Masters he speaks about. Nowadays It’s hard to believe in prophets.
      But it was hard to believe in Galileu theory as in Darwin too…
      Humankind is very resistant to big changes.

      Taking all those patients stories for real, he has discovered an effective ‘way’ to connect with regular, common people that have real mental and physical issues. Somehow he reached them and has been successful in this process.
      What to say about this? Is he a charlatan earning big money on innocence, or a doctor trying to heal his patients? Well, I really don’t know for sure.

      What i know is that some of us feel a strong ‘call’ to help others and dedicate their lives to help people. I’m sure that you also know some of this kind of special, rare humans, no matter their religion or believes.

      As for Weiss, I don’t have any kind of proof that makes him a real healer or a real charlatan. I’m just trying to keep my mind opened.

      • Your reply is kind and heartfelt. Thanks for that. I am looking for all kinds of different responses here, and thanks for taking the challenge that I offered.

        Certainly I do not know the deepest truths of the Universe still hidden from science, but I have a good sense of what takes us forward, and what retards our understanding. Unfortunately, I see Weiss’ work as the latter–a combination of unprovable platitudes and wish-fulfilment.

        Feeling comfortable that there are spiritual parents that are watching over us and guiding us is yet another way humans can shirk responsibility for their own futures.

        If there are those that feel they have been ‘healed’ by Weiss, that’s not surprising. There are also those who refuse medical treatment for their children because God will help them, and then those kids die slowly and painfully because of the parents’ delusion.

        This Universe operates exactly as we would imagine if there were no Gods, no Masters. And that’s great! The sooner we realize, as a race, that we do not require ‘Lords’, ‘Gods’ or ‘Masters’ to guide and protect us, the sooner we can implement real change and a culture based on humanism and not religions that are purposefully and dangerously exclusive and potentially violent.


  67. I suppose that regression can kind of help you put a problem
    into a frame that you can separate from your present life. This
    is similar to an NLP technique. But Weiss does not really
    offer any proof of reincarnation. It is good fantasy which may
    be helpful, but he seems to beyond what a medical man should
    do by coming up with a religion based on it. Did he ever submit
    documented cases and articles to medical journals? Instead
    he becomes a true believer, gets books published and appears
    with Opra. it is all very questionable what is going on here.

    • Thanks for your comment. Weiss is a pariah in the actual medical community. He only engages with New Agers, because they don’t force any proof or tough questions out of him.

  68. I would be lying if I said Past life memories are as clear as the patient in Dr. Weiss’s MLMM. She must have been very clairvoyant. That being said, I have gained a lot from having 2 regressions, with another world renowned PL therapist, Carol Bowman. I sought her out because I was dealing with some intense fears, that had no basis in reality. The lives I saw added depth to what I’ve been through in this life, and explained, and slowly helped me heal my overwhelming fears. Particularly, a fear of flying, or viewing planes crashing, and a fear of my son dying. Both fears have slowly lost their intensity. I was also able to realize that I was on the wrong path in my life career wise, and the regression helped me realize I needed to return to college at 30 in order to find happiness, & confidence. I question the validity of my PLM, mostly because of the world we live in. I always come to the same conclusion that it must be real, because there are things that I knew about time periods that I just shouldn’t know! Whether you want to believe in PL or not, PLR can be very healing. I am grateful for Brian Weiss and his work, and I have great respect for him. I am looking forward to his MLMM convention in NYC next weekend!!!

    • I welcome all commentary, and thanks for sharing your experience.

      The skeptic in me wants to ask ‘Why did the narrative produced by the PLM have to be ‘true’ for it to have a positive effect on you?’ You mention that you question the validity of your PLM, do you also question the validity of Weiss’ claims that he has exclusive access to the Masters? Why him? Why do all ‘Gods’ choose some people to be ‘enlightened’, and leave the rest of us out in the cold, dark ignorant world?

      Again, thanks for your honest commentary.

  69. No problem, and thank you for your reply. They do not have to be true, but I would prefer if they were. I have always sought the answer to the most unknown questions in life. Before I die, I would love to know what will happen to me, although I know this is impossible, it’s just something I desire. Where does he claim he has exclusive access to the masters? I have never read this. Please share where. I disagree that Gods choose some people to be enlightened, so I have no answer to your question.

    • When you claim to have knowledge about the spiritual universe that is only accessible to you, and you charge people for that information, that’s religion, and it’s also (to a secular humanist) tantamount to theft.

      You have also fundamentally misunderstood what Karma is. Karma is a sanskrit verb meaning ‘doing’. Karma is the universe’s response to our hard work, not some recompense for good or bad deeds.

      I don’t remember making any suppositions concerning the Masters and sex. Please clarify.

      If Weiss is the only human to have accessed the ‘Masters’ (if he is not please let me know who else has been blessed by these exclusive beings and their answers to the deepest spiritual questions), why him? Why are we left to fend for ourselves when these ‘Masters’ will only talk to one of us.

      I don’t remember being angry or closed minded. I’m just calling bullshit where I see it. The difference between Jim Jones and Weiss is that Weiss is selling the KoolAid of easy answers, and Jones laced his drinks with cyanide. Economic versus murderous intent. Some would say spiritual lies are just about as bad.

      If Gods do not choose some people, and not others, why do you think Weiss was singled out to receive these revelations?

      • Gillian Says:

        I apologize, as I was not attacking you. I was simply responding to Victoria, who posted on December 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm. Trust me, I know how obscure believing in PLM are, and how silly it may sound to people who will only accept what is seen. At some point, one must take a leap of faith, if they’d like to believe we are anything other than dust after death. Through regression, one is able to find the truth inside themselves. Also, children have shared memories, which I’m sure you’d say have been misinterpreted. My son has spoke of dying in a fire, and was able to break that fear through speaking of it. He also said he missed his mother. When my husband mentioned that I, his mother was right next to him, he said, “no my mommy from the fire,” it was surreal. I listen to the children often, and they have so much to share regarding PLM. I know this is hearsay, and I am not trying to convince you of anything. Maybe read and review Carol Bowman’s, “Children’s Past Lives”? Another great case is the story of James Houston Jr. None the less, I appreciate you review, I love reading opposing viewpoints. Honestly though, I have a different viewpoint. Dr. Weiss is a Psychologist who encountered something through his practice that inspired him, and he made it his life’s mission. I do not think he views himself as a profit. When he speaks of the masters, he mentions that you can call them whatever you’d like, that’s just what Catherine referred to them as.

      • The unconscious mind is becoming the new God, the new flying saucer–an area where science fails to explain everything, and where people make wild leaps of cognition from what is known to what is not. Did you read the comments from people that have gone to Dr. Weiss’ FOR PROFIT seminars? They do not paint the picture of a selfless ‘profit’ that is here to help. They paint the picture of a charlatan who has learned that perpetuating easy answers pays for huge houses and crazy trust funds.

        Bottom line, if you can prove that a past life regression somehow did something for someone that can not be explained by science or rational belief, I’m waiting to hear it. Everything thus far points to one simple conclusion: that past life regression is about as ‘trustworthy’ as palm reading or remote viewing. This world operates exactly as it would if this were all false. Would love someone to prove me wrong!

  70. After reading all the pros and cons about Dr. Weiss book MLMM I’ve decided to stick with my own beliefs.

  71. After hearing about the book Miracles Happen by Brain Weiss on TV.. I decided to purchase it. And after reading it I am still not sure if I believe in reincarnation. No one on this here earth knows for sure what happens to us after we die. People can believe what they want but for me I need proof.

  72. wendy foster Says:

    I have just started reading many masters and stopped the moment I hit the 1863 BC line, jumped straight on google to find out how she could possibly refer to a time frame that did not yet exist. I will not waste any more time on this.

  73. You said you even read Necronomicon? How? It is a fictional book.

  74. In my opinion this is very simple . He has no evidences for what he claims . “Dr” Weiss is just sticking to his hypothesis (which actually sells quite well ) and simply is stating his own thesis , nothing more . Even if what his patients state during hypnosis is true he still cannot go any further than just stating what his patients said . Everything else in my opinion is blind hypothesis which , of course , benefits him . Until proven by science i prefer to remain skeptic , even though ive always liked the idea of reincarnation

    • Liking an idea is perfectly appropriate. Trying to pretend there’s a scientific basis for something unprovable is irresponsible at best. I respect your skepticism and appreciate your comments.

      Your comment brought up another idea. Isn’t this entire ‘fiction’ a clear end-around on patient confidentiality? Even though Weiss doesn’t mention names, besides Catherine (fake name we assume), isn’t this a douchey move to publicize a private therapy session?

  75. I have just read the book and your commentary and nearly choked with laughter when i read the part: – that’s brilliant.

    That said I must agree it’s a very poetic and inspiring book, good read, that promotes some good moral values, surely gives hope to the dieing, sick, old, those that lost loved ones, and so on…

    Mind that hypnosis is used quite frequently to help people to stop smoking, by convincing them in a hypnotic state that they hate cigarets, or to cure a phobia, or raise self-esteem, etc…

    It is not beyond my imagination that if someone (like Catharine) who has a fear of swallowing, and is convinced thru “past life regression” the reason for that is because they have drowned or chocked to death in a past life, the symptoms might start to diminish. Purely because now they have a ability to rationalize the origin of their fear.

    It makes sense in a classic psychoanalytic way:
    traumatic event>repression>fear or phobia>regaining the memory of the traumatic event>cure

    And I think it works even if the memory is false, because people can now rationalize their fear. For example: “Oh, I fear swallowing because i was drowned in a past life, OK, now that I remember that I’ll feel better”.

    So I believe Weiss even helps people, even if it’s a scam, or a white lie.

    I personally regard this book as fiction.
    I can only guess that Catharine is a woman with a good imagination, very suggestible under hypnosis, that was guided by an intelligent and aspiring doctor to create a masterpiece of taped sessions. Or perhaps the whole thing is made up, or they conspired to and playacted the sessions. As far as I know the whole thing might be true the way it happened, but it still proves squat. It doesn’t matter anyway.

    Weiss constantly repeats how scientifically methodical, skeptical and analytic he is, in regards to Catharine’s sessions, but In my opinion he’s bar on proof in this book is pretty low. And when he calls upon other scientists to research the field… I’m not informed has he done any scientific research in the field. Still one must remember that like big business, religious groups sometimes order biased “scientific research” from questionable sources.

    All in all I’m glade I’ve read it, enjoyed it very much.

    • Ups..
      The part that I liked in your commentary that was very funny is: That’s like a therapist asking someone under hypnosis: “Do you see hooded men standing in pentagrams, touching you in strange ways?”

  76. I find it interesting that you are reading all that literature at the same time. Congratulations to you if you are that motivated, and apparently just getting started on your research with such a huge endeavor as you stated. I wish you would review your very review on this book. I feel such negativity coming from you that I couldn’t finish your article, nor could I regard it as valid. It’s your opinion, I understand that. But you honestly remind me of fat, dying Midwesterners that claim “Carbon dating is bullshit” because the Bible tells me the world isn’t that old. No offense. But you seem to have an immediate distaste for any alternate theories when you started your article. But I’m glad to hear you are doing research in every part of the world. That separates you from closed minded fat mid westerners. Hope your research opens your mind a bit. The process is beautiful. And the people you meet along the way are beautiful. Even the ones that believe that museums are a lie, and scientists are a lie, because the bible told them so. Bravo, for taking the next step!

  77. This excellent website really has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    • As a a child I really wanted to be a jew. Many of my friends were Jewish and the scholareship, humanism, Hebrew School and the Barmitzvah were something my family’s Presbyterianism couldn’t match. Now that I know a Jew is 200x more likely to win a Nobel than a ‘random human being’, I’m even more jealous! Cheers!

  78. Sorry, but you just don’t get it or any of the religious texts you claim to have read. I suggest going back to the drawing board and starting again. All the pieces are there you have to finish the puzzle yourself.

  79. Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

    I portray myself as a skeptic and I have written a skeptical article.

    My moral standard is that I believe it is corrupt to produce a product for sale: a Bible, Quran or MLMM that offers easy answers that offer wish fulfillment for humans that aren’t willing to engage in the deep thought processes that true understanding of this universe requires.

    Just for gits and shiggles, what is IT that you don’t think I get?

  80. Wes Hagen I will simply leave you with these words from Max Planck since in your criticism of the book, you refer to it as some sort of poetic dream :” “Science…means unresting endeavor and continually progressing development toward an aim which the poetic intuition may apprehend, but the intellect can never fully grasp.”
    ― Max Planck
    You made so many assumptions in your commentary about the author and his method that your entire diatribe is laughable and truly speak to the truth that one always sees himself in others. Intuition is not scientifically quantifiable and yes sometimes questions and insights appear out of seemingly nowhere. There are people achieving real results from the methods used by Dr. Weiss and that indeed can be measured from their brain patterns. In order for you to clearly see the value of the book, you need to use more heart and less brain 🙂 . I hope you understand. Namaste

    • Please provide me with peer reviewed studies that show ‘brain patterns’ achieving “real results” from regression therapy.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What I see is a fairy tale, wish fulfillment, and a Doctor who is making money hand over fist peddling easy answers.

      Sorry, but believing something like this as a fundamental belief is something my brain cannot fathom. “Insights appear our of seemingly nowhere” just doesn’t cut it with me, especially when those insights reflect an infantile response to the Universe.

      I appreciate your willingness to engage, even though you decided to use ad hominem attacks on me without justification. My “laughable” commentary got under your skin enough for you to lash out, so I suggest you look deep inside your ‘intuition’ and ask why that is so.

      • Thank you so much, weshagen, for promoting some critical readings on this book. I am sure that there are lots of skeptical revisions of MLMM, but probably they are not easy to find because they are covered by millions of better-ranked links that are considering Weiss as a healing master. Google rules.

        I red MMLM years ago and I became impressed. Now, a friend of mine has lost his father and I bought the book as a gift for her. But before I wanted to read it again with a more skeptical spirit and I had to stop after fifty pages and to put into quarantine the idea of the gift.

        Perhaps someone before has already ask what I am going to ask, as I have read most of the comments but not all of them (sorry). Are tapes of Catherine accessible? Wow, she had an incredible experience! She was supposedly healed by her regression to past lives! She got the teaching of masters! And she didn’t want to participate in the divulgation on this (and perhaps to earn lots of money like Dr. Weiss)??? It’s hard to believe for me.

        Regarding the date in the old Egypt life, it sounds simply ridiculous pointing an exact year B.C. I don’t deny the possibility of reincarnation, but I prefer not to contaminate this possibility with a reading that may be manipulative. I will find other ways of comforting my friend.

        Thanks again!

      • Of course there are no transcripts. Weiss sleeps on his bed of money while hiding behind the mosquito net of patient/doctor privilege. Thanks for your comment and keeping your mind open and critical.

  81. I’m glad that there’s a critique of this book and someone has done it. People are vulnerable…. with all their problems to believe without ever questioning. But the Dr. has surely made loads of money. Others will follow as this is the surest way to mint money.

  82. Liked your take on the book as a skeptic…. I am quite the ‘blind follower’ when it comes to Dr.Weiss, having read his books over & over again, almost like the Gita (I am a Hindu!;)) However, it was refreshing to read a skeptic’s thought on the whole phenomenon of past life regression! At the end of the day, like you said, neither did the prophet have any proof that God spoke to him nor do we have proof that God did not!!So, much like any other religious scripture, we can choose to believe & follow, or criticize and condemn! 🙂 Only point should be to spread harmony & peace, and Dr.Weiss does a good job of it…. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind and balanced perspective. I am an atheistic agnostic. I don’t believe a God or Gods exist, but I do not pretend that I know the answers to the deepest mysteries of the Universe. My only problem with Dr. Weiss is that he purports to know the ‘true nature’ and benefits financially (greatly) from pretending he can define transcendence. With that said, I cannot tell you how much I agree with your penultimate statement–spreading harmony and peace. I, for one, do not require Dr. Weiss’ work to get there, but I understand that it gives some spiritual relief.

      • 🙂 I am elated to find a sensible atheist in you…generally atheists hold extreme views. Given that I DO believe in a Superpower, I also agree that if Dr.Weiss cannot prove his theories, they’ll never be universally accepted. Our world is filled with weak minds which seek light in whatever form they get, notwithstanding the validity of the ‘light source’. Often when a highly educated person with proven credentials to his resume tells you an outrageous story, you tend to question your own sanity rather than his… 😉 I guess that’s what happened with many of Dr.Weiss’s followers(including me!)… His credibility as a Yale medical graduate and a practicing psychiatrist led us too easily into the ‘trap’ (if at all, it’s a trap!)… Having said all that, I would like to stress again on the fact that we are living in desperate times where there’s too much darkness and too little respite…If the man’s earning oodles of moolah by hypnotizing people to believe that their past lives are curing them of stuff, so be it….I see no harm in it ! 🙂

  83. I read Weiss’ MLMM in one sitting this summer because I found it to be an interesting and easy read. Afterwards I looked up Weiss because I wanted to hear him talk about PLR. I found his guided meditation sessions on you tube and decided to give them a try. I tried it four times and was able to recall some childhood memories and get some messages that provided opportunities for understanding and forgiveness in my life. I saw a lot of value in uncovering those memories because they lead to conversations with family members that I may not have had otherwise.

    As for past life memories surfacing. Sure I had visions of being a caveman who died from suffocation (volcanic ash in the air) on a cliff and a peasant boy who saw his mother killed in a vineyard. But I can’t just take these as confirmation of past lives. What I try to do with these ideas is reflect and/or try to learn what the lesson or message is for me. I liken it to dream interpretation.

    I was telling my significant other about Weiss and his books recently and he immediately went online and found this review of yours 🙂 It has been fascinating to read your thoughts and to read the various articles linked as well as the difference in opinions and responses to this book. Thank you for encouraging thoughtful discussions and for keeping up this blog. I think this topic is worth discussing and I appreciate that there is a forum for it.

    • Danielle: Thanks for stopping by and dropping off such a thoughtful comment. There are hundreds of paths to happiness and communication. Often fiction is more manageable than fact, as it is more defined and compact. Just as reading War and Peace or Ulysses can be life-changing, I will suggest MLMM fits the same bill. Is there genetic memory? I cannot say. We are in a period of time where modern science doesn’t always help in the study of consciousness. As a result we are in a void of scientific understanding, and currently the New Age writers, and I put Weiss among them, fill in a gap I hope will be studied in a more peer reviewed manner in the future. Also, if anyone can provide good evidence that any of this is true, the Amazingh Randi will pay you $1,000,000.00. So get on that! And then watch an Honest Liar on Netflix.

  84. One of the many things that bothers me about this book is the ethical boundaries he appears to violate so repeatedly.
    What caring professional would repeatedly subject a patient to so many traumatic ‘relived deaths’ in such a blithe manner, and primarily to satisfy his curiosity and ego.

    She is a willing blank cyper or vessel, innocent and dumb, and he is according to the ‘Masters’ the real target of the messages because he is wiser and a spiritually evolved teacher…yeah yeah yeah,how many times have we heard the reworking of this little patriarchal myth. Pygmalion eat yer heart out.

    And what about the sexual abuse from her actual father, extraordinary how in his hubris he expected her to improve after one session exposing it and a bit of a chat…the more I think about it the more this stinks.

    I should stick to my rule – be extremely cautious of anything associated with Hay House.

    • Thanks, Marina, for adding to the conversation. I would agree that Dr. Weiss failed in his most fundamental responsibilities as a physician–to do no harm.

  85. Ali Hammoud Says:

    Thanks for the article.

    Pseudoscientific nonsense…
    the book took 3 hours of my 1 life i will never gain back.

    As I was reading, I was reflecting on the way the Weiss was presenting his story, here are some passive aggressive persuasion tricks:
    – credentials, excellent physician (gives credibility)
    – normal guys, trusted by accomplished people (trust)
    – going from a skeptic to a believer and “questioning things” (makes his approach sound “scientific”)
    – mentioning explicitly that Christianity does not rule out reincarnation (to address religious people)
    – starting every chapter with the patient’s improvement (as mentioned above)
    – stating explicitly that he has reached the “facts” and “proof”

    After all, the whole book revolves around the assumption that the author is “honest”.
    Impressive and worrisome how innocent people are to believe and fall for such nonsense.

  86. Hey! You should read this http://www.monografias.com/trabajos-pdf5/the-organized-crime-of-dr-brian-weiss/the-organized-crime-of-dr-brian-weiss2.shtml

    It’s pretty interesting.

    Thank you for writing this by the way. It’s scary how manipulative a person can be just to make money… 😦

  87. It’s amazingly difficult to find discussions on Weiss that I can actually take part in. I can’t call ‘bullshit’ on Weiss, or on Michael Newton, or on any other of these authors who have documented their supposed past-life regression therapy sessions. But I can call ‘bullshit’ on all but one, because none of these authors are consistent with one another. Weiss and Newton describe regression therapy sessions that have almost nothing in common. You would think that if each had had hundreds of sessions with clients, that the results would be similar. But they aren’t. As a result, I have toI call ‘bullshit’. It’s definite that at least all but one of these authors are very creative writers that are presenting a good message in the form of a hoax, but it’s probable that 100% of them are doing this.

    • Thanks, Scott. We may have a different definition of ‘documented’. And leave it to me to call bullshit on Weiss. BULLSHIT!! Until there is peer reviewed and replicable scientific data on this type of woo-woo, I will put in the same category as Mormon magic underwear and L Ron Hubbard and Ralph Steiner. Did I mention BULLSHIT!!!?!

      • Ian Stevenson, MD from UVA. There’s your peer-reviewed science.

      • And here’s what some peers said: “Critics, particularly the philosophers C.T.K. Chari (1909–1993) and Paul Edwards (1923–2004), raised a number of issues, including that the children or parents interviewed by Stevenson had deceived him, that he had asked them leading questions, that he had often worked through translators who believed what the interviewees were saying, and that his conclusions were undermined by confirmation bias, where cases not supportive of his hypothesis were not presented as counting against it.[8]


        Despite this early interest, most scientists ignored Stevenson’s work. According to his New York Times obituary, his detractors saw him as “earnest, dogged but ultimately misguided, led astray by gullibility, wishful thinking and a tendency to see science where others saw superstition.”[7] Critics suggested that the children or their parents had deceived him, that he was too willing to believe them, and that he had asked them leading questions. In addition, the results were subject to confirmation bias, in that cases not supportive of the hypothesis were not presented as counting against it.[8] Leonard Angel, a philosopher of religion, told The New York Times that Stevenson did not follow proper standards. “[B]ut you do have to look carefully to see it; that’s why he’s been very persuasive to many people.”[7] Skeptics have written that Stevenson’s evidence was anecdotal and by applying Occam’s razor there are prosaic explanations for the cases without invoking the paranormal.[42] Science writer Terence Hines has written:

        The major problem with Stevenson’s work is that the methods he used to investigate alleged cases of reincarnation are inadequate to rule out simple, imaginative storytelling on the part of the children claiming to be reincarnations of dead individuals. In the seemingly most impressive cases Stevenson (1975, 1977) has reported, the children claiming to be reincarnated knew friends and relatives of the dead individual. The children’s knowledge of facts about these individuals is, then, somewhat less than conclusive evidence for reincarnation.[43]

        David Barker, who worked with Satwant Pasricha in the investigation of 59 alleged reincarnation cases “could not find a single case in which there was convincing evidence of the presence of paranormal process.”[44] The linguist Sarah Thomason has commented on an analysis by Stevenson on a lady known as “TE” who claimed to be able to speak Swedish, learned in a past life. According to Thomason “Stevenson is… unsophisticated about language” and TE’s Swedish is unconvincing as the other cases she examined.[45][46] Thomason concluded “the linguistic evidence is too weak to provide support for the claims of xenoglossy.”[47] The psychologist David Lester has written Stevenson’s subjects made grammatical mistakes, mispronounced words and did not show a wide vocabulary of words in foreign language; thus cannot be considered evidence for xenoglossy.[48]

        William J. Samarin, a linguist from the University of Toronto has written that Stevenson had chosen to correspond with linguists in a selective and unprofessional manner. He noted that Stevenson corresponded with one linguist in a period of six years “without raising any discussion about the kinds of thing that linguists would need to know.” He also wrote that most of Stevenson’s collaborators were “fellow believers” in the paranormal, starting with a preconceived notion.[49]

        Prof. William Frawley in a review for Stevenson’s Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy (1984) wrote that was he too uncritically accepting of a paranormal interpretation of the cases. In one case a female subject could only answer yes or no questions in German which Frawley found unimpressive. In another, the female subject could speak Bengali with a poor pronunciation. Frawley noted that she was raised on the language of Marathi (related to Bengali), had studied Sanskrit from which both Marathi and Bengali derive and was living in a town with thousands of Bengalis. He concluded “Stevenson does not consider enough linguistic evidence in these cases to warrant his metaphysics.”[50]

        Ian Wilson argued that a large number of Stevenson’s cases consisted of poor children remembering wealthy lives or belonging to a higher caste. He speculated that such cases may represent a scheme to obtain money from the family of the alleged former incarnation.[51] The philosopher Keith Augustine has written “the vast majority of Stevenson’s cases come from countries where a religious belief in reincarnation is strong, and rarely elsewhere, seems to indicate that cultural conditioning (rather than reincarnation) generates claims of spontaneous past-life memories.”[52] According to the research of Robert Baker many of the alleged past-life experiences investigated by Stevenson and other parapsychologists can be explained in terms of known psychological factors. Baker has written the recalling of past lives is a mixture of cryptomnesia and confabulation.[53]

        The philosopher C. T. K. Chari of Madras Christian College in Chennai, a specialist in parapsychology, argued that Stevenson was naive and that the case studies were undermined by his lack of local knowledge. Chari wrote that many of the cases had come from societies, such as that of India, where people believed in reincarnation, and that the stories were simply cultural artifacts; he argued that, for children in many Asian countries, the recall of a past life is the equivalent of an imaginary playmate. He also argued that Stevenson’s lack of familiarity with the local languages, and his consequent reliance on translators, had undermined the objectivity of his research.[54] Edwards wrote that one of the translators in India, H.N. Banerjee, was a past-life regressionist, and another was Dr. Jamuna Prasad, who believed that life after death was an “absolute certainty.”[55] Stevenson argued in response that it was precisely those societies that listened to children’s claims about past lives, which in Europe or North America would normally be dismissed without investigation.[56] To address the cultural concern, he wrote European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (2003), which presented forty cases he had examined in Europe.[57]

        Champe Ransom, a lawyer Stevenson hired as an assistant in the 1970s, wrote an unpublished report about Stevenson’s work, which is cited by Edwards in his Immortality (1992) and Reincarnation (1996). According to Ransom, Stevenson asked the children leading questions, filled in gaps in the narrative, did not spend enough time interviewing them, and left too long a period between the claimed recall and the interview; it was often years after the first mention of a recall that Stevenson learned about it. In only eleven of the 1,111 cases Ransom looked at had there been no contact between the families of the deceased and of the child before the interview; in addition, according to Ransom, seven of those eleven cases were seriously flawed. He also wrote that there were problems with the way Stevenson presented the cases, in that he would report his witnesses’ conclusions, rather than the data upon which the conclusions rested. Weaknesses in cases would be reported in a separate part of his books, rather than during the discussion of the cases themselves. Ransom concluded that it all amounted to anecdotal evidence of the weakest kind.[58]

        Edwards argued that Stevenson referred to himself as a scientist, but did not act like one. According to Edwards, he failed to respond to, or even mention, significant objections; the large bibliography in Stevenson’s Children Who Remember Previous Lives (1987) does not include one paper or book from his opponents.[59]

      • Sadly, that is the problem with skeptics. They ask for *science* and then when you give it to them they critique it with nonscientifics opinions. That’s a dangerous and foolish double standard game to play. Ian Stevenson’s work will go down as being some of the most important science of the 20th century, akin to Gallileo and Newton. It might just take another hundred years or so for the masses to recognize that.

  88. Was Stevenson’s work published in any reputable, peer-reviewed journals? If questioning woo-woo is ‘foolish’, I am a fool. But I would include in that category anyone who takes work as gospel that cannot be replicated in a peer-reviewed study.

  89. dobriden111 Says:

    Wow! This ‘critique’ has really kept people occupied for a few years! IT seems to me that the original author whilst a sceptic is disappointed that yet again another book ‘ failed prove’ that God exists. THe respondents to this blog could not prove it either in his eyes. The dissappointment is palpable. THe book never claimed to do more than just to summarise notes of the most interesting case in the author’s career.The author himself points out there is a an accute lack of interest in these phenomena from academia and proper investment in these studies should be made. He also says that there are an awful lot of charlatans in this field. Why is that so surprising or angering people? Any emotionally sensitive person can experience phenomena that are not easily explained. Dr. Weiss patients’ stories are analysed from a certain viewpoint and a theory is offered. He is not claiming to offer an exhaustive body of truth. Take what you want from it but do not misplace your depression or dissappointment from lack of spiritual journey suitable for you in aggression to another person’s life work.

    • We welcome you to the discussion, one of the most robust and honest on this book in the world. It is clear there are many, who like me, are stunned by the claims made in this book, and there are claims. The author purports knowledge that we, as ‘normal humans’ do not have access to–that of the ‘Masters’. He names them, defines them and profits from them. That means the onus is on Weiss to prove the improbable–and it is clear from those that have engaged here that these claims are dubious at best and self-serving and money-grubbing at worst. Of course I can see why easy answers and the ‘analysis’ of an anonymous and unproven relationship with a patient that may or may have not existed may offer some peace and a feeling of spiritual safety. I do not share that opinion, and thank goodness there is a place like this to discuss and posit the same type of rigor that a ‘skeptic’ and a ‘scientist’ like Weiss would encourage us to apply. And just because science lacks the capacity to study human consciousness currently does not seem to me compelling evidence to believe easy answers peddled in an all-too-familar (and human) quasi-religious fairy-tale. If my disappointment is palpable, it’s a result of the ‘Masters’ failing to seem compelling, real, or even anything beyond a wish-fulfilling non-sequitur. As always, I welcome your thoughts, and am always open to critical suggestions.

      • Hi, don’t know if anyone is still listening, I’ve come in 7 years late I know, but only just read MLMM.
        I too come from a strong science background, physics, astronomy, cosmology and agree with all that entailed when verifying data. However, I recently have been diagnosed with cancer, I am terrified of dying and leaving my wife and kids behind, and the science that has been my rock for over 50 years now is not giving me any answers. If there is the slightest chance Weiss is not a lier, and even a small percentage of it just may have some truth to it, believe me, it has turned what is left of my life around. Maybe now I will see my mum and dad and loved ones again? Any you know what, I really think for however long I do have left, it will make a better, kinder, more tolerant, more loving, less angry and more grateful person of me.

      • I’m so sorry for your illness, and I hope you are finding ways to find improvement through medical science as well!

        Philosophy can certainly help us–if the Buddha or Jesus never actually existed, millions could still argue that the (fictional) message helped them.

        I would love to see all my dead family and friends again, too. But knowing I will would also make me less likely to spend time and effort with them in this world, and I’m pretty convinced that this life is all we get.

        Beware of easy answers and anything offering wish fulfillment.

  90. Here are some points to consider, assuming Brian Weiss is telling the truth:
    -As Catherine knew things about the father and son of Brian Weiss?
    -How is that some patients spoke in tongues that do not dominate during the regressions?
    – How do the stories of some patients who speak with high level of detail from their previous families, may be right?

  91. You guys are all falling into the cycle of suffering, like children. Just read Kabbalah and open your eyes!! just know that this world is ran by plagued demons and Luciferian forces! wake up!!

  92. My best friend has just died…so how sweet would it be to see her again “on the other side”. Dr.Brian Weiss’ book MLMM comes to help. Enter Catherine, a troubled patient “seeking help for her anxiety, panic attacks and phobias”, incidentally also a swimsuit model.Turns out, Catherine has been molested by her father, but alas, we are in the Eighties, and who wants to hear that?But hello, it’s 2017, and if I read that the psychiatrist doesn’t really deal with that, but needs to know more about the horse Apple, the planes and masters, that smells, as in the barn-scene, of hay, I mean Hay. There is some comfort, though.
    The father has not learned his lesson, so he has to be reincarnated many times, til he does. I sense, that my dear friend on the other side has a chuckle, too.

  93. I attended an all-day intensive with Dr. Brian Weiss the day before yesterday. He put the audience into a trance. It was deep, healing, and restorative. I experienced a past life vision. I experienced this past life fleetingly. As soon as I applied judgment to it, it disappeared. The more practice one has with past life regression, the longer they can stay in the experience and report about it. I’ve never been skeptical of spirituality, and I experience synchronicity, bliss, and intuition on a regular basis. Dr. Weiss is most certainly compassionate and it clearly comes across that he is interested in helping people.

    I understand your need to question something that seems unreal to you. Past life regression and spirituality is not for everybody. My husband is a physicist and I am an intuitive. We blend so well together and compliment each others intelligence on the differing subjects we value. I’m an astrologer and he has helped me to better understand the physical aspect of the cosmos. And little by little he has come to understand astrology, to the point where he has become good at guessing people’s signs! We all seem to understand that a physical reality exists, but many can’t seem to give credence to the spiritual reality that exists, as well, operating on very different principles than physical reality. I think that skeptics are distrustful of spirituality because of the lack of concreteness to it and lack of reliability. We do get lucky when we get to have a spiritual experience. It’s not predictable and takes far more effort to prepare for than a general chemistry experiment. To experience spirituality somewhat consistently, one must take into consideration entropy. Constant effort must be exerted on ourselves to “stay in the zone.” Practicing yoga, consuming a plant-based diet, and regular meditation can aide in the developing of intuition and our receptivity to experiencing spirituality.

    Dr. Weiss was humble and admitted that he doesn’t know everything about how past-life regression works, but he is a master hypnotist! Through meditation and hypnosis one can heal pain, dissolve sub-conscious blocks, and eradicate fears. The evidence that past lives exists is in people’s personal experience of it. You can’t prove to somebody that love exists who hasn’t fallen in love. They have to fall in love to know.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Can I ask how much you paid for the ‘all-day intensive’?

      Sounds like you have a great partnership with your husband! It is true I have never been regressed, and if I had a personal experience with it that could certainly change my perspective.

  94. Marick D Payton Says:

    Very useful blog on the lack of scientific rigor in the book by Weiss. But, here is what seems to be a carefully investigated study of 4 past live regressions by Peter Ramster that I find pretty convincing. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAB2E742F250D0DCF
    What do you think,?

  95. doc Brian Weiss should worte ” how to becoma a milloners in one night”….

  96. Hi Wes- thanks so much for this site. I am a firm believer in reincarnation and NDE’s. A friend just gave me a copy of MLMM because my father recently died. I got a few pages into it and smelled the bunkum. There is no way for a person to know a date of 1863 BC, period. Egyptian dating systems were radically different. I suppose if she gave an Egyptian date and then later had a scholar do the math….or said it was during the reign of Pharaoh such and such at a festival of Isis…

    There is fraud everywhere. My antennas are way up. Fraud is especially rife in science and religion/spirituality. Much money to be made, much power to be gained.

    The recent case of the Texas boy born to Christian parents who knew the name of his war buddies and described his death in a plane was very compelling.

    Also numerous others…I’m sure Stevenson asked leading questions and made mistakes. Thanks for pointing that out. But there are too many other compelling cases. Plus the stories from surgeon’s themselves whose resuscitated patients tell them what happened in the operating room while they were out cold or clinically dead seem very scientific to me. I can provide links if you want.

    Brian Weiss is to my mind definitely a fraud. The story is way too pat, too perfect, besides the stupid dates he provides.

    now I gotta find a gentle way to break it to my friend!


  97. Good review. Agree that there isn’t sufficient critical information available for this book. Apart from James Randi few seem to have raised the issues about the authencity of the claims. We need to have more information debunking such claims. Unfortunately the fact that he has a psychiatry degree increases the number of people willing to believe that what he peddles is “scientific” and “authentic”

  98. I am psychiatrist, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist,
    have been practising in 4 languages in Munich, Germany,
    for many years.
    Your excellent critic of Many Lives, Many Masters brought
    order in my spiritual world.
    Thank you!

  99. Robert Dowell Says:

    I found your review interesting, but had the urge to raise a couple of questions. I thought the article highlighted some obvious points that are as others have said fishy, but it was the conclusions you gave that got me.

    Please don’t take this as an insult, but rather my own observations that I wish to add to this rather interesting 5 year old conversation.

    At the end of your review you claim –

    “The problem is that it tries to sell us a ghost story that is clearly fabricated.”

    – I find this statement unrealistic, only in as far as you too are also falling into the trap of conflating theory into fact. By use of the word ‘clearly’ you are making a claim that, without having been there to witness the event, is based on your theory of what you have read in the story. I could just as likely say ‘Clearly you are unable to provide proof of your claims, but you can provide interesting theories.’

    Then this little gem –

    “Whether it was done on purpose, or even if it was miraculously true, doesn’t matter.”

    – the validity of a claim if true does matter, because if it is miraculously true, then it will change how you think of atheism.

    Additionally, the use of your statement – drinking the Kool Aid – is usually reserved as a belittling statement. A metaphorical pat on the back for the poor sheep, so to speak.

    I think that all those who have ultimately read the book. will be changed, whether by the fact that they believe in it or because they are interested. Take your atheism for instance, we can only believe what you say is true. But, in many ways, like a lot of what is on the web, we have to take it on face value, on faith, that the person writing is indeed what they say they are.

    Finally for all the need for double blind studies, sometimes we have to take some stuff on faith.

    • As I’ve said, I find it a harmless, likely fabricated allegory. For a modern, scientific mind to take the book’s story as truth is a stretch that would require these’Masters’ to have somehow chosen Dr. Weiss to be a prophet, and they have hidden their wisdom from every other human on the planet…so they are either very secretive and have decided that Dr. Weiss should be the only human privy to this info (and make millions peddling it), or they purposefully leave us in the dark to the true nature of reality, which makes them immaterial and useless.

      This is a ghost story. It is about disembodied spirits that return from the hazy past and inform their ‘later selves’ about truths–how is that different than a medium conducting a seance? Spriritulaist hucksterism in its most classic and money-grubbing form.

      I stand by my ‘Kool Aid’ statement. The Cult of Weiss may not ask their adherents to commit suicide, but it is a similarly fringe philosophy/religion that sells easy answers and wish fulfilments, and deserves no respect from me.

      Being changed by the book does not require it to be true. And extraordinary claims require equally impressive evidence. You must admit that there is not a lick of evidence that any of the events or ‘communications’ occurred in reality. You wouldn’t want to conflate theory with fact, right?

      I appreciate your honest opinions and passion and hope you find my replies satisfactory. If not, let’s keep at it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: