OPRAH WINFREY: Back in 1980,
Dr. Brian Weiss was using hypnotherapy
with a patient named Catherine to discover the roots
of her paralyzing phobias.
In his book, Many Lives, Many Masters,
he writes that during one of their sessions,
Catherine regressed back to a time before she was born,
recounting a past life as an 18-year-old girl
named Aronda from the year 1863 B.C.;
sounds crazy I know.
So, okay. You are a Yale-trained,
Columbia-trained doctor, psychiatrist, agnostic
and this woman is saying these things.
Things are coming out of her mouth that, that are,
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Right.
OPRAH WINFREY: What did you make of that?
I mean, so she finishes her hour session?
I mean, I would have let her go two hours that day, if I were you.
She finishes her session and you say what?
DR. BRIAN WEISS: I said, "I don't know what this is," but I...
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...could already see it was intense.
It was cathartic. It was emotional.
And I didn't know why imagination...
OPRAH WINFREY: Because when you're hypnotized, you,
you remember everything you're saying.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Yes.
OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: It's, it's not something that you forget.
You remember it. And...
OPRAH WINFREY: So she probably couldn't believe it herself.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: For her it was easier than for me...
OPRAH WINFREY: To believe it.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...because it was so, yeah, to believe it,
it was so intense for her.
She was experiencing it with emotions and visually and,
and sounds and other...
OPRAH WINFREY: Uh-huh.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...senses that it, it became easier
over the weeks that followed for her
to change her world view.
But for me, I needed more, because I was such a skeptic,
so left-brained, so academic.
OPRAH WINFREY VO: Yeah.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: And I started already explaining it away.
Like, "Oh, maybe she saw movies or read about
this or maybe it's the collective unconscious that the psychoanalyst
Carl Jung wrote about or...
OPRAH WINFREY: Yeah.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...something else going on."
But when she came back in the next week,
her symptoms were disappearing.
OPRAH WINFREY: Despite his skepticism,
Dr. Weiss started to notice a connection between
Catherine's paralyzing phobias and the traumas she
says she suffered in her past lives.
Remember her fear of water?
Well, in one of her past lifetimes,
she remembered drowning in a tidal wave.
Could that explain her phobia?
DR. BRIAN WEISS: And that was even weirder to me as a formally
trained psychiatrist that how does imagination
or fantasy cure symptoms that had been there since
she was a little girl?
So there had to be something deeper,
and that was the beginning for me.
But it still took that other stuff for me to change.
OPRAH WINFREY: So what was the moment that you were convinced that
what she was saying was real and that this was something
bigger than you had expected?
DR. BRIAN WEISS: It was about the fourth or fifth time and she died in
one of these lifetimes in the past, floated above,
replicating all of the near death experience work.
She had never heard of that or read anything.
OPRAH WINFREY: Had you?
DR. BRIAN WEISS: I had. I had read...
OPRAH WINFREY: Heard of N.D.E.'s.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Yes, I had read Raymond Moody's...
OPRAH WINFREY: Raymond Moody.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...book from the '70s.
Yeah, and so, Life After Life.
OPRAH WINFREY: Yes. Raymond Moody is a psychologist,
author, and researcher who coined the term,
"Near Death Experience," in the late 70s.
By interviewing people who had N.D.E.s, he found they'd
experienced many of the same things,
like floating above their bodies, watching the scene below,
meeting friends and relatives who had previously passed,
traveling through a long tunnel, feeling no pain, and a sense of peace.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: So I was aware of that, but in a clinical,
academic sense because I,
I didn't really experience that myself.
I didn't know if I believed it, but I, I knew about his work.
OPRAH WINFREY: Mm-hmm.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: And I remember my office feeling very cold,
icy cold at this moment.
She said, "There are two people here to see you,
your father and your son."
Now, she's in this hypnotized state,
she's in between lifetimes now, just floating there,
but still in a deep state.
And she didn't know anything about me.
I don't even have diplomas hanging in my office.
So she's telling me, "Your father's here and your son."
OPRAH WINFREY: So she doesn't know that your father
has passed or not passed.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: No. No.
OPRAH WINFREY: And this was before you could google your doctor.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: It was before the Internet.
It was, yes, before you could google your doctor.
OPRAH WINFREY: Yes.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Before all this she didn't know anything about my father.
She tells me my daughter is named after him.
Amy was, she's here now, and she was named after him.
His English name was Alvin.
His Hebrew name was Avram.
She didn't know this.
She's a Catholic woman from New England.
He had, she said, "Your father is here.
He died from his heart. His heart was important.
Your daughter is named after him."
And she went into other medical details.
He died in New Jersey a year and a half before
I began with Catherine, just before Amy was born.
Amy was named after him
and Catherine's telling me this.
The room's still feeling icy cold and I'm thinking,
"What is this? How does she know this?"
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Because he never had an obituary.
There's, it's not only before the Internet, there's no place to look it up.
There's no obituary. It's not written down.
Our best friends didn't know these details.
And then she said, "Your son is with him and he's here, too.
He's very tiny, shining brightly,
and his heart is important also,
because it's turned around backwards."
And she went into why he died; medical details.
That was the son, my first child, who died in 1971.
This is happening around 1981.
OPRAH WINFREY: This was the son who had lived 23 days.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: Yes.
She's telling me about him and the very rare congenital heart deformity.
She's describing it and giving me other details,
and that was the epiphany for me.
That was the moment I knew.
OPRAH WINFREY: Because you knew nobody knew about that.
DR. BRIAN WEISS VO: No.
OPRAH WINFREY: You and, you and your wife had kept that.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: We had. Our relatives didn't know.
Our best friends didn't know.
You can't look that up, can't google it. There's...
OPRAH WINFREY: Yes.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: ...no article.
And I knew then, and knowing her after a year and a half of therapy,
I remember thinking,
"If she's right about these things about my father and my son,
could it also be about past lives and reincarnation
and life after death and the existence of the soul
and all of us getting reunited again and again and again?"
And that was the moment when it just all shifted for me for good.
Because before that, I was, like, push, push,
but it was intellectual still,
"Imagination doesn't heal and cure symptoms."
This, but now it was personal. She knew my father.
She knew my son. She's getting messages.
DR. BRIAN WEISS: And I asked her,
"Where, where are you getting this from?"
And she described that she was listening,
responding to spiritual beings.
She called them masters.
Master spirits who were there telling her these things.
And then I knew,
"Wow, my whole universal order,
my whole world was upside down,"
because now I'm learning about dimensions in
heaven and master spirits and angels and steps on the way to God
and I realized my life would never be the same again.