Bridey Murphy Reincarnation Story – Fact or Fiction?

Bridey Murphy Reincarnation Story

The idea of people being reborn into new bodies stretches back through the ages effecting various cultures and religions. The Bridey Murphy reincarnation story is one of the most controversial accounts of this phenomenon…


reincarnation of bridey murphy
Morey Bernstein

Over the last couple of centuries hypnotists have began to use their powers in an attempt to find more answers to apparent past lives. One such attempt in 1952 pushed Pueblo, Colorado, to the forefront of both reincarnation believers and skeptics.

The reincarnation of Bridey Murphy started off with a young lady named Virginia Tighe. Tighe was close friends with Morey Bernstein – a man that claimed he had strong hypnotic powers.

One day Bernstein suggested that they attempt to put Tighe under the effects of hypnosis to kill time. He started off taking Tighe back to her early adulthood, to her adolescence, and to her childhood.

During this session Bernstein was amazed at how susceptible Tighe was to the hypnotic process. With this in mind he decided to delve a little deeper and find out if he could push Tighe to a pre-birth state.

The Bridey Murphy Reincarnation Story

As soon as Bernstein pushed further his friend started to reply to his questions in an Irish accent. His friend Virginia seemed to vanish and was replaced with a woman named Bridey Murphy who had lived in Ireland in the 19th century.

Tighe had never been to Ireland and had no real grasp on faking an accent – this was no prank! After the session Bernstein informed Tighe about what had happened and they both decided to investigate further.

Both of them agreed to document all the available information on the reincarnation of Bridey Murphy. They conducted further hypnosis sessions and built up a biography on this strange Bridey Murphy character.

Bridey Murphy

They discovered that Bridey Murphy was an Irish lady who was born in Cork in 1798. When she was about 17 a handsome lawyer swept her off her feet and married her in Belfast.

She lived a normal enough life and died in 1864. She told Bernstein that she had somehow been able to watch her own funeral and that the afterlife was ‘neither a place of sadness nor of happiness’.

The Snowball Effect

reincarnation of bridey murphyOnce the media got wind of the Bridey Murphy reincarnation story there was an obvious snowball effect. Cork and Belfast were taken over by a tidal wave of reporters all hell bent on one thing – retrieving official records on a lady named Bridey Murphy living in the area during the pertinent years.

After weeks of searching the media drew a blank – no records could be found on Bridey Murphy. Once they realized there was no Birth Certificate they quickly went after a Certificate of Death – this was another dead end.

During the hypnosis sessions Bridey had claimed to have lived in a wooden house in a particular area. Unfortunately all the houses in this area were made of stone during the period Bridey claimed to reside there.

People began to poke holes in the Bridey Murphy reincarnation story and claimed it was nothing more than an elaborate hoax by the two women.

However, Virginia/Bridey did provide some ‘nailed on’ information about the area at the time. Some of the landscape descriptions were spot on and even a few local figures/tradesmen were correct.

Not Convinced

The media at this point were no longer convinced in the reincarnation of Bridey Murphy so they turned their attentions to Tighe’s own past.

It was not long before they found out that when Virginia Tighe was a child she lived opposite a Irish woman named Bridie Murphy Corkell. The holes in her story and the fact she had lived opposite a lady who frequently visited Ireland led the media to one conclusion – this was a hoax!

The media and researchers involved stepped away from the case claiming it to be false but there are still many experts out there that claim this was a real case of past life regression.

What are you thoughts on the Bridey Murphy reincarnation story? Fact or fiction?

Please leave your responses in the comment section below…

29 comments on “Bridey Murphy Reincarnation Story – Fact or Fiction?

  1. I believe that memories of past lives are put into the heads of the believers through mental telepathy by the spirits of dead people, who then laugh their heads off when the living mistake those memories as evidence of reincarnation.

      1. I find it encouraging that you do believe spirits can
        communicate with the living:) My personal motto is
        “I believe in possibilities”. Although I have not
        experienced paranormal, I can’t say that you haven’t.

  2. who knows maybe this was true at the end of the day am a believer in the after life not because I want to believe hoping there is something there because I don’t think makes sense for there to be nothing as for the story yes us living beings have energy in our souls so its possible for the afterlife to use this to communicate on telepathy

  3. I don’t believe in Reincarnation, but instead take a scientific fact and ask this, since science cannot say definitively where memories are stored, but that ALL of what we are is contained in our DNA, then in our genetic make up there must be traces of our antecedents experiences and memories, and so then, is it not possible that this is how “Past life ” impressions appear, when a particular person has a flash of strong information/memory of a time previous to their own. It works for me!

  4. Instead of intently focusing on just this one case, why don’t people look for more evidence for and against reincarnation/past life regression? For example Dr Helen Wambach did just that in her book “Life Before Life”. The consistency of many hypnotic regressions gives a much better picture.

  5. Thanks Chris. I found your site with a Google search and I didn’t have a good look at it before I left my comment. You’ve assembled some interesting material there which I’ve been reading through. 🙂

  6. I don’t know if reincarnation will ever be proven. It does go along with the question of whether there is a spirit or survival of identity of some sort after death as we know it.
    Is there a spirit which leaves the body after the heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning. There are questions such as is there such a thing as telepathy, or some form of communication beyond the five senses, or is the identity tied up in the body, with the brain just being a thinking machine, a sort of biological computer that depends on electro-chemistry and a fantastically complex interplay of neurons with synaptic connections numbering in the trillions, or at least a lot, and that when the brain stops functioning when the heart stops pumping oxygenated blood and nutrients to it, that’s the end and bury the thing and get it out of sight. Not to worry, no spirit, no afterlife, no heaven or hell, or anything, just the end, or is there something that survives.
    Bridey Murphy seemed to be a distinct personality which came out in a hypnotic trance of the subject, and seemed to have recollections of a previous life. We any of these recollections actually from a prior life or were they just some fantastic confabulation or reduplication of forgotten memories from childhood. There have been a lot of regressions since then to prior lives and some think it is an effective form of therapy for various anxieties and psychological disorders. If it helps people, then it probably has some actual practical application, even if it can’t be proven. It may never be actually proven. Any of us now might not be aware of information that could be used to confirm our lives if by chance we should have some kind of recurrence in a later life. Usually our lives are pretty mundane, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, going to work, what not.
    Maybe there will be a record of us in the future or maybe not. Or maybe the whole thing is a fantasy and better to follow the old saying, Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for taking the time to submit this pretty awesome response to our article! You’ve covered many sensible and thought-provoking points here that our readers will enjoy reading. Love that saying – “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die”

  7. After reading the book I did my own research. While I could not find DEFINITE proof, I did find odd similarities. Bridey was supposedly born in Cork in 1798 and died 1864 (Belfast) at 66 years of age. I found a CATHERINE CARTY who died in Belfast in 1864 at 66 years of age…with estimated birth year of 1798. Ireland Civil Registration Indexes Vol. 6, page 223.
    Often whoever wrote down the facts got them wrong, though a lot of different means. Look at the U.S. census records. There are many different ages and spellings for the same people. Who knows?

  8. The only way to prove a past life is to relentlessly pursue hardcopy evidence to support it and I feel that nobody has taken the trouble to do this with the Bridey Murphy story apart from Donna Bradshaw. If I remember correctly, Bridey married a Belfast solicitor named McCarthy. Whenever I happened to be in PRONI (the public records office in Belfast) and had an hour or two to spare, I looked out for the baptisms of any children Bridey and her husband may have had and I believe that I may have jotted down a few possibilities. There is also and the possibility that the McCarthy children erected a gravestone in memory of their parents. The death cert is feasible – McCarthy was often casually written as Carty even in the 1860s – but has anybody ever bothered to check out Bridey’s husband’s professional credentials? Has anyone checked out commercial directories for Belfast? There are ways and means of extracting information even when scant detailsa are provided. Far too much energy went into disproving that Bridey story – and far too quickly. I googled this story to see if people are still searching for it. Reincarnation is not a subject talked about today and young people have no time for such beliefs in today’s over-commercialised world. However, I have memories of an interconnecting chain of past lives and they’re prodding me urgently to do something about them before I die. I began researching my own story properly in 1994. During the past three weeks I have experienced a scoop which I believe will enable me to finally put the research to bed, leaving no loose ends. I became a professional genealogist so that my past lives research would not be discredited or dismissed. People – and the world in general – have changed so much since the ’90s and now in 2017 there are few who will even listen to my tale, despite the vast amount of citations I am able to produce (dating back to the 13th century). Among the chief disbelievers are people who themselves indulge in the most improbable fantasy fiction! The problem with my story now is that the footnotes far exceed the narrative and I cannot see any reader having the patience to constantly flick from story to reference citation and back again without losing the thread! Any suggestions on how to get my chain reincarnation story out in a format that will not baffle the reader will be warmly welcomed. By the way, even after a 20-year absence from intensive research I am more convinced than ever that my story is true and the urgency to get it out there has now become unbearable.

    1. Wow this was a comment that stuck out today Paula – thanks for adding it to our article. We have a huge amount of internet traffic to this site on a daily basis – most of them ‘believe’ in the topics we cover here (I like to call them ‘believers’!). Anyway, would you like to use the site as a platform to get your story/research out there? You are more than welcome to and we can use more than one article – linking to each other to preserve the thread of course.

      Anyway just a option for you if you’d like to think about it. Do you think this sort of thing would interest you?

  9. In the late 60’s I lived in Littleton, Colorado and I became friends with an older and dear neighbor, named Ginny Morrow. One day she told me she wanted to share something with her that she didn’t want me to hear from someone else. She related that under hypnosis she became another woman named Bridie Murphy. She showed me the newspaper clippings and other info about it. She said she believed it was true and I came to believe it too. Ginny was not a fake.

    1. Hey there Caroline, thanks for this extra info!
      Are you thinking there may be a direct relationship between your friend Ginny & Virginia Tighe? The same person perhaps?

      1. I would suspect she was speaking with the former Virginia Tighe, since she was known to go by Ginny, and after she was divorced from Tighe, married a Mr. Morrow.

    2. Many happy returns!!

      I just moved to Colorado, Littleton, in 1970! Upon having a garage sale, this lady came in and spent the day with me, proclaiming she was Ginny Morrow. After several hours running the garage sale together, she proclaimed she was Bridie Murphy! I had no clue who that was as I was from New Orleans and only 21. I was however infatuated wither stories! The picture of her in the Westword confirmed that was her!! Curious enough I owned a shop in Morrison, Colorado and in October was a contest for the largest pumpkin! Lo and behold, I won with a gigantic pumpkin delivered by no less her son who grew the pumpkin himself!! Curious again, my great grandmother was from Dublin and her name was Katie Kerwin! Thats all I have but I do believe in re-incarnation! Certainly explains all the “gender benders” at this time! My bff was a civil war buff and collected everything about it, we had a past life regression party and she was suppose to have been in the war! I myself was a woman libber marching for civil rights to vote!! I was put to sleep with a shot because I caused too much trouble! just saying

  10. Is it possible the story is being changed over the years. Several years ago (20 +) I read what I thought were bits and pieces of the Search For Bridey Murphy. I was of the belief that the hypnotized person, when asked about her life Pre his/her birth date, this hypnotized person claimed to have been a student in grade school in some small town in Scotland. Now the story goes on to say that when this hypnotized person was attending school, there was a fire and a classmate died. Supposedly, a total investigation was done and there was in fact a school which burned and at which a grade school student died in the year in question. Am I remembering a different story or a different book or are the stories just getting out of hand?
    Or??? is REINCARNATION real and present in our society? I personally would not agree to whether or not reincarnation is a REAL OCCURRENCE, but there surely should have been enough investigations to prove or disprove the possibility of same? Thanks for all of the other answers provided tonight. Surely gives me even more to think about. Jim

    1. No problem James – thanks a lot for taking the time to share your opinions with us (comments always help our articles evolve!) 🙂

  11. If a living human being loses his/her memory and identity when the brain is damaged with, say Alzheimer’s disease to the extent they no longer recognise their own children, husband and other relations, and have no comprehension at all, then we can be pretty certain that when the brain is dead, the id dies with it. The personality no longer exists. The life force that left the body cannot die and I believe returns in many, many different life forms – certainly not as a ping-pong ball bouncing into another body. More like raindrops that form rivers flowing to the sea from whence the air picks up the water to form clouds to drop as rain again. Not one raindrop is exactly the same as another. So definitely no reincarnation and I am relived the story was proved false.

    1. People in Ireland often had a different everyday name to their official name. Bridey is just a nickname. Her real name could have well been Catherine Carty.

  12. More people throughout history have believed in reincarnation rather than heaven or hell or even nothingness, I believe. It makes more sense to me. There are also several reasons that could easily explain why we don’t remember. It could explain young talent, among other things. I certainly think it makes a lot more sense than heaven/hell.

Leave a Reply to Chris Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *