Bridey Murphy

Hypnosis Subject
Date Of Birth:
27 April 1923
Date Of Death:
12 July 1995
Place Of Birth:
Madison, Wisconsin
Best Known As:
Hypnotic regression celebrity of the 1950s

Name at birth: Virginia Tighe

Bridey Murphy was the alter ego of Virginia Tighe, who made news in the 1950s by claiming that she had been an Irish woman in a past life. Virginia Tighe was a housewife in Pueblo, Colorado when she was hypnotized by Morey Bernstein, a businessman and amateur hypnotist. During her sessions she gave a detailed account of her "past life" as an Irish woman named Bridey Murphy, claiming she had been born in 1798 and died in 1864. Bernstein recorded the sessions and published the story in 1956 in The Search for Bridey Murphy. (He referred to Tighe as "Ruth Simmons" in the book.) The Search for Bridey Murphy became a bestseller, and many people took the tale as proof of reincarnation. Tighe, who claimed she'd never been to Ireland, had provided an abundance of commonplace details of life in 19th century Ireland, and parts of her story checked out and others didn't. A Chicago newspaper made the claim that Virginia Tighe had lived across the street from an Irish woman named Bridey Murphy Corkell when she was a child, causing many to dismiss Bernstein and Tighe as frauds. That explanation has proven to be unsatisfactory for many people, and the Bridey Murphy case continues to be a classic headscratcher for those who study the paranormal.
Extra Credit

The 1956 film The Search for Bridey Murphy starred Teresa Wright (of The Best Years of Our Lives fame) as Virginia Tighe/Bridey Murphy.

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