Jenny Cockell was just an ordinary Northamptonshire housewife. She was also a mother of two children, But there was nothing ordinary about her. Over the next few years, she not only believed that she had lived before, as an Irish woman called Mary Sutton who was born in 1897, but she ‘found’ her children still living in Ireland.
Her story starts just before her fourth birthday. She began to remember her past life in small snatches and pictures, and for a long time she never mentioned it to anybody because she believed that everybody had the same feelings and experiences. The most vivid of the memories was a very disturbing one. She dream of her own death. Or should I say Mary’s death. She was also aware that Mary had been 35 years old and had just given birth to her eighth child. She could ‘see’ the hospital where it was happening, and she felt very strong feelings of guild and sorrow that she was leaving her children.
The feelings never left her, and, after experiencing these memories for some time, she suddenly decided to draw a map where she believed these strange things had happened. She just knew that it was in Ireland, she was quoted as saying, ‘ I just felt so sad that I had left them, I realised then that I had to go back, so I got out a map, and I instinctively kept pointing to Ireland. After a while I was drawn to a place called Malahide. I just knew this was my home town’.
But life got in the way, and she was still only a child. It was a few years later when Jenny got married and had her own children, that the feelings and memories surfaced again. Only this time they were stronger.So she started to think about tracking down Mary’s family in Ireland.
Beginning to Believe
Jenny stated that if she were to trace the family, she wanted to make sure she did it right. No mistakes and not the smallest doubt. It had to be the right house, the right family, and even more importantly, get the names dates and children’s names correct. So she consulted a hypnotist who dealt with regression therapy. The funny thing was, that Jenny was very much a sceptic, she didn’t really believe iin anything like reincarnation or any other type of psychic phenomena. That I think, Is what makes this story so incredible. She felt uncomfortable with the whole story, and was afraid she was going to make a fool of herself. So after undergoing regression, and realising that this was not going to go away, she decided to make the trip to Ireland.
Still consulting her maps that she had drawn, she took out a map of Ireland and studied in detail a real map of Malahide. To her surprise, she realised that it was very similar to the one she had drawn from memory. This gave her the final push to undertake the journey back in time, to see if she could understand, and find, the home and family that she had ‘left’ many years before.
She arrived in Malahide, which is north of Dublin, and decided the best course of action would be to check out any records she could find in the church records.
The records showed that there had been a Mary Sutton who had lived and died in Malahide, and her eight children had been left to various relatives, and some had been placed in orphanages. She decided that if she was going to do this properly she would get in touch with the local newspapers, and also write letters to all the churches, to find out as much as she could. By this time, any sort of embarrassment or doubt was quickly beginning to disappear. She knew in a way that nobody else could understand, that this was real.
With the help of letters to foster homes and the historical societies, she realised that if this didn’t work, nothing would.
Much to her surprise and relief, she located the surviving children. Before she met the children, she subjected herself to questioning by a BBC researcher to make sure that the dreams and memories that she had been having, would match up to the facts by the surviving members of the Irish family.
Jenny told the researcher facts about the family home, the kind of sewing thread that Mary had used, even small things like when the children had caught a live hare in a trap.
Eventually after her interview, she came face to face with Sonny, Mary’s son, for the first time.
In 1990, Sonny Sutton picked up the phone, and listened to the most amazing story he had ever heard, and when he at last put the phone down, his wife said, ‘You look like you have seen a ghost’, Sonny turned to her, and as white as a sheet said, ‘I’ve been talking to my Mother’.
The rest of Mary’s family were not so easily convinced. Who was this Jenny? What was her purpose in doing this to the family? They just could not believe such a thing. The family had been brought up as Catholics, and in complete bewilderment, Phyllis Clinton, Mary’s daughter, consulted her priest, who told her that, after hearing the evidence, the only thing he could think of was that somehow, Mary was speaking through Jenny, as a way to get the family back together. Christy, 72, Frank, 70, Phyllis who was 71, Betty Keogh, 62, and their brother Jeffrey James, who died in 1992 aged 66, were very unsettled by all of this.
‘She knew the pictures on the wall, what was in the house, how it was built, it is unbelievable’ said Phyllis. ‘I still find it hard to believe, even though I know she is telling the truth’ she goes on to say,’ mammy passed her soul over to this unborn person’.
There was a 21 year gap between the year Mary died and Jenny was born. And this is very unusual in the fact that the children could be found and the story corroborated.
Jenny is a member of Mensa and is a very down to earth person. She insisted that anything that she could not remember, should not be added to the story. It had to be only the things she could prove.
This is a very fascinating story in the fact that an average everyday woman, born into a normal household grew up with the knowledge that, to her, it was normal to remember past lives. And even more important isn’t whether you believe her or not, the fact is that, after Mary’s death, her children were separated and lost contact with each other for nearly 60 years. Jenny Cockell did a remarkable thing. She reunited a lost family, and on that day in a Dublin home belonging to Betty, they came together and shared tears and memories, vowing never to be apart again.
If there is anything that we can take from this story is that, whether we believe in reincarnation, or not. something extraordinary happened. So the next time you dream a dream, or have a memory that is strange to you, maybe you should listen to your thoughts, because there could be someone out there that is remembering you.
Filmed in 1993. Amazing!