Mysterious reincarnation: how a British woman proved she lived in ancient Egypt

Dorothy Adie was born on January 16, 1904, in the suburbs of London. When she was three years old, she fell down the stairs and died, a fact attested to by the family doctor who was called home. An hour later the doctor was asked to come again — the girl was alive and in perfect health, but it was a different Dorothy.

She spoke in her native English with a strange accent, then crawled under the table, crying and asking her parents to take her home. When asked where she wanted to go, the girl described a tall building with huge columns and beautiful gardens.

At the age of four, the family took Dorothy to the British Museum. The child was bored — right up to the moment when the girl entered the hall devoted to Ancient Egypt and saw the sculptures. To everyone’s surprise, Dorothy rushed to embrace them and flatly refused to leave. She repeated that they were her people, her people, and kissed the feet of the statues.

Looking at a picture of the temple of Seti I, the 19th dynasty pharaoh of the New Kingdom period (and father of Ramses II), she said that this was her home. She could not understand why there were no gardens and trees around the temple, but she recognized monuments and other artifacts in the rooms of the Egyptian collection.

Soon after, the girl began to study ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of her teachers was the famous Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge, who inspired Dorothy to study Ancient Egyptian history.

Dorothy was 15 years old when she described her first dream encounter with the mummy of Pharaoh Seti I. She claimed that the dream helped her remember her past life. As time passed, the girl turned more and more to ancient religion and distanced herself from her family.

In 1931 Dorothy married an Egyptian, Eman Abdel Megid. This marriage was her long-awaited ticket to the country where she became an English teacher. When her feet first touched Cairo, she knelt down and kissed the land to which she had been drawn all her conscious life. In Egypt, her visions became more frequent.

As the British woman told it, in a past life her name was Bentreshit, which means «harp of joy.» She was born 3,300 years ago into the family of a soldier and a vegetable vendor. When Bentreshit was three, her mother died and her father gave her up for a temple upbringing. At the age of 12, the high priest told her that now she must either leave the walls of the sacred abode or become a priestess.

The girl did not want to leave, so she took a vow of celibacy and stayed to serve in the temple. One day, Pharaoh Seti I came to visit the temple and was struck by the beauty and youthfulness of the young novice. Bentreshit could not resist the Pharaoh’s will, she became his secret lover and became pregnant.

The news of this quickly spread. For breaking a vow of celibacy was supposed to be a terrible punishment — death. To protect her lover from public humiliation, Bentreshit committed suicide.

Dorothy had a very deep knowledge of Ancient Egypt, which amazed the experts. The Egyptians recognized reincarnation and gave the British woman a new name, Omm Seti, which meant «mother of Seti,» since Dorothy already had a son whom she named after a pharaoh.

Her legal husband could no longer tolerate Dorothy’s strange visions, and the couple divorced. Dorothy Edie devoted the rest of her life to the study of Ancient Egypt and became a valuable expert in the field.

She managed to find work at the excavation site of the Temple of Seti I in the Egyptian city of Abydos. The chief inspector of the Department of Antiquities, who was skeptical of Dorothy’s stories, decided to check whether she was really a reincarnation of the priestess Bendreshit or it was just a fantasy. The British woman was asked to identify the recently found artifacts from the Temple of Seti I — by touch, in complete darkness.

Dorothy quite accurately described the drawings, decorations and interiors, which amazed everyone present, because of what is in the room, at that time only a few people knew. Moreover, thanks to the visions of Dorothy, the archaeologists were able to find the ancient garden, adjacent to the temple of Seti I. It was located in the exact spot about which the British woman spoke about 50 years ago.

Scientists understood nothing. It was scientifically impossible, but Dorothy did know things she could never have learned from books, such as how the prayers and rituals in the temple were performed with amazing accuracy. From her accounts, she was able to restore the original appearance of the bas-reliefs and monuments. Dorothy knew by heart the plots of some ancient Egyptian papyri.

Her words began to be taken seriously. Collaboration with the British woman contributed greatly to the success of excavations and new archaeological discoveries. She published several books and acted as an expert in the scientific works of other researchers.

For decades Edie has been an inspiration to scholars. Her stories of life and death during Seti I have touched many hearts. Thanks to her memories, many discoveries have been made. Following information from Dorothy, researchers led by Otto Schaden discovered tomb KV63 in the Valley of the Kings, which was located next to Tutankhamun’s crypt and contained the remains of 18th Dynasty women.

When Dorothy retired, her son Seti offered to move with him to Kuwait, but the woman refused. She wanted to die here in Egypt, near «her» temple. For that, she traded her comfortable life in London for a tiny cottage and a hot desert climate.

Dorothy Edie passed away at the age of 81. The woman was buried in the Coptic cemetery in Abydos. She waited quietly for death, believing it would help her reunite with her lover.

Even decades after her death, some researchers are still trying to prove that the British woman was a common liar, with access to the latest literature and excellent acting skills. Others say she was one of the most fascinating women they have ever met in their lives.

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