Elusive realities: Maggie Camiss – Another life: how regression fed my inner writer

We fiction writers already know how life experiences can inform our creativity. How getting lost in an unfamiliar town or eavesdropping on a quarrel can spark an idea; how the unexplored stretch of coastline or narrow, unmapped street can form the basis of a whole new storyline.

But what about experiences that aren’t part of this life? I don’t mean being abducted by aliens…  I mean of this world, but not really. Let me explain.

Many years ago, a friend training to become a regression therapist was coming to the end of her course and needed to demonstrate her expertise by conducting a series of successful past-life regressions of her own. She needed a guinea pig; would I consider being regressed to a former life?

I’m not very spiritual; I’m rather sceptical. I don’t question other people’s belief in this sort of thing; it’s just not for me. Maybe being a lapsed Catholic has something to do with it. Either way, I wanted to know how it would work. I was convinced that any former life we might uncover would just be a hotchpotch of scenes from novels I’d read and films I’d seen. How would my friend know the difference? How would I?

She assured me that only experiences and events from my own alternative past would feature. Still very doubtful, I agreed.

Well. What can I say? It certainly felt real. In my new (old) life I was a young Victorian woman, the daughter of a wealthy household. I can still remember every tiny detail: the house and its contents; the people I met and how they made me feel; my clothes – that exquisite emerald green gown, those tiny silk slippers – the food; the tastes, smells and sounds.

I was led through an entire life, fast-forwarding through troubling episodes, lingering on happier and more fulfilling occasions. I conjured up a whole other life, peopled with those who had my best interests at heart, others with more dubious intentions. The whole experience lasted several hours and only ended when I died.

Yes, died. I actually survived my own death. Bit of a head-banger, that one. But on another level, it made perfect sense.

I was completely exhausted at the finish, but filled with excitement and enthusiasm. I’m not sure my experience was an accurate representation of life in Victorian England but it was an interesting way to spend an afternoon.

But here’s the real point of this piece. I’m still not sure I believe what happened to me that afternoon, but one odd thing remains a mystery: during the regression, I could play the piano very well. And I mean very well. I was an accomplished, sought-after pianist within my social circle; I even gave public concerts. It was an integral part of my Victorian life.

This was strange, because at that time in my actual life I’d had a deep yearning to play the piano. I‘d embarked on several courses of lessons over a period of years. I’d bought second hand pianos, rented a superb, shiny, black Yamaha upright, even bought an electric version so I could practice with headphones and turn the volume down to spare my neighbours. All because I really wanted to play the piano.

Progress had been slow. I was waiting for that lightbulb moment when the marks on the stave would suddenly rearrange themselves into a language I recognised instinctively, and I would be able to play fluently. But they never did. I practised assiduously; I was a demon with scales, chords, Chopsticks, but in vain. Everything else was laborious to say the least.

When I got home after the regression something felt different. I sat down at the piano and, ignoring my music book, open at a piece of Bach I’d been struggling with, I put my fingers on the keys and played. I played the piece perfectly, fluently, with not a hitch or hiccup, from start to finish, all ten minutes of it, without referring to the music once. I was exhilarated. At last! The Muse had found me.

You might wonder what this has got to do with creative writing. I don’t write historical fiction, but the regression gave me insights that are relevant to my writing today and I’m still benefitting from it today, creatively speaking.  I think myself back into that grand old house with its enormous library and equally enormous kitchen, and conjure up details like the silver flatware, the fine bone china, the crystal chandeliers. I imagine many other lives, from the lowly to the exalted. The people hang around in my head like the cast of a melodrama waiting for a script – a great starting point for building characters.

One more thing before I go. The day after the regression, I approached the piano nervously. Would I still be able to play like a virtuoso? No. I was back to my usual halting, hesitant playing. I took this as a signal to stop. I sold the piano.

Take from that what you will. I haven’t tried to play the piano since, but I’ve written some cracking stories.

About the author

It might be a cliché, but writing about what you know certainly worked for Maggie. Seventeen years spent in the hectic environment of a 24-hour rolling news channel provided her with plenty of background material and so far, she has completed two novels set in a television newsroom. Her debut novel, No News is Good News and follow-up Breaking News were both reissued in 2017. Recently married to her long-term partner, she was thrilled to be able to put author in the ‘profession’ column of her new marriage certificate. They now live in Norfolk where Maggie can often be found walking on the beach, mulling over subplots for her next novel. She’s an inveterate eavesdropper and always has a notebook and pen handy. Not quite an insomniac, she makes a lot of notes in the dead of night.

Find and follow Maggie

Facebook author page  Website/blog   Twitter   Amazon

Breaking News

What happens when your life makes the evening news?

Television producer Sara Cassidy has her life all mapped out. She loves her job making weekly feature programmes for TV news channel UK24, and is looking forward to furthering her ambitions in the media. She is devastated when her fiancé makes a shattering confession, but she hardly has time to come to terms with his betrayal when her closest friend is involved in a freak accident and Sara’s world is turned upside down.

As Sara struggles to maintain a professional perspective, she finds solace in a new interest and a blossoming romance. But she has to be careful who she trusts in the cut-throat world of television news. Just as she is finding her feet again the career that means so much reveals its murkier side.

When she suddenly finds herself at the other end of the camera lens, Sara discovers that in the struggle for ratings, loyalty is in short supply.

No News is Good News

Eleanor was gearing up for marriage when her boyfriend Daniel rejected her without explanation and disappeared. Four years later, she has thrown herself into her hectic career as a TV news editor. She’s over the moon when an opportunity arises which could be the making of her career, and knows she’s definitely over her ex.

That is, until Daniel returns with a brand-new fiancée on his arm, and her golden chance turns to be not as shiny as she had first anticipated …

When an unusual storyline leads Eleanor into a reckless romance and a labyrinth of lies and deceit that threatens her job and her reputation, she turns to Daniel for advice.

But fate has another dramatic blow in store.

Elusive realities

If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at findme@scvincent.com (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.

I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences and perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean.

If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.

You can find previously published encounters with elusive realities here

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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28 Responses to Elusive realities: Maggie Camiss – Another life: how regression fed my inner writer

  1. Thanks for having me, Sue. Hope you enjoyed reading about my strange little experience x


  2. Adele Marie says:

    wow, fascinating. I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of reincarnation, on one hand, it makes perfect sense to me, on the other hand, I get frustrated that I might not see my loved ones when I die because they will be reincarnated. This is amazing that you are able to take this experience into your writing. xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Adele, glad you enjoyed reading about my experience. I’m not in any way religious, which is probably why I got so much from it. Still not sure I believe it, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Have you ever thought about past life regression? It is a fascinating subject and one that has always interested me. Even more so after reading the guest post by author Maggie Cammiss on Sue Vincent’s blog. Maggie was fairly sceptical about helping a friend as part of her training, but I am sure you will be as amazed as I was by her experience.. do head over and find out more.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lbeth1950 says:

    Past lives have always fascinated me.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Jane Risdon says:

    Fascinating. Never been regressed, know someone who has and it had to be stopped. I have however, been told about my past lives by various mediums, clairvoyants and white witches when researching them for a TV show which never happened, many years ago. Tweeted and shared. x

    Liked by 3 people

  6. dgkaye says:

    Wow! What a fascinating experience, the fact that you could play the piano and the next day you couldn’t is just wow! I’d love to have my past life done. I’ve had one medium touch lightly on one of my past lives but due to time restriction and the extra fee involved we left it at the teaser. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Mary Smith says:

    Fascinating. I really don’t know what I think abour regression therapy. Your experience was clearly powerful and positive. My only direct knowledge of anyone else undergoing it was when a friend of my mother’s was persuaded, after the death of a partner, to go for grief counselling. The therapist took her back to the beginning of her life (current life, not a past incarnation) and she ‘remembered’ being abused by her father. Rather than bringing her any comfort it opened a whole new can of worms she had to deal with on top of grieving for her partner.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Mary. It’s always a risk that we’ll uncover unwelcome memories. I didn’t go into too much detail about the actual regression in this post, but it wasn’t all pleasant.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Carol says:

    How fascinating, like Mary I am not sure what I think…I am assuming it involves hypnosis of which I have a fear and what would I find and would it open a can of worms?? I find it a fascinating subject and have had very positive happenings through mediums but taking that next step…scary ..Fear of the unknown I suppose takes over …A great post and very interesting 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Carol. There was a level of hypnosis, but I never felt as if I wasn’t in control. Maybe it comes down to the skill of the practitioner. Overall, it was a positive, even exhilarating experience.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for this wonderful posting and great information. Never before heared about this therapy, but it sound very interesting. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  10. robbiecheadle says:

    A most interesting post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Very interesting 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  12. jjspina says:

    That is a fantastic experience – a real wow factor to be able to play the piano one day and not the next. Where does that come from? This experience will make a good story for you to write about. Maybe you were a famous author in your past. Hmm. Thanks for sharing. Thank you, Sue, for another fabulous post. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What an interesting experience! And not what I would have expected. I would have thought that, if you’d been a proficient piano player in another life, it would have been easy for you to pick it up in this one. But I love experiences that show us how very little we know about things. Mystery keeps life interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

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