Real Name: Unrevealed, "Sharon Johnson" is not her real name
Location: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Details: Sharon Johnson believed that she was the reincarnation of a soldier who was killed at Pearl Harbor eleven years before she was born.
In 1979, Sharon met hypnotist Frank Baranowski for weight loss hypnosis. Sharon lost thirty pounds but also realized she had an odd recurring dream of smoke, the same recurring dream she had as a child years earlier.
Six months later she visited the island of Oahu, Hawaii for the first time with Frank and some his friends. Certain sights on the island of Oahu seemed familiar to her even though she'd never been there before. After she visited the Arizona monument for Pearl Harbor she went back to her hotel and had the same odd dream again that night. She went under hypnosis again and claimed that she was a man named John Gillespie who lived on a farm in Omaha, Nebraska and was born in 1921 to John Gillespie Sr. She even described the attack on Pearl Harbor and named people that were there at the time of the attack: Captain Scandel, Paymaster Cooper, and Ensim Taussig, none of whom she personally knew in real life or had even heard of before in her awake state. Ensim Taussig was a badly injured man in Sharon's dream. A few minutes later, the story came to an abrupt end. Sharon then realized that John Gillespie had been killed. Sharon was eager to do more past-life regression exercises to learn more about John Gillespie.
Frank recorded several hypnotic sessions in order to find out if John actually existed. In one session, Sharon gave John's serial number and names of his friends at the time. Frank went to Robert Scanlon, senior aid to the congressman. Robert was skeptical at first, but he decided to check the national archive to have a list of the Nevada men on board and was surprised to learn that eight of the nine men that Sharon had named were listed. However, Ensim Taussig, was not listed on board the Nevada, but Sharon found that he had been in Hawaii that day and that he was probably onboard.
Sharon and Frank located a man named Joseph Taussig who confirmed several facts in Sharon's story and state including that he was on board that day and had to have his leg amputated. However, John Gillespie did not appear on any of the ship's rosters, but fire might have destroyed a roster with John's name on it. A fire likely destroyed any evidence of John's existence because it ravaged a Naval warehouse that housed most records of Navy seamen during WWII. Despite the fact that evidence of John's existence seemed to be hard to prove, Frank did the unbelievable and actually found census records that stated John Gillespie was a real man.
Some believed that Sharon's story was true, but others believed that Sharon's information came from third-party sources like books and hypnotic suggestion. However, Sharon and Frank were certain that Sharon was the reincarnation of John Gillespie. Sharon and Frank even took polygraphs to prove that they were truthful, and they passed. Under hypnosis, Sharon revealed that John had a Hawaiian girlfriend named Sugar, which Sharon made a composite of. Sharon stated that John met Sugar at Pearl Harbor.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the November 6, 1991 episode.
"Sharon Johnson" is not the real name of the woman in this case, who preferred to be otherwise anonymous.
Results: Unresolved. With the help of military records, Baranowski was able to confirm that there was a "John Gillespie" in the Navy and that he did die during the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, the woman named "Sugar" was never located, and there is no way to determine whether Sharon's reincarnation story is true or not. Sadly, Frank Baranowski passed away in 2002.