`The Case Against Reincarnation' by James Webster is the first book to critically examine the doctrine of reincarnation from a rational point of view. Many books on reincarnation are written by religious devotees of one kind or another who accept the idea of reincarnation as an article of faith but present it to the reader as an established or `scientific' fact. Other books are written by people who cannot make up their own minds about the issue and end up confusing the reader.
However, the reader of James Webster's book will find no shilly-shallying about reincarnation. Through a steady process of rational discussion and enquiry, we learn that reincarnationism is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting world. Although the author does not say so explicitly, it is clear that the agenda of reincarnationism in the West has been to enrich its proponents through a sustained campaign of titillation, cynical obscurantism and the production of fantastic explanations under the guise of `scientific' or spiritualist thought.
This remarkable anthology presents a wide range of authoritative evidence and testimony from some of the most famous and important names in the history of the spiritualist movement. It leaves the reader in no doubt where the author stands on this issue.
Chapter 1, by James Webster, "Reincarnation - the Tender Trap" shows how the doctrine titillates the unwary by offering simple and attractive explanations. The work of Edgar Cayce is critically examined.
In Chapter 2, Harry Boddington, pioneer spiritualist, traces the origin of reincarnationism in the spiritualist movement to the breakup of the Theosophical Society into its various sections. From then on, the doctrine seems to have spread around the globe like a mutating virus infecting every spiritualist organisation in the Western Hemisphere.
In Chapter 3, Carl Wickand, MD, medical scientist and psychiatrist, recounts the terrible effects of reincarnationist belief on people `passing over' to the next life and how they become `lodged' in the auras of people still on Earth in the mistaken belief that they have reincarnated.
Chapter 4. `Reports and Quotes' contains shorts extracts from a variety of different sources, past and present, providing the reader with a rich assortment of views from some of the founding members of the spiritualist movement such as Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Brevior, William Howitt, Anna Blackwell, Alexander Aksakof, D.D, Home, Revd Charles Tweedale and others.
Chapter 5 on Albert G.E. Mobey, T.Eng. (CEI), a personal friend of the author, reproduces some of his letters to the Psychic Press criticising the doctrine of reincarnation. Albert Mobey is a technically-minded spiritualist and has worked in the area of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and infra-red photography for safe filming in a fully darkened séance room.
In Chapter 6, Derek Anton-Stephens, psychiatrist, provides an interesting discussion on the meaning and origin of so-called `past life' memories.
In Chapter 7 the author, James Webster, examines the strange case of Jenny Cockell, and in Chapter 8 the Druze and reincarnation.
In Chapter 9 Arthur Oram, parapsychological researcher and writer on `spiritual systems theory', outlines his views on the theory of reincarnation.
Chapter 10 examines the evidence from philosophy, religion and the spiritual teachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Buddhists against the doctrine of reincarnation.
Chapter 11 contains a `Formal Refutation of the Doctrine of Reincarnation' by a present day scientist, Stephen Blake M.Sc.(Lond). The Refutation is based on a small number of axioms and, by a process of logical deduction, shows that reincarnation and human immortality cannot both be true. Since Spiritualists, by definition, believe in human immortality, they should automatically reject the doctrine of reincarnation.
In Chapter 12, `Both Sides of the Pond', two spiritualists, one in Britain and the other in the USA, outline their views on reincarnation.
In Chapter 13, `Reincarnation or Ray-Incarnation' the reader is provided with a long and memorable extract from the writings of Charlotte Waterlow, M.A., M.B.E. Here, she takes the argument against reincarnation onto the home ground of reincarnationists, the writings of Helen Blavatsky.
Chapter 14, `A Meeting With Colin Fry', contains a fascinating account of a séance attended by the author and his wife. At this séance a spirit personality called `Magnus' is questioned about the doctrine of reincarnation.
In conclusion the `The Case Against Reincarnation' is a memorable work and probably the best and most original book on reincarnation I have ever read. I thoroughly recommend it to all truth-seekers who have rejected the `trust me' formula and the authority of self-appointed `experts'. For all those who want to examine the basis of their beliefs, this book will show the way.