(This post continues from Part 1. If you have not read that post, please read it before reading this one. This post contains difficult subject matter. It also assumes some familiarity with the Donner Party, so if you are unfamiliar, you may want to read up on the story first.)
As my connection to Levinah Murphy continued, I started seeing memories from the perspective of a boy of about eight. Again, they were piecemeal: I saw him standing in the snow beside the skeleton of a wagon frame, which was almost entirely covered. A haunting vision of how much the snow had trapped them. At one point, he had come across a horse that had been buried by the snow, only its head sticking out, eerily frozen. As the weeks passed and there were fewer of the party left in the cabins, I saw the boy standing outside, his clothes filthy rags, holding his ears shut while his mother shrieked uncontrollably beside him. And then he showed me the wagon bed, before the snows had buried it.
I left it in the wagon, he said.
Left what? I wondered. I saw the boy and his brothers and sisters surrounding the empty wagon bed solemnly. The dog. The family dog. My tears caught in my throat.
Simon Murphy was around eight at the time that the party was caught in the mountains, and he was the youngest son. He was one of the last to be rescued. But he did survive, and went back to Tennessee to fight in the civil war, marry, and have children before his death at the age of 35. He showed me more scenes from his life, and the moment before his death. There is no way to verify what he showed me, historically, since his manner of death wouldn’t have been recorded publicly. Suffice it to say, reports of his death are curt in the records.
He struggled with feelings towards his mother, who he felt abandoned by. She made us eat things that weren’t food, he said. Things like bark and ox hides, which they did indeed eat, and probably some things that weren’t even passingly edible. Whatever it took to keep the children fed. Why blame her? I asked. But he had had a hard life and had turned understandably bitter.
Who were these people? Was I one of them in a past life? Were they ghosts? Were they earthbound? Why was the Murphy family latching onto me? When I would ask Levinah why she was hovering around me, she’d grasp my arms as if to dance, indicating that she wanted to see me get married and dance at my wedding. She showed me a past life we had had together, and without the disturbing imagery of her deteriorated form in the cabins, I saw the sunlight and the moment of tenderness between us. She is, energetically, a very close soulmate. I could see then why she had attached to my soul as it passed through Marysville.
Why Simon, though? Energetically speaking, I didn’t especially recognize him. So I asked him. He just frowned and said, I wanted to make my peace with you.
At the suggestion of a few of my friends, I tried to lead Levinah to the Light. It was obvious that she was earthbound. She was still very much trapped in her old form on those mountains, and she refused to pass over until she knew all her children were saved. All your children are dead, I told her. They’ve moved on. But she’d only reach out and grasp my heart chakra in response. She wouldn’t go until I let her.
As the days passed, she would flood my mind with memories. Memories of Tennessee before the family left on the expedition. Her serving a proper dinner to a table full of children in a nice, wooden home. Her standing barefoot in a dress in her home, or fully dressed in her shawl and bonnet as she traveled in the wagon train. Fearing worse memories to come, I begged her not to communicate with me until the sun was up. So one morning, as I requested, the sun rose at around five and there she was, practically pulling me awake. She flooded me with images, nudging me and goading me until finally, in desperation, I begged her to pass over. It had been several sleepless weeks since my trip to Marysville. I needed to get back to my own life.
In our conversation, she reached into my heart, and I felt something shift. I forgive you. I accept you. When I felt that feeling pass through me, from me, I saw her move towards the light, surrounded by a huge gathering of souls from infinite lifetimes. And just like that, she had passed over. I was back in my bed, in 2016, with my own life to live.
I could move through the house without being triggered by the lighting or the wind and ending up back in that fearful cabin. I could concentrate again! That night, as I was sitting on the porch and thinking about the last few weeks, she appeared. But this time, she looked healthier, with color in her skin like she had when she first began her journey. She said to me, This is why you can’t eat _____.
I didn’t catch all of what she said. Can’t eat what? I have a lot of food particularities, a lot of intense preferences, but what can’t I eat? And why? Because of her? Because of being trapped on the mountains?
Just then I had an image of myself in the 1880s, in Ironton, Colorado, sobbing into my hands. The men were butchering cattle, and I couldn’t stand to witness it. If I had to be involved in the butchering process of beef at all, I’d break down and wail. It triggered something in me. (Fittingly, in this life, I can’t stand the sight of butchered meat and don’t cook or handle raw meat at all.)
I gazed back at the image of Levinah on my porch, stunned. My prior self, Adeline, was crying over something Levinah had experienced? What? Why? What did this mean?
I thought back to the image she had shown me of a prior lifetime together. In the sunlight we were entwined as dear family, close soulmates, and I saw myself looking down at her body. Just for perspective I glanced at my own body, wherein I could see my selves in various lifetimes. And who did I see staring down at her?
John Landrum Murphy, who had died in the cabin in January 1847.
He was her oldest son, and the oldest of her children not yet married (her two oldest daughters were married already). It explained why Levinah was so keen to see him married and to dance at his wedding. And why she needed his forgiveness, his blessing, to move on.
C.F. McGlashan describes him as “somewhat large and overgrown,” which always struck me as a bad description. He was tall and lanky with the same bony knees his mother had, his hair darker brown. I saw him in my mind and McGlashan’s description just didn’t seem to cut it. During my research, I was looking through photographs of survivors and came across his brother William Murphy. The photograph must have been taken in his younger adult years. What I saw was more like the image of Landrum in my mind than I could have even described. It was the closest I had ever come to finding a photograph of myself from a past life.
So how did I know I had been a member of the Donner Party? I didn’t, at first. All I had was a haunted feeling, horror and fear that followed me around whenever I thought of it. I had lived and died in a concentration camp and even so I couldn’t shake the horror of this. That’s the first sign: when a historical event sticks in you and you can’t shake it, when descriptions of the event make you shudder, as if you were remembering it rather than reading it. And then there were the images themselves. I’d see an image and go to research it, only to discover the thing I was seeing in my head was indeed real and common for the period. I learned a lot about the Donner Party and the historical period this way. I had even grown up playing Oregon Trail. I knew about Hastings Cutoff! Every time you reached that part of the game, your party would die. I rarely ever beat it.
And here I was in California. Near Sacramento. Near Sutter’s Fort, the promised land. A short drive from Truckee and Donner Pass.
So why Marysville? It turns out, my connection and pull to this town was by no means arbitrary. The husband of a Donner Party survivor named it after his wife, Mary Murphy, the sister of Landrum, the daughter of Levinah. All of her surviving children either lived there, were buried there, or had stayed there for a short time. Marysville was the perfect place for our souls to connect and for me to help her cross over, I suppose.
I can still connect with Levinah and Simon, but now I am left to process my own memories of the time. In a way, it was easier for Landrum since his soul passed on right away, having lived many (unfortunately more traumatic) lives afterwards. He died before any of the cannibalism had occurred. He might not have seen the worst there was to see, but he had seen enough.
Naturally, we traveled to Truckee to see the Donner sites. It goes without saying that the sites, today, look nothing like I remember. I went in June, 169 years later, when everything was green and a little creek was running nearby. What I remember is endless snow and howling, biting, cruel wind. The cabins can’t have been far apart, especially with all the nearby trees chopped down, but I remember that it felt so desolate it was as if there were no one around for miles. And those ox hides, soggy and gray from the snow…that sight fills me with dread.
But I can’t tell you the excitement of remembering a lifetime wherein there is a lot of historical research to go by. Most of my past lives are nameless and buried in unmarked graves, ghosts of American (or otherwise) history. While the Murphy family history isn’t extensive, it’s enough to start with. This isn’t the end of my story. It’s more of a beginning. I’ll share the memories as they come.
I want to add one final note about reincarnation, history, and claiming a “famous” or historical past life. As I am researching everything there is to know about the Donner Party, and following the work of historians, scholars, archeologists, and others whose job it is to discover the truth of what happened there, I have the added perspective of memory. I remember things historical records of the time can corroborate. I remember things that no one could have known or ever thought to record, things there is no way to verify. But all the same, memory is subjective and reincarnation is a belief, not a scientific fact. I share my memories here as an experience I am having, in hopes that it can help others who also experience past life memories, and in hopes that it can shed light on the humanity of the people involved in this event. I don’t share these memories in an attempt to claim any authority on the history, science, or genetic lineage of any of these people or events. Were I to publish a book on my memories, it would probably be considered speculative fiction. Until science proves that the soul can animate more than one body, or that the soul even exists, I’ll leave the history and science to the historians and the scientists and share my memories in the spiritual and personal context they occurred in.
(Pictures of the Murphy cabin site and plaque, taken on my recent trip to the Donner sites)