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CHAPTER ONE
Chase and Sarah
 
"Sit on your mom's lap, close your eyes, and tell me what you see when you hear the loud noises that scare you," instructed hypnotherapist Norman Inge.
 
My heart pounded with excitement. Maybe now we would solve the mystery of my five-year-old son's hysterical fear of loud noises. My mind raced back to an incident months earlier -to July, when Chase's unusual behavior began.
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July 4, 1988
 
Every year my husband Steve and I hosted a big Fourth of July party at our house, which was a short walk to the best spot in all of Asheville for watching the city's fireworks. Our friends and children looked forward to joining us in our back yard for an afternoon of picnicking and celebration. The party always culminated with a walk down the hill to the muniicipal golf course to watch the grand fireworks display.
 
For weeks Chose had been talking excitedly aboutthefun he had had in previous years at our parties, and especially about the fireworks. His eyes got bigger, as he remembered the bright colors in the sky. This year he was hoping for a long and spectacular show.
 
On the afternoon of the Fourth, Our friends arrived with pot luck, Frisbees, and sparklers. The yard filled up fast, and kids were everywhere - hanging from the swing set, crowded in the sandbox, hiding under the back porch. Our quiet neighborhood was charged with the sounds of squealing, laughing children.
 
Adults tried to relax on the porch while the children ran circles through the house and around the yard, usually with redheaded Chase in the lead. Indeed, Chase lived up to his name. Always in motion, full of energy and curiosity, often unstoppable, it seemed we were always two steps behind him, trying to catch him before he knocked something over. Friends teased us about choosing the name Chose, saying we got what we asked for.
 
Our nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, and her friends retreated to a spot on the side of the house under the hemlocks and set up their own small table and chairs, just outside the range of watchful patents. For hours they entertained themselves, decorating their table with flowers and toy china, creating their own holiday party apart from the "wild" little kids. The only time we saw the girls was when they bustled back and forth from Sarah's room, modeling different dress-up clothes, jewelry, and hats on each trip.
 
When the sun sank low in the trees, throwing orange light into the back yard, we knew it was time to corral the kids and prepare for the march down the hilL I grabbed Chase as he ran by, washed the cake and ice cream off his face, and forced a clean shirt onto his squirming little body. Armed with blankets and flashlights, we joined the parade of people headed down our street toward the golf course.
 
 
Unexplained Fear
 
Chase, holding.my hand tight, bobbed my arm up and down. as he skipped along with the crowd. The older girls, Sarah's gang, formed their own giggling procession. They clutched the sparklers that we promised they could light once we got to the golf course. We reached our favorite spot just as the sun set behind the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, then spread our blankets on a strategic slope.
 
From the slope,we watched the plain below - the lower nine fairways - fill with people. Soon blankets and lawn chairs were strewn everywhere. As the sky grew darker, boys and men set off firecrackers and Roman candles, filling the valley with flashes, bangs, and smoke. Nearby our children waved sparklers in the air, drawing bright circles and zigzag trails in the dusk; fireflies danced and blinked in approval.
 
Chase, pumped with excitement and sugar, ran up and down the hill with his friends until he finally ran out of steam and collapsed on my lap. We watched the noisy party below while we waited for the big show to begin.
 
Suddenly the cannonlike hooms announcing the start of the fireworks reverberated off the hills, echoing all around us. The sky lit up. and crackled with giant starbursts. The crowd around oohed and aahed at the extravaganza of light and color against the black sky. Hearing the shots and booms at such close range added an exciting intensity to the show.
 
But Chase, instead of being delighted, began to cry. "What's wrong?" I asked him. He could not answer; he only wailed harder and louder. I held him close, thinking he was exhausted beyond his breaking point and that the loud noises had startled him. But his crying got deeper and more desperate. After a few more minutes, I could see that Chase was not calming down - his hysteria got:worse., I knew I had to take him home, away from the noise and confusion. I told Steve that I was leaving with Chase and asked him to stay with Sarah until the fireworks, were over.
 
The short walk home seemed long. Chase was sobbing so deeply, he couldn't walk, and I had to carry him all the way up the hill. But even when we got home, he was still crying. I held him on my lap in a rocking chair on the back porch, amid the debris of the party, hoping he would calm down. When his deep crying softened enough for me to ask him if he was sick or hurt, he could only whimper and shake his head no, When i asked him if the loud noises scared him, he cried harder. There was nothing I could do but hold and rock him, while I watched the fireflies' silent show in out back yard. Chase gradually settled down and nuzzled into my chest. Finally, just when my arms were too stiff to hold him any longer, he fell asleep and I put him to bed.
 
Chase's unusual behavior puzzled me. He had never cried so long or so deeply in his short life. And he had never been afraid of fireworks before. This incident seemed out of character for Chase, who was not easily frightened by anything. I put it out of my mind by
reasoning that he was frazzled from the long day, and, maybe he had eaten too many treats, or something had just set him off - after all, things like this happen with children.
 
But a month later it happened again. On a hot August day, a friend invited us to cool off at their town's indoor swimming pool. Chase loves the water and was eager to jump in the pool. As soon as he entered the pool area, where the sound of the diving board and splashing and yelling echoed in the big hall, he began to cry hysterically. Howling and screaming, he grabbed my arm with both hands and dragged me toward the door. Reasoning with him was futile, he just pulled me harder. I gave up and took him outside.
 
We found a chair in the shade. I held Chase and asked him what was bothering him. He couldn't tell me, but he was obviously deeply disturbed, terrified of something. He finally calmed down, but even after he stopped crying, I couldn't persuade him to go back into the pool building.
 
As we sat outside, I thought back to the other time he had acted this way - on the Fourth of July. I recalled the sound of the fireworks reverberating in the hills, which had triggered his first attack of hysteria. Then I realized that the sound of the diving board reverberating off the bare walls of the pool building sounded the same. I asked Chase if he was frightened by the sounds. He sheepishly -nodded yes, but still would not go anywhere near the pool.
 
So that was it - the booming sounds! But why did Chase suddenly have such a fear of loud noises? My mind tried to put all together. I couldn't remember anything that had happened to him in the past that would cause such a severe reaction to booming sounds. And this was the second time it had happened in a month. The fear seemed to come out of nowhere. Would it happen more often now, every time Chase heard a loud noise? I was worried! This could develop into a real problem, especially if I wasn't there the next time he became hysterical. I didn't know what to do, except wait and hope that he would outgrow this mysterious fear.
 
A few weeks later, we were fortunate to have a wonderful man and skilled hypnotherapist, Norman Inge, as our house giust. He was staying with us while he conducted workshops in Asheville on past life regression and did private sessions with some of my friends. With Norman as our teacher, we were all just beginning to explore the realms of past life regression.
 
One afternoon during his stay, Norman, Chase, Sarah, and I were sitting around the kitchen table having tea and cookies, laughing at Norman's stories. Something reminded me of Chase's fear of loud noises, and I asked Norman about it. He listened to my story and then asked if Chose and I would like to try an experiment. Though I didn't know exactly what Norman had in mind I trusted him and knew that he would be sensitive to my young son's limits. And since Chase was as eager as I was to solve this problem, we both agreed to try,

Still sitting around dke kitchen table, Norman began. That moment, I realized later, was a turning point in my life. Up to that time I had never thought that children could remember

their post lives.
 
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