Dr. Weiss says at first he couldn't believe Catherine's story about being a boy in Ukraine in the 1700s was real. "I thought it was imagination or fantasy," he says. "I didn't believe in any of this, and neither did she."
Yet with each new session, Catherine revealed more past lives and indicated that she had lived 86 times. Dr. Weiss says Catherine soon began to heal. "Her memories were so vivid and so emotional, and her symptoms were disappearing. But it still took more from me because I was so stuck in my left brain and didn't believe in any of this."
Dr. Weiss became a believer when Catherine told him about his own family. He says while Catherine was hypnotized she told him she was with his father, who died two years earlier, and that his daughter was named after his father. "This was all true," Dr. Weiss says. "My father's Hebrew name was Avram. He died two years before ... [and] did not have an obituary. There is no place to look this up. And my daughter was named after him."
Dr. Weiss says Catherine also told him she was with his son, who had died a decade before at just three weeks after his birth.
Despite the real professional risks involved, Dr. Weiss wrote about Catherine in the book Many Lives, Many Masters, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2008. "I was chairman of the psychiatry department. I had tenure. I was clinical professor at the University of Miami. I had two more children after that. ... A house with a big mortgage," he says. "I could lose all of that. But that was so real and so detailed. You know how you get the feeling in your gut, in your bones? There was no trick to this."