LATEST UPDATE 11-3-19
This is the one section of the website I've been avoiding...the part where I have to get personal, which is difficult for me (as it was for Harry), especially while being fully aware that this website is being viewed by the public. However, I have a hunch I signed up for this thing before I was born although I don't remember. It was easy to present my evidence on the other website pages, but to open up and share the rest of the story is proving to be the most challenging. This is the part of my story that's a bit harder for others to swallow because it has a lot to do with my internal experiences, plus a lot of synchronicities and coincidences that lead up to my past life discovery. Unlike the evidence I presented, I can't really substantiate what I was experiencing inside of my mind over the years, nor can I really prove that I was being guided my whole life (and still am even as I type this). You'll just have to believe me and trust that there are NO coincidences, that everything happens for a reason.
I have to start with something I really don't like to talk about. Since my late teens, I've been aware of a “voice” in my mind. Hard to describe because it's not really an audible human voice, but more like a part of my mind that receives visual and audible messages independent of my own thoughts and imagination. I'm not sure what it is, neither have I any control over it. And I have no idea who is sending the messages. However, when I do receive them, they are always accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. They really pack a punch emotionally. They also always come out of the blue, from nowhere and are usually totally unrelated to what my own thoughts are focused on at the time. Another characteristic is they're loaded with info. Imagine watching a 2 hour long movie in 3 seconds--that's how much info they relay that quickly.
This website idea, for instance, was a message I had received in February 2019. I heard the phrase “go public” in my mind over and over, and it was accompanied by visions of the entire content of the website you now see. All this played out in my mind's eye and they showed it to me in a few seconds. I tried to take notes but it was overwhelming, too much detail, lots of research I had to do. Digging into my 20 year old Langdon files and books to gather evidence, then attempt to create a cohesive website would be very time consuming, plus I had very little experience with web design. In addition to the amount of work involved, I was having conflicting emotions.
NEVER have I wanted to tell the general public about my past life discovery. It was much too personal and I just couldn't see any benefit to divulging such a bizarre secret. I mean, it's just HARRY LANGDON—nobody knows who he is and among those that do, very few like him. That's my opinion. But this latest message came with the feeling that this was a “good thing”...not for me necessarily, but for others. Still, I was reluctant because of my deep-seated dislike of being in the spotlight and the negative ramifications of that. As I explain in the COMMONALITIES section, I believe this irrational aversion is a carryover from Harry's life. I had to summon a great deal of courage, and trust in a higher power, in order to override all the misgivings I was having towards this website. I really don't care I used to be Harry Langdon. What I DO care about, what is still fascinating to me, is that I have some evidence to support the fact that I lived once before. It doesn't matter who that person was. I'm really not sure what this website is supposed to accomplish. All I can gather is they want to use my experience to make people more aware of reincarnation. That's fine. It's a good intention and I believe that if everyone knew they could return as their enemies or those they hate, then prejudice, war and violence might be lessened or eradicated completely. It's a long-shot, but every little bit helps I suppose. So if my evidence of reincarnation changes a few people's minds, then mission accomplished. It's for a good cause and I truly believe this “voice” originates from some higher power. It has never suggested I do something that would harm me or others, so I have to trust that I'll be alright and I'll try my best not to worry about being in the public eye (again).
The reason why I admitted to experiencing clairvoyant-like messages in my mind is because this “voice” told me I was Harry Langdon back in 1998, before I had all the evidence I've provided on the other website pages. And long before Walter Semkiw (via Kevin Ryerson's channeled spirit guide, Ahtun Re) verified it in 2006. I really didn't believe it till 2006, then I went through several years of depression and denial, but I'll get to that later. Now, there's quite a bit that lead up to this very profound experience in 1998 and I'll have to talk about myself some, so bear with me.
I seemed to have been born with this magnetic attraction to any black and white movies and TV shows. In the early 80's, I can remember changing the TV channels and purposely searching for b&w shows when I was very young, but only if there were no cartoons on. I was never interested in the other kiddie shows like Sesame Street or Mister Rogers. It's no wonder, given this seemingly natural born attraction, I stumbled across The Three Stooges shorts and they became an obsession. Harry Langdon worked at Columbia Studio starting in 1934 till his death in 1944, in his own series of short subjects. The Stooges also began working at Columbia in 1934, and Buster Keaton from 1939-1941. I imagine Harry crossed paths with them often. Harry Jr. recalled his dad taking him to the set where one of Buster's short films was being shot (I think that's in one of the Cult Movies Magazine articles in Downloads section). Some of the same supporting actors that were in the Stooge shorts were people Harry also worked with such as Vernon Dent, Bud Jamison, Christine MacIntyre, Monte Collins and many more. I'm not sure just how often Harry interacted with the Stooges on the Columbia lot, but I have a couple photos of them together. I can't remember what my reaction at age 5 was to seeing these supporting actors Harry worked with in the Stooges' films, but I can say with some degree of certainty, that there was a strong attraction and perhaps some familiarity. My folks, my mom in particular, noticed how much I loved the Stooges and bought me the "Curly Shuffle" 45 rpm record in 1983 and a book she happened to spot in her book club catalog called, “Moe Howard & the Three Stooges", written by Moe. I couldn't read but I loved looking at the pictures. I wore it out...dripped grape jelly inside it, of course I drew all over it (wish I'd kept it to see what I drew in there).
I want to mention something else that I remember between age 5-8. My mom gave my brother and I two cases full of 45 rpm records she no longer listened to. Money was tight so instead of discarding the records, Mom gave them to us to play with on our kiddie phonograph. They were all popular tunes from the 70s-80s and I don't know how many there were, dozens I think. But my absolute favorite record was the theme song from the movie, THE STING, which is Scott Joplin's 1902 ragtime composition, “The Entertainer”. My mom must've bought it when the movie came out. I kept that record in a safe place for years and I STILL HAVE IT. I would play it over and over and over and I loved bouncing on my mattress as a kid as it played, which got me a whooping for ruining the springs. Why did I love this record so much? It was the only ragtime record in there, it sounded special to me and I cherished it. I saved it for years in a box of mementos but didn't learn till I was 16, that it was a song from 1902. I accidentally discovered ragtime music at 16 in 1994, though I didn't realize this particular 45 rpm record I'd been holding onto since my childhood was indeed ragtime music. Some may say, listening to that record at age 5 influenced my future music preference, but what attracted me to that record at such a young age in the first place without any prior exposure? I think it was due to the exposure I'd had during Harry's lifetime and I seemed to have retained a natural affinity for ragtime era music, just as I seemed to have been born with a magnetic attraction to black & white movies, which lead to me discovering the Three Stooges films.
I don't believe this is all coincidence. I was born with a natural attraction to old movies and music so it was simply a matter of putting those things in my path for me to discover—it was destined to happen and just a matter of time. My obsession for the Three Stooges lasted most of my childhood. I spent my allowance money on videos of their movies, books, posters, etc. They were always on local TV in Chicago, after school or on the weekends, sometimes during the hours of 3-5am. I remember being so obsessed, searching the TV Guide as to when and where they were going to show, that once my folks gave me their old TV, I would make sure I didn't miss the broadcasts during the wee hours of the morning. So this was 1983-1990.
In 1990, at age 12, a new channel was available on our cable lineup. It was The Comedy Channel and I tuned in hoping to find the Stooges. I saw a commercial for a new show called, “Dead Comics Society” hosted by Robert Klein. It piqued my curiosity as it seemed right up my alley, but honestly I only tuned in hoping to see the Stooges. It was a 2 hour show on Saturday mornings and Robert would introduce each film with some historical background information. The very first episode I saw hooked me instantly. Gosh, I can't remember what they showed. But the Keaton & Arbuckle short, OUT WEST was one of the films. It was shot 1918 and the film print was heavily worn, scratched, missing film frames everywhere. It was so beat up but I found that incredibly haunting because it really showed its age. It was the first time I saw a silent film and up to that point, it was the oldest one I'd ever seen. It was an extraordinary experience and I've never forgotten it. It felt like time traveling. Here's a short montage of Robert Klein's host segments from "Dead Comics Society". He talks about Keaton & Arbuckle and the films, SHERLOCK JR. and THE STOLEN JOOLS:
Silent comedy films became my new obsession and I couldn't wait for each weekly episode of this show to immerse myself in them. Over the course of 2 years, they showed mostly Buster Keaton and Chaplin films, a few of Harold Lloyd's and some early talkie shorts from W.C. Fields and Burns & Allen. Oddly enough, no Laurel & Hardy except for THE STOLEN JOOLS. Occasionally, they showed lower on the comedy totem pole comedians such as Harry Langdon. As I said on the COMMONALITIES page, they showed TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP and LONG PANTS. However, nothing got triggered in me, nothing happened, though I was made aware of Harry for the first time. Buster Keaton was my favorite and still remains to be my number one to this day. I idolize him.
The silent comedy I was seeing fueled my imagination and inspired me to daydream my own comedy films in my mind using two cartoon guinea pigs I had created. Check out the COMMONALITIES page for more info about my writing hobby. I began journaling the daydreams I was creating in my mind, starting in 1992. My guinea pigs had very human traits and I decided to make one bigger and bossy--the other smaller, dumber and with a child-like naivety. By 1998, I had 4 notebooks or 640 pages worth of original material. However, some gags were outright stolen such as Buster throwing a punch at a butterfly after he failed to catch it with his net (just came to mind, from THE PALEFACE I think). Love that little gag! Not many were stolen. Seemed like once I got rolling with this daydreaming hobby, the flood gates were opened and the stories and gags were playing out effortlessly in my mind. I couldn't write as fast as it was being produced by my brain...which explains why, when you look at my notebooks, the writing looks fast and scribbly. I had to write quickly to describe what I was seeing before I forgot it. This is probably why, when you watch the video, I remark that, “I don't remember writing anything I wrote”. I was writing so fast and new material that was coming in, quickly replaced the old. Approximately 25 years have gone by. It's so strange reading through my comedy notebooks now because it feels as though someone else wrote them, even though I clearly remember writing down my daydreams during my high school classes. Want to hear something peculiar? Even though I was barely paying attention to my teachers, somehow I was getting A's and B's in all my classes (except algebra), even had English Honors courses. Guess I wasn't stupid, just so bored I felt the need to entertain myself in class by writing funny stories.
So, 1992 at age 14, I began daydreaming about these two cartoon guinea pigs who had personalities similar to Laurel & Hardy's screen personas, even though I had never seen their films at this point. If you go to the COMMONALITIES page, you'll see pictures from a book I wrote for an 8th grade writing assignment. It was submitted by my teacher to the yearly Young Author's contest and my book ended up being the district winner. I was quite proud of my achievement back then, which only encouraged me to continue writing down my stories and gags inspired by the silent comedy I was watching on TV, particularly Buster Keaton. In this book, there were a couple very specific references to Laurel & Hardy, such as Stan's trademark head scratching, plus the gag from BLOCK-HEADS where Ollie was buried under a dirt pile. Never saw a L&H film before writing the book. Is this mere coincidence? Or was I sub-consciously remembering writing for L&H? I don't know. I can't prove it. My intuition says YES, when I ask my spirit guides they agree to YES...so there, maybe that's where all that material came from that I wrote down in my notebooks. Harry also enjoyed journaling his comedy ideas and had been doing so since his vaudeville days up to his passing. It's just natural for me to want to do the same.
After 1992, “Dead Comics Society” was off the air. I loved Buster and wanted to acquire even his most obscure, hard to find films which I found through mail order catalogs (Grapevine, Videobrary, Video Yesteryear, Eddie Brandt's). I was always searching the TV guide for old, funny films to watch just as I had always done as far back as I can remember. One day, by chance, I caught MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS during Christmas of '94 on a local Chicago channel. In the video on the COMMONALITIES page, I was having trouble remembering exactly what year I saw my first L&H film. This was the movie that did it for me, but it was Christmas time end of '94 then early the following year 1995 was when AMC began showing nearly all their Hal Roach sound films. Watching Stan & Ollie, it felt as though my cartoon guinea pigs escaped from my mind and were transformed into real people. That's how closely L&H reminded me of them...or vice versa! The feeling of familiarity was as intense as though I was watching two people I knew in real life. I was trying to understand why I felt this way. I reasoned, at the time, that this feeling of familiarity was there because L&H were so much like my imaginary guinea pigs I had been daydreaming about for the 3 years prior. I just couldn't think beyond that....I was stumped. Again, is it simply coincidence I created two cartoon characters that were a lot like L&H? Or were the cartoon characters inspired by the past life experience of having been a scriptwriter for L&H for several years? Hmmm!
Needless to say, in '94-'95, Laurel & Hardy became my latest obsession. I recorded every film AMC aired, which were just the sound films. I began buying books about their lives and movies. L&H made a huge amount of silent shorts and solo films that I was curious to see but had not aired on AMC. Around this time, a company called The Nostalgia Archive began releasing their silent shorts on VHS a few at a time. A series of their VHS tapes was entitled, “Laurel & Hardy and Friends”, which featured one or two L&H shorts with the remaining shorts starring other comedians such as Our Gang, Charley Chase, Edgar Kennedy....and HARRY LANGDON.
One of the “Laurel & Hardy and Friends” tapes included one of Harry's sound shorts from 1932 called, THE BIG FLASH. Reading the back of the VHS cover, his name sounded familiar. I remembered first learning about him on “Dead Comics Society” back in the early 90's, but the two silent features they showed didn't really grab me. I didn't know anything about Harry in 1997 except that he'd been a silent comedian who was later hired as a scriptwriter for four Laurel & Hardy features from 1938 to 1940: BLOCK-HEADS, CHUMP AT OXFORD, FLYING DEUCES, and SAPS AT SEA. I figured if Stan thought Harry was funny and talented enough to write gags for he and Babe, then maybe he wasn't THAT bad. I decided to watch THE BIG FLASH. And that's actually a very appropriate phrase to describe what happened to me as a result of watching this short film. I literally had a big flash of a revelation about myself, although I didn't know I was actually watching my old self in 1997. What I felt was the deepest, most profound feeling of familiarity about another person that you can have without actually being that very person. It's so hard to put into words. But it felt like I KNEW him, and everything about him was so familiar and tangible I could feel it. I find the title of this short, THE BIG FLASH funny because it relates so well to how I reacted watching it for the first time. Physically, it felt like I had just touched a live wire...it's very close to the feeling of a subtle current of electricity coursing through your body. My heart was racing, my head was tingling and I was mesmerized. Everything was so familiar: his voice, his manner of speaking, his gestures, facial expressions, the way he posed, walked...oh yes, and his face. He kind of looked like me. “What a strange coincidence”, I initially thought.
I wanted to learn more about Harry Langdon and see more films. There were only two really good books about Harry available in 1997 by William Schelly and Joyce Rheuban. The little bit of personal information in those books regarding Harry's personality traits and artistic ability, had me dumbfounded. I read the books to search for answers as to why I had such an intense feeling of familiarity about Harry. Instead, I ended up with more questions: our personalities matched and we were both artists, how can this be? What is going on here? Oftentimes, watching Harry's films, I'd catch myself sitting or posing the same way Harry was on the TV screen and for a brief second, it felt as though I was looking at my reflection in the mirror. THIS NEVER HAPPENED while watching any other old time comedians, NEVER. The reverse would sometimes happen, say if I was walking outside and happen to look into a shop window as I walked past it, for a brief second the silhouette of my reflection would look like Harry's. It's most intense if I'm dressed like him, especially in winter with a coat and hat. I have a preference for brown knee length, double-breasted overcoats as did Harry in vaudeville (there's another little commonality). I bought my first long overcoat in winter of 1996, just before I discovered Harry. He wore one in a few silent shorts like SMILE PLEASE, HORACE GREELEY JR., PLAIN CLOTHES, HANSOM CABMAN. Harry wore a longer ankle length overcoat in LUCKY STARS, TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP, LONG PANTS and REMEMBER WHEN.
I was searching for more of Harry's movies on VHS through mail order catalogs. I even wanted to see the most obscure, bottom of the barrel films Harry made at the end of his career. Everything I saw, especially for the first time, would cause an intense deja vu feeling with panic attack-like physical reactions. He was sooooo familiar to me, but reading the Schelly and Rheuban books didn't explain why I was feeling this way. A few months after I saw THE BIG FLASH in 1997, I was checking out the Laurel & Hardy Way Out West tent website (on my mom's computer at her work) and saw a small notice about a BRAND NEW Harry Langdon fan club that had just been established. What timing! Coincidence??? Get this....the president of the club was based in Downers Grove, Illinois which is a short drive from where I lived in Chicago. COINCIDENCE!?!?!? Oh spare me. This was all planned and destined to happen before I was born and not some disorganized randomness.
So I joined the club ASAP and was corresponding with the president, Mr. Floyd Bennett, a bit via my mom's email address as I didn't have one of my own yet. I was 19 in 1997 and we didn't have a computer at home. My mom was a secretary, and I dictated my emails to her to send to Floyd using her computer at work. Floyd asked me to submit drawings for the newsletter, he, in turn, gave me free VHS copies of some Langdon shorts not available through my mail order catalogs. He also invited me to his house for the 3 or 4 silent comedy video gatherings he'd have throughout the year. There were a dozen or so others in attendance. David Drazin was there once, I remember. Floyd also held a gathering on Harry's birthday, June 15th. Seriously, what are the odds that the only fanclub to ever exist after Harry died in 1944 would be located so close to Chicago. And that I got to meet the president of the club in person, on several occasions in his home, plus be asked to create artwork for the newsletters. Oh, and the timing of the fanclub being birthed at the same time I discovered Harry Langdon in 1997. These coincidences and synchronisties are hard to prove they're not random chance, but you can't deny that some higher power is at work behind the scenes directing all this. It's just too perfect how it all fell into place.
Photo above shows a couple samples of drawings I was asked to do. There were about a dozen in the newsletters from 1997-2000. And I forgot I did an oil portrait of Harry. That's me sitting in the chair at Floyd Bennett's house for one of Harry's birthday parties in June 1998--I was 20 years old. Little did he or I know at the time, that in a few months I was going to find out I had actually been Harry.
So, I was trying to keep track of everything in my mind: the synchronicities of the fanclub being located near Chicago and the timing of it's formation, as well as the similarities between and Harry and I. Why did he feel so familiar? I KNEW him, he felt so alive to me. Something unusual was going on here, something otherworldly. I was raised Catholic but am not religious, though I retained a belief in a higher power and guardian angels and all that stuff. I'm really a down to earth, “meat n' potatoes” kind of person so not into new-agey talk or practices. I didn't understand why Harry was so familiar to me and how I can have more in common with a complete stranger than anyone in my own biological family.
One day in October of 1998, I was watching some Columbia shorts on tape that Floyd Bennett had graciously copied for me when, out of the blue, it hit me hard. I received one of those clairvoyant-like messages in my mind. I saw the word like a big booming billboard in my mind -REINCARNATION - and it was accompanied by that jolt of electricity running from my head, down my spine, out my fingers and toes. Didn't hurt but it makes your heart race and skin tingle. Pretty sure I've always been receiving messages from my spirit guides in this fashion my whole life, however this one packed the biggest punch so I remembered it. Apparently, some entity was trying to give me the answer I was seeking regarding why I had such a strong affinity for Harry. I knew the definition of the word and that's all. After the shockwave passed, I honestly didn't take it seriously. Are they trying to tell me I had been Harry Langdon? No way, that's impossible. That's NUTS! So I blew the experience off. Guess what? It happened again! Out of the blue, days later at school. Weeks went by, and I tried ignoring it but I couldn't get that darn word REINCARNATION out of my head. Finally, once I decided to look into it, read some books, do some research, the incessant badgering stopped. And I thought the more I read, the more absurd the idea would sound to me but the opposite happened, and reincarnation seemed to explain this soulful connection to Harry.
Since 1998, I was never able to really be sure that this hunch of mine was true. I had no spontaneous memories, didn't have the money for past life regressions. Wasn't quite sure how to go about proving my hunch was true or not. Things quieted down for a while till I read Walter Semkiw's book, “Return of the Revolutionaries” in 2003. He talked about his own experience with discovering a past life that resurfaced and I could relate to his story. In his research, he discovered a set of criteria that can be used to help verify past life matches. These were things I happened to notice I had in common with Harry so that was rather interesting. The final confirmation comes when Dr. Semkiw presents his proposed match to Kevin Ryerson's channeled entity, Ahtun Re, who has a high level of accuracy for verifying past life matches. Like I said, I'm very down to earth so I was skeptical about the channeling bit at first, however, Dr. Semkiw provides much proof of Ahtun Re's accuracy and I totally accept it now. I was thinking of writing to Walter Semkiw back in 2003 but I was hesitant. I did keep an eye on his website for the next 2 years, and one day he made an update on there about discovering the reincarnation of Laurel & Hardy, along with the release of his new book, “Born Again.” I couldn't believe it! To me, this was a huge sign and it gave me the confidence to share my story with Dr. Semkiw, which I did in July of 2006. Here is the email he sent me confirming that I was Harry Langdon and my brother was Vernon Dent from July 27, 2006. We met in person a few months later in October 2006.
Walter invited me to attend the Universal Light Expo in October of 2006, in Columbus, Ohio, where he was making a presentation. Also attending were Josh & Danny Bacher (Laurel & Hardy), Kevin Ryerson and Robert Snow. I loved Robert Snow's presentation...he's someone I can relate to, very down to earth, from the mid-west (Indiana). He wasn't religious, very skeptical about all the otherworldly things happening to him --yet there were so many coincidences and synchronisities happening in his life, he couldn't deny something unusual was taking place. The only conclusion he could come to was that he had been reborn. I was very grateful to finally have confirmation that the hunch I'd been Harry Langdon in a past life was true. However, with that came more questions: what am I supposed to do with this information about myself? Why did this past life resurface for me? Now what? Quit my job and move to Hollywood? Or do I file it away and ignore it forever? Everything happens for a reason though, and I wasn't made aware of this past life simply to make life more difficult for me than it already was...hard enough dealing with THIS life, let alone two lives at once. I felt so lost, not sure what my next move was. I was struggling with depression, on and off, for the next decade. I was beating myself up for not knowing what to do. I was just existing, not really living...wasn't doing much artwork outside of my day job. Thank goodness I had my job because I'd never, ever throw in the towel knowing someone was relying on me. My old boss (Tamara Backdrops, where I worked at from 2001-2018), who'd always been so kind to me, needed me to show up to work, so I always obliged even if I was having a really bad low self-esteem day. My job got me out of bed and was a beneficial distraction from my depression. After almost a decade, I slowly began to pull myself out of the deep hole I was in. Time heals all wounds I guess. I suppose I should've gotten some mental health help, but I was torn because of the past life stuff. I didn't want to talk about it and it was really a huge source of my problems.
Oddly enough, I began to pull out of it when my dad died in 2016. One would assume that his death would exacerbate my depression, but it had the opposite effect. Seeing what he went through (it was a 2 month long dying process), sort of gave me the kick in the pants I needed to enjoy the fact I was alive, just be grateful for all I had and trust that everything will be alright. Just watch for the signs and I'll know which direction to go when the time is right. And here we are! NEVER did I think I'd be creating a website like this and divulging my little secret. But I trust this is the right thing to do even if I was initially opposed to the idea. I wonder if my brother, who passed away January 15, 2018, is inspiring me to do this thing. I regret never having told him all about this reincarnation stuff. I managed to keep it hidden for 20 years from everyone who knows me, friends, family, co-workers, everybody. Not anymore.