I was born on a farm during the horse and buggy
days, but I never drove the team, or had anything to do with the horses. Only my
father and grandfather used the horses.
When I was about twelve years old, a relative
gave us a horse. I wanted to keep it, but Grandfather said, “No, we do not
have room or feed for a third horse.”
Then Mother said, “Grandmother can use the
With only a rope around the horse’s head, I led
her to a porch and jumped on, bareback. It was a moment I will never forget. I
felt as if I had been riding all my life. I felt like I was part of the horse as
I rode the mile to Grandmother’s farm, guiding the horse with the rope and my
legs against her sides. This unbelievable familiarity baffled me, because I had
never heard of reincarnation. It would be many years before I would learn about
it and become interested in the possibility of past lives.
Forty-three years later, I began collecting
firing replicas of muzzle-loading, black powder guns, of the style popular in
the Old West. I bought a Derringer, a pepperbox, a flintlock, and a replica of
the 1860 Colt with a seven-and-a-half inch barrel, which was used by both the
North and South during the Civil War. I learned that sheriffs and gunfighters
did not use this Colt-the long barrel took too long to come out of a holster
during “fast-draw” combat. Instead, they used the “Sheriff’s model”
1860, with a barrel that was two inches shorter.
I decided to add the “Sheriff’s model” to
my collection. It was delivered by UPS. I was so anxious to see it, I unpacked
it in my van-and got the surprise of my life!
My hand closed over the grip, and I drew it
instinctively, fanning the hammer with the palm of my left hand. For a few
seconds, my van disappeared, and I was in a gun fight! I did not see my
opponent-my view ahead was clouded, as if through a veil.
It lasted only seconds, but I was sure I had held
this gun before. It fit my hand like a glove. Fanning the hammer with the left
hand was a common practice in those days. These were single action guns, and
there was no time to cock the hammer during fast-draw combat. Being the first to
fire was more important than accuracy, because the second shot, by fanning, was
I have no idea on which side of the law I had
been, if this was indeed a flashback from a previous life.
Even today, many years after the experience, I
feel an inexplicable sensation when I pick up this special gun. It fits my hand
as if it belongs. Nothing like this happens when I pick up any other gun.
-Joseph Kerska, Brisbane, California
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