It would have been a sad and unfortunate ending when Dorothy Eady tumbled down the steps of her home one day in 1907. Most people wouldn’t have survived such a fall, and Eady didn’t either: she was declared dead on the spot. But that wasn’t the end of her – when the doctor arrived an hour later, to the surprise of all, Eady was up and acting normal. Well, not normal; this wasn’t the same little Dorothy her family knew and loved.
Eady didn’t just come back from the dead; she came back with memories of a past life in ancient Egypt, bearing a remarkable and inexplicable knowledge of Egyptian culture that would befuddle her family, doctors, scholars, and even the world. This strange tale of the woman who returned from the dead will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about past lives and what we might bring back with us from the other side – should we ever go there and have the chance to come back.
The doctor must have had the shock of his life when he returned to the house to find the little girl he'd proclaimed dead now up and about.
It was remarkable enough that this young girl had managed to survive such a fall, but there was something strange about Eady now. She spoke with an odd accent and kept demanding to be taken ‘home,’ which apparently she no longer felt was with her family. Things began to get even worse when her Sunday school teachers asked her not to attend class as she had compared Christianity along with a "heathen" ancient Egyptian religion.
When she was four-years-old, her parents brought Eady to an exhibition at the British Museum in London, famous for its Egyptian antiquities collection. When she finally saw them, it was the most rapturous moment of her young life. She broke free of her mother’s grip and began running through the museum, kissing the feet of statues, crying in ecstasy, and shouting out “these are my people.” Not unlike the average child having a temper tantrum, when it was time to go home she started to yell and scream, refusing to leave.
Her parents finally got her home, but the trip to the museum only intensified her feelings about Egypt, and she began have strange dreams that felt impossibly real to her, like memories from a past life. Later on, she found a photograph of the Temple of Seti I, and realized that was the same building she kept dreaming about. Her dreams had begun to take root, and ultimately flowered into the obsession that dominated the rest of her life.
School was never Eady’s thing while she was growing up; in fact, she found it completely boring and not worth her time. There was so much more for her to focus on, like the dreams that came to her of the ancient Pharaoh Seti I, whom she said came to her and kept her company. When her class finally started studying ancient Egypt it gave her something to keep busy with, but soon it wasn’t enough and she’d routinely skip class to go to Egyptian antiquity exhibitions. It was one of these trips that she met the famed Egyptologist Wallis Budge, who urged her to study hieroglyphics. She took to them easily; she claimed that she was simply remembering them, rather than learning them from scratch.
Her unusual behavior began to concern her family more and more, and as her dreams became stronger and stronger with age, they worried enough for her health that she was confined in a number of sanatoriums. However, no treatment ever caused the dreams to go away, and no amount of doctors could convince Eady she was wrong in any way.
At the age of 27, Dorothy married an Egyptian Londoner named Emam Abdel Meguid, and together they moved to Cairo. Together they had a son, and Eady named him Seti after the Pharaoh who visited her in her dreams. As was customary in Egypt, women were often called by their son’s names as a matter of respect. Thus, she became Omm Sety (Omm meaning “Mother of”) and for the rest of her life many local Egyptians as well as famed Egyptologists referred to her as such. The BBC even released a number of documentaries which referred to her as Omm Sety, as a matter of precedent over her given name, Dorothy.
Sadly, her marriage barely lasted two years - he was forced to move to Iraq, and she was adamant about staying in Egypt. That, coupled with the facts that his family never approved of her, and her obsession with Egypt became more than he could handle.