Guirdham, Arthur (1905– )
British physician, psychiatrist, novelist, and writer on ESP
and reincarnation. He also wrote under the pseudonym ‘‘Francis
Eaglesfield.’’ Born March 9, 1905, in Workington, Cumberland,
England, he was educated at Keble College, Oxford University,
and at Charing Cross Hospital, London (B.S., M.A.,
M.D.). He was senior consulting psychiatrist in the Bath Child
Guidance Clinic, retiring from the National Health Service in
During his adult life Guirdham became increasingly interested
in the history and teachings of the Cathar sect of thirteenth-century
France. Cathar doctrine regarded the world as
a kind of hell for rebellious angels, condemned to human existence
until redeemed by unification with Christ. This doctrine
was related to Gnosticism and Manichean teachings. The
Cathars were persecuted and murdered by the established
Church, culminating in their final destruction in 1243 at Montségur,
France, when 200 Cathars were burned alive on one
Guirdham became convinced that he had been a Cathar
priest named Roger de Grisolles in a former incarnation. In his
book The Cathars and Reincarnation (1970) he describes the
strange circumstances leading to this belief. He had a woman
patient who was referred to him for treatment as a possible epileptic.
She had vivid nightmares of life in the thirteenth century
as a peasant girl in Toulouse, France, in a family that befriended
a priest named Roger de Grisolles. Grisolles was arrested
and died in prison; the girl was burned at the stake.
Extraordinarily enough Guirdham had also had similar
nightmares since childhood, and when he met the patient, a
Mrs. Smith, she revealed that he was the priest de Grisolles she
had seen in her own dreams. Guirdham was sufficiently impressed
with the factual aspects of her narrative to undertake
research, in which he was able to confirm events and names in
Smith’s nightmares. There was a Roger de Grisolles who was
murdered in 1242, and the details of the family who befriended
him before betrayal were correct. In addition, Smith’s own
notes, written earlier, contained much background material on
the Cathars not then known to scholars and only subsequently
Guirdham also published The Lake and the Castle (1976),
which surveys evidence of ‘‘far memory’’ from himself and a
group of friends, suggesting various incarnations at different
periods of history. His book The Great Heresy The History and
Beliefs of the Cathars (1977) compares his own scholarship on
Cathar history with claimed evidence from discarnate entities.
In addition to his fascinating works on Cathar reincarnation,
Guirdham also published A Theory of Disease (1957), in which
diseases are related to a realistic assessment of personality.
Guirdham, Arthur. The Cathars and Reincarnation. Wellingborough,
England Turnstone Press, 1982.
———. Christ and Freud. London Allen & Unwin, 1959.
———. Cosmic Factors in Disease. London Duckworth, 1963.
———. A Foot in Both Worlds A Doctor’s Autobiography of Psychic
Experience. [St. Helier] Jersey, Spearman, 1973.
———. The Great Heresy. St. Helier Neville Spearman,
Wilson, Colin. Strange Powers. New York Random House,