Soul Samples

Leo Sprinkle: Soul Samples: Personal Explorations in Reincarnation and UFO Experiences. Granite Publishing, 1999.

Have you ever met anyone, say in a pub or at a party, who proceeds to simultaneously bore and embarrass you, by telling you more about their life history than you could ever want to know? Something of that feeling is generated by this book, which is a curious mixture of autobiography. curriculum vitae, and a jumble of the author's old papers. But it is an autobiography which at ones tells you too much about the author's battles with colleagues and minutiae of college life, yet in the end tells you very little about his real life.

Perhaps it resembles, in this way, the religious biographies of a past time, all concerned with the subject's inner life and soul, and little concerned about his active life. For Sprinkle, the religion is the 'New Age', and the Leo Sprinkle who emerges from these pages is not so much a psychologist with a few strange ideas at the periphery, but a New Ager who has long abandoned any connection with mainstream psychology, and who, it is painfully clear, was an acute embarrassment to the University where he was head of counselling; not least because he was bringing all this extracurricular stuff into his work.

At the end of all the minutiae of committee wrangling and reproductions of old papers, one never real feels that one understands why Sprinkle became involved in the new age movement, or why he so completely abandoned his critical faculties. He refers to odd personal experiences and childhood nightmares, and to his strict, almost abusive upbringing, but many other people must have had similar backgrounds without going to completely overboard. -- Peter Rogersom, from Magonia 72, October 2000.

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