Jenny Cockell (born in 1953) is an English writer who in the mid-1990s came to fame for her claims of reincarnation.
In her book Yesterday's Children /Across Time and Death, Cockell discusses her past life memories of life as Mary Sutton in early-20th century Ireland. The book chronicles Cockell's research into Sutton's life and Cockell's subsequent reunion with Sutton's children, some of whom accepted Cockell as the reincarnation of their mother and all of whom accepted her memories as being those of their mother.
In 2000, CBS aired Yesterday's Children, which was a made-for-TV movie adaptation of Cockell's book, with Jane Seymour in the title role. For the TV movie, however, Jenny Cockell was referred to as "Jenny Cole," and the story was somewhat rewritten with, amongst other changes, Jenny Cole being an American as opposed to British citizen.
Cockell is also the author of 'Past Lives, Future Lives', in which she discussed her visions of what she believes could be her future lives, among these a girl, Nadja in Nepal around 2050. Also 'Journey's Through Time' researching a past life in Japan, also from early childhood recall, where the Japanese family accepted her memory as evidence of reincarnation.
Joe Nickell has written that Cockell's alleged past life memories and reincarnation claims break down under critical analysis "Unknown were Mary’s surname, either maiden or married, or the names of her husband or children. Nickell wrongly thought that the village’s name and even its location were a mystery. Cockell was ignorant of dates as well, including Mary’s birth date or even the year of her birth. And so on and on." Nickell noted that Cockell had a tendency to fantasize and the evidence suggests her past life memories under hypnosis were not memories but the product of her imagination. However, Nickell failed to realise that the verified memories existed from earliest childhood rather than hypnosis, including the name and location of the village, so these were never a mystery. The location of the house was accurately pinpointed on maps drawn by Cockell in childhood and the correct time period indicated.
- Yesterday’s Children: The Extraordinary Search for my Past Life Family, Piatkus, 1993 UK
- Across Time and Death: A Mother's Search for Her Past Life Children, Fireside 1994 USA
- Past Lives, Future Lives: One Woman's Extraordinary Experiences of Other Lifetimes, Piatkus, 1996
- Journeys Through Time: Uncovering My Past Lives, Piatkus, 2008
- Yesterday's Children at the Internet Movie Database
- New York Times review of Yesterday's Children
- Vies antérieures : les enfants retrouvés (interview de Jenny Cockell)