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Saturday, April 12, 2014


Most of you know by now that I have never been to the USA. I wonder how many of you have been to the UK? What were your impressions of it? No, rephrase that, what were your impressions of the area that you did visit? Did you go to London? That seems to be a magnet for many tourists, although, I can’t really see why, all hustle and bustle, crowds and noise, I hate it! I’m a country girl, as I know many of you are also, and much happier in a field full of animals than a street full of people.


Many of you seem to write (or read) books with Scottish themes or heroes. I’m interested, can those of you who do write these stories please tell me, are these imaginary places to you, or have you actually been there?

I love to see the full regalia of a hunky Scottish piper, and the sound of the pipes stirs something deep inside. I do have Scottish ancestry, and my family lived back there for a couple of years, when I was about 5-6 years old. After I married, we often went on holiday to Scotland. I consider it my ‘spiritual home’. There is a certain ‘feeling’ about it that I can’t really describe, but which I guess, many of you must have felt about places which are dear to your hearts too. I’d really love  to hear about your special places.

I believe that memories from way back are stored in our DNA, and perhaps those memories are awakened once more when we go somewhere, or do something which one of our ancestors also did. My love of the outdoors, and especially horses and pigs, can be traced  to the Scottish (and Irish) ancestors. In Ireland, my GG Grandmother lived in a small cottage at the side of a lough and kept pigs. (I can’t resist those little pink squealers!) One part of the Scottish family had a small farm, and one GGG Grandfather worked with heavy horses. 


The heavy horses came down the line, with my G Grandfather eventually killed at Liverpool docks where he worked as a carter, when a heavy load fell on him. Then his son, (my dear Grandad) worked in the same occupation until he retired. My first job was working at a pony stud, and I started riding at the age of three, and had two ponies of my own for a while. (Still riding, off and on).

When my husband, Chris, our daughter Sara, and I, went on our holidays to Scotland, we all loved it, then on one trip, we went to a distant place we had never been to before. We arrived late on a stormy night, and set up our tent on a small rocky beach side site with very Spartan facilities. It was dark, so we couldn’t really see the place, and it was cold and windy so we just put up the tent fast and disappeared inside and into our sleeping bags even faster!

The next morning your truly was first up, and opened the tent, to be greeted by a beautiful double rainbow. The place was wild and empty, with very few houses around. It looked as if it had remained almost completely untouched for many years. As I went out to look around the area the haunting beauty of the place struck me, and strolling on the empty, white sandy beach, I was suddenly overcome with the most enormous emotions. I began to cry, and had to sit down, my legs just wouldn’t hold me. My mind and heart were telling me I had come home at last! I knew that place was my real home! 
Does that sound totally stupid to you?

We went back there a couple of times, until Chris could no longer drive due to ill health (I never did learn to drive unfortunately). Each time I was filled again with that powerful sense of belonging. I have been researching my Family Tree for a while now and got back to the late 1700’s in Scotland, but so far, no-one I have found ever lived in that particular place. Maybe it comes from even further back, maybe my ancestors were really Vikings, and that was where they landed first!! LOL! Is there a rational explanation? Or is it really in my DNA?

Are any of you doing something now that could only have come down from a family member from the past. Neither of my parents were at all ‘horsey’, and I never saw Grandad’s heavy horses, so where did my love of horses come from? Also, I am a real ‘foodie’, love cooking, reading cookbooks, watching cookery programmes, have a kitchen full of cooking ‘gadgets’, even took a Cordon Bleu course on leaving school, yet no-one in the family had ever had anything to do with cooking.  Mum has always done as little as she could get away with! Where on earth did that come from? More research needed I think.

This is a subject which has always really interested me, although I haven’t used any of it in a story yet. Maybe one day eh? Should we call it Déjà vu? Or is it something more than that?
If any of you want information on any aspects of UK, (especially Scotland) please give me a shout, and I will do my very best to help.


  1. Jill, Interesting theory. For myself, I was on a back road in Colorado when I just knew I had been there before, but from a time much further back than any of my family would have been there. To this day I don't know if I just picked up another persons memories or...? Beautiful thoughts and post. Something worth pondering. Thanks! Doris

  2. Jill, I agree with you about "genetic memory." I can't tell you how often I've experienced deja vu when visiting certain spots, only to find out later some seminal event in my family's history happened there.

    I visited a commercial boatyard once, and when we approached the wooden hull of an enormous boat in dry dock, out of nowhere I was overcome with a sense of abject terror. Something urged me to get away from that yard RIGHT THEN. I've never been able to explain the experience, and I've always wondered if one of my ancestors may have had a disastrous experience involving a boat or ship.

    Great post, sweetie! :-)

  3. Thank you very much Doris. There is that also, picking up the echo's of other people's memories. I believe we all can do that sometimes, unfortunately, we don't understand what's happening and it often frightens people. But it is an interesting thought . Thank you.

  4. Kathleen, Thank you for the comment. I believe that your feeling at the boat dock was definitely a 'past life' coming to the fore! It takes a lot of research to find out if your ancestors had such an experience of course, but hey girl, you are a real expert at that! I'm glad I am not alone in my thoughts about 'genetic memory'. And I've got lots more controversial theories too!! Thanks again m'dear!

  5. Jill, what a great post. I've wondered about this, too. I've definitely been places where I felt "familiar", but had never been to before that moment. I also believe that there are people we "know" from another time. Something that kind of bears this out in an odd way is a study on twins that were raised in different households, never knowing one another until they were older. I saw this on 60 Minutes years ago, and I've never forgotten it, because these twins (I think they studied 4 or 5 sets of twins for the piece they did)were so alike in so many ways, yet had never known one another. One of the things they all said was that they "knew" there was part of them missing (of course it was their twin they didn't know they had). They all felt this emptiness that they couldn't explain. Some of them actually felt unexplained pain when the other one got hurt! I have had experiences like what Kathleen is talking about, where you just have an unexplained feeling of needing to leave RIGHT THEN. It's scary when it happens, but I think it's one of the ways our "6th sense" has of protecting us--either from the past or present danger.

    What a very thought-provoking post! BTW, my great grandfather's name was Euin Tolliver McLain--he was VERY Irish. My grandmother, his daughter, and my own mother all had a kind of "feeling" about things. I remember one time my mom decided at the last minute I could not go to a concert I had been planning on. She found every excuse in the book to keep me home. Looking back, I think she must have had that "feeling" and not wanted me to go for that reason. I DID go, and on the way there, the guy who was driving (there was a group of us) was hit by a car that ran a stop sign. Thank goodness everyone was okay, but I've often thought of that.

    As to genetic memories, yes, I do believe in them, and it sound like you had a very strong experience with finding your true "home"--I have always wanted to go to Great Britain, but probably never will. A lot of why I want to come is to be there where my ancestors were. I have English, Scottish and Irish in my heritage--I think they're all at war inside me. LOL


  6. Hi Cheryl Thanks for the lovely comment. I'm a 'mongrel' too Scots Irish Welsh and Yorkshire fighting it out in me, and I was born in Lancashire! Phew! And I believe the reason you have always wanted to come here is because of the genetic memories in you from those distant relatives. I do hope you get here one day. In Scotland (and I think Ireland) there is a word for people who have a strong ability to utilize a 6th sense we say they are 'fey' have you heard of that? Your mother, coming from an Irish background was definitely 'fey'. Have you inherited that? what a frightening experience for you all! And what a lesson to listen o your elders eh?

  7. Jill,

    Such an interesting post. I, too, have experienced that 6th sense phenomena and had hade many Déjà vu episodes. I'm a native Coloradoan, but my 'genetic memories' hail from Scotland, Ireland, and England. One of the most memorable times I experienced feeling like I'd been to a place before was when I moved to Cleveland, Ohio for a few years when I was racing thoroughbred horses there. I had the clearest waking 'memories' (as opposed to dreams) of having left Cleveland on a covered wagon headed for the West.

    I also believe that memories are stored in our DNA and that we do have spiritual homes. As a former school psychologist, the concept of a society's collective conscious intrigues me: the internal knowing known to all. Then when you take Carl Jung's variation of the collective unconscious, which is the set of archetypes common to all members of a group and then from the archetypes, people construck meanings, contexts, and patterns within their group.

    I do have an unpublished family saga that I pull out from time to time to work on, and some of the scenes are set in Scotland and London. Since I have never been to the British Isles, I've made my best guestimates through researching. I soooooooooo appreciate your offer to help with information about the UK. *hugs* for that. It made my day. I will take you up on that offer. Thanks.

    1. Hello Kaye, nice to meet you! Wow! Thank you. I am a firm believer in the collective unconscious, it's so good to meet someone else who understands it, I get lots of blank looks when I try talking to my friends here about it, I'm excited to meet you! Waking memories are so interesting, I have experienced a few, and they can be a bit disconcerting sometimes, but once you realize what they are, wow! It all adds proof to the theory of the CU I think. And if I can be of any help to you, just holler!

  8. Jill,
    I so agree with this! And I think as writers, we utilize these echoes when we write.

    Six years ago I visited Killarney, Ireland--just for one night--but felt an overwhelming sense of coming home. I also knew when I visited the very-touristy Blarney Castle that I'd written about it when I was a child. The views of the countryside from the (few) windows exactly matched what I'd seen in my mind, exactly what I'd written. I don't really find this odd since my ancestors are Irish. My DNA definitely awakened while I was in Ireland! And I've been to Scotland, and had similar experiences.

    Thanks for such a great post!

  9. Hello again Kristy, good to see you here! And thank you for the kind comments. You know, when I wrote that piece,I was a little hesitant about putting it out. I do get a lot of people shaking their heads when I try to talk about this sort of thing, and I wondered if I would get the same on here, But heck! Seems most of us have had some similar experiences. That makes me feel better! Maybe I'm not going mad after all. I understand exactly those feelings you had at Blarney. Despite all the hustle and bustle around you, somehow it all seems to melt away and just for a few seconds, you are 'back there' I think its wonderful. And thank you for sharing your experience. X

  10. I have never been the Britain, Scotland, Wales or Ireland, but I've thought of these places often. I know several people, family included, who have been there and spoken so positively about it. The rolling hills of the country would appeal to me. Even though I've never been to the British Isles, I feel a deep connection to it. I'm Scot and Irish. My DNA remembers my origins and longs to see home again.
    I really enjoyed reading your article, Jill.

  11. Hello Sarah! Nice to see you here. Yep that old DNA certainly stirs things up doesn't it? Maybe you will get across here one day? Thank you for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. All of my friends who write Scottish historicals have been to Scotland. I'd love to visit, too. Like you, I'm not much interested in the big cities. We're of Norman British, Scottish, and Irish descent. The male ancestors all migrated from Scotland, but most of the women came from Ireland. And yes, I've had a few very strong occasions of "the sight." Made a believer out of my husband. :)

  13. Hi Jacquie. Thanks for commenting. I think that anyone without 'the sight' can be a little afraid of it when it shows itself in others. Is this the origin of the 'witchcraft' stories I wonder?