Unsolved Mysteries Wiki
Sharon johnson

Real Name: Unrevealed, "Sharon Johnson" is not her real name
Case: Reincarnation
Location: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Date: 1979


Details: Sharon Johnson believes that she is the reincarnation of a soldier who was killed at Pearl Harbor, eleven years before she was born. In 1979, she met hypnotist Frank Baranowski for weight loss hypnosis. She lost thirty pounds but also realized she had an odd recurring dream of smoke, the same recurring dream she had as a child years earlier.
Six months later, Sharon visited the island of Oahu, Hawaii for the first time with Frank and some his friends. Certain sights on the island of Oahu seemed familiar to her even though she had never been there before. After she visited the USS Arizona monument at Pearl Harbor, she went back to her hotel and had the same odd dream again that night.
Sharon went under hypnosis again and claimed that she was a man named John Gillespie. She said that she had lived on a farm in Omaha, Nebraska and was born in 1921 to John Gillespie Sr. She also said that she was stationed on the USS Nevada. She even described the attack on Pearl Harbor and named people that were there at the time of the attack: Captain Scandel, Paymaster Cooper, and Ensign Taussig, none of whom she personally knew in real life or had even heard of before in her awake state. Ensign Taussig was a badly injured man in her dream. A few minutes later, the story came to an abrupt end. She then realized that John Gillespie had been killed. She was eager to do more past-life regression exercises to learn more about John Gillespie.
Frank recorded several hypnotic sessions in order to find out if John actually existed. In one session, Sharon gave John's serial number and names of his friends at the time. Frank went to Robert Scanlon, senior aide to the congressman. Robert was skeptical at first, but he decided to check the national archive to have a list of the men aboard the USS Nevada. He was surprised to learn that eight of the nine men that Sharon had named were listed. However, Ensign Taussig, was not listed on board the Nevada, but Sharon found that he had been in Hawaii that day and that he was probably onboard.

Census record of john gillespie

Census record for John Gillespie

A composite of sugar

A sketch of Sugar

Sharon and Frank located a man named Joseph Taussig who confirmed several facts in Sharon's story, including that he was on board that day and had to have his leg amputated. John Gillespie did not appear on any of the ship's rosters; however, fire might have destroyed a roster with John's name on it. A fire had ravaged a Naval warehouse that housed most records of Navy seamen during WWII, likely destroying any evidence of John's existence. Despite the fact that evidence of John's existence seemed to be hard to prove, Frank did the unbelievable and actually found census records that stated John Gillespie was a real man.
Some believe that Sharon's story was true, but others believe that Sharon's information came from third-party sources like books, hypnotic suggestion, and leading questions. However, Sharon and Frank were certain that Sharon was the reincarnation of John Gillespie. Sharon and Frank even took polygraphs to prove that they were truthful, and they passed. Under hypnosis, Sharon revealed that John had a Hawaiian girlfriend named Sugar, which Sharon made a composite of. Sharon stated that John met Sugar at Pearl Harbor and that the two had a fight on December 6, the day before the attack. They hope to locate Sugar so that she can confirm Sharon's claims.
With the help of military records, Frank was able to confirm that there was a "John Gillespie" in the Navy and that he did die during the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, John's family has never been located and the rest of the claims by Sharon and Frank have not been confirmed.
Extra Notes:

  • The case was featured as a part of the November 6, 1991 episode.
  • "Sharon Johnson" is not the real name of the woman in this case, who preferred to be otherwise anonymous.

Results: Unsolved. The woman named "Sugar" was never located, and there is no way to determine whether Sharon's reincarnation story is true or not. Sadly, Frank passed away in 2002.