Well, it’s definitely confirmed. The “bear traps” did exist. Some friends who also have memories of past lives have helped me dig up this information.
The New York Times ran an article in June 1918, but I suspect that as much as they would have been eager to spread the word about German atrocities in those days, there was also a great deal of censorship; also, the NYT was naturally more interested in the hardships of American troops, and they weren’t there until 1917.
This is very fascinating because the information is scarce, in fact there was a forum thread about it on a WWI forum I sometimes browse but even they had little more than this article and a picture.
While I haven’t confirmed that these traps were used at Second Ypres, this is still the first time a detail about actual combat that isn’t something that I’ve seen dozens of times in war movies, documentaries, diaries, and history books/websites. It’s not a smoking gun that these memories are genuine, but it’s just strengthened things a bit.
And yet, beyond the excitement there’s a deep horror that people would actually do this to each other. These were people who, in happier times, would happily share a beer and sang the same melodies in church. Total War makes monsters of everyone. I can’t help but feel a bit shaken by discovering that there is truth in some of my darker memories.