One of the things about my WWI memories that I was unable to reconcile was the fact that I recalled a lot of details from later in the war that I later attributed to false memories, including steel helmets, tanks, and more advanced aircraft. I had assumed these were just things I stereotypically associated with the war and ignored them, though in truth they always nagged at me.
To make things more unusual, the book I wrote as an attempt to merge Phil’s themes with my current life’s style actually features a plot much like a Nevil Shute novel… and a protagonist who is alarmingly similar to Nevil Shute, someone I had never even heard of until a British friend who was into aviation read my work.
It turns out Nevil Shute was also a WWI veteran, and that he spent time around a Sopwith Camel… and I seem to recall posting a memory of getting close to a plane on the ground somewhere around here (probably in my early posts).
I’ve also used variants of the name “Nevil” (usually the more common “Neville” spelling) for minor characters in a couple of short stories I’ve written as well.
Here’s the deal: aside from the Sopwith Camel (which could still be cryptomnesia though I did accurately remember the shape of the propeller hub), I have no other memories to place Nevil Shute Norway as a previous life. Furthermore, I would have to throw out a lot more than just a few anachronisms if I were to consider him as a better contender than John and Phil, and it would mean a longer gap between a previous life and my current one (whereas with Phil it’s only 2 years). I’d also have to throw out a physical resemblance to Phil that’s slight but noticeable.
Or I might not have to throw anything out if I consider the possibility of simultaneous lives… but I’m still really skeptical that this is even possible.
I do have a much simpler theory: Philip K. Dick could have owned a copy of Nevil Shute’s autobiography, “Slide Rule,” which contains all of the relevant details. I could have read this in my prior life and unconsciously remembered this work despite never having read it or even heard of it in this life.
This will be yet another question to add to the pile of questions I’m burning to ask. If I find out that Phil had a copy of “Slide Rule” then it might answer a lot of questions including the bit about the Sopwith Camel.