While he was going through his transformation, Dr Guirdham discovered the anniversary syndrome. He found that if a major event had taken place in a person’s past life, when the date on which it had happened came round again, the person subconsciously knew it. As a result, strange dreams, nightmares and unexplained strong feelings were likely to surface on that date.
For Dr Guirdham and Mrs Smith the trigger date was 16 March. In 1244 they were living at the Cathar centre of Montsegur when the Pope’s army besieged them. On 16 March, they chose death by fire rather than renouncing their ‘heresy’. Dr Guirdham realized that this was why their nightmares about being burned at the stake were always at their worst around that date.