Pop icon Michael Jackson surprised fans and associates earlier today when he announced that he is the reincarnation of a Lipizzan horse, according to past-life hypnosis. Lipizzan horses are a small, sturdy breed of horse known for having black coats at birth which gradually turn white between five and eight years later.

“I feel like a new man,” said Jackson as he emerged from his weekly hypnosis session. “This revelation really tells me who I am. Now I know what I am, I’m a Lipizzan.”

According to the self-proclaimed ‘King of Pop’, he is reincarnated from a Lipizzan named “Trucker” who was killed in a freak boat accident in early 1958. Trucker’s former owner, a horse breeder in Gary, Indiana, was unavailable for comment. His breeding farm is located very close to Jackson’s birthplace, leading reincarnation experts to believe that his soul may have been lazy and did not want to travel far.

“This isn’t just about color, although it does answer some questions about that,” said a Jackson spokesperson. “This is about tracing roots, determining who or what Michael was before he was brought here in human form. Michael is very excited about this revelation, and hopes to meet soon with his Lipizzan comrades.”

But horse expert Jonathan Conrad is not convinced. “I’m not sure this really makes any sense,” said Conrad. “I mean, Lipizzans do change colors, but there’s no bleach or plastic surgery involved. Is he saying this is a psychological thing, or does he really expect us to believe he changed colors naturally or because of some skin condition?”

Critics of Jackson are also quick to discount his claim. “Is that wacko in the news again?” asked NBC Entertainment reporter James Tonka, “This sounds like a big load of [expletive]. Reincarnated Lipizzans? Come on.”

Jackson, however, stressed that he is not joking. “Look, I know it sounds crazy, but I feel a connection with these horses. I feel like I’m one with them, and they with me. I haven’t felt this way since I was allowed to share my bed in a loving way with children. I want to be with these horses, be happy with them. In a perfect world we would all be in touch with our dead horses.”

One of Jackson’s lawyers, present during the press conference, added quickly, “That’s bed sharing in a loving, non-sexual way.”