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Evidence for Reincarnation

Irrefutable proof that human consciousness goes on.

By Rene Volpi Published 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 12 min read
Reincarnation. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dr Mahmut Yildiz wrote a marvellous essay on Transhumanism and the topic of consciousness living on.

This is such an incredibly deep, complex and fascinating subject that we can’t seem to have sufficient material to satisfy our curiosity—and neither does science.

There's an influx of additional evidence that past lives are, in fact, something that we can remember up to a certain age, usually between 2 and 3 years of age. The brain erases those memories as we develop more brain matter, and those recollections slowly disappear.

The brain is a fantastic computer; as such, it does what it must to protect itself from harm. In its infinite wisdom, we assume that the brain includes forgetting as part of its discretion. If we continue to remember our past lives, conditions could easily lead us to madness.

Typical Features

Investigators found that the subjects in these cases tended to talk about a past life at a very young age. They often started at age 2 or 3 and stopped by age 6 or 7. They made their statements about past lives spontaneously. They did so without using hypnotic regression. The children described their recent lives. The time between the death of the previous person and their birth was only 15 months. They lived ordinary lives, usually in the same country. Some said they were dead family members. But others, like Kumkum, talked of being strangers in other places. In those cases, if the children gave enough details, such as the name of the other location, people could go there and find that someone had died. Their life matched the details given by the child. The only part of their previous life that was often unusual was the mode of death. Over 70% of the previous personalities had died by unnatural means. They often died violently or suddenly. Besides the statements, many of the children showed behaviours that seemed connected to their previous lives. Many longed for the previous family. They also had emotions for individual family members. These emotions matched the relationship the previous personality had with them. In the cases involving violent death, over 35% of the children showed phobias related to the mode of that death (Stevenson, 1990). In addition, many of the children practised repetitive play. It seemed linked to the previous life. They most often acted out the old job and occasionally re-enacted the death scene (Stevenson, 2000).

We can only explain some extraordinarily documented instances by accepting that we have lived before. They are so exceptional that the only plausible explanation exists. We have lived before. Here are some examples:

Children's reports

Children often start reporting past lives at 35 months old. Some children may make emotionless statements. But many are intensely emotional about their claims. For example, some children may cry or beg to go back to their previous family. Others may show intense anger. They do this, especially to killers. This happens when the previous personality has been murdered. The stronger the evidence for a connection to the previous life, the more emotion the child may show when talking about that life. Dr. Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, pioneered research in this area. He spent much of his career collecting and examining such cases. Typically, this happens between ages 2 and 4 (with a mean age of 35 months). At that time, such children start talking about their previous life. They often speak about the events that led up to their deaths. They sometimes use the present tense, as if their previous life were still continuing. In some cases, Stevenson could identify the person the child claimed to be. He verified the information by speaking to the deceased's relatives.

Since Stevenson’s death, other researchers have followed his lead. Researchers have studied around 2500 reports of children's past-life memories. Research has shown that the children’s previous lives ended early and unnaturally. They often involved violence, suicide, or an accident. In almost three-quarters of cases, the “previous personality” (in the term coined by Stevenson) died relatively young. A quarter died before the age of 15. On average, the children linked to the previous personalities were born four and a half years after the deaths.

Modern researchers check the accuracy of children’s accounts. They look for any chance that the kids gained information through mundane ways or were fantasizing. Or that their parents may be embellishing their stories. Often, researchers give the children recognition tests. For example, they show them a set of photos and ask them to pick one related to their past personality. They might show pictures of houses and ask the person to pick the one in which their previous personality lived. In this scenario, participants might see pictures of women and have to choose which one was their previous personality's wife.

The most well-known researcher in this field is Jim Tucker. He is a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral science at the University of Virginia. I’ll describe one of the cases Tucker has investigated. Over the years, Stevenson has been studying these cases. The subjects were born with birthmarks or defects. They seemed to match wounds suffered by the previous personality. He did not report any of the cases until he could publish them as a collection. This was an extensive collection. In 1997, Stevenson published "Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Cause of Birthmarks and Birth Defects". It was two volumes and 2,200 pages. It had over 547 cases of "Children Who Claim to Remember Previous Lives" (Stevenson, 1997). He also wrote a shorter synopsis of that work. Stevenson (1997) called it 'Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect'. In these books, Stevenson presented the cases. He described his efforts to verify that the birthmarks or defects did match wounds on the bodies of the previous people. Efforts included obtaining autopsy reports, if available. Also, medical records or police reports. If no written records were available, eyewitnesses could testify about the wounds. He also included many pictures. They showed birthmarks that were not the plain blemishes seen on babies. The subjects included a girl born with very deformed fingers. She remembered a man who had chopped off his fingers. There was also a boy with only stubs for fingers on his right hand. He remembered the life of a boy in another village who lost the fingers of his right hand in a fodder-chopping machine. Another boy had a small, round birthmark on the back of his head and a larger, irregular birthmark on the front. He remembered a teacher whom someone had shot from behind and killed. Finally, a girl remembered the life of a man who had skull surgery. He had what Stevenson called the most extraordinary birthmark he had ever seen. It was a 3-cm-wide area of pale, scar-like tissue that extended around her entire head. These cases showed that this thing was not just kids' memories. It also did not depend only on informants' memories. The birthmarks and birth defects were evidence of carryover from a deceased person. They showed that this carryover could affect a fetus.

Vladimir Levinski was born David Secombe in England in the 1930s. He had an innate gift for playing the piano. He taught himself to be a concert pianist by age 5. When asked about lessons, he said, “I have no time for them, I have a technique of my own.” Levinski was so gifted and so young. He came to see himself as the reincarnation of Franz Lizst, the German composer and pianist. By age 21, he was performing for packed concert halls, known as the “Paganini of the Piano.” Unfortunately, Levinski’s interest in Lizst became an obsession. This happened when he was playing a concert on January 23, 1952. He stopped playing halfway to talk about Lizst. The audience felt disappointed. But, Levinski felt the concert was a “big success.” He felt this because he experienced it as only the reincarnation of the renowned composer and performer Lizst, could.

Kumkum Verma, a girl in India, is an example of the subjects that Stevenson studied (Stevenson, 1975). She was from a village, but when she was 3% years old, she began saying that she had lived in Darbhanga, a city of 200,000 people that was 25 miles away. She named the district of the city where she said she had lived; one of artisans and craftsmen, and her family did not know anyone from that district. Kumkum made many statements, and her aunt wrote down many of them. Stevenson lost some of her notes, but she was able to get a copy of 18 of Kumkum's statements that her aunt had recorded. The details included her son's name and the life she was describing. They also included the fact that he worked with a hammer, her grandson's name, the town where her father had lived, and personal details. These details included having an iron safe at home, a sword near her cot, and a pet snake to whom she fed milk. Kumkum's father talked to a friend who had an employee from the district in Darbhanga, whom Kumkum had mentioned. The employee went there to search for the deceased person. It was the one that Kumkum was describing. He found that a woman had died five years before Kumkum was born whose life matched all the details listed above. Kumkum's father was a landowner and homeopathic doctor. He once visited the family in Darbhanga, but never let Kumkum see them. This was because he was not proud that his daughter remembered the life of a blacksmith's wife.

Then, we have the story of James Leininger. A little over two weeks after his second birthday, he began having blood-curdling nightmares that just would not stop. When James began screaming out recurring phrases like, "Plane on fire! Little man can't get out!" The Leiningers finally admitted that they had to take notice. Details of planes and war tragedies no two-year-old could know kept coming, even in daylight. Bruce and Andrea Leininger began to see that this was incredible. The Leiningers pieced together what their son was saying. They found that he was reliving the past life of World War II pilot James Huston. Bruce Leininger struggled to understand his son. He also uncovered details of James Huston's life--and death--as a pilot. These details will fascinate military buffs everywhere. The Leiningers' belief system shakes to the core. Both families come to know a little boy who, against all odds and even in the face of true sceptics, harbours the soul of this man who died long ago.

When details of planes and war tragedies no two-year-old boy could know continued-- even in stark daylight-- Bruce and Andrea Leininger began to realise that this was an incredible situation. The Leiningers pieced together what their son was communicating and eventually discovered that he was reliving the past life of World War II fighter pilot James Huston. As Bruce Leininger struggled to understand what was happening to his son, he also uncovered details of James Huston's life-- and death-- as a pilot that will fascinate military buffs everywhere.

The Case of Ryan Hammons.

Around the age of 4, Ryan Hammons told his mother Cyndi, “I think I used to be somebody else.” Whenever they saw the Hollywood sign on TV, Ryan would get excited, saying that was his home and he wanted to return there. He said that he had been an agent in Hollywood and that the agency had changed people’s names. He talked about dancing on Broadway and living in a house with a large swimming pool. Sometimes, when songs came on the radio, he would stand up and start tap dancing. He talked about going to fancy parties with a “cowboy man” who had a horse that performed tricks and also did cigarette commercials. At school, when asked to draw pictures of his home, he would always draw four people—himself, his parents, and “the old me”.

Cyndi began to write down everything that Ryan told her about his past life. She borrowed books about Hollywood from the local library, hoping they will help Ryan process his memories. In one book, they found a still from an old movie called Night After Night. Ryan became very animated and shouted, “Mummy, that’s George—we did a picture together!” Then he pointed to a man to the side of the photo and said, “And that’s me.” Ryan had always said that he didn’t know the name of his previous personality, and at first, Cyndi could not identify the man he pointed at. However, she found out that the other man was an actor named George Raft.

When Ryan was 5, his mother made contact with Jim Tucker, who agreed to investigate his claims. A film archivist worked for a TV production company. They made a documentary about Ryan. The archivist said the man Ryan said was "me" was Marty Martyn. Marty was a dancer, actor, and agent who died in 1964. When Tucker visited Ryan and his parents, Ryan was asked to pick out photos of people and places related to Marty Martyn. He did this successfully.

Ryan's mother recorded most of his statements about his previous life before Tucker got involved. Researchers also recorded them before identifying Marty Martyn. His mother had already verified some statements. For example, she had confirmed that the cowboy friend he often spoke about was a man called Wild Bill Elliot. Tucker helped. We verified other statements from sources like public records and newspapers. We also used obituaries, travel documents, and census reports. (Since Martyn was an obscure figure, there was no information about him on the internet, at least at that time). Martyn contacted his daughter, and she verified other statements.

Ryan confirmed a total of 55 statements about his previous life. For example, Marty Martyn confirmed that he was once a tap dancer. He ran a talent agency that changed people’s names. He had several wives. His favourite restaurant was in Chinatown. He spent a lot of time in Paris. He had an extensive collection of sunglasses. He bought his daughter a dog when she was 6, and so on. Cyndi took him to the beautiful old building where the Marty Martyn Talent Agency had once been. He acted "as if he were truly returning home after a long journey...His whole face lit up with joy".

Now a teenager, Ryan no longer remembers his previous personality, but still seems to carry some behavioural traits from his last life. For example, he loves to watch old movies and listen to big-band music from the '40s and '50s.

Are there any alternative ways of explaining this case, and many other similar ones? Young children have vivid imaginations, so perhaps they are simply fantasizing. However, there are hundreds of cases where the details of the children’s stories have been verified. This wouldn't happen if they were just making up random stories of a previous life.

Also, in Lebanon, Haraldsson (2003) found that 30 children had memories of past lives. They did not differ from controls on cognitive tests or school performance. They got higher scores for daydreaming, attention-seeking, and dissociation than controls did. But, they did not get higher scores for social isolation and suggestibility. Haraldsson speculated that the children might have mild post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their past-life statements would relate to it. He found that kids who reported a violent death had more symptoms on the CBCL but not on the CDC. The question of PTSD needs more thought.

But there are literally tens of thousands of instances where the same events took place.

The search for the new Lama is one of the most intriguing, as extraordinary precautions were taken to prevent any chance of error.

Finally, they found a match. They subjected the little boy to rigorous testing. He passed with such astounding precision that it left no doubt in the minds of the ones present.

Sometimes, older people use hypnosis to drive their memories forward, and they do so with great success. One thing each of these stories has in common is that they belong in the realm of unassailable mystery.

One can immerse oneself in the emotion of the plot and how it all unfolded, leaving us with a thirst for more. It's the closest we have to time travel.

It is impossible to call any of them rare occurrences, because even rare occurrences need a certain amount of harmony and logic.

There's not enough space on this post to include all the times when similar things happened. But, this bit should show how much is out there that we don't know.

Can't wait for further scientific advancement on the subject.

Infinity. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

References

(1) Stevenson, I,. (1980). Twenty Cases Suggestive Of Reincarnation. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press

(2) 'Fifty Years of Research.' https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/our-research/children-who-report-memories-of-previous-lives/fifty-years-of-research/

(3) Mills, A., & Tucker, J. B. (2014). Past-life experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of anomalous experience: Examining the scientific evidence (pp. 303–332). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14258-011

(4) Tucker, J. (2021) Cases of the reincarnation type. In Kelly, E & Marshall, P. (Eds.). Consciousness unbound.. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

(5) ibid.

(6) Kean, L. (2017). Surviving death. New York: Three Rivers Press, p. 66.

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About the Creator

Rene Volpi

I'm from Italy and write every day. Being a storyteller by nature, I've entertained (and annoyed) people with my "expositions" since I was a child, showing everyone my primitive drawings, doodles, and poems. Still do! Leave me a comment :)

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Comments (1)

  • Andrea Corwin 3 months ago

    Nice piece - they say the kids can remember this until adults tell them to stop making stuff up; then they begin to live like the adults expect and "forget. Jess Stern, an investigative reporter, wrote a fascinating book on a well-known author, Taylor Caldwell. The book is The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell's Psychic Lives. Taylor didn't believe in anything psychic or reincarnation. The book is old, but you would find it fascinating. Also, "Many Lives, Many Masters," by Brian Weiss, M.D.

Rene Volpi Written by Rene Volpi

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