Reincarnation is the belief that after we die our soul can begin a new life in a new body. Like a fresh start, metaphorically wiping the slate clean and starting all over again without any knowledge of our previous existence. Children have been recalling details from ‘past lives’ for thousands of years but in the western world the belief in reincarnation is wholly dismissed. In Asia however, where the idea of being born again is strongly adhered, there have been a large number of reincarnation cases involving children and the evidence to back up these claims is startling.
Ian Stevenson, MD, spent over 40 years researching the ideology around reincarnation up until his death in 2007. He mainly focuses on children as he believed they had less reason to make stuff up, and specifically children from Asia as children from the western world, due to rejecting the idea of reincarnation, were often stifled by their parents beliefs.
Out the 2500 children he studied almost half of the cases were objectively validated and supported the idea of reincarnation. He found a pattern among the children that could help identify future cases of past life experiences and could help differentiate between an over active imagination and a genuine case of reincarnation.
1) As soon as the child can communicate they reject their family and name.
Children will often be heard saying that their family is not their real family and that their real family live in a different location, often mentioning a town or place that the child has never been to. The child will also be able to confidently recount the names of their past life family and describe the house he or she grew up in. Often these details are the ones that are used to validate the claims of reincarnation.
2) Recalling traumatic deaths.
Ian found that in over 50% of cases the children could recall a traumatic or premature death from their previous life and if there was a specific would through either a gun or knife wound, there was usually a scar or birthmark that coincided with these claims.
3) Child knows names of people they have never met.
In cases where they child is able to meet their past life family the child is able to identify the names of everybody as well as revealing secrets and information that only the family would have known. As a result the family from the past life often accept the claims that the child is in fact their deceased relative. A long lasting bond is usually established between the child and family.
4) Gender usually stays the same.
In 90% of cases the child remains the same sex that they occupied in the previous lifetime. Personality traits and preferences are also mostly the same from one incarnation to another.
5) Physical appearance can remain similar.
Ian Stevenson studied Suzanne Ghanem in the late 1960’s, when she was a small child. At 16 months of age, Suzanne pulled the phone off the hook as if she was trying to talk into it and said, over and over, “Hello, Leila?” The family didn’t know who Leila was. When she got older, Suzanne explained that Leila was one of her children and that she was not Suzanne, but Hanan. A photograph of Hanan was available, but it wasn’t until Stevenson revisited Suzanne 1998 that he found that Suzanne, now a grown woman, had the same facial features as her past incarnation.
Below is a documentary about a young boy called Cameron who believes he grew up and died in Barra, 200 miles from where he currently lives in Glasgow. Watch the documentary and make up your own conclusion. Just an active imagination? Or something much more incredible?