According to surveys, only 24% of Americans today believe in reincarnation. However, the topic has been interesting enough to attract several TV shows like The Dr. Oz Show. Looking into the “reality of reincarnation,” the show featured kids who remembered their previous lives and people who underwent hypnosis to recall their past existence.
Some scientists, however, are skeptical and think that such stories are fake and not credible, that they don’t have any true value or could be fabricated by people through listening to various forms of media. Some psychology professors such as Christopher C. French, believe that these recollections of previous life events are false.
Fortunately, these stories were not discarded as fake and the Division of Perceptual Studies in Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences collected over 2,500 documented cases of children from various parts of the world with detailed recollections of their past lives. These studies included children with memories of the past lives living in poverty or being wealthy, remembering their old names, recalling the nature of work, physical traits and even what type of addictions they had. There were reports of some kids who were able to speak fluently in other dialects they didn't know before.
Dr. Ian Stevenson’s documentation of the past life cases is probably the most recognized work on a study of reincarnation. His research on reincarnation started in 1960 when he discovered a case in Sri Lanka where a child started remembering his previous life. He thoroughly questioned the child as well as his parents and the people whom the child remembered were his parents from his earlier life. This discovery strengthened Dr. Stevenson’s belief that reincarnation phenomenon is real.
That same year, he published two articles about this child who recalled having memories of his previous life. His desire to scientifically explain the possibility of reincarnation increased as he discovered more such cases. Dr. Stevenson focused on collecting information by using strict scientific protocols. The practice of hypnosis was ruled out of his investigation even though it was also a common method for data gathering and collection.
Dr. Stevenson authored around 14 books and 300 papers on reincarnation birthmarks and birth defects - linked to past-life memories. His book “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation,” published in 1966, became a classic in the history of reincarnation research. The other book, “Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects” is a 2,268-page, 2-volume book that he published in 1997.
The research was focused on newborn children with abnormalities and deformities, which could not be explained by inherited genetic factors or prenatal events. The book documented 200 cases of kids with birthmarks and memories which matched the wounds and lives of dead people these children remembered having lived as in a previous life. It also contains hundreds of photos presenting the proof he found.
“Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect,” a condensed edition of this book was published in 1997 for the general public. His reincarnation research also became the focus of two major works, “Life Before Life: Children's Memories of Previous Lives,” written by Dr. Jim B. Tucker, a University of Virginia psychiatrist and “Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives,” written by Tom Shroder, a journalist at Washington Post. “European Cases of the Reincarnation Type,” is his second book on reincarnation and was published in 2003.
Many people agree that the cases documented by Dr. Stevenson provide the best proof yet for the reincarnation theory.
Case Study Process
Dr. Stevenson noted that children who remembered their past lives often bore lasting birthmarks that allegedly related to the death they suffered in their previous lives. His research into congenital defects and birthmarks has played a great role in proving reincarnation as it provides vivid and objective evidence of reincarnation better than the often incomplete reports and memories of the adults and children questioned.
In many of his cases, Dr. Stevenson presented medical documents that are usually compiled after a person’s death as further evidence. After his investigation, only 30 to 60 percent of these abnormalities could be traced to birth defects that related to chemical causes, virus infections or genetic factors. The medical professional also has no other justification for the other 40 to 70 percent of the cases than that of sheer probability. As a result, around three-quarters of cases have matched the real case and described individuals were identified.
Cases that Support the Theory
Swarnlata MishraSwarnlata Mishra’s case is typical of Dr. Stevenson’s cases. She was born to a rich and intellectual family in Pradesh, India in 1948 and her memories started when she was three. Swarnlata gave enough information to let Dr. Stevenson find the family of the dead person she recalled. She also provided over 50 specific facts that were confirmed. Swarnlata’s memories didn’t fade, making her case unique from the others.
When she was three, she recalled all the details about her life in Katni. She said her name was Biya Pathak in the past and that she was a mother of two sons. When she was 10 years old, professor Sri H. N. Banerjee studied the case and took the notes made by Swarnlata’s father. Banerjee visited Katni to confirm if Swarnlata’s recollections could be confirmed and matched her claim with real data.
Dr. Stevenson worked on her case in 1961 and was present during one of Swarnlata’s visits to the Pathak family. He noted the warm relationship between Swarnlata and the other family members. They accepted Swarnlata as Biya reborn.
Burmese ChildOne Burmese child girl was able to recall the life of her deceased aunt who had passed away many years ago during a congenital heart disease operation. This girl was born with a long, perpendicular linear hypopigmented birthmark near the middle of her upper abdomen and lower chest. This birthmark matched the surgical incision for the treatment of her aunt’s heart.
Burmese WomanThere was also a case about Burmese woman who was born with two circular birthmarks in her left chest that slightly overlapped. One was around half of the other's size. As a child, she recalled the life of a woman who was accidentally shot with a shotgun and died. An investigator reported that the shotgun cartridge held bullets of two different sizes.
Speaking a Foreign Language
Dr. Stevenson worked on a few cases that included xenoglossy phenomenon when people were speaking a real language entirely unknown to the speaker in his ordinary state. This phenomenon was originally discovered by Charles Richet in 1905, a Nobel Prize winner doctor who was doing research in many areas including parapsychology. Dr. Stevenson worked on a case of a 37-year-old American woman from Philadelphia. She was born to immigrants family who spoke only Polish, Yiddish, Russian and English at home. While in school, she studied French and didn’t have exposure to the other languages except the possibility to hear a few phrases on TV.
At some point in her life, she went through the eight different regression hypnosis sessions for the recollections of previous life events. During the hypnosis session, she identified herself as a Swedish male whose name was Jensen Jacoby. In addition, she was able to speak in the Swedish language fluently.
After the hypnosis sessions, she had English questions with English answers together with language and polygraph tests in the Swedish language. Tests confirmed that she spoke roughly 100 words barely making it a full sentence and it was mixed with the Norwegian language. Her family confirmed that she was not fluent in any Scandinavian language and she never has heard it at her school.
The Language from the Past
Dr. Adrian Finkelstein worked as a clinical assistant professor at UCLA Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles specializing in past-life therapy and hypnosis. He currently has a private practice in Malibu, California. In his book “Your Past Lives And The Healing Process”, Finkelstein wrote about a boy named Robin Hull. Robin was a small boy of pre-school age and during his childhood, he often spoke in an unknown language his family members didn’t understand.
Concerned mother brought him to a professor of Asian languages to translate the unknown language. The professor recognized a dialect spoken specifically in the northern region of Tibet. In addition, Robin had a memory recall of a certain monastery where he learned the language many years ago. The professor investigated Robin’s information and verified the existence of the monastery that was located in the Kunlun Mountains. The discovery matched the information the young boy provided and professor traveled to Tibet, where he found the monastery.
Gifts from the Brother
The next case was about a woman who has lost her two-year-old child Kevin to metastatic cancer that developed in a broken leg at 18 months. Kevin had unsuccessful chemotherapy through the right side of his neck to kill the cancer cells. Cancer brought many unwanted complications such as a tumor that affected his left eye and produced a nodule above his ear.
Then, twelve years later, the woman divorced, remarried and had a second child Patrick. Patrick got the same traits as his brother and was born with birthmarks that resembled a small cut on the right side of his neck, the exact same place where Kevin had his chemo IV. Patrick also had a nodule on his scalp in the same place that Kevin had, and he had an issue with his left eye (corneal leukoma).
When Patrick was learning to walk, he couldn’t walk properly because he limped for unknown reasons. Very soon he started to recall that he had surgery a long time ago. When his mother asked him on what part of the body he had it, Patrick pointed above his right air - the exact place where Kevin had his biopsy performed. Around age 4 Patrick was started to ask where his old home is, even though he never lived at any other places before. When his mother asked him to describe his old home, he mentioned two colors - orange and brown. It is possible that the little boy picked up details from his mother stories, however, the biological connections are hard to explain.
These are some of the examples of reincarnation cases that attracted a lot of attention in the academic community and studies about this topic continue to grow. When all the evidence is taken together and reincarnation is viewed without any scientific or religious bias, one’s belief in reincarnation is not only justified, but it may also serve as the best explanation for the most solid cases.
Reincarnation in the BibleMany people believe that reincarnation theory is a primarily eastern idea and is not found in the Bible. However, the Book of Malachi (Malachi 4:5-6) in the Old Testament as well as in Matthew 11:14 have a reference to the future events. In these verses, God is speaking through Malachi, a famous prophet quoted by presidents, and saying that Elijah is going to come again. Malachi was already familiar with a concept of coming again of the soul and therefore God chose to speak through him about the future events.
ConclusionEven some skeptics agree that these cases are the best evidence to prove the possibility of reincarnation. The realization of the incarnation process makes the soul come to grips with its own past deeds. As Jesus instructed us to be perfect as God the Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Stories about reincarnation make us realize that there’s always a chance to improve ourselves, or even our lifestyle before the final and eternal judgment at the end of the universal cycle.
Proof of Reincarnation in Scientific Terms
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