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The scars of Victor Vincent
A case in point is that of Victor Vincent. Victor was a full-blooded Tlingit Indian who lived on an island in southern Alaska. In 1946, toward the end of his life, he became very close to his niece, Mrs. Corliss Chotkin — the daughter of his sister — and told her that after he died he would be reborn as her next son. Vincent also maintained that she would know it was him because her newborn son would bear two birthmarks related to scars that Vincent had on his body. Vincent had a very distinctive scar on his back, and another on the right side of his nose near its base. He told Mrs. Chotkin that he would imprint these scars onto the body of his next incarnation to prove that he had indeed been reborn.
In December 1947, fifteen months after her uncle Victor died, Mrs. Chotkin gave birth to a son, whom she named Corliss Junior — the baby was born with birthmarks in exactly the same locations as Victor Vincent's scars. The scar near the boy's nose became less noticeable as he grew older but the mark on his back became even more distinctive, and had all the characteristics of a surgical incision that had healed over: it was raised and pigmented and also itched like a wound on the mend.
When the boy was just over a year old he began to utter his first words, and around the age of thirteen months he said to his mother, "Don't you know me? I'm Kahkody." This was Victor Vincent's tribal name, and Mrs. Chotkin was amazed that her son seemed to speak with the same accent as her deceased uncle. Later, when he was two and being wheeled along the street in Sitka, where the family lived, Corliss Junior spontaneously recognized one of Victor Vincent's stepdaughters and called her correctly by her name, Susie. Later that year he recognized Victor Vincent's son William, who was visiting Sitka unannounced, and said to his mother,
"There is William, my son."