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Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.
Nearly everyone outside the range of orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Science—the last being a secular religion for many persons—believes in reincarnation.
-Dr. Ian Stevenson
In a typical case, a child between the ages of two and five begins to speak of a previous life. In some cases this occurs as soon as the child is able to speak, although it is often triggered by an incident or observation that is related to those memories. Often the child will use adult expressions and behave in a way that is strange for a child, but which seems entirely appropriate for the previous personality. The memories of the previous life usually begin to fade by ages five or six, and are usually gone by age eight, although there are exceptions to this rule. The unusual behavior and dispositions generally persist for some time after the specific memories have disappeared, although these too seem to fade with time and maturity.
This case started with a prediction by an elderly Tlinget fisherman named Victor Vincent, who, shortly before his death in Alaska, told his niece, Irene Chotkin, that he would be reborn as her son. He showed Mrs. Chotkin two scars, one on his nose and one on his back, and told her that she would recognize him by birthmarks on his body corresponding to these scars. Victor Vincent had become very fond of his niece and told her: “I know I will have a good home.”
In the spring of 1946, Victor Vincent died. About eighteen months later, on December 15, 1947, Mrs. Chotkin gave birth to a baby boy, who was named after his father. Corliss Chotkin Jr. had two birthmarks, which his mother said were of exactly the same shape and location as the scars Victor Vincent had pointed to in his prediction of his rebirth.
One day when Corliss was thirteen months old, his mother was trying to get him to repeat his name. Instead, he replied petulantly, “Don’t you know me? I’m Kahkody.” Victor Vincent had been a full-blooded Tlinget, and Kahkody had been his tribal name. When Mrs. Chotkin told one of her aunts about the boy’s claim to be Kahkody, the older woman claimed that she had dreamed shortly before Corliss’s birth that Victor Vincent was coming to live with the Chotkins. Mrs. Chotkin was sure that she had not told her aunt about Victor Vincent’s prediction before she heard about this dream.
When Corliss was two years old and being wheeled along the docks by his mother, he spontaneously recognized a stepdaughter of Victor Vincent. They were not there to meet her, and neither Mrs. Chotkin nor her other child had noticed the woman before Corliss pointed her out. Corliss showed great excitement on seeing her, jumping up and down, saying “There’s my Susie.” Corliss hugged her affectionately, called her by her Tlingit tribal name, and kept repeating “My Susie.”
On another occasion when he was two, Corliss spontaneously recognized Victor’s son William, saying, “There is William, my son.” On another he recognized the widow of Victor Vincent, and on several other occasions he recognized old friends of Victor Vincent. All these recognitions occurred by the time Corliss was six years old.
According to Corliss’s mother, he had also mentioned two events in Victor Vincent’s life that she did not think he could have learned about normally. In addition, he shared several behavioral traits with Victor Vincent: Corliss combed his hair in a very similar manner; like Victor, Corliss also stuttered; both were left-handed; and both had a strong interest in boats and being on the water. Corliss also showed a precocious aptitude for handling and repairing engines, and, according to his mother, had taught himself to run boat engines without lessons.
After the age of nine, Corliss made fewer remarks about the previous life he seemed to remember, and when Stevenson interviewed him in 1962, when he was fifteen, he said he remembered nothing of the previous life. By 1972, when Stevenson met him for the last time, Corliss had almost completely overcome his stuttering, although he maintained his interest in boat engines.
On May 5, 1957, a crazed automobile driver deliberately drove her car onto the sidewalk of a street in Hexham, England, killing two sisters, Joanna and Jacqueline Pollock, who had been walking to Sunday school. Joanna was eleven years old, Jacqueline six. The driver had been distraught over losing her own children in a custody battle, and was later confined to a mental hospital.
The parents grieved, but John Pollock believed that the girls had survived death, and felt that they remained close to the family. When his wife Florence became pregnant again early in 1958, he confidently asserted that the two deceased sisters would be reborn as twins. Despite the opinion of her physician that she would have a single baby (he could only hear one fetal heartbeat), on October 4, 1958, Florence Pollock gave birth to twin girls.
John and Florence soon noticed that Jennifer, the younger twin, had two birthmarks that corresponded in location and size to two marks on Jacqueline’s body. One was on her forehead, and matched a scar that persisted on Jacqueline’s forehead after she had fallen and cut herself. The other was on her left side, and matched a similar congenital mark that had been on Jacqueline.
Both Gillian and Jennifer were a little slow in acquiring speech, not really speaking coherently until they were about three years old. Between the ages of three and six they made a few statements about the lives of their deceased sisters, and recognized some objects that their deceased sisters had owned. One incident concerned a couple of dolls that had been packed in a box and put in an attic after the deaths of Joanna and Jacqueline. Years later the box was opened and the dolls were given to Gillian and Jennifer, who identified them as “Mary” and “Susan,” the names the dead girls had given them. Gillian claimed the one that had belonged to Joanna, and Jennifer claimed the one that had belonged to Jacqueline.
When the twins were less than a year old, the family had moved away from Hexham. The twins did not return there until their parents took them there on a trip when they were about four. According to their father, the twins spontaneously mentioned two places—a playground and a school—before these came into view. John Pollock did not believe that there was any normal way the girls could have acquired knowledge of the school or the park.
The behavior of the twins also corresponded in some respects with that of their deceased sisters. Jennifer was somewhat dependent on her older twin, Gillian, just as Jacqueline had been on her older sister, Joanna. Gillian gave the general impression of being more mature than Jennifer, and like Joanna, was very generous, and more interested in playacting with costumes than her sister.
Bishen Chand Kapoor was born in 1921, in Bareilly, India. As he gradually gained the power of speech, he began to speak of a previous life in Pilibhit, a town approximately fifty kilometers east of Bareilly. No one in Bishen’s family knew anyone there.
But by the time Bishen Chand was five, he had mentioned many details of a previous life. He claimed that his name had been Laxmi Narain, and that he had an uncle named Har Narain. He also claimed that his father had been a wealthy landowner, and frequently expressed disdain for his present family’s poverty. His father earned the meager salary of a clerk in the railway service, and could only support his family with difficulty. Bishen Chand reproached his father for his poverty, tore cotton clothes off and demanded silk ones, and complained that even the servants in his previous life would not touch the food they insisted he eat.
Once, when Bishen Chand was about five, his older sister caught him drinking brandy, which finally explained the diminishing supply of brandy that his family kept in the house for medicinal purposes. When this matter was discussed with him, he claimed that he was accustomed to drinking. On another occasion around this time, he recommended that his father acquire a mistress. He claimed to have had a mistress in his previous life, and boasted that he had once killed a man he had spotted coming out of her apartment. The influence of his wealthy family, he said, had enabled him to escape punishment.
Bishen Chand’s father mentioned his son’s statements to another man, who, in turn, informed K. K. Sahay, a prominent and respected attorney in Bareilly. Sahay became interested in the case, and visited Bishen Chand’s family in the summer of 1926, writing down twenty-one statements the boy made about the life he claimed to remember. He persuaded Bishen Chand’s father to undertake a visit to Pilibhit to verify the boy’s statements, and on August 1, 1926 the two men took Bishen Chand and his older brother to Pilibhit.
Once in Pilibhit, Bishen Chand recognized various places and made additional statements about his previous life. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered, and someone produced an old photograph of Laxmi Narain and Har Narain. In the presence of the crowd Bishen Chand put his finger on the photograph of Har Narain and said “Here is Har Narain and here I,” which seemed to establish his identity as Laxmi Narain, although Har Narain turned out to be his father, not his uncle.
Laxmi Narain had been the spoiled son of a wealthy landowner, who had died two years before Bishen Chand was born. After Har Narain had died when Laxmi was about eighteen, Laxmi had squandered the family fortune on high living and debauchery, although, like his father, he also seems to have been generous in donating his money to the needy. He had been involved with a prostitute who still lived in Pilibhit, and in a jealous rage had once killed a man he spotted coming out of her apartment. His family was influential enough to get the charges dropped, but he died of natural causes a few months later, at the age of thirty-two.
The attorney Sahay published his account of that remarkable day in the national newspaper The Leader in August 1926. According to this account, Bishen Chand recognized the house of Sander Lal, which he had previously described as having a green gate. Sahay verified that the gate was painted with a faded varnish, but was still green. He also recognized the house of Har Narain, which, much to his distress, had fallen into a state of disrepair and had been abandoned. He pointed out the courtyard where parties had been held, noted where a collapsed staircase had once stood, and pointed to where the women’s quarters once existed. People in the crowd following the boy repeatedly asked him for the name of the prostitute he had associated with in the previous life. Bishen Chand reluctantly answered “Padma,” which people in the crowd certified was correct.
When the boy was presented with a set of tabla—a pair of drums—he surprised his family by playing them skillfully, as Laxmi Narain had been fond of doing. His father said that Bishen had never even seen tabla before. The mother of Laxmi Narain was still living, and when the boy was brought to her she asked him a series of test questions that convinced her that he was her surviving son. The most dramatic example concerned some treasure that it was thought Har Narain had hid in his house before he died. WhenLaxmi’s mother asked Bishen about this, he led the way to a room in the old house. After a subsequent search, the treasure was found in this room, and turned out to consist of gold coins.
Nearly all of Bishen Chand’s statements that could be verified were correct. Of the twenty-one statements that Sahay had written down before verification was attempted, fourteen were subsequently verified. Six items were not verified, but most of these were thought to be almost certainly correct. Only one item was wrong—the name of Har Narain was given correctly, but turned out to be Laxmi’s father, not his uncle.
Bishen Chand claimed that Laxmi Narain had known how to speak Urdu, a variant of Hindi that civil servants in India at that time were required to use. As Laxmi Narain had worked in government service for a time, this does seem likely. Bishen’s older brother, Bipan, said that when Bishen was a child he could read Urdu despite not receiving any instruction. Bishen’s father told how Bishen unexpectedly used two Urdu words when he was a child: masurate instead of the Hindi word zenana (“women’s quarters”) and kofal instead of the Hindi word tala (“lock”).
At any rate, following the first visit to Pilibhit at the age of five, Bishen established affectionate relations with Laxmi’s mother, and after she moved to Bareilly he would visit her frequently. He also attempted to establish a relationship with Padma, although she quite naturally considered this inappropriate.
When Bishen was a child, he had a quick temper. As mentioned earlier, his childhood behavior was that of a rich spoiled young man: he would frequently boast of the murder he remembered committing, would rebuke his parents for their poverty, and would demand food and clothing that his parents could not afford. However, as he grew older, his attitude gradually changed. The memory of the murder persisted long after other memories of the previous life had faded. It gradually occurred to Bishen that perhaps he had been born into poverty because of the murder that Laxmi Narain had committed. He became a reformed person, and when Stevenson knew him in later life, he showed no trace of violent behavior. Remorse had replaced haughtiness; and Stevenson felt himself in the presence of a generous person of limited means, who had learned that material goods and carnal pleasures do not bring happiness.
In his detailed review of this case, Stevenson considers it to be of considerable significance. Numerous statements were written down by a respected attorney before verification was attempted, and many people who had personally known the previous personality were still alive to verify Bishen’s claims. In addition, two skills were shown—playing the tablas and understanding Urdu—which Bishen apparently had no way of acquiring normally. As for the possibility of fraud, no financial gain was possible: it was well known that Laxmi Narain had squandered the family fortune, leaving the surviving members almost destitute, and unable to maintain the family home. Finally, can we reasonably suppose that a father would want his son to boast of a murder, and to scoff at his family’s poverty?
Swarnlata Mishra, daughter of Sri M. L. Mishra, was born on March 2, 1948. When she was three years old, her family lived in Panna, and one day her father took her with him on a trip 170 miles south. On the way back, as they passed through the city of Katni—about a hundred miles south of Panna—Swarnlata unexpectedly asked the driver of the truck to turn down a road toward “my house.” The driver did not follow her request, of course. A little while later, when the group was taking tea in Katni, Swarnlata told her father that they could have much better tea at “her house” nearby. As puzzling as these statements were, Sri Mishra became even more puzzled when he learned that Swarnlata later told other children in the family further details about a previous life she claimed to remember in Katni, as part of a family named Pathak. At the time, the Mishra family did not know anyone by the name of Pathak in Katni.
Two years later, the Mishra family moved forty miles west to Chhatarpur. When she was about five, Swarnlata began performing unusual songs and dances, in a language incomprehensible to her parents. In 1958, when she was ten and had been talking about a previous life for about six years, Swarnlata met a woman from the area of Katni that she claimed to recognize from a previous life in that city. Sri Mishra was now able to confirm some of his daughter’s statements, and began to take them more seriously. In March 1959, Sri H. N. Banerjee investigated the case, and wrote down nine statements that Swarnlata made about the Pathak residence in Katni before attempting verification.
Stevenson investigated the case in 1961, and checked the details that Banerjee had reported.
Guided by Swarnlata’s statements, Banerjee had found the Pathak residence, and confirmed the nine statements. He found that her statements corresponded closely with the life of Biya, daughter of a family called Pathak in Katni, and deceased wife of a man named Pandey. Biya had died in 1939, nine years before Swarnlata was born. Some of Swarnlata’s statements—such as her description of the family house being only partly finished—were no longer true, but had been true twenty years earlier when Biya was living.
In the summer of 1959, members of the Pathak family and of Biya’s marital family traveled to Chhatarpur to meet her. Without introductions, Swarnlata recognized all of them, called them by their correct name, and related personal incidents concerning them that Biya would have known. The Pathaks came to accept Swarnlata as Biya reborn. Shortly after these visits, Swarnlata and members of her family traveled to Katni and then to Maihar, where the deceased Biya had lived much of her married life and had died. In these towns she recognized additional people and places, and commented on the changes that had taken place since the death of Biya. On one instance, she recognized a friend of the Pathak family, and then correctly pointed out that the man did not wear spectacles when Biya knew him; on another occasion, she inquired about a parapet at the back of the Pathak residence in Katni, which had been removed since the death of Biya. All together her witnessed recognition of people amount to twenty, and despite several attempts to mislead her, she was never fooled.
edit on 12-2-2016 by ExNihiloRed because: (no reason given)
As mentioned earlier, Swarnlata began performing songs and dances when she was about five, in a language that was incomprehensible to her parents. The language of the songs was identified as Bengali by Professor P. Pal, a native of Bengal. This seemed to present a problem: both Swarnlata and Biya spoke Hindi, and neither had learned Bengali. Swarnlata claimed that she had learned the songs and dances from a friend named Madhu, during a previous life in between the lives of Biya and Swarnlata. She stated that after her life as Biya, she was reborn as a girl named Kamlesh in Sylhet, lived to about nine, and was then reborn into the Mishra family. Although Stevenson could not identify a child whose life corresponded with the fragmentary information given by Swarnlata, he did think that her account of life in Sylhet contained several plausible features, such as details of geography. Perhaps of more importance, the people of Sylhet speak mostly Bengali.
Although the name Kamlesh is unusual for a Bengali family, a non-Bengali speaker could, of course, learn a song from a Bengali friend. It should be noted that Swarnlata could not translate the words for her parents, and that Swarnlata’s parents were certain that she had not had contact with Bengali-speaking persons from whom she could have learned the songs. Although the songs had been recorded and played in certain films, Swarnlata’s parents had not heard these songs before. Since female children in Asia are kept under close surveillance by their families, it seems very doubtful that Swarnlata could have learned these songs and dances without her parents’ knowledge.
As mentioned, the Pathak family accepted Swarnlata as Biya reborn. Among members of her present family in Chhatarpur, Swarnlata behaved like a child, although she was somewhat more serious and mature than the average child her age. But among the Pathaks, she behaved like an older sister of men forty or more years her senior, who completely accepted her as their older sister returned. One of her brothers, Rajendra Pathak, stated that he had no convictions regarding reincarnation prior to Swarnlata’s visit, which had completely changed his mind.
Swarnlata’s behavior around Biya’s children depended on who was present. If the parents or elders of her current family were around, she was reserved. But Murli Pandey reported that if Swarnlata was alone with him or her brother, she relaxed and treated them as a mother would treat her sons—despite the fact that he was thirty-five in 1961 and Swarnlata was twelve. He and his brother did not find this behavior inappropriate, as they, too, accepted her as Biya reborn. Like his uncle, Sri Murli Pandey also said that he did not believe in reincarnation until he met Swarnlata.
As Swarnlata grew older she spoke less about a previous life as Biya, but unlike most other children who claim to remember previous lives, her memories did not seem to fade. Her parents had done nothing to suppress her statements, and as the years went by she remained close to both her own and the Pathak family.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
-Tielhard de Chardin
originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: ExNihiloRed
Just today there is a story on The Daily Mail about a young Australian guy that woke up from a two-week coma to discover that he could speak Mandarin. Subsequently, he is engaged to a Chinese gal.
In the 1960s, Dr Stevenson set a combination lock using a secret word or phrase, and placed it in a filing cabinet in the department, telling his colleagues he would try to pass the code to them after his death. Emily Williams Kelly told The New York Times: "Presumably, if someone had a vivid dream about him, in which there seemed to be a word or a phrase that kept being repeated—I don't quite know how it would work—if it seemed promising enough, we would try to open it using the combination suggested." The Times reported that, as of February 2007, the lock remains unopened.
originally posted by: Op3nM1nd3d
a reply to: ExNihiloRed
I personally believe in Immortality of Consciousness but it is yet to be scientifically proven. Main issue is that all of this is at best just a circumstantial evidence and I say at best because you have a human factor, human testimony which even if found convincing, it does not necessarily make it so. Information can be obtained by some other external forces, for example via hypnosis or mind control by someone who wants to make the case believable.
Birth marks and speaking foreign languages without ever hearing a language previously is what is making it even more interesting. Some of the cases I have read before but rest I hear for the first time so thanks for sharing. S+F for your effort Sir.
Precisely what it is that reincarnates is difficult to say: we may call it a mind, a center of consciousness, or a soul, but more than that we cannot say at present. Precisely how reincarnation works is likewise a mystery. But the fact that we cannot specify the details of the process does not logically prevent us from concluding that reincarnation occurs, at least to some people. The fact that until recently men did not know how the sun shone does not imply that it did not shine.