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Reincarnation Stories

Proof that We've Lived Before

by Rod Martin, Jr.


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Napoleon Bonaparte
Emperor of France.
Picture courtesy Wikipedia.org.

Likely you've heard jokes about people who thought they were Cleopatra, Napoleon or some other famous person from the past. Such delusions are not uncommon. Some people are obsessed with feeling important. But what if reincarnation were true? And what if some people really do remember a prior life?

When I worked in Hollywood as a graphic artist, I once worked for an older, Jewish lady who had immigrated from India at a young age. One great difference she noticed between the two countries were in the focus of their newspapers. In America, the focus seemed to be on disasters, scandal and murder. In India, she remembered seeing more spiritual headlines. One in particular she remembered was that of a five-year-old boy who had remembered with grave concern that he had forgotten to reveal the burial place of the family fortune to his former wife. He rectified that oversight and was then able to live his new life in relative peace. Was the story of that little boy real? Did he really find the missing family gold for his former wife? Talk about awkward!

Where were you two hundred years ago? Two thousand years ago? Twenty thousand? Don't feel too bad if you don't remember, but there are a rare few who do remember, and some with startling clarity. Perhaps they don't remember all past lives with equal clarity, just as you might remember some incidents in your present life with more clarity than others. Not remembering doesn't mean those prior lives never existed.

Many famous people either believed strongly in reincarnation or voiced opinions that imply they believed in the possibility. Many modern celebrities have believed in reincarnation, or its possibility, including, Anne Archer, Catherine Bell, Karen Black, the late Sonny Bono, the late Stephen Boyd, John Brodie, William S. Burroughs, Nancy Cartwright, Chick Corea, Tom Cruise, Jenna Elfman, Richard Elfman, Paul Haggis, Isaac Hayes, Katie Holmes, Al Jarreau, Milton Katselas, Chaka Khan, Nicole Kidman, Jason Lee, Geoffrey Lewis, Juliette Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Demi Moore, Judy Norton Taylor, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Lisa Marie Presley, Kelly Preston, Giovanni Ribisi, the late Peter Sellers, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta, and Edgar Winter. And a complete list would likely be far larger.

The opinions of people — even famous people — are hardly proof of anything. But that fact does not keep us from being fascinated with the opinions of well-known figures. What have famous people had to say about the subject?

Quotes: Famous People Speak on Reincarnation

Pick from the following list to view what a famous person had to say about reincarnation. General George Patton, for one, made frequent references to his past lives, creating awkward moments for those around him who did not believe in such things. In the motion picture, Patton, starring George C. Scott, Patton is portrayed as remembering some of his past lives clearly, including that of a Carthaginian warrior defending his capital against the Roman invaders.


Honoré de Balzac
(1799:0520 – 1850:0818)
French novelist and playwright.
 
'The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others — existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things.'
Seraphita, Chapter 6

Picture courtesy Wikipedia.org

Little Boy Remembers Past Life
and about Dying in World War II


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The James Leininger reincarnation story.
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James Leininger was two years old when he his favorite toys started giving him nightmares. Those toys were airplanes, and the dreams were of crashing in a corsair fighter at Iwo Jima, World War II. Little James was reliving his prior death. Look what his parents had to say about their son and his past life.

Reincarnation, past life evidence: Part 1

 


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Reincarnation stories of children by Carol Bowman, counselor to James Leininger.
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Reincarnation, past life evidence: Part 2

 

Science on Reincarnation


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Dr. Ian Stevenson.
Picture courtesy Wikipedia.org.

In 1966, psychiatrist Ian Stevenson published, "Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation." The research behind the book has been characterized as cautious, thorough and startling. Psychiatrist Harold Lief said of Stevenson, "Either he is making a colossal mistake, or he will be known ... as 'the Galileo of the 20th century.'"

Perhaps the most interesting case is that of Swarnlata Mishra, a girl born into a middle-class Indian family with modern views of life and the world. She remembered having lived in a distant town and asked her father that they go there for a "better cup of tea." The remarkable aspect of Swarnlata's story is that her memories did not fade with time. Despite being tricked on numerous occasions, she correctly identified many former relatives and associates, even remembering the pet names she had used for them in that prior life.

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Dr. Jim Tucker's book on children's past lives.
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More recently, Dr. Jim Tucker published his own book on the subject, Life Before Life, Children's Memories of Previous Lives. The publisher describes the book: "This popular examination of research into children's reports of past-life memories describes a collection of 2,500 cases at the University of Virginia that investigators have carefully studied since Dr. Ian Stevenson began the work more than forty years ago. The children usually begin talking about a past life at the age of two or three and may talk about a previous family or the way they died in a previous life. Their statements have often been found to be accurate for one particular deceased individual, and some children have recognized members of the previous family. A number have also had birthmarks or defects that matched wounds on the body of the deceased person."

But digging up evidence for reincarnation is not easy. There are so many ways data can be transmitted to taint the evidence and spoil the proof. The difficulty, however, does not mean such proof is impossible.

The James Leininger / James Huston Case

Skepticism is supposed to be a tool aiding in the quest for answers, yet too many use it as a barrier. If you've watched the Reincarnation, past life evidence: Part 2 video, above, you've seen one skeptic's opinion of the James Leininger story. Yet, Mr. Kurtz's opinion was scientifically full of holes. Let me explain.

First of all, Mr. Kurtz said...

Paul Kurtz: I think that the parents are self-deceived. That they are fascinated by the mysterious and they've built up a fairytale.

[about young James]
He's overhearing conversations of his parents. He's looking at cues. He may talk to his little friends or hear from neighbors and then this conviction that builds up that yes he was this pilot and yes he will come to believe that himself.

People have a right to believe, surely in America. There's freedom of conscience. On the other hand, do you want to believe in something that is false?

PrimeTime: So, how do you rationalize a belief in anything bigger than ourselves if you have to fall back on science all the time?

Paul Kurtz: Not simply science, on the facts, on common sense.

Unfounded Assertions

First of all, Mr. Kurtz makes an assertion that he thinks "that the parents are self-deceived." But how does he back up his assertion? With guesses! He says that little James is "overhearing conversations of his parents." This is a reasonable guess. All children have a good chance to overhear their parents' conversations. But how does overhearing a conversation translate into cause-and-effect, little James coming to believe that he is the reincarnated pilot? Mr. Kurtz either is unaware that James apparently originated the story (not his parents), if we are to believe the Leiningers, or he feels the Leiningers are lying about such details. Certainly, "lying" is a possibility, but so is telling the truth.

Mr. Kurtz said that little James is "looking at cues." This implies that James is not the origin of the story, but that he is looking to others for what he is "supposed to believe." While that is possible, it is not proven. To base his original thesis on this unproven point is weak, at best.

Mr. Kurtz said that James "may talk to his little friends." The operative word here is "may." Mr. Kurtz is making up possible reasons not to believe James's story. It's this type of behavior that science originally used skepticism to prevent! Mr. Kurtz is jumping to a conclusion based on "gut feeling" rather than on hard facts. Who are these "little friends?" Did Mr. Kurtz interview any of them? Just because reincarnation is not in his personal experience, he is unwilling to investigate this incident as thoroughly as any scientist would investigate the field effects of bi-metallic junctions, or the precipitates in a chemical reaction. He is prejudging the subject without a thorough and methodical investigation, and scientists are not supposed to do that.

Mr. Kurtz's brand of pseudo-science looks a lot like religion. It's based on a faith in his own prior experiences, excluding everything that may be outside of that worldview.

Proper Restraint and Hard Questions

In one video available on YouTube, the pilot's living sister, Ruth, had given to little James Leininger a painting of infant James Huston. Little James asked Ruth about the painting of infant Ruth also painted by their mother. How could he have known about the painting? A skeptic might reasonably state that little James's question about another painting would be a plausible extension of receiving the gift. If another painting did not exist, then the youngster's question would be chocked up to innocent curiosity. The fact that Ruth and James Huston's mother had painted each of them when they were infants now becomes reason to believe. Such a question about the "other" painting is only weak support for James's reincarnation story. Little James's question is not proof of reincarnation, though it does tend to support the assertion.

Perhaps more compelling support for the reincarnation story is the fact that James originated the name of the flattop — the Natoma. The fact that he signed his drawings "James 3," explaining that he was the "third James," is interesting, but far from proof. There are many reasons a little boy could sign his works that way.

Another video discusses a meeting little James had with former members of the armed forces who had been on the Natoma Bay during World War II. The fact that he correctly called out one of the men by name is potentially compelling support, but one has to ask, did James have access to his father's research? Did he see photos of the men on his father's desk? If so, then recognition of the man, even though now years older, is not so startling. But what if James had not seen his father's research? What if the recognition of a "former buddy" was real? Such questions show how hard it is to prove reincarnation. But Mr. Kurtz's ludicrous and lazy attempt doesn't even begin to disprove it.

What is particularly troubling is that Paul Kurtz's brand of skepticism is giving science a bad name, just as fanatical religious fundamentalism gives religion a bad name. Blind belief is all too frequently a form of delusion. As Shakespeare once said through his tragic hero, Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet Act 1, scene 5).

To restrain from believing in such supernatural things is very much a scientific stance. A dismissive attitude is not. The skeptic needs to be skeptical of their own skepticism. A precision caliper can be used in scientific study, but it can also be used as a murder weapon. And such a precision tool needs to be calibrated from time-to-time. The accuracy of the tool needs to be reassessed. Skepticism is a tool. If it is to be used, it should be used properly. Yet, perhaps selfless restraint would be a better paradigm than skepticism.

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Reincarnation
The Missing Link
in Christianity
by Elizabeth Clare Prophet
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The Bible on Reincarnation

Surprisingly for many, the Bible talks about reincarnation, though it never uses that word.

Someone could describe a dog and never use the word, but you would know to what kind of animal they were referring. When Jesus answers his disciples' concerns about prophecy — that Elijah would come before the Messiah — Jesus tells them that indeed Elijah had come, but no one recognized him. The disciples knew he was talking about John the Baptist. Jesus wasn't talking about some nebulous quality of Elijah that had been copied by John the Baptist. He was talking about Elijah himself returning in the form of John the Baptist.

Click for a more in-depth discussion of reincarnation in the Bible.

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