Reincarnated People And Their Testimonies Put To Test

Reincarnated People And Their Testimonies Put To Test. In this article we will present and discuss one of the most comprehensive research works on reincarnated people and the field of reincarnation. “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation” is Ian Stevenson’s first book (although he had previously published many papers in the Journal of Scientific Exploration), in which he describes 20 cases of children who had memories of past lives. Ian Stevenson is famous for the thoroughness of his work, he has published several books about reincarnation, and has spent 40 years of his life studying cases of reincarnated people, managing to successfully present them to the scientific community and the public at large, with important arguments for the phenomena of reincarnation.

The book is written by a scientist and is aimed at scientists of any discipline who can find valuable or interesting content. But it also aroused interest in public which led to the issue of a second edition. Today we will explore the processes and conclusions of several cases of reincarnated people in the 20th century.

Scientific methods used to study reincarnated people

Reincarnated People And Their Testimonies
Reincarnated People And Their Testimonies

Analyzing this book, one of the most important issues is to check the thoroughness of the processes used by Stevenson. Stevenson’s work being the main proof that we have to validate this phenomenon, it is crucial to clear up if his practices are reliable or not. There are studies that criticize or support the validity of the cases of spontaneous memories, and Stevenson himself puts on the table the potential weaknesses of some of his tests. He did a good screening work by first selecting only cases of reincarnated people that met certain characteristics, and then within these, selecting only those that were most representative and provided a higher burden of reliable proof. Some of the cases are extremely spectacular in the degree of detail of the investigation and the facts studied.

Reincarnated people: Study cases

In his book, Stevenson develops each of the 20 cases selected for his book. Some of them are very detailed, they have a large number of witnesses whose testimonies are consistent and provide data and facts which are difficult to explain without referring to the paranormal. Others have been chosen to be used as examples for other types of reincarnation, but are more fragile in their evidence. We list only the most significant ones and those aspects that are out of the ordinary in certain cases, since it is impossible to summarize each case without this summary being as extensive as the book itself, as the breakdown of cases is an exhaustive list of data.

Reincarnated People
Reincarnated People

A standard Stevenson case of a reincarnated person is as follows:

  1. A child begins to talk about their memories, without anyone inducing it. They mention people and places, or have a strange behavior. Often they describe their death, often violent, and sometimes they even try to explain that in reality they are another person, who has other parents, perhaps a spouse and children, and insist to be taken there.
  2. Normally the family tries to quell those memories (in more than half of the cases), but the rumors spread until they reach the ears of someone who is a relative of a deceased person, whose details match those provided by the child. Finally, one of the two families make the decision to go visit the other.
  3. Usually the child can find their way to the old house, can recognize family and friends without being introduced to them and even call them by their nicknames. The child will discuss the differences they find, ask about people or things missing, and remember little-known events of the past. Sometimes they even demonstrate knowledge about family “secrets”, and does not know anything of what happened since the death of the alleged previous incarnation.
  4. At one point the news of the extraordinary meeting reaches the ears of some of the researchers collaborating with Stevenson and everyone rushes to the scene as soon as possible (Stevenson has only a few dozen cases where he would arrive before the meeting of the two families).
  5. When Stevenson arrives, he tries to refute the memories of the reincarnated child and other witnesses making use of interrogation techniques borrowed from the field of law. He tests the validity of everything said by each of them, checks for inconsistencies, does not accept third-party versions and discreetly interrogates neighbors and people from town to have references and opinions on the family, visiting unannounced months and years later to make the same questions. If he does not know the native language (he speaks 5 languages) he employs 2 or 3 interpreters during interviews, takes notes, and sometimes makes recordings. He collects and takes photographs of the evidence (written records, birthmarks…), and the notes are transcribed and organized in the following days, developing a chronology of how the memories were emerging, trying to find errors or gaps.
  6. Stevenson then reconstructs what happened when the child met for the first time the family of his alleged previous incarnation. He finds out if someone gave him an indication, albeit unintentionally, and verifies all the facts that the child remembers (on average, in all resolved cases, children are consistent in 90% of everything they say). After that he investigates any possible contact that could have existed between the two families and tries to find out if there is a remote possibility that the child could have learned of the facts by any other means. The analysis is rigorous and detailed.

Before starting the description of reincarnated people cases, we should state that Stevenson was Chief of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, where he also studied other types of paranormal phenomena. This made him knowledgeable firsthand of scientific studies on cases of telepathy, body possession, contact with spirits (mediums), etc… and knew very well some of the possible explanations for these cases, as cryptomnesia, absorbing personality or ESP. Therefore, when analyzing the cases of reincarnated people, he also considers these alternative explanations to reincarnation which might enable the child to acquire the information they recall as memories.

7 cases of reincarnated people in India

Hindus believe in reincarnation. Stevenson explains that the Bhagavad-Gita is considered the Gospel of Hinduism, and is an ancient and accurate presentation of ideas of Hinduism on reincarnation. For Stevenson, the abundance of cases of children who remember past lives, provide empirical support for Hinduism and Buddhism.

Read also: Do Hindus Believe In Reincarnation?

Most of the cases in India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) involve proven memories, recognition of people of the alleged past life, and little chance that the child may have accessed the information he provides by any normal means.

There is a particularly interesting case, that of Jasbir (which belongs to the type that Stevenson calls “exchange incarnation”, and he claims to have only one other similar case, at least at the time he wrote the book) and it is not simply a child who says to remember a past life, but was a “normal” child until he had a disease and apparently died. The way to check this death was “the cessation of breathing, opening of the mouth and cooling of the body.” A few hours later, the child began to move, but from that moment he began to say he was someone else, and many details of the place and the family where he claimed to belong, were then tested. When he was asked about what had happened since his death in the previous life, until his revival in the body of Jasbir he said that “after death I met a holy man who told me to incarnate in the body of Jasbir”. The child now talks with the speech of the previous personality and will not eat food unless it has been prepared in the way it should be done according to his previous caste (keep in mind that this happened in India, where there are large differences between castes).

Stevenson discarded telepathy, which could explain the knowledge that the child possesses, but not the identification with the previous personality, and the love for that family. It is important to note that in this case reincarnation is direct, because although the dates are not known precisely, the margin is not more than one month since the death of the previous personality, and its entry into the body of Jasbir. In this case, the child himself states that the reincarnation is immediate.

Another special case is that of Sukla, as regarding her past life he does not recognize the family that raised him (his own), but recognizes the family of her husband (with whom she lived when she died). Stevenson notes that life with her husband’s family was more loaded with emotionally charged moments, than the previous life with her family, although being more extensive in time. This supports the theory that Stevenson has developed, that memories are often associated with moments of great stress or emotional charge, as death itself, especially if it was accidental or violent. Other important aspects may be that the girl was more mature than what’s normal for her age, which also happens with other children who claim to remember past lives. Stevenson says she also seems to have extrasensory perception, and physical and personality traits that coincide with the previous personality.

Continuing with the analysis of reincarnated people, Swarnlata’s case is also interesting for several reasons:

  • 1) It took nine years between the death of the previous personality and her birth, but she also has memories, though less precise, of another short life lived in that period. In this case, even though it was India, the family of the previous personality did not believe in reincarnation, and they even unsuccessfully tried to deceive the girl when the two families met for the first time. In the end, they were totally convinced that reincarnation was real.
  • 2) The child did not lose the memories when years passed, which occurs in almost all cases. Stevenson believes there is a pattern among the few cases in which children do not forget their past lives memories, and that usually happens when the families where they live now are tolerant of their memories (in most cases, parents force children, sometimes with violence, not to speak of those memories).
  • 3) Other cases of reincarnated people occurred in the same family, several relative to each other or their parents. There are several cases in India in which the previous personality and the current belong to the same family.
Reincarnated people
Reincarnated people

Stevenson explained here in detail the reasons why it can not be a great deception, a valid explanation for many of the other cases. Regarding what causes the memories, it seems that the atmosphere of the past life is the best “trigger”: the house where they lived, the people they met, etc. and in these encounters the child usually remembers more things, that can express to all those present.

Another case is the one of Ravi Shankar, which has a feature that is a cornerstone in investigations done by Stevenson. He has a birthmark (a kind of scar) on his neck, coincident with the injury he suffered in his alleged previous life, where he was killed with a knife (the body appeared with its head severed). It is curious that the mark would change places as the child grew, moving towards his chin and resizing. This happens in other cases described in this book. We do not know if it is normal that birthmarks change from place to place as the person grows.

Over the years, the child completely forgot about those memories. As a child his father beat him if he mentioned them, in fear of the reaction of the murderers of his previous personality, if this information reached their ears.

Parmod’s case presents abundant and strong evidence of information and recognition of the people with whom he was associated in his previous life. As in other cases of reincarnated people, Stevenson takes telepathy as an option to explain this case. Also in this case the child says he remembers an earlier third life which occupies most of his memories. In this case, the child did not suffered a gradual oblivion of memories, but seem to forget an important part at the age of seven , but a part of the memories remained still not forgotten at the time of the last interview he had with Stevenson.

3 cases in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka):

When dealing with cases of reincarnated people, Stevenson considers important to explain the differences between Reincarnation (Hinduism) and Rebirth (Buddhism). Hindus believe that after physical death, an essential element is still alive, or Atman (roughly equivalent to the Western concept of soul), that after a period joins a new physical body to continue improving. Hindus believe, therefore, in the existence of a continuous entity, and probably even permanent. In contrast, most Buddhists do not believe in the persistence of a permanent entity, but believe that when a person dies the effects of their actions generate other actions that have consequences, one of which may be birth in another physical body (only if the deceased had not reached detachment from desires, otherwise it would be reborn in another physical plane). The newborn personality keeps a relationship with the former, just like a candle that before turning off lights another candle, only that it’s not about continuity, but consequence.

Read also: Do Buddhists Believe In Reincarnation?

Ceylon cases are similar to those in India. Gnanatilleka’s case is different from the previous mainly because it includes alleged premonitions. It is also a case pertaining to the meager 5% in which there is a change of sex between one incarnation and the next (from about 600 cases studied at the time). Stevenson states that in this case cryptomnesia would be a possible explanation. In Gnanatilleka’s case, the memories do not come by association or by the intervention of some “trigger”, but she says they come when she happens to be idle, for no apparent reason. It is also interesting that when she was 5 years old, she told her family that when she lived her previous life she saw her older brother doing a dance performance. That was the only time her brother was in that city, where her previous incarnation had lived, a long time ago, and she said she was fascinated by it at the moment.

For Wijeratne’s case, Stevenson raises the possibility of an alternative paranormal explanation, based on telepathy and clairvoyance, although he admits that some of the evidence in this case can not be explained only with help of these phenomena. This case is a clear example of “selective” forgetting, because as the child grows he seems to remember only the memories attached to very strong emotions, the same thing that apparently happens with memories of past lives, and even memories of our own lives.

Reincarnated people
Reincarnated people

This child also said that in the period between the death of his previous incarnation and the current, he reincarnated as a bird for a while. He never really used the word “bird”, but after the death of his previous incarnation he “had fluttered through the air and alighted in the treetops”. For Stevenson this is more likely an interpretation of the witnesses or a fantasy of the child, as among the Buddhists there is a belief that when a crime is committed (which was the case here) one is reborn as an irrational animal. It would therefore be the influence of the last thoughts (fears) before dying, and the researcher recalls that in the Tibetan Book of the Dead it is explained in detail this influence of our last thoughts on the further evolution of the soul. We should not discard a typical out of the body experience after death, often described in hypnosis and astral projection.

In this case it is necessary to emphasize that the child developed schizophrenia following similar events to those that caused his death in a past life. In his previous incarnation he stabbed his wife due to feelings of rejection (she did not want to live with him). In its current incarnation, he developed two major schizophrenic outbreaks in similar situations, when a woman rejected him.

Ranjith is another child, who remembers a previous life in England, this can only be explained, according to Stevenson’s judgement, by reincarnation or by an imposed identity (someone, usually the parents, impose an identification with someone else on the child, either consciously or unconsciously), although it is doubted that this kind of influence alone can justify an alteration of personality as great as this one, where the child imposes himself full awareness of an identity that is not his.

2 cases of reincarnated people in Brazil:

In Brazil the idea of ​​survival of human personality after physical death is widespread. A high percentage, between 5% and 30% of the people are spiritualists, but also mainly Catholic. Regarding reincarnation, in Brazil there is an interesting mixture of African spiritual beliefs and practices (most influential in the poorest and least educated classes) and the French branch of Spiritualism, created by Allan Kardec (author of “Heaven and Hell”, where he outlined his views on reincarnation) that swept Brazil in the nineteenth century. For followers of Kardec spiritism, reincarnation is one of its fundamental principles, something which does not happen, according to Stevenson, in most western forms of spiritualism.

This makes Brazil a favorable environment for the children who claim to have memories of past lives, which however can also be a problem for researchers, as some parents do not give any importance to what the child says, taking it as natural and not worth to inform anyone about it or to be written down. However most of the time parents pay attention to children and even take them to talk to scientific researchers who can study it.

Reincarnated people
Reincarnated people

In one case, the two families knew each other, and in the other case the two personalities were part of the same family. Furthermore, both cases occur in the same family (they were siblings). In the latter case, that of Marta Lorenz, the previous personality had predicted her reincarnation telling this to a friend, a fact that the friend and her husband hid from their children as not to influence them whether or not anything happened that would make think of a reincarnation case. It later happened in that same way. The girl, as in other cases, would forget the memories, but not about her death. The girl was completely identified with Sinha, the former self, but in a line of continuous development, not as in substitution of a personality for another (she would often say, “when I was Sinha” or “when was olver”). As in other cases, there is a physical resemblance, similar personality and even calligraphy also between the two personalities. For Stevenson both personalities were endowed with ESP higher than normal. She was also prone to illness of the respiratory tract, a disease closely related to that which caused her death in the previous life (lung infection, probably tuberculosis).

One of the particularities of this case is that the new personality knew things that happened in the house of the former self after her death, something that rarely happens since usually only knows events and information of the previous family, until the time of his or her death.

Stevenson proposed as alternative explanation in this case involving personality absorption, which although it has some pluses in this case, it is still weak according to his point of view. Moreover, unlike other cases, recalling the cause of death in the previous life did not help to heal her in her present life. As a side note, another alternative explanation to reincarnation could be extrasensory perception, apparently well developed in the child, could also explain the knowledge of events after the death of the previous personality.

The second case is the brother of Martha, Paulo Lorenz, who remembered his life as Emilia Lorenz, a short and unhappy life where she felt uncomfortable as a child, to the point that a few years before her death she told her brothers that if reincarnation existed, she would choose to come back as a man. She attempted suicide several times, until finally she succeeded. Shortly after her death, her mother, a medium, began receiving messages from a spirit who claimed to be Emilia, she said she regretted suicide and on three occasions asked her to bring her back as his son. The mother, again, as it did in the previous case, told nothing to her children until much later.

When Emilia died, her mother had already given birth to 12 children (the latter of whom was Marta) and did not expect to have more, but a year and a half after the death of Emilia, Paulo was born. Interestingly in the first 4 or 5 years of his life he did not want to wear boy’s clothes, he would play with girls and dolls, and showed ability to seam (which Emilia also did) without having been taught by anyone. This ability is of importance for Stevenson, who values ​​the possibility that the skill could have been genetically transmitted (inheritance).

7 cases of reincarnated people among the Tlingit in Alaska:

All tribes living around the Tlingit believe in reincarnation, apparently under the influence of Buddhism, before the arrival of Europeans. The Tlingit believe that the dead return to this world in the same family, which makes them look for marks when a child is born, also defects and similarities with dead relatives. On the other hand, they believe that children who remember past lives tend to die young so they try to discourage them of doing so. To complicate matters, some believe that if they talk to foreigners, misfortune will come, but fortunately Stevenson says that most of his informants spoke freely.

Reincarnated people
Reincarnated people

Also noteworthy of these cases in Alaska is that often the previous personalities died violently and/or mysteriously (as with the previous cases) and that the frequency of cases of reincarnated people among the Tlingit is very high.

The case of Jimmy Svenson (Tlingit names have been changed) shows birthmarks, but is generally lacking of evidence to be considered proof of reincarnation.

The case of William George, Jr. has the feature that the mother had a premonitory dream. He also presented birthmarks, and like other cases he started talking late. Stevenson proposes the theory of reincarnation assumed or imposed by family, extrasensory perception, and even paramnesia identification. Moles and lameness however support the theory of reincarnation, according to Stevenson.

The Tlingit cases are generally much meager than the previously mentioned cases to try to provide evidence of the existence of reincarnation.

Overall analysis

We must first explain that Stevenson’s books are not easy to read, despite the large number of interesting cases of reincarnated people studies. This is because Stevenson writes his books with an entirely academic approach, talking extensively about methodology with a dry speech focused more in other scientists than in the general public. But it is the thoroughness and detail Stevenson uses what gives value to the claims and has made his studies and books the main and fundamental evidence supporting reincarnation. For him, what matters is not emotion, telling a good story or studying the therapeutic possibilities of reincarnation. For Stevenson all that is important is to show evidence that can prove the reality of reincarnation. All information collected is published unadorned and avoiding fast conclusions. Indeed he never states that he has proved reincarnation, or the existence of the soul (he usually refers to it as a personality that survives the body). As an example of his conscientiousness just look at the title of the book, “20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation”. Buy the Book here: Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation

Each case described in the book is like a detective story. He follows the clues wherever they lead. He interrogates all sorts of characters and though he focuses solely on the facts, he also captures the details, each clue, as a great detective. For him a case is solved when he can find a child that has spontaneous and detailed memories of a past life and can find also the correspondence between those memories and the life of one (and only one) deceased person. After a thorough investigation, he has to be sure that the child had no opportunity to absorb this data by normal means (considering unlikely and even absurd alternatives such as telepathy or possession by a spirit). Stevenson has collected more than 800 cases that meet his criteria for a “case solved”.

Some of the patterns that Stevenson brings to light after so many cases of reincarnated people investigated are:

  • Most children begin talking about past lives between 2 and 5 years of age (some even before, just as they start talking), and begin to forget between 5 and 7/8 years (a few do not forget), and even deny it.
  • 36% had a phobia that matched the way they had died.
  • 72% of children recalled how they had died and more than half of them had had a violent death (many more than those who remembered their previous name). Stevenson assumed that the intensity of the experience reinforces memories. Dr. Woolger also states that “The exacerbation of consciousness that takes place at death leaves recorded with a disproportionate intensity the thoughts, feelings or sensations that people have when dying, in the vehicle that transmits our essence from one life to another, no matter what name we give to it.” This connects with another basic principle: to die with the weight of emotions and unresolved issues invigorates memories so that they can influence the following lives. A portion of the child is “left behind” with one foot in the past life, entangled in a web of unresolved feelings, still tied to a life that he left unexpectedly.

One of the most emblematic of the cases studied by Stevenson is that of Swarnlata, which also differs from most others because the memories did not fade as she grew up. We invite you to read the book and find it, because it meets all the requirements to be an excellent study case, besides being a story that in the hands of another author would have been enough to write an entire book, a very emotionally charged one.

But Stevenson goes further, and attempts to prove the existence of reincarnation through three types of tests:

Memories (as we have seen so far)

Behavior: skills, phobias, preferences. Anything that does not match their biological family’s behavior, but that of the alleged previous incarnation. Stevenson found many cases: children nagging their parents for their vulgar habits or their lifestyle, not eating food of the lower classes (mostly Indian children) arrogant behavior on poor children who had once been rich, rustic instinct of survival on rich kids who had once been poor, etc. But above all it is worth noting the child’s behavior with their former family: it’s not easy to imagine a little girl being hostile to her former husband with whom she did not have a good relationship, or a toddler berating a woman he recognized as his previous wife for wearing the white sari (which under normal circumstances would be a serious offense). According to Stevenson, when many behaviors, all stranger to the current life of the child, form a behavioral syndrome which corresponds exactly with the child’s previous alleged life, we are facing compelling evidence of reincarnation.
Phobias are also a very important behavior in reincarnated people. They are common, and almost always related to the cause of the previous death.

Physical marks: Stevenson has conducted a comprehensive study on the large number of cases found in these children with birth defects and marks that corresponded with the injuries they had suffered in their previous life. It is usually not just moles, but scars and wounds. They are crisp, large and well-defined marks, sometimes without hair or without pigmentation. Limb malformations also remind of wounds caused by an external instrument. In his books (such as “Reincarnation and Biology: A contribution to the etiology of birthmarks and birth defects,” 2,300 pages including 230 confirmed cases) he provides autopsies, photographs and documents proving this relationship between birthmarks and wounds, and the relative high number of matches in the cases studied (35% of documented cases) can completely rule out chance.

As we mentioned before, Stevenson has never claimed to have proven reincarnation. He simply states that he is offering evidence of its existence, and leaves it to others to decide whether that evidence proves reincarnation or not.

Methodology used:

Reincarnated people
Reincarnated people

Stevenson rejects the use of hypnosis. He has studied the research by A. De Rochas (“Les vies succesives”, 1924) and J. Bjorkhem (“De Hypnotiska Hallucinationerna”, 1943) and concluded that the results do not allow any conclusions. For him the memories evoked by hypnosis are “a mixture of various ingredients, among which we may include the actual personality of the subject, their expectations of what they think the hypnotist wants, his fantasies about what he believes was his former life and perhaps elements of paranormal origin.” Spontaneous memories of very young children offer much more credibility, since it is easier to dispose of alternative sources of information about their alleged previous life. He recognizes that using both hypnosis as spontaneous memories, there are phenomena such as Xenoglossy (people who speak foreign languages) can not find another explanation than the paranormal (he has written on this subject: “Xenoglossy: A Review and Report of a Case” ).

The ability of the researcher conducting the interviews is also essential. According to Stevenson, for decades researchers have used the methods of historians and lawyers, and even psychiatrists to reconstruct past events. For him, the ability of the researcher must not be overlooked.

Time transcurred since the memories arise until the investigator arrives on the scene to conduct interviews, is vital. The memories and even perceptions are not reliable over time, and witnesses may, for various reasons, omit or add details, altering (sometimes excessively) what actually happened. As you can not do without these witnesses, what you need to do is check and improve rather than discard them. The maximum possible amount of evidence should be obtained and compared with other evidence.

Taking notes of what was previously said by the child, before checking with the family of the previous life, is the ideal state of research because it allows to verify the accuracy of what was said by the child, which may occur without changes or adaptations (conscious or unconscious) to fit to the reality found. However, unfortunately, in most cases when the investigator arrives, the two families have already gathered. In the cases of reincarnated people in this book, only two statements were noted before checking them. And among the hundreds of cases studied by Stevenson, only about 30 cases meet this requirement.

Impartial witnesses are also of great value. This is, people who are not members of any of the families involved. Stevenson usually asks the greatest possible number of witnesses in each of the two families and neighbors and other members of the communities where they live. He often interrogates them several times over the years. He investigates in the village where the phenomena occurs to look for signs of credibility of the families involved. When there are cases that have been studied by other researchers that he can trust, he also crosses the data from both. When intersecting of all the data collected on each event, if it matches and the coincidences remain over time, this provides enough data reliably checked.

The behavior of children is to Stevenson one of the best proofs of truth of the memories. The child’s behavior when meeting his previous family, accompanied almost always of a great emotional burden, which is very difficult to fake. Stevenson offers numerous outstanding cases of these behaviors, especially verifiable in Indian society, which has very established behaviors and attitudes between castes and between family members.

Direct witnesses: With rare exceptions, all the testimonies recorded in the book come from direct witnesses. When statements of indirect witnesses have been collected, it is indicated in the case study.

Detection and treatment of potential errors in the data collection

Stevenson is aware that the accuracy of witness testimony is crucial to the validity of the case, so much attention has been paid to the possible causes that could make this information to not be correct.

Conflicting testimonies: checking a number of testimonies made by witnesses who try to remember the same facts, which result in taking testimony of these people in several interviews over the years have caused irregularities in about 10% of the times, which for Stevenson confirms accuracy of the information, since this percentage is very low, and the biggest discrepancies occur usually in minor details. However, on occasion these details are important, so we can not overlook these discrepancies. Stevenson has found witnesses who have proved themselves unreliable and who pretended knowledge which they did not really have, but he warns that it is not good to discard the conflicting testimony, since we might be erasing important data. Stevenson has decided in this book to eliminate the discordant testimonies, except in a few cases in which he considers important to add them, and clearly indicates so. Subsequently he has noticed that some discrepancies had arisen from translation problems or because the witnesses did not understand the question.

Possible sources of errors that may appear in reports and Stevenson has taken measures to reduce or eliminate them, are:

  • Translations and interpreters errors: to fix this he used two (and sometimes three) translators. Sometimes one translated as the he took notes in English, and the other one checked the translation and also made notes in Hindi. After both notes were compared, the discrepancies found by this method affected a small and insignificant reports of cases.
  • Recording methods and possible errors: Stevenson takes written notes, preferring this method to the tape recording as he feels that it inhibits the witnesses making them more reserved in front of him, at least initially, especially because most cases often involve several people talking, and sometimes by hearing the recording it is impossible to identify who is talking, in addition to other problems such as tone changes in the speech which can cause loss of details.
  • The apparently early language attributed to the subjects: Stevenson explains that there are indeed children who are precocious speaking, having even scared their parents for the unusual phrases and words they used, but there are also cases where the child was very small and not really expressed their memories with these words initially, but that was how it was expressed in later interviews where they already had more command of language and could better explain what they had tried to say. Moreover, it is often parents and other witnesses who tell what the child said, so we should always add a phrase like “or words to that effect” with the phrases attributed to children.
  • “Errors” forced by witnesses: There is a possibility of “errors” being forced (Stevenson understands them as inventions or exaggerations) by witnesses and in the reports. Stevenson says that despite that reincarnation is a widespread belief in the East, is also believed that the act of remembering previous lives can predestine one to die young, so parents often apply drastic measures and are even cruel to their children as not to talk about previous lives. Moreover, in many cases the child becomes a serious problem for the family and themselves when they say they were happier in another family and want to escape, or when displaying customs very different from the usual, mainly because of belonging to a caste different than the current one. Even the publicity generated by the case can be a burden and provoke disorders.
  • Stevenson assumed that some witnesses may be influenced by others, but this is unlikely when the testimonies are consistent among families who did not know each other in the wake of these developments. In any case, Stevenson possible errors of this kind can never justify all the coincidences found in the testimonies.

Read also: Is Reincarnation Possible?

This concludes our article on reincarnated people. Keep reading this website to learn more about reincarnation and life after death.

One thought on “Reincarnated People And Their Testimonies Put To Test

  • September 25, 2017 at 9:09 am
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    I am a reincarnate who needs to be 7 researched for a case study project. In brief, I’m Sarah, in my past life I was Sarah Winchester. Can you advise me of who I should contact or be connected with?

    Reply

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