Reincarnation is rebirth of a soul in a new body. This topic is first in a series of afterlife topics because of the very strong evidence which exists concerning reincarnation. Much of this evidential base has been developed by Dr. Ian Stevenson, a psychiatrist on the faculty at the University of Virginia. After a thorough review of this material, most will believe beyond a reasonable doubt that:
The first source is a very recent and readable introduction to reincarnation and to Dr. Stevenson, the book Old Souls written by Tom Shroder, a Pulitzer-prize winner at the Washington Post. After clicking on this and subsequent links on this page, a summary of the book is given, as well as a link to buy the book at amazon.com. In some cases, an audio interview or other interesting information is available on the internet, and links to these sources are given.
Summary of: (Source 1-Old Souls by Tom Shroder)
The second is the single most important source in this course of study. It is the book Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, by Dr. Ian Stevenson. It describes detailed investigations conducted of claimed past lives remembered by children. A collective look at this evidence results in very strong support for reincarnation as the common cause of these remembered past lives.
Summary of: (Source 2-Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Dr. Ian Stevenson)
Next is a book describing Dr. Stevenson's work on birthmarks found on children who claim a previous life, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. These birthmarks often can be directly related to the circumstances of death or other features of the previous life. The most compelling cases are those where birthmarks are at the exact locations of gunshot entrance and exit wounds, validated by autopsy records of the past personality's death.
Summary of: (Source 3-Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect by Dr. Ian Stevenson)
A recent book, Looking for Carroll Beckwith, has been written by an Indianapolis homicide branch commander, Robert Snow. It describes his extensive search to identify and verify a past life which was uncovered during a hypnotic regression session. Almost every one of his recollections proved to be true, relating to a portrait painter who lived almost 100 years ago.
Summary of: (Source 4-Looking for Carroll Beckwith by Robert Snow)
Another important case, The Reincarnation of James, the Submarine Man, appeared in 1991 in a journal of the Association of Past Life Research and Therapies, the leading professional group in this area. It was uncovered during hypnotic regression therapy of a patient for claustrophobia and fear of water, which seemed to stem from a claimed earlier life as a crew member of a U.S. submarine lost during World War II.
Summary of: (Source 5-The Reincarnation of James by Rick Brown)
Early childhood memories, amplified by hypnotic regression sessions, caused a young English woman, Jenny Cockell, to seek her eight children from a remembered past life in Ireland. Her book, Across Time and Death, describes her search for her past children and the home they shared. She was able to verify many of the remembered details of her previous existence and she renewed acquaintance with a number of her children, then in their 60's.
Summary of: (Source 6-Across Time and Death, A Mother's Search for Her Past Life Children by Jenny Cockell)
One of the oldest past lives which has been exhaustively examined is described in the book Under the Inquisition. It was written by Linda Tarazi who conducted 36 formal regressions with her female patient, resulting in 1000 pages of typed transcripts describing life in the 1500's during the Inquisition. Three years of investigation verified a large number of details in the past life, several of which caused revisions in the history of that period. The following linking page describes much of the investigation detail, while the book is primarily a novel-like description of the claimed past life.
Summary of: (Source 7-Under the Inquisition, An Experience Relived by Linda Tarazi)
The seven sources given above, particularly those from Dr. Ian Stevenson, collectively make a very strong case for the survival of the "soul" after death. They do not, however, suggest that all or most past-life memories uncovered during hypnotic regressions are valid. This is a very controversial area, despite therapeutic benefits gained during these sessions, and one that cries out for more research.
If you would like to contribute to the investigation of claimed past lives uncovered in deep hypnosis, try this website: Hypnosis Resources. It has been created by Dr. Robert T. James and includes a description of his past life regression research and a extensive bibliography of reincarnation research. It highlights details of 22 past lives which are candidates for investigation by persons living in the various locales.
An additional source for extra reading is the book Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy, again written by Dr. Ian Stevenson. This work describes in depth two cases where a person, spontaneously or through hypnosis, assumed a different personality which had the capability to converse responsively (xenoglossy) in an foreign language unknown to the original personality. These cases thus provide additional and independent arguments for the survival of the soul after death since extra-sensory perception cannot be hypothesized as the cause.
Summary of: (Source Extra 1- Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy)
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