Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, Second Edition, by Dr. Ian Stevenson, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1980.


This book is a detailed exposition of 20 cases of children who demonstrated early knowledge of the lives of individuals who had died previously. The strong investigative efforts of Dr. Ian Stevenson and his assistants uncover the validity of many of these memories of each child. Cases were presented from India, Ceylon, Brazil, Alaska and Lebanon. In Dr. Stevenson's words, "The history of cases suggestive of reincarnation in India (and elsewhere) follow an almost conventional pattern. The case usually starts when a small child of two to four years of age begins talking to his parents or siblings of a life he led in another time and place. The child usually feels a considerable pull back toward the events of the life and he frequently importunes his parents to let him return to the community where he claims that he formerly lived. If the child makes enough particular statements about the previous life, the parents (usually reluctantly) begin inquiries about their accuracy. Often, indeed usually, such attempts at verification do not occur until several years after the child has begun to speak of the previous life. If some verification results, members of the two families visit each other and ask the child whether he recognizes places, objects, and people of his supposed previous existence." Tables are presented for each child which shows all the elements of his/her recollections, how the information was obtained, how it was verified, and comments. A narrative of each investigation is provided. The book concludes with a general discussion of possible hypotheses of children's recollection other than reincarnation, such as fraud, information gained from others, extra-sensory perception (ESP), motivation and capacity of parents to deceive, and spirit possession.

Key Results

Reincarnation is the most probable hypothesis for most of these cases because:

Dr. Stevenson considers that these cases are suggestive of reincarnation but individually or collectively do not offer anything like a proof of reincarnation.

The reader is likely to arrive at a stronger conclusion--that the great mass of verified detail does in fact constitute a proof that reincarnation can take place, shown beyond a reasonable doubt.

Primary Reason to Read This Work

To understand the credibility and results of this investigation of reincarnation which are at the very heart of the evidential basis for the existence of an afterlife.

Links link

Dr. Stevenson information at website of Carol Bowman, children's past life regression authority This website contains articles both about and written by Dr. Stevenson, description of his books, and a public forum on reincarnation.


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