10. Reincarnation

Case reports on individuals who claimed to remember a previous life, together with general discussion and analysis. The phenomenon overlaps with reports of possession, which is covered in Section 4 (above, States of Consciousness, keyword multiple personality).

keyword: reincarnation


Hill, J. Arthur. SOME REINCARNATIONIST AUTOMATIC SCRIPTS, Proceedings 38, 1928-9, pp. 375-87. Stirring scenes apparently in medieval Scandinavia are described in automatic writing, in which the narrator claims to have had a tempestuous relationship with the writer. Other figures in other settings are also claimed as part of the writer’s past history. reincarnation/automatic writing 

Thomas, C. Drayton. A DISCOURSE GIVEN THROUGH MRS LEONARD AND ATTRIBUTED TO SIR OLIVER LODGE, Journal 33, 1943-6, pp. 134-56. Statements about afterlife conditions by a communicator claiming the identity of the scientist and SPR researcher are given at length and found to compare, at least in terms of meaning, with the opinions published in his books. The exception is reincarnation, about which the living Lodge was previously non-committal but which the communicator now says actually occurs. The author and sitter, an ordained Christian and spiritualist, finds the communicator’s mannerisms bear a convincing likeness to Lodge’s but is distressed by the remarks about reincarnation. See also note by W.H Salter on Myers’s views about reincarnation, pp. 170-71.

mental mediumship/beliefs/survival/reincarnation


Anon. A CASE OF ALLEGED RE-INCARNATION, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 428-9. Report of an investigation into an Indian child who remembers two consecutive previous lives. reincarnation 

Chari, C.T.K. PARAMNESIA AND REINCARNATION, Proceedings 53, 1960-62, pp. 264-86. Argues that the phenomenon of déjà vu, frequently taken to indicate reincarnation, can equally be explained by paramnesia, the distortion of memory. Instances of veridicality can be held to demonstrate paranormal cognition, such as telepathic exchanges between parent and child, again not requiring the reincarnation hypothesis. The possibility of ‘precognitive paramnesia’ is also discussed (273). reincarnation/theory

Osborne, Arthur A. REINCARNATION, Journal 42, 1963-64, pp. 86-9. The Mr ? described in Chad’s article makes himself known and reveals more of the background to the case, arguing, against Chari, that the explanation is reincarnation and not any of the alternatives suggested. reincarnation

Spedding, Frank. CONCEPTS OF SURVIVAL, Journal 48, 1975-6, pp. 1-18. This discussion of survival evidence touches on reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, a typical spirit communicator, and mystical experiences. reincarnation/survival/psi/beliefs

Anon. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 53, 1985-86, pp. 468-78. Ian Stevenson rejects criticisms of his work by D. Scott Rogo. reincarnation/theory

Anon. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 54, 1987, pp. 226-7. The Indian parapsychologist C.T.K.Chari, a sceptic of reincarnation, replies to criticisms of his review of a book on Stevenson’s work. reincarnation/theory

Pasricha, Satwant & Stevenson, Ian. INDIAN CASES OF THE REINCARNATION TYPE TWO GENERATIONS APART, Journal 54, 1987, pp. 239-46. Reincarnation cases in India dating from the 1930s are compared with cases from the 1960s and later and found to be similar in most respects. Authors’ abstract: Thirty-six cases of the reincarnation type in India whose subjects were born before 1936 were compared with fifty-six cases whose subjects were born in 1965 or later. Fifty-four variables - of demographic data, features of the cases, and investigation of the cases - were analyzed. Significant differences occurred between the two series in only five variables. Cases of children who claim to remember previous lives in India appear to show over many years a notable stability of their main features. reincarnation

Chadha, N.K. & Stevenson, Ian. TWO CORRELATES OF VIOLENT DEATH IN CASES OF THE REINCARNATION TYPE, Journal 55, 1988-89, pp. 71-9. Cases involving a violent death in a remembered life are found to show a shorter interval between death and birth than those having a natural death. The effect is found in all cultures except Sri Lanka. The age of the subject when first speaking about the previous life is also found to be significantly lower with violent death compared with natural death. reincarnation

Stevenson, Ian & Chadha, N.K. CAN CHILDREN BE STOPPED FROM SPEAKING ABOUT PREVIOUS LIVES?, Journal 56, 1989-91, pp. 82-90. Analyses of data from Indian cases of the reincarnation type shows no statistical support for the theory that Hindu parents encourge false memories of past lives. reincarnation

Rivas, Titus. ALFRED PEACOCK? REINCARNATION FANTASIES ABOUT THE TITANIC, Journal 58, 1991-92, pp. 10-15. Claims by a retired engineer that he was a drowned passenger on board the Titanic are shown to be invalid. reincarnation

Haraldsson, Erlendur & Samararatne, Godwin. CHILDREN WHO SPEAK OF MEMORIES OF A PREVIOUS LIFE AS A BHUDDIST MONK: THREE NEW CASES, Journal 63, 1999, pp. 268-91. Authors’ abstract: In Mahayana Buddhism -especially in Tibetan Buddhism - some children who are chosen to be lamas are considered monks reborn. No such tradition exists in the Theravada Buddhism of Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, but occasionally a child may appear who claims to have been a monk in a previous life. This report describes an investigation of three cases of children in Sri Lanka who at an early age claimed to remember a life as a Buddhist monk and showed monk-like behavioral traits. In two cases their statements regarding the previous life were recorded before attempts were made to verify them. In two cases a deceased monk was identified who seemed to match their statements about a previous life. The strength and weakness of each case is examined and some interpretations are discussed. reincarnation

Haraldsson, Erlendur. BIRTHMARKS AND CLAIMS OF PREVIOUS-LIFE MEMORIES. 1: THE CASE OF PURNIMA ELKANAYAKE, Journal 64, 2000, pp. 16-25. Author’s abstract: Children who speak of memories of a previous life may explain birthmarks as related to wounds inflicted upon them in the former life. In this case a girl claims to have been an incense-maker, and to have died in a traffic accident. After a location had been given an incense-maker was identified whose life corresponded to many of her statements. He had died in a traffic accident two years prior to her birth, and the post-mortem report revealed that wounds had been inflicted on him in the same area as her birthmarks. reincarnation

Haraldsson, Erlendur. BIRTHMARKS AND CLAIMS OF PREVIOUS-LIFE MEMORIES, 2: THE CASE OF CHATURA KARUNARATNE, Journal 64, 2000, pp. 82-92. Author’s abstract: This case concerns a young boy in Sri Lanka who made several statements regarding a previous life, among them where he had lived and how he was killed when travelling in a truck through a forest. The boy associated two birthmarks with his claimed memories. His statements were recorded and published, and afterwards a person was found in the area whose circumstances had corresponded to the boy’s statements. The birthmarks corresponded to the location of injuries of the person later identified as the previous personality. reincarnation

Barrington, Mary Rose. THE CASE OF JENNY COCKELL: TOWARDS A VERIFICATION OF AN UNUSUAL ‘PAST LIFE’ REPORT, Journal 66, 2002, pp. 106-12. Books written by members of the public about their own cases are often ignored by researchers, who fear that they may be fictional rather than factual. Yesterday’s Children by Jenny Cockell relates a very unusual case of ostensible reincarnation. The purpose of this article is to confirm that interviews with the author and her principal witnesses lead to the conclusion that the case should be treated as a genuine research report. reincarnation