The concept of reincarnation – that people are reborn again and again into different lives – has fascinated people of every race and religion. It is an ancient belief that continues to influence religious beliefs all over the world.
Jim Tucker and Ian Stevenson, two doctors at the University of Virginia, have endeavored to answer this question through research into young children’s accounts of what could be past life memories.
According to Tucker’s Evidence for the Soul and Reincarnation, posted on the website New Oasis for Life, in about 70 percent of the cases of children claiming to remember past lives the deceased died from an unnatural cause, suggesting that traumatic death may be linked to the hypothesized survival of personality. He further indicates that the time between death and apparent re-birth is, on average, 16 months, and that unusual birthmarks might match fatal wounds suffered by the deceased.
During a presentation at Penn State University in 2005, Tucker described how a mother was leaning over the changing table to change her son’s diaper. Her young toddler unexpectedly said, “When I was your age, I used to change your diapers.”
Sam Taylor, of Vermont, was born 18 months following his grandfather’s death. When he made this comment, he was only a few years old. When he was four-and-a half-years-old, however, Taylor was able to pick out his grandfather from a class picture of about 20 people and identify his grandfather’s first car from a photograph.
Taylor’s case is detailed in Tucker’s book, Life Before Life: Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, along with studies of other children who seem to experience past life memory.
According to Tucker, most past life statements start between the ages of two and five, and past-life memories seem to end altogether between the ages of five and eight, although few have continued. Tucker said that most children he has studied “will talk about it with great intensity one minute and go and play the next minute.”
Tucker speculated that our consciousness may act by free will and decide to return at varying times. Evidence of past-life memories may exist in our everyday lives. Child prodigies, for example, may have acquired certain skills to such high degrees in a past life that those skills become deeply embedded in their consciousness.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart claimed to have been a musician in many past lives. Some hold that our attitudes, beliefs, obsessions and compulsions stem from past lives. Even love at first sight has been associated with the past life phenomenon.
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Source: Evidence for the Soul and Reincarnation and New Oasis for Life