Past Life Memories

The Anecdotal Evidence of Reincarnation

(Image Credit: Jason Hoffman/Thrillist)

Where do instincts come from? What about the talent of child savants? Better yet, why are there so many kids around the world that claim to possess past life memories? To try and account for things like this, one time when he was referring to parapsychology, Carl Sagan stated that, “there are three claims in the field, which in my opinion, deserve serious study,” with one being “that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could have not known about in any other way than reincarnation.” The fact of the matter is that he was right. How else could anecdotal evidence of that type be explained? With that in mind, I would like to highlight the details of a few compelling examples of past life memory from recent history.

As a little girl in 1930s India, Shanti Devi began to claim to remember details of a past life. The case was even brought to the attention of Mahatma Gandhi who set up a commission to investigate her claims. Apparently, when she was about four years old, she told her parents that her real home was in Mathura where her husband lived. Later, she stated in school that she was married and had died ten days after having given birth to a child. Interviewed by her teacher and headmaster, she used words from the Mathura dialect and divulged the name of her merchant widower, from nine years earlier. He was soon convinced that Shanti Devi was indeed the reincarnation of his widow Lugdi Devi.

In 1957, two girls named Jacqueline and Joanna Pollock were hit by a car while walking to church with a friend. However, a year later Florence Pollock gave birth to a set of twin girls, named Gillian and Jennifer. Jennifer had a very distinct white line across her forehead in the exact same spot that Jacqueline had a scar. She also had the same birthmark as that of Jacqueline. The girls were even able to correctly name the dolls and stuffed animals that had belonged to them in their former lives. The twins even had recurring nightmares about being run over by a car. Then, all of a sudden, one day everything changed when the girls turned five and the memories of their past lives just faded away.

When he was about 70 years old, Nasir Alev fell down stone steps at the front of his house. Shortly thereafter, he died of tetanus on the morning of August 21st in 1960. The night before, his neighbor Mehmet Toksoz had a dream in which Nasir Alev came to him. Mehmet interpreted the dream to mean that Nasir would be reincarnated as his son. Sure enough, the same day that Nasir Alev died, Medina gave birth to Nasir Toksoz. Then, when he was three years old, Nasir named four sons and a daughter that he remembered having in a past life, which turned out to be correct. Later on, Nasir was even able to point out the steps at the Alev home where he remembered falling down and hitting his head.

Mary Sutton lived in the early part of the 20th century and gave birth to a few children before she died. Mary was then reborn as Jenny Cockell in 1953, but she retained some of her memories. Jenny was even worried about Mary’s orphaned children. Jenny Cockell first started talking about her dreams and memories of Mary when she was 4 years old. Then, in 1988 she underwent hypnosis after which she recovered a few more memories. Plus, after corresponding with a local man while doing research in 1989, she found that the family surname was Sutton. In the end, Jenny even reunited with her former offspring, all of whom accepted her memories as being those of Mary Sutton.

In 1972 Carol Ary gave birth to a boy named Elijah. When he was three, Elijah began to spontaneously speak Tibetan. So, his parents met with a visiting spiritual leader and Elijah was even able to name people from his former life. Then, in 1980 the Dalai Lama made a trip to North America where he visited Elijah in Montreal. At age eight, the child was recognized by His Holiness as the reincarnation of Geshe Jatse, a well-respected scholar in Tibet. He was then given the name Tenzin Sherab. So, having realized who he was the Tibetans eventually convinced Elijah and his parents to let him come live in India at age 14. There he learned to speak Tibetan in only a few months and easily returned to monastic living.

The most bizarre incident regarding reincarnation, that I’m aware of, occurred in the late 20th century when a man named Suresh Verma was gunned down. After dying, he came back as a boy named Titu Singh bearing marks on his head where Suresh had been shot, which is very common. Since Titu lived in India, his parents were more receptive to the idea that he had been reborn. As such, Titu eventually went to the authorities in Agra where Suresh had lived and successfully named the man who pulled the trigger. So, the police were able to solve a cold case that was several years old when they finally got him to confess to the crime, based on the testimony of a very unusual eye witness.

There are countless stories like this out there that are clearly indicative of the fact that the reincarnation of people is just as much a part of nature as the gravitation of planets. To be dismissive of the anecdotal evidence that innocent little children provide is unconscionable. Plus, Buddhists in Tibet, Theosophists in Germany, Scientologists in America, Hindus in India, and Sikhs in Canada all agree that rebirth is a fact of life. So again, I agree with Sagan’s logic, even though he became skeptical. In fact, when Carl Sagan asked the Dalai Lama what he would do if that fundamental tenet of his religion were to be disproved by science. His Holiness humbly replied: “If science can disprove reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism would abandon reincarnation…but it’s going to be mighty hard to disprove reincarnation”, and I couldn’t agree more.

An Eclectic Autodidact Polymath Writer and Researcher

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