I just culled through the dead links on this page as of 5/9/16, and it strikes me that some of the best articles have been pushed so far down that no-one may see them. I place the more crucial and time-sensitive material at the top, but if you're new here, my suggestion is to scan down the entire page and see what might jump out at you. We find truth in all viewpoints (as for example, that intellectual rigor can go hand-in-hand with intuition in both paranormal and scientific studies), and champion it wherever we find it.
The skeptic's creed: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence--so long as it doesn't take up too much of my time."
A genuine skeptic blogs for "Scientific American" about the reincarnation studies of Dr. Ian Stevenson.
Heard on a History Channel show about ancient civilizations: "We're not the first, and we never will be."
Guitarist extraordinaire Eric Johnson's new acoustic CD has been released.
In other words, do good work by having something good to base it on. But who's on this damn panel of judges?
And while we are on the subject, normally this is an ad-free website, but this shit is too good to pass on (so to speak). There's a whole series of these ads, check them all out.
A British series in which celebrities are hypnotically regressed, and a historian attempts to validate their memories under hypnosis. (In Great Britain, skeptics are legally required on such programs. You can boo them, it's okay.)
Heard on a History Channel show about the search for Sasquatch, from a professional tracker with military training: "If you make a mistake, you could get your whole team killed--or even yourself!"
I recently tried to explain in my Updates, that just as a medium will get an impression, but sometimes not interpret it quite correctly, even though it is accurate; I, too, often got past-life impressions which I didn't initially interpret quite correctly, even though the impression, itself, was accurate. In this reading by the late British medium Colin Fry, this principle is illustrated about as clearly as I have ever seen it, as regards the "tip of the finger."
Not (quite) heard on the NOVA special about the raising of the Costa Concordia: "Our writer was told to stop using cliches. It was a major blow of epic proportions."
Now that my contract with Films Media Group has become non-exclusive, I have full world rights to sell my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America," in DVD format. I will shortly make it available as one of the items in my online store; however, in the meantime, you can order it from me directly by e-mail. The cost is $25, for a no-frills DVD copy of the program. If demand increases to the point of making it viable, I can have it distributed with packaging, etc.
A drama airing in Manilla, based on reincarnation and soul-mates.
"Mathematics is the perception of truth beyond the mind, which is turned into mathematics by the mind."--Abby Poyen
A reincarnation proof case: Hans Fickler from Switzerland had a near-death experience after being accidentally overdosed with pain medication for a knew injury. Then he began having past-life dreams, with provable memories. A very strong case (video with English subtitles--click on the "CC" icon). This man is one of the few who have researched his own case as doggedly as I have.
A girl who remembers 10 of her past lives and has proof of reincarnation. This is a very weak, largely fanciful case (note that she supposedly remembers being chased by a dinosaur!). There may or may not be some real past-life memory in all this, but as far as proving reincarnation is concerned, I have a far stronger case. Cases like this act as a smokescreen to cause people to dismiss the whole idea out-of-hand, so that they never take cases like mine seriously.
A recent article and video interview with Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson.
A writer for Elle Magazine contacts her late husband through a medium.
A large study has determined that people remain conscious three minutes after death. You know what they say--three minutes is better than nothing!
Because a woman had previously undergone past-life regression, her testimony regarding sexual harrassment by an acupuncturist is considered unreliable, based on a old law, and is hence dismissed. The judge says: "The testimony of the hypnotist in this case that she can take clients back to the womb and past lives demonstrates that hypnosis continues to be an uncontrolled, unregulated, and unreliable practice." Do you think the judge dismissed this woman's testimony because she had been hypnotized, or because she (the judge) considers reincarnation to be patently absurd? Thus does the long arm of an uninformed and ignorant Society reach down into even the legal system, no less the other social institutions, like healthcare.
A review for a novel, "Painting Past Lives: The Memory Painter." What's of interest to me, here, is the reviewer's introduction. How does he know none of these things happen? He simply hasn't studied it with an open mind, so in his limited sphere, so far as he knows, they don't happen. Past-life glimpses in dreams are pretty common. Certainly, past-life talents can emerge if one immerses oneself in a genuine past life; but conceivably, they could come through in dreams, as well. They simply wouldn't be attributed to the dream; therefore, so as far as any skeptical person knows, it didn't happen. I have evidence that my past-life talents as a humorist were triggered just by being in an area that I had stayed in in that lifetime. Go to the home page and look for "The Lighter Side." There's a story behind that--I was there to interview Carol Bowman for my documentary, in Media Pennsylvania, years before I learned of my past-life match as Mathew Franklin Whittier. Later, I discovered that he had spent time in the area, and had stayed about 20 miles away in Wilmington, Delaware. The humor which I suddenly started expressing, for no apparent reason, on that page, is extremely similar to Mathew Franklin Whittier's work.
A skeptic fails to debunk the work of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake on animal ESP--but claims to have done so anyway, and the media reports his supposed success! This is how it's done, folks--suppression of facts about the "paranormal" is all a smoke-and-mirrors act.
A very lame satire on reincarnation, depending entirely on the belief in retrograde reincarnation, which is not accepted by any serious students of the subject. I wrote much better satire in my past life as Mathew Franklin Wittier, including one featuring a traditional preacher preaching against Spiritualism.
Dr. Jim Tucker gets one of his strongest cases on the Today Show.
Proof of the Trickle Down Theory--which is to say, the theory that it is the most ignorant "take" on a sublime subject which finally manages to trickle down to the masses. This is a half-hour comedy being developed around a reincarnation theme. (Personally, I'd call it a tragedy.) People do not reincarnate as animals, folks. At least study your subject. I had $1,300 to create my film, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America." Can you imagine what I could have done with their budget? Thus are Society's resources mis-allocated.
A five-year-old boy remembers a past life as a woman who died in a Chicago hotel fire in 1993.
I saw the full animation, "A Single Life," broadcast on CBS's "Sunday Morning." Brilliant idea! Only trouble is, it stops too soon, buying into the myth of linear time, when actually, time is cyclical. All I can find online is the trailer. (You know those old record players could be set on replay...)
A reincarnation movie coming soon called "Origins," based on the idea that you could identify a person's new incarnation by matching their iris. Although it's never been tested (because the technology hasn't been around long enough), I seriously doubt there's any validity to the basic premise of the film. It seems that most people look at least 85% similar from one incarnation to another, but I doubt fingerprints or irises are identical. Still, it will be interesting to see what they do with it.
The Meher Spiritual Center, dedicated to my spiritual master Meher Baba, was featured on the local news here in Myrtle Beach.
For those of you who are skeptical about my claimed relationship with my past-life wife, Abby, note that in this lecture by afterlife investigator George Meek, he describes a similar continued relationship with his late wife, Jeanette. (The only thing he omits in this lecture is reincarnation.) Video courtesy of Victor Zammit's newsletter.
A typical "Stevensonian"-type case, investigated by his colleague, Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, in which the past-life person was a rather worldly character who died a violent death (which seems typical of many of these cases).
A woman appears to have past-life memories of being a young Cherokee Indian woman.
In this reading, medium Lisa Williams doesn't make a single miss. Watch it all the way through and count them. This is how you can tell a genuine, gifted psychic.
A very nice film dramatizing a reincarnation case of the type that Dr. Ian Stevenson studied.
A TV show runs a test in which two blindfolded subjects have a psychic reading, in turn, by Gordon Smith, and by a skeptic using the "cold reading" technique, and the results are compared. (Watch it all the way through.) Note that the skeptic's interpretation of the results is irrational, inasmuch as you do not develop the ability to name the song that a woman's deceased father used to sing to her by practicing the cold reading technique, even if you do it every day for years. There is also no control in this kind of challenge for the degree to which the skeptic may actually be inadvertently using his own latent psychic abilities, which, it is said, we all have to one degree or another.
For those of you who are versed in astrology, here is an astrological comparison of two incarnations.
A reincarnation case presented on the TV program, "Ghost Inside My Child." The deputy editor of Skeptic Magazine gives the predictable, false party line, that there is "...no scientific evidence supporting" reincarnation. I suppose that depends on his definitions of what is scientific; and if so, we want to see his credentials compared to the reincarnation scientists, themselves. Later in the article, we read that he is skeptical based on the video he'd seen. What are the chances that he wouldn't be skeptical? He's a skeptic, after all. Note that young children don't get real addresses from watching TV--soldiers' or anybody else's--because you're not allowed to put real addresses in TV shows. I have very mixed feelings about sensationalized shows like this. It's too bad you have to do it that way to get something broadcast, and to get the public to pay attention to it. If their research methods are sloppy, well, it's the public's own fault for selecting this kind of presentation. Maybe it will motivate people who are seriously interested, to look into what the real scientists are doing--you know, the ones the skeptic says don't exist.
As a fund-raiser, I have digitized a magnificent old children's version of "Gulliver's Travels" that used to belong to my aunt when she was a little girl (published in Great Britain, ca 1910). I remember being fascinated with it when I was a child, and if you have children or know of any children, I'm sure they would be fascinated by it, too. Turns out the illustrator, John Hassall, was famous. I just knew, as a kid, he was really good. I have a lot of experience restoring images digitally, and I took special care with these, because I love them so much. It is available from Amazon.com.
The only known portrait of Charles Parker Ilsley, author and editor of the Portland (Maine) Transcript in the 1840's, was painted by Charles Octavius Cole in 1838. It was mentioned in an article in the Oct. 31, 1838 edition of the Eastern Argus, and is listed by the Smithsonian, location unknown. If you know where this portrait is, or if you know of any other portrait of Charles Ilsley, please e-mail me, Stephen Sakellarios.
Some nut says that anyone can prove his own reincarnation case...wait a minute, that's my own press release! Here's the release for my second book, which has made it to the top of page 2 on Google News for keyword "soul mates." One thing I've always thought about my documentary trailer, is that if people watch the trailer, they get the same basic key concepts as if they'd watched the entire video. Same with the press releases. So the work gets done whether I am successful by worldly standards, or not... But all hype aside, these are really good books.
If my presentation on reincarnation upsets you, you can try reading what the skeptics have to say about it. That may make you may feel better--and if you watch this old cigarette commercial, you may feel better about smoking, too.
While we're at it, remember this commercial? "If I've only one life, let me live it as a blonde..." Pretty insidious, and typical of the kind of mischief that suppressing the truth about reincarnation can play in society. How many foolish things have people justified because "we only go around once"?
Another transgender case, which I would say clearly has a past-life component. If people usually switch genders every seven lifetimes or so, as I have read in my studies, then perhaps some people switch earlier and don't feel they can identify with the new gender. Probably there are different causes for different cases. Note how materialistic science automatically looks at genetics and brain structure, without even considering reincarnation. Remember, this is no joke, we are no doubt funding these people to the tune of millions of dollars, while not funding the reincarnation researchers at all... A drunk was seen wandering around, looking on the ground under a lamppost. He was asked why, and he said, "I've lost my keys." They asked him, "Did you lose your keys there?" He answered, "No, but there's enough light to see over here."
The "Cosmic Karma" board game. I was involved in developing this game as a consultant, and I highly recommend it. Here's a review by someone who examined it but didn't play it. For a more detailed description of my part in the project, click here.
Okay, being essentially done revising my book, I've been wiling away the time watching mediumship demonstrations on YouTube. If you don't have an interest you can bypass these, but I'm posting the best of the best, here. Of all of them Gordon Smith is the best I've seen so far. He's getting first names like he's on a cell phone, bang, bang, bang. I know all about selective editing, being a video editor, myself, but it's not that. It's not plants in the audience; it's not "scouts" getting the information before the show. It's real. Check out this one.
This radio interview, with medium John Holland interviewing medium John Edward, is especially noteworthy (and as often happens, those who take the time to listen to the entire interview are the ones who will benefit the most). First of all, it eliminates any question of John Edward's sincerity, in my opinion. So you can dismiss any skeptical objection which requires that he is deliberately hoaxing. Secondly, it throws a great deal of light on the process of mediumship, from an insider's point of view. I think this is a very worthwhile trend, i.e., experts interviewing other experts. I was also interested to see John Edward's praise of medium Suzane Northrup, because I had been interviewed by her. That interview can be listened to from the Radio Interviews page of this website. Holland/Edward interview courtesy of Victor Zammit's newsletter.
If you want evidential mediumistic readings, try watching this one by Lisa Williams. I see only two logical possibilities--either Lisa hired a private investigator and delved into the depths of this client's past before the interview, or she got detailed information through paranormal means. The first theory is stretching Occam's Razor until it screams, so I would go with the second. "White crow alert..."
An article in the University of Virginia's magazine about Dr. Jim Tucker's work. Note especially the pro vs. con comments appended to the article--everybody is "appalled"! Twenty, or even ten years ago, this would have been one pro voice crying in the wilderness, with a pack of bloodthirsty naysayers baying at his heels. Now, it seems split about evenly, and boy, are they split! There's a huge dichotomy. This dichotomy will, I predict, split academia right down the middle in the not-so-distant future. What you're seeing is just the beginning, as the philosophy of Materialism is more successfully challenged in that social institution.
A new video about the proposed past-life match of artist Peter Teekamp, and Paul Gauguin. Paced unfashionably slow, but makes a compelling case--well worth taking the time for.
I used to scrutinize tapes of John Edward's show, "Crossing Over," systematically eliminating each normal explanation in turn, including simple mind-reading (because John got information that the subject didn't know, at the time, but later verified). I even saw him live to eliminate the normal explanations of editing, and "plants" in the audience. But I couldn't definitely eliminate sending confederates into the line who elicited information and reported back. This public session, with three mediums working simultaneously in concert, disproves that objection if you study it carefully. You have to take Edward's work as a whole into account. I long since eliminated "cold reading," so even if there are elements not acknowledged, this session doesn't prove that he is guessing. Note the "shady past" of one relative that John gets, which the subjects are loath to admit to. But he would not be insisting on information he's getting, if he was simply working with information given to him before the show by a confederate. Study the session carefully--that explanation just doesn't work. Nor does it work with all three mediums working together--they would have had to all be privy to the "intelligence," and have agreed beforehand to split it up. They would all three have to be putting on a choreographed act, and now we are abusing Occam's Razor.
A segment on an Australian news show about "foreign accent syndrome." The reductionistic explanation is irrational--I'm sorry, those are real accents, not speech impediments that coincidentally happen to sound like accents. And, it's not only an accent--it's a person not speaking their primary language, struggling to translate. It's as though the processor for the past-life language suddenly took over, even though their actual linguistic database is still in this lifetime. If so, purely materialistic science is not going to be adequate to solve this one.
I have recently created a mirror of the original 2003 edition of Jeff Keene's website, which I created for him. His site has been down for hosting service negotiations. As a result, a lot of people have been visiting the page about him on this website. I'll link this from that page, as well. Note that I published the first version of the comparison photograph, with side-by-side ovals, on my website several years before the publication of Dr. Walter Semkiw's "Return of the Revolutionaries."
This is kind of interesting...compare this scene in "Big Bang Theory" with a humorous sketch of Einstein I did back in 1990. I think I like my punchline better, but basically the same idea shows up later in the episode, as Sheldon has an epiphany from seeing the way the plates have fallen at his "job" at the Cheesecake Factory. See also my Update of July 22nd. This was done through community access TV when I was first learning television production; I had only enough time allotted with the equipment to do two takes of every scene, and all but the unemployment official were amateur actors. I ran across "Einstein"--Mort Lieberman--at a garage sale and cooked up the sketch around him. That's me in the opening with the origami crane. I got a kindly physics professor to write the scientific lines for me.
A public letter by Abby's first cousin Charles Poyen, who introduced hypnotism to America, has been posted online. (See also my Update for 7/31/14.)
Brilliant mediumship by Lisa Williams. How long can this kind of work be accessible to the masses through the media, before the status quo says "uncle"?
Medium John Holland is tested by Boston's Channel 5.
A short documentary entitled "Transmormon." After several lifetimes as one sex, people tend to switch over. The "switch" lifetime can be tough. This also reminds me of how, as Mathew Franklin Whittier, I was "disowned" by the Quakers after Abby and I married in 1836, because she wasn't Quaker (and probably also because we were sexually active before we eloped, because we emotionally and intuitively remembered having been married in so many earlier lifetimes). Just because Society refuses to believe in something, doesn't mean it doesn't have its own impacts. It continues to, those impacts just aren't understood as such. In short, by putting your head in the sand, you don't make something go away.
A article about reincarnation which only superficially appears to be balanced. Her reporting on the efforts to research the Bridey Murphy case reflects the aggressive, skewed attempts to debunk it, and should be balanced with the report included in "The Search for Bridey Murphy" written by William J. Barker, who refutes many of these claims and indicates that the case was actually confirmed as genuine. Note she says the study she's citing is notable for the "boring" past lives reported by subjects--and yet, the editor persisted in bolding the one and only case in which a subject claimed to be Julius Caesar. We don't know whether the author, or an editor, chose the title, "What Makes People Think They've Been Reincarnated?" Presumably he chose the graffiti graphic behind it. The reporter says the past lives reported were "dull," which is hardly my impression of the literature (most were ordinary and many were very sad, and painful), though I haven't read the cases presented in this study. There is no mention of either historically validated cases obtained through hypnosis (like that of Capt. Robert Snow), nor of Dr. Ian Stevenson's work, in which hypnosis was not a factor. Those cases demonstrate that reincarnation is an actual phenomenon. In order to be fair and honest reporting, an article on reincarnation must start with that premise (or at least, include that information).
An article presenting "10 interesting cases of supposed reincarnation." The author starts out asserting that (as everybody knows) reincarnation can't really be proven. Bullshit! What does she base this idea on? I'll tell you--she's passing on a truism she's heard elsewhere, without really thinking it through. Of course reincarnation can be proven, depending on how you define proof. Can the author prove that her father is actually her biological father? Yes, but it might not be as easy as it looks, if you set a very high standard of proof. Just because her mother says he is, doesn't mean it's 100% definite. You might have to go to DNA testing, and then, that could be fraudulent if somebody in the lab was paid off, and so-on. But to the extent it would be possible to prove it to a reasonable (not forever-escalating) standard of proof, it is also possible to prove reincarnation. It took me five years to research my own 19th-century lifetime, and I proved it. If I accomplish nothing else, I'm going to challenge this knee-jerk "truism" about not being able to prove reincarnation, until I knock a hole in it. In this example, the author presents just barely enough information for entertainment purposes, but it is more than you would have seen in a similar format 10 years ago, so there is slow progress. In particular, she might have wanted to mention that Dr. Stevenson didn't just have one case that strong, he had dozens--which is to say, that for any rational person, it's a done deal.
"Creepy" photographic matches between celebrities and personalities of the past. Okay, you have the first step, 85% facial similarity. Now, instead of calling it "creepy" and leaving it in the realm of speculation, you could apply my method. It took me about five years of intensive research to verify it, addressing every possible skeptical explanation. If you did that with these proposed matches, one or two of them might test out.
One of Australian psychologist Peter Ramster's strong past-life research cases.
An 2013 interview with Sandy Dedrick, who has released a tribute album to her brother, Chris Dedrick, head of The Free Design, entitled "Blue Hill Day." The Free Design were too far ahead of their time, even in the experimental 1970's, because they combined intellectual brilliance and fearless experimentation, with purity of heart, a combination the world wasn't ready for.
What is this? Normally, these days, my documentary is watched maybe once in a five-day period if I'm lucky, here on Vimeo.com. Accordingly, I stopped checking it for awhile, and noticed it spiked one day last week to 13. This morning, on a whim I checked again, and saw it jumped to 45 yesterday (Sunday). I'm pretty sure that's a record. I don't know how to account for it--a class? A metaphysical group? Coincidence? Is it just that I stopped watching the pot and it started boiling? Seems like statistics raise as many questions as they answer... I notice that out of 45 people, nobody was inspired to indicate that they liked it (which is why I'm always inclined to the required class assignment interpretation).
A wife keeps in contact with her soul-mate after his death.
The police commissioner in Wolfeboro, NH, calls President Obama the N-word. Wolfeboro is 35 miles from Dover, on which town Mathew Franklin Whittier based his "Ethan Spike" satires, lampooning its small-town bigots. My book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," proves that I am Mathew's reincarnation. Perhaps I should send Mr. Copeland one or two of Mathew's sketches?
Randi the magician is surrounded. It makes me think of a family intervention, where everybody sits down with Uncle Ned to confront him about his drinking. Randi's lying, of course. Genuine psychics often get information they had no normal way of knowing, without any prompting and without asking any questions. Randi knows of Dr. Gary Schwartz's studies, for example, where the psychic and the sitter had no contact. There's an example I videotaped myself, in 1998, streaming on this website, where the psychic was given no information at all. Nor does she ask any questions--she starts out telling him about a past life he had already privately written about. I'd ask Randi for my million dollars, except that I'd have to share it with about a million people, so I'd only end up with a dollar.
In Today's Spam: I'll be too busy to maintain this website for awhile, because I've been hired by Google at $90,000/year!!! I think they hired me because I can spell contractions like "you're" correctly, and they obviously need someone who can spell.
This week's prize for Academic Endeavor Considered More Important than Proof of Reincarnation goes to (drumroll): North American history written entirely in Haiku.
Strange psychic time-telling power of rustic Italian peasant debunked!
A respectful article about past-life therapy in a small, mainstream weekly paper.
A new reincarnation film that shows promise. Watch the trailer and see what you think. (I reserve judgment until I've seen them, after that abomination, "Cloud Atlas.")
A sweet story about taking an instant liking to someone, and musing it could be due to reincarnation. It's little things like this which signal the change in attitude...
When this 7-year-old sings, the judge says, "I think you are an old soul who has lived many lives," and he doesn't seem to be joking...
Dr. Jim Tucker is the first speaker for a series sponsored by the Rutherford Institute.
There's someone who doesn't like my documentary, but who compulsively watches it every day on Vimeo.com, because it just bugs him. (just kidding)
Scientists scan a woman's brain during an out-of-body experience. That there are physical changes in the brain does not prove that the brain is causing the experience. Logically (depending on one's a priori assumptions), it could prove that the brain is reflecting that experience. There is a simple way to solve this, and the wonder is that these scientists haven't even thought to do it. Put some object where she can't see it from her normal vantage-point, on the ceiling or on top of a cabinet, and ask her to report back what she saw while out of her body. There are many reliable anecdotal accounts of this occurring--the "holy grail" of OBE and near-death experience research, has always been to replicate it in the laboratory. Note that we also don't know whether there could be two entirely different phenomena, i.e., false OBE's and real ones. Proving that a false one is false, obviously wouldn't prove that a real one is false. But I would hope someone will subject this woman to the obvious (and much cheaper) test of putting something on top of a cabinet, while they are using equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to look at her brain. By the way, out-of-body experiences are not "usually attributed" to anesthesia or hormones, except by mainstream media, where there is a strong reporting bias. Note also that if such scientists get a postive result with the cabinet test, it is not a given that they will risk their individual careers, pending grant applications, department and university by reporting it.
Every once in awhile I pick up another Twitter follower. Just today, I was honored by Immanual Kant choosing to follow me! But it seems he has a bad reputation and Twitter is expecting some trouble from him...
A materialist who had written a thousand absurdities to prove that we have got no soul, inquired of a lady, with a triumphant air, what her opinion was of his philosophy. "It appears to me, sir," answered she, "that you have employed much talent and ability to prove you are a beast."--Portland Transcript, Sept. 7, 1844
A novelist who focuses on reincarnation as her chosen theme, explains why.
Music video--We're all stuck in a time loop--deja vu all over again (with variations)... Watch how it starts out as a set and gradually becomes a generic every-place reality, sort of a daily work routine, but the players swap off, as love is encountered but rejected (the only person in the entire scene trying to interact with her and pull her into it). Everything is choreographed, repeating, yet building with slight variations. I'm in awe of this short film.
Sometimes what appears to be synchronicity is fraud; sometimes not. (I think if you saw this in real life, it would be sufficient to convert you to something...)
A reporter finds what he's looking for. Or so it seems to me. The therapist is entirely unconcerned with validation (as many of them are), and makes money hand-over-fist. Her clients remember being aliens, and animals, and cavemen, and are cured as a result (having, apparently, imagined a symbolic story which represents their particular life-circumstances). The investigating reporter, meanwhile, experiences nothing in his regression. All this is out there; and yet, a real phenomenon is out there, as well. I definitely proved one glimpse I had of my past life, while under a light hypnotic trance, in the historical record. No question. A second one is pretty strong. A third one could possibly be explained by having seen it before, so I don't count it. In order to find this kind of information, you have to ask the right people, and you have to be sincerely open to it.
Most past-life therapists say it just doesn't matter whether the memories which come up during their sessions are real, or imaginary.
A relatively balanced, respectful article on reincarnation in the New York Times, first published several years ago. Primarily drawing from interviews with Dr. Brian Weiss and Dr. Jim Tucker (see below), it exaggerates the rift between these two views, and it also underplays Dr. Tucker's convictions, because he underplays them, himself. When someone reports stellar results, but downplays them, one doesn't just take the quote literally, because to do so is not straight journalism. Dr. Tucker reports a case in which a girl accurately remembered 25 names from her past life. He can downplay his conclusions all he wants, but it's skewed journalism not to say reincarnation is proven for all intents and purposes. Further, the article underplays the historical validity of some past-life memories gained through hypnosis. One of my most powerfully verified memories came through hypnosis, as reported in my book, "Matthew Franklin Whittier in his own words." As regards these three distortions, this is still sensationalized journalism. Even so, what's significant about this article is that it's in the New York Times, and that it's respectful in tone. That's huge progress.
My final regular episode of Metaphysical Explorations featured Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was the world's foremost reincarnation researcher using the strict scientific method. This last interview was arguably my best one.
A well-written, thoughtful article presenting three different reincarnation studies.
An atheist, writing for CNN about Oprah, wants to retain his sense of awe in nature, and still be an atheist. If it were me, I wouldn't brag about not having thought the thing through carefully, but the rest strikes me as semantics.
Rabbi Elliyahu Fink refutes a pro-reincarnation article by Sara Yocheved Rigler. The problem with all this is that reincarnation has been proven to exist. So the horse has already left the barn. His logical arguments don't hold water, to me--the first is "straw man," the second is emotional (tantamount to "Stay away from my sister"), and the third is an appeal to historical majority opinion, claiming it represented, and continues to represent, everyone. No-one is disputing that reincarnation has been a minority opinion; only that it was right. As regards the second argument, perhaps the rabbi prefers a world in which God is either not fully in charge, or occasionally looks the other way, to a world in which the soul incarnates wanting to be cleansed by experiencing the same event it once perpetrated, from the perspective of the victim. After all, don't you think the German officers will want to do that, when their conscience kicks in, to cleanse themselves of what they did? Meanwhile, the attachment to Jewish souls continuing to reincarnate as Jews is, in my opinion, just that, an attachment, and it precludes understanding reincarnation and its purpose accurately. The above makes no sense if all the people who suffered in the Holocaust had been Jews all their past lives. It does make sense, however, if they were drawn from every culture of the past, given what we know of history. The error arises, in my opinion, because the Jews in the scriptures are symbolic of the soul's journey, but the symbol has been taken literally. Hitler made a similar mistake with his occult concepts of Aryan racial purity, whereas it is purity of heart that counts, spiritually. What an awful blunder, with such terrible consequences! It is Ignorance, itself, which lies at the root of these problems.
With friends like this you don't need enemies... A reincarnation advocate who, I think, must have done too much acid in his youth, has a different take on the subject--if only I could figure out what it is.
Another cross-dimensional soul mate couple (i.e., a couple with a very close bond) like me and Abby, interviewed by Victor Zammit.
An example of Australian psychologist Peter Ramster's work in researching reincarnation. Thanks to Victor Zammit's newsletter for the link to the video clip.)
From the same newsletter, a link to a talk by medium Gordon Smith, in which he comments on reincarnation. Not to take away anything from his work, but his view, that upon death, souls return to a sort of vast computer data base, and then a part of that giant mass pooches out and reincarnates again, and that there may be several reincarnations at the same time, is misleading. Like all mistaken views, there's some truth to it, but my research clearly shows, for example, that I am the personal reincarnation of Matthew Franklin Whittier, that I have his memories and many of his traits, likes and dislikes, talents and difficulties, and that my personality is roughly 85% the same (as are my looks), while my mind works almost exactly like his did. Personal reincarnation is unpalatable to those traditional Christians who can otherwise embrace mediumship, etc. Therefore, an interim belief is created which is somewhat more palatable, as they slowly come to grips with increasing evidence that reincarnation is real. Incidentally, I applaud Gordon for encouraging people to learn to communicate directly with their own loved ones.
In 2002, PBS aired a special about Benjamin Franklin. I watched the introduction, breathless, because I knew Franklin was one of the most prominent figures in American history who believed in reincarnation. I was deeply disappointed, however, when I saw that they misquoted Franklin so as to make it appear he believed in one lifetime only. See the actual historical quote, how PBS misquoted it, and the relevant clip from the show, here.
Speaking of public broadcasting, I happened to catch this interesting announcement recently...
This article about a sculptor whose work was rejected by the Royal Academy--sort of--and yet also accepted--sort of--is for all the station managers, film distributors, and festival judges who saw nothing particularly noteworthy in "In Another Life". Perhaps they just thought it was mediocre...
Portlant (Maine) Transcript, April 11, 1857: The Faculty of Harvard College have expelled, or suspended, a student of Divinity, for acting as a spiritual medium. They charge that the music of the spirits was produced by a trick of his feet!
In watching the third and final episode of "The Abolitionists" on PBS, I noticed a glaring omission. According to the narrative, President Lincoln was not amenable to freeing the slaves; and then, suddenly, he was. No explanation offered. Well, there was an explanation, and I get tired of PBS omitting anything which would tend to contradict the materialistic world view. They could have objectively included this as part of the history, without necessarily endorsing it. In my own study of that period, I am finding that most of the Abolitionists were also ardent Spiritualists, and that both movements proceeded hand-in-hand; but you only get half the story from this series. The head of PBS in one state refused to air my program, "In Another Life," because, as he told a producer who was advocating for me, he didn't believe in reincarnation. If you think there isn't a materialistic bias in the media, think again. We aren't exposed to the information because it is systematically suppressed, not because it doesn't exist.
This video is for all the reviewers, publishers, radio show hosts and others who insist on a physical print book and refuse to read an e-book...
From the Portland "Transcript," July 4, 1857: I'm studying these old newspapers for my past-life research, and I ran across the following brief news article: "Fog seas of the moon--Prof. Challis, of Cambridge, Eng., from recent observations taken of the moon, has come to the conclusion that the dark patches which we see on its disc are fog seas. The general surface and higher projections of the lunar spheroid are altogether uncovered and bare; but vapors and mists have rolled down into the lower regions in sufficient quantity to fill up the basin like hollows, exactly as water has gravitated into the beds of the terrestrial oceans." If you don't think science can be just as mistaken, today, especially where it is misled by materialistic assumptions, think again...
"I fully beleave in ghosts, but I never herd yt ov two persons seeing the same ghost, at the same time."--Josh Billings' Old Farmer's Allminax, 1870-1879. It's best to do your homework before publishing cynical humor...even in his day such cases were known!
On Dec. 20, 2012 I was a guest on the Karriann & Joe Show. It's the first interview in which the hosts were amenable to discussing my cross-dimensional relationship with Abby.
You've seen the crop circles in Britain and the statues on Easter Island--now we have the "sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa." I can't help but wonder if there are some people in the astral world who get a kick out of teasing scientists. You can't blame them, really. If one tries to help and is ignored, one might as well have a little harmless fun. Whoops, there goes another one...
Radical physicst Dean Radin sets forth the concept of "Entangled Minds" in his new book of the same name. His supporting web page says, "The idea of the universe as an interconnected whole is not new; for millennia it's been one of the core assumptions of Eastern philosophies. What is new is that Western science is slowly beginning to realize that some elements of that ancient lore might be correct." This is progress but it doesn't go far enough. Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat–Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions." Having studied for some 40 years, I am convinced this is the proper attitude of respect, and one should add all of 21st century science to the phrase "our modern world and its literature."
A poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, showing, among other things, the breakdown of belief in reincarnation among different segments of society. It runs average about 24%, which means, you sit down to dinner with three other people, and one of you probably believes in reincarnation.
"Blah-blah-blah whatever" says the 27-year-old who was identified as a reincarnated lama and brought up in a monastery, but who has now renounced the whole thing. People have different sides to their natures and don't necessarily want to remain in the same occupation or lifestyle; but if "blah-blah-blah whatever" is a direct quote, I think the real problem may be that it takes more than picking out a few items on a table to verify a past life. I went to a whole lot more trouble than that trying to verify mine.
A discussion of statistics for belief in reincarnation among various groups of Americans. The author never considers the possibility that people are being convinced by personal experiences; and that the differences among groups may simply reflect openness to those experiences. This is where a priori assumptions play havoc even with science, no less with religion. All the polls tacitly assume that reincarnation is a false belief. Therefore, it does not even occur to those who create the polls to separate out belief in reincarnation from experience of reincarnation. (I've submitted a comment along these lines to the article--let's see if it passes approval on this traditional Christian website.)
I have a trick question for you: is the cicada, pictured below, alive or dead?
I found this online discussion searching for websites that link back to this one. They are talking about Dr. Ian Stevenson's theory of birthmarks relating to past-life trauma. Someone raises a very good point, asking whether, if this were true, shouldn't birthmarks be less randomly-located and more in the areas we associate with death trauma? I don't know the answer, but immediately I can speculate that: 1) it's any kind of trauma or habit which became deeply impressed on the mind (not just a death-trauma); and 2) not all birthmarks may have this type of origin.
A column titled "The Straight Dope" by Cecil Adams, addressing the 1956 "Bridey Murphy" case, with responses by the hypnotist, Morey Bernstein himself, and past-life therapist Bruce Goldberg. There's a mocking cartoon at the top, which is enough to show that the writer is hardly interested in the the truth of the matter, but is simply grinding his own ax in the name of seeking the truth. (You know, like they do in ultra-conservative talk radio.) Sorting out such pretenders requires discernment. Having studied dozens of reincarnation cases, it's clear to me that the "Bridey Murphy" case was genuine, but was dishonestly discredited. In 1956, the discrediting scam "took" because people wanted any explanation that made them feel comfortable again, and thus the impression remains until this day that the case was debunked (Cecil's skewed treatment of the explanatory last chapter of "The Search for Bridey Murphy" notwithstanding). Read that chapter for yourself, because he's playing "straw man" with it. It's much stronger than he gives it credit for.
Carol Bowman speaking at the 6th International Spiritist Congress in Valencia, Spain (introduction in Spanish, Ms. Bowman's talk in English). Thanks to Victor Zammit's newsletter. Carol is also featured in "In Another Life."
The very moment that Grandma Smith died while on a shopping errand, several family members saw her spirit hovering, for several minutes, directly above her false teeth. All who witnessed the event said it was a transcend-dental experience.
In 1956, at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City, Meher Baba gave a rare press interview, which was audio-recorded. The reporters asked him about the Bridey Murphy case, which was breaking news at the time, and about reincarnation. Baba, who kept silence, simply referred them through his interpreters to his recently-published book, "God Speaks." Here is a documentary about that work, here is the original recording of that portion of the press conference, and here is the work itself, readable online.
Marge Rieder, author of the "Millboro" series of past-life memory investigations, has released a new book about one of her strongest cases. See also a short video on Dr. Rieder's work in the Interviews section of this website.
A retrial is ordered because a defendant was asked whether she did, in fact, believe that her ex-husband's family had burned her at the stake in a past life, which she denied. Sounds like she's still having trials, but at least they don't set you ablaze anymore. It remains a good idea to deny your belief in reincarnation, though.
Descriptions (Part I and Part II) of past life regression therapy by writer Jacqueline Burt, under the heading, "We Tried It."
A sort of tiredly cynical, overly-brief article mentioning that a British actress believes in reincarnation. The writer is relieved she doesn't think she was somebody famous, but doesn't quite get around to dispelling the myth by admitting that most people who remember a past life, don't. One suspects that cynics against reincarnation will eventually fade away to the point that you simply can't find one anymore, rather than openly admit they were wrong.
A very brief review of a book by Roy Stemman, former editor of "Reincarnation International," entitled "The Big Book of Reincarnation: Examining the Evidence That We Have All Lived Before." Stemman, an author and filmmaker, is one of the pioneers in this field. He has presented some of the strongest evidence for reincarnation, especially in his study of the Druze culture. I haven't read the book yet, but I think the review doesn't do it justice, as in the quote, "Even memories of the dead have been passed on," which would be like writing about the history of airplanes and saying, "Some of them even left the ground." One can always tell how objective a reviewer is, because a non-cynical one would have written, "Some of those who reincarnated were able to retrieve their memories of a previous life."
A food editor discusses seemingly innate food preferences, and the memories they occasionally trigger, as evidence for past lives. Such a case was included in my documentary, "In Another Life."
A writer named Eric Ryder is suing James Cameron (his former employer) for stealing the concept for the movie, "Avatar." I seem to have a persistent memory that Charles Dickens similarly stole the concept for "A Christmas Carol" from my earlier incarnation, Matthew Franklin Whittier. So far as I know, no scholar has ever suggested Dickens didn't write it. We shall see. Since originally posting this story, one Dr. Natalie McKnight has put forth a similar theory, suggesting that Dickens plagiarized from the Lowell "Offering." A full exploration of my own memory's plausibility is included in my book, "Matthew Franklin Whittier in his own words," and it turns out to be quite plausible.
The link for "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" in the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival.
A writer for Psychology Today blogs about Dr. Ian Stevenson's work in a respectful tone, but still concludes his studies were not fully scientific (as though "Psychology Today" was known for being fully scientific). I think he's wrong, and here's my commentary as to why I think so. Incidentally, the lock was inside the cabinet, not locking the cabinet, as we see in this obituary for Dr. Stevenson.
British actor William Roache discusses his spiritual beliefs in an interview, which are quite in-line with what I've studied and what I present on this website. The writer covering the interview, however, uses phrases like "...has revealed a wackier side..." and "In the bizarre interview he claimed...". Personally, what I find "bizarre" is the writer's ignorant skepticism.
"A skeptic saying he could believe in reincarnation if he had sufficient proof is like an alcoholic saying he could quit drinking any time he wants."--Stephen Sakellarios
I ran across the term "terminal lucidity" in the comments under one of my video interviews that's gone viral on YouTube. It means that someone who has long been in a state of dementia can suddenly "return" to normal consciousness shortly before death. This puts the lie to the concept that the mind is the brain. It is, however, perfectly in line with the idea that the mind becomes identified in its functioning with the state of the brain, but can, under certain circumstances, free itself. Here's a personal account, and here is the blogger's discussion and links. What's interesting to me is that I've been studying this field for some 13 years, and have never heard of it until now...clearly, evidence that does not fit into the currently accepted paradigm is devalued.
A local article about the Meher Spiritual Center, here in Myrtle Beach, established by my spiritual master, Meher Baba. My own article about Meher Baba, "A Tapestry of Meher Baba's Connections with the West," which has received over 200 hits this month (11/11), is in the Articles section of this website. I began explicitly stating my discipleship on this website years ago not to try to convert anybody, but because I felt that not to reveal all of my primary sources would make it look like I was trying to teach on my own authority, as though I know things beyond my personal experience. I am not typical of Meher Baba's followers in my efforts to educate the public about reincarnation, nor in my claim to have identified an actual past life. Then again, I would be hard-pressed to find a "typical" follower, since they are all such individuals!
Raymond Moody lectures about "shared death experiences," and without citing any basis for them, suggests two concepts about reincarnation that I feel, from my studies, are misleading. My extended comments--probably the beginnings of an article if I can ever get around to it. These mistakes may continue to work their way into popular acceptance, but at least somebody has to try to say something.
A Christian writer on "Hebrews 9: The Problem with Reincarnation." I would reverse the title: "Reincarnation: the Problem with Hebrews 9." Or how about, "Reincarnation: the Problem with Paul." Paul's writings had no business being included in the Bible as scripture in the first place. As near as I can tell, not being a Biblical scholar, Paul was a Pharisee, and retained many of his beliefs, including resurrection (i.e., for ordinary mortals) from his Pharisee background. So this is not Christianity at all, it is grafted-on teachings from the Pharisees--you know, those traditional guys who opposed Jesus? Maybe they're back again... The rather favorable Wiki article on the Pharisees states the following: "Pharisaic views were non-creedal and non-dogmatic, and heterogeneous. No single tractate of the key Rabbinic texts, the Mishnah and the Talmud, is devoted to theological issues; these texts are concerned primarily with interpretations of Jewish law, and anecdotes about the sages and their values. Only one chapter of the Mishnah deals with theological issues; it asserts that three kinds of people will have no share in "the world to come:" those who deny the resurrection of the dead, those who deny the divinity of the Torah, and Epicureans (who deny divine supervision of human affairs)." Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Paul changed his Pharisee belief in resurrection of the dead after his reputed conversion, which suggests to me that he either claimed an experience he didn't really have (that's right, a scam), or else that the conversion experience didn't change all of his beliefs.
A priest and leading exorcist states his views on yoga and Harry Potter. I think he's not entirely wrong, but it's his polarized state of consciousness I find disturbing--"black and white," in other words. In counseling terms, it's not so much his content, it's his process. Hatha yoga can degenerate into worship of the body. And I've always felt very uncomfortable about Harry Potter, a feeling that only intensified when I finally watched one of the films. They're not about truth, they're about gratuitous occultism, and they're not innocuous by a long shot. Still, I don't condemn all yoga, or Hinduism itself, or all fantasy movies ("Lord of the Rings" by Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien is deeply spiritual), or all metaphysical studies (obviously). A man came riding his bicycle through a checkpoint every day carrying a large bag of sand over one shoulder. The guards had a feeling he was smuggling something, but as closely as they examined that bag, they never could find anything. Finally it turned out he was smuggling bicycles... So don't get sucked into such people's black-and-white paradigm, arguing their stated views from within their paradigm. If there is a Satan, he works by encouraging polarized thinking. Yogi Baba Hari Dass told the following story: A group of men were walking through the woods, when they heard someone cry out, "Watch out for the trap, don't get caught in the trap!" But when they got close enough to see, it turned out to be a parrot caught in a trap.
A scholarly and yet entertaining article on reincarnation in Judaism, by Rabbi Zoë Klein.
Michael Tymn writes in his blog on "The Enigma of Reincarnation," addressing the seeming contradiction that, on the one hand, we have objective proof of reincarnation, and on the other, we have various (but, I would add, by no means all) channelled spirit entities refuting it. I am adding my comments separately.
CBS News "Sunday Morning's" May 15th episode included a story on reincarnation. A poll was cited in which one in ten respondents said they had had a past-life memory. There's some question about how precise the wording was in this poll ("Do you think you lived in a past life?" vs. "Do you remember living in a past life?")--I'm trying to follow up on it. A couple brief comments on this clip. First, of all the interviews they must have shot at this conference--and as a video producer, I know they shoot way more than they use--they only used the ones in which the person remembers something famous and implausible. This is deliberately skewed reporting. Secondly, Mr. Shermer's objection was also my objection when I was an atheist as a young man. There's a simple answer--the mind conforms to the state of the brain so long as it is functioning within the parameters of the brain. This is precisely why hypnosis causes past-life memories to slip through, because it loosens the mind's dependence on the brain. In short, the mind "plays by the rules" while it is functioning through the brain. I also disagree with both Shermer and Dr. Tucker about proof. First, define "proof." You cannot directly see your rear end contacting the seat of your chair (unless you have a glass chair and you are a contortionist)--but you know you are, in fact, seated on the chair. You can prove it, right? You can sit on a glass chair and photograph it--you can get a reliable witness to confirm it. You can feel it. You can clearly extrapolate it from what you can see. Well, there is presently as much proof for reincarnation as you could obtain that you are seated on your chair. I am not exaggerating--to the contrary, anyone not reporting this is deliberately watering down the evidence (the way the CBS editor decided to use three implausible interviews out of perhaps dozens--never underestimate the power of an editor). Look into the evidence for reincarnation personally--don't accept any second-hand reports, study the cases themselves.
Another article describing the cultural clash going on right now between two world views, materialism and dualism (i.e., that mind and body are two different, interacting elements). Stephen Hawking has emerged as the new public spokesperson for scientific materialism. It goes to show you that intellectual brilliance is no match for ignorant, unexamined assumptions. I have little to add except to note that the dialogue itself is exciting--though this battle has been going on for at least 150 years now. Materialism won by dazzling society with technological achievements; but it is about to be overthrown entirely. There isn't "room in this town for the both of them," as they used to say in the old Westerns. Either man is a soulless biocomputer, or he is a "spiritual being having a physical experience." I would only comment on the one quote, "The skeptical part of me about the past life thing is that, just statistically, the odds are that in my past life, I was a Chinese peasant, right?" said Prothero. "But hardly anybody ever is a Chinese peasant. You know, everybody is Cleopatra or Mark Antony or Jesus, you know?" This concept is an old saw that reincarnation opponents keep dragging out of the closet. There is no statistical basis for it whatsoever, it's just a myth. It was promulgated at a time when not many people had undergone hypnotic regression therapy, and only the most sensationalized claims came to the public's attention as a curiosity (in short, it was an impression created by reporting). Now, we have thousands of transcripts, and even a cursory perusal of them will immediately show you that people are remembering being peasants, street waifs, ordinary farmers, etc., representing the entire range of human experience. What's interesting to me is that people who should know better, including professors like Dr. Prothero, keep hauling out these unsubstantiated myths as "logic" while claiming the high ground of objectivity. Professor Prothero, read "Other Lives, Other Selves" by Roger Woolger, and then please publicly recant your statement--thanks!
A British man convicted of one murder and charged with several others, who has mental difficulties resulting from a stroke, told a medical expert he was the reincarnation of a man who was born in 1852. This is sort of like saying that a prostitute admitted she has a vibrator. The question is, why report only the prostitute, and not the 50 million other women who also have vibrators? The U.S. population as of this writing is 311,710,828. If the recent CBS News "Sunday Morning" poll, cited above, indeed found that 1 in 10 people reported having had a past-life memory, that means close to 32 million Americans have had a past-life memory. Of those 32 million, I would guess thousands have a specific enough memory to pin down their birth date. Why report only the guy accused of murder? (It's obvious why.) This is kind of a strange case, anyway--did they have any evidence other than the confessions of a mentally-confused person who wants to be in jail so he can be looked-after? Perhaps his admission to the doctor about reincarnation proved, on the face of it, that he was nuts and likely to murder somebody. Maybe he did it--I'm just saying, I don't see any mention of evidence. I believe in reincarnation, and unlike the skeptics, who stick to their dogmatic views come hell or high water, I like to see evidence and some rational reason to believe something. Personally, I'd guess more than one in ten Americans have had a past-life memory, but one in ten might recognize it as such.
On the other hand, here we have a murderer who (legal protocol notwithstanding) is clearly guilty, who "hears voices." Although there are perfectly healthy psychics who hear the voices of people in the astral world, hearing voices may also be a sign of spirit attachment. An earthbound spirit can influence such a susceptible person to commit acts he might never have committed in his right mind.
Sheikh Saoud bin al-Thani is convinced that he has identified a past life as the late Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, who passed in 1961, and he is avidly collecting items from his previous lifetime. I have copies of letters and stories written by myself in the 1800's, but nothing that belonged to him personally--I can understand the appeal. Just to hold a pipe or pen of his would be fascinating....
China bans movies about time travel; and the article mentions that reincarnation movies are already banned there. Presumably, the documentary this website supports, "In Another Life," is banned as well. They are quite correct--several time-travel movies (not the ones mentioned in the article) are metaphors for reincarnation. I would say that China is trying to suppress reincarnation for the same political reasons that Emperor Justinian prevailed on the Christian Church to ban it in 553 AD via the 5th Council (against the protests of the Pope). In the world view that a proper understanding of reincarnation ushers in, morality, and hence behavior, is individualized and not so amenable to state control.
"The supreme irony of materialism is that the materialist accepts as real and substantial only that evidence which comes from his physical senses, while everything else is considered unreal--and what does he use to come to that conclusion? His mind, which is beyond his physical senses."--Stephen Sakellarios You may think it egotistical of me to quote myself on my own website, and you may be right ;-).
ABC's "20/20" reports on people being contacted from the other side, by their family members who died in the 9/11 attack (video). Although much is made of the little girl being told "knock-knock jokes," note the other part of her testimony--that she gave the names of her father's friends from work, and picked them out by name in photographs, having no normal way of knowing that information. In short, unlike other channels, ABC's programming is not withholding evidentials in their reporting, which means they are allowing reporters to show the full strength of some of these cases (despite the fact that they do interview the obligatory skeptical scientist). This is a huge step forward from traditional media treatment of paranormal phenomena. It was also ABC's Primetime which broke the Leininger case--someone in ABC's top management is clearly paranormal-friendly, perhaps because he or she has had some personal experience. See also my Update for 6/5/10.
A skeptical article reports on the 1956 "Bridey Murphy" case, claiming it was debunked. The article is extremely biased, and its conclusion is a flat-out lie, i.e., that Morey Bertstein ever admitted he had "suggested it all" to Virginia Teague. According to William J. Barker, who writes in the 1989 edition of "The Search for Bridey Murphy," there was, in fact, a place called "The Meadows" outside the town and the village of Cork. Bridey didn't say the house was called "The Meadows"--she said the address was "The Meadows". An 1801 map shows a suburban portion of the city formally called "Mardike Meadows," which Barker describes as being "a thousand yards wide, and 400 yards north to south between two arms of the River Lee." (pp 247-248). She did pronounce the word "Sean" correctly (p. 234), and many other historical words and phrases besides. Interestingly, one of the reporters who attempted to discredit the Bridey Murphy story recently passed on. This article says that "a woman named Bridey Murphy had lived in Chicago, across the street from Tighe when she was a child." According to Barker, however, the woman who lived across the street was named Mrs. Anthony Bridie Murphy Corkell. Virginia Teague's response was: "There was a woman named Corkell who lived across from us at one point, but I don't remember ever having heard her first or maiden name. ...Mrs. Corkell had several children whom we knew, but I have no recollection of ever having talked with Mrs. Corkell." In short, it was the supposed "debunking" of the Bridey Murphy case which was the scam, not the case itself, and it was conducted in the same way that Benjamin Franklin's words were twisted backwards in the PBS special, above. There was a website, under construction after several years, which was designed to provide an in-depth, unbiased look at the Bridey Murphy case, but as of 5/11 it has gone off-line. The Wiki article for Bridey Murphy cites the same skeptical views as the above; but someone is trying to counter it as of 5/4/11. Perhaps the "pro" comments will be edited out (I am realizing just how political Wikipedia is. Whoever becomes the page editor controls the topic and pushes his or her agenda). Here is an obituary for the subject, Virginia Teague, which is less cynical in tone and which references (without citations) Barker's commentary.
Physicist Stephen Hawking concludes that gravity, not God, created the universe. If you want to see what really happened, once again, the answer is in "God Speaks."
The musical Cats, based on a work by T.S. Eliot, incorporates a reincarnation theme. From Wikipedia, we read about Eliot: "From 1911-1914, he was back at Harvard studying Indian philosophy and Sanskrit." This is how reincarnation information seeps into the popular culture indirectly, in forms that are palatable. See a rare video clip of Jane Brown, a disciple of Meher Baba, singing "Memory" from the musical, performing with her late husband Bob Brown (used by permission of the artist).
Catholic theologians consider getting rid of the concept of "limbo." This is the mess that resulted from the political intrigue that made Origen's teachings about the pre-existence of the soul anathema in 553 AD, at the urging of then-emperor Justinian, against the protests of then-pope Vigilius, resulting in reincarnation being banned as a heresy. I am having trouble commenting on this without being disparaging. These people have used the beauty of Jesus's teachings to convince grieving parents for hundreds of years that their unbaptized babies are hanging for eternity in some blah existence, and now a group of theologians are going to change the policy--and presto-chango, all the babies from now on (and all the babies of hundreds of years in the past, if the policy is made retroactive, I suppose) will graduate into heaven. Is this fair? Do the theologians imagine they have this kind of power? Isn't anybody questioning this nonsense? Would a loving, all-powerful God allow these theologians to decide such a thing--not only for Catholics, but for everybody else? Or, if the Catholic church made a mistake and they are admitting it, what happened to the dogma that the Catholic church is infallible? If it is fallible, could it also have been wrong about reincarnation? Wouldn't anybody like to know what really happens? Does anybody doubt the kind of suffering that clinging to mistaken dogma can cause? So the result is that people lose yet more respect for the teachings of Jesus, associating this stuff with him, when he actually taught with an understanding of reincarnation.
A blog post by Rabbi Adam Jacobs discussing commonalities in Judaic and Eastern teachings on reincarnation, and speculating on a common origin. Of course, if something truly exists, it could be discovered and taught by both cultures independent of any historical link--one doesn't have to posit historical transmission of ideas the way that materialistic, reductionistic historians always attempt to do. But both independent discovery and historical transmission could have occurred simultaneously.
Speculation about Michael Jackson having been the reincarnation of Mozart. I'd consider it possible for reasons that no-one else mentions--that both of them seemed extremely talented, but superficial. Jackson's music has always struck me as intense without significance; Mozart's has always struck me as extremely clever without depth for the most part. Both of them, I would interpret, were basically "pop stars" who became famous because they appealed to the masses. This might also explain Jackson's plastic surgeries--he may have been trying to revert to his physical appearance in an earlier incarnation (consciously or unconsciously). Without proof, however, it remains speculation. For example, one would want to see documentation from Jackson as a child, remembering details of Mozart's life that were not revealed publicly until much later. So past-life matches based on pattern, talent and appearance similarities should be just the starting point for research, and should not be considered conclusive in themselves. Likewise for results from psychic readings.
U2 lead singer Bono is compared with Beethoven. I had read someone making this comparison in reincarnationist circles some time ago, but hadn't followed up on it because I wasn't very familiar with U2's music. Awhile back, however, I watched a 3D IMAX movie of U2 in concert (see excerpts). Very powerful, and it reminded me of the proposed reincarnation match, so with the memory of Bono's personality fresh in my mind, I compared photos. It looks to me as good a match as the ones I've studied which have historical verification, which, of course, we don't have here. It struck me that the musical phrasing on a couple of U2's songs is, indeed, reminiscent of what I remember from Beethoven's Ninth, and it has a very similar energy embedded in it. And I can well-believe that Bono and Beethoven had a similar force of personality (based on seeing Bono perform from about three feet away for an hour and a half in 3D--this guy is sincere and he's giving 150%). So I think it's a possible match from everything I've studied. (See also my speculation for a past-life match for Georg Frederic Handel if you haven't read it already.) Okay, let's try a little experiment here. Launch the "excerpts" link above. Watch the clip through the first and second samples. When you get to the third sample clip in the edited piece, "Where the Streets Have No Name," whistle the theme from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony--you know the hymn, "Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee"--along with it. Works for me. Okay, Bono could have been influenced by Beethoven--but put the musical similarity, the vibes or spiritual power, the similar visage, the talent and the personality all together...
As a follow-up to the above item, I rented the Rosebowl "360 degrees" concert. When I had first watched it live on YouTube, I could have sworn U2 played a kind of cartoonish version of Beethoven's Ninth just before going into "Amazing Grace," which then led into "Where the Streets Have No Name" (the tune I reference above). But none of the YouTube concert clips had it. In the concert video, however, it's right at the opening of the concert! Why it's there, I can't say, but at least I know for sure I wasn't imagining it. Is it a satircal rebuttal? Coincidence? A serious tip-of-the hat (as in, "Look at us now!")? Anyway, you be the judge. My personal take on it is that this is precisely the hubris Beethoven would have reacted with. Note that denial of a reincarnation match, in the style of the previous personality, may be an indicator in its own right (see also below). (See also this very interesting excerpt from an Edgar Cayce reading.) Excerpt presented for educational/illustrative purposes under "fair use."
Comedienne Joy Behar has a past-life regression with Dr. Brian Weiss on "The View". She reports experiencing a past life in the court of Louis XIV as an observer of some kind, but remains unconvinced and sarcastic about it. Quite consistent for someone connected with the 17th Century French court. In reincarnation, you find, if you study it, that there is no free lunch. Every habit, every tendency, has a past-life history and came from somewhere. In short, it's hardly proof but it would certainly make sense. As to which came first, the chicken or the egg (i.e., did she create a symbolic past that fit with her personality, or did she remember an actual past that has shaped her personality), for that you have to study cases that have clear proof in the form of historical validation, and there are quite a few of those.
You can't take it with you, but maybe you can pick it back up again next time. The "Reincarnation Bank" was shut down, but is attempting a comeback. Yes, I know, if they succeed, people will call it the "reincarnation of the Reincarnation bank." You can bank on it.
A film about the afterlife and reincarnation called "Nosso Lar" is doing very well at the box office in Brazil.
These people are experiencing what look like dreams of past lives as the opposite sex, but are interpreting them as anything and everything but. See R.D. Laing's concept of "mystification", in which children are taught they are not experiencing what they are experiencing. Society teaches us that reincarnation is impossible, so when we experience it, we must interpret it some other way.
Child prodigies are one type of evidence for reincarnation. There is no free lunch, and no, it's not reducible to "genes." It's very simple--prodigies come in with the talent, which they got the hard way in past lives, and then they build on it. If you really want proof of reincarnation, and you're not being stubborn about it, this video of drummer Tony Royster, Jr. at age 12 ought to do it. Could you have played drums like this at age 12? With lessons? With really good lessons?
A small break in the glass at a huge, shark-filled aquarium in a mega-mall in Dubai (see "Mindsight," below, for why this is relevant...)
An article about near-death experiences, including those in which a blind person was able to see once out of their body, and details of what they saw were corroborated. See also this video on YouTube. If these reports are accurate, they put to rest the idea that NDE's are mere hallucination. See also this review of "Mindsight" by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper. The book is only $12.95, but apparently it's out of print and used copies are going for over $100. There's an address for the publisher at the bottom of this review. I recently obtained a copy through interlibrary loan. It describes a pioneering study which provides clear evidence, if not proof to a scientific standard, that there are, in fact, cases in which people who could not see were suddenly able to see--at least in some sense--from a vantage point outside their physical bodies, and that details of their reports were independently corroborated. In what I felt was one of the strongest cases, a blind man was hurriedly given a tie, not told what it looked like, suffered a medical emergency, and reported afterward the pattern on the tie. Maddeningly, the person who had given him the tie was contacted, and told researchers that after many years she could not remember the details of the tie's pattern, but confirmed the rest of the story. In a second case, a woman who could not possibly have seen, described her ex-husband and then-lover standing in the hallway as the hospital staff frantically wheeled her down the hall and tried to get into the elevator. She claimed that the gurney ran into the elevator doors--neither of the two men could confirm this crucial point, but did describe frantic activity. These kinds of frustrations in the research were typical. In at least one of the cases, there is a clear corroboration--a blind woman, while out of her body, viewed the kitchen dishes piled up unwashed. Her husband, embarrassed, admitted that was the case. Another blind woman, while out of her body, went to a friend's home and saw her throwing up after having drunk too much, and described her holding her long hair aside with her left hand. The friend confirmed the details. A much larger sample size is needed. But there is, I would say, just barely enough evidence here to indicate to any reasonable person that the NDE is a real phenomenon rather than being a brain-based hallucination. And that means that the materialistic paradigm is indeed cracking. This may be a "hairline fracture", but a hairline fracture in a huge dam is highly significant.
Recently I was contacted by a university student majoring in biopsychology who engaged in a friendly debate with me by e-mail about the evidence for reincarnation. He has agreed to allow me to post our conversation. Enjoy, and draw your own conclusions!
"Belief and Interest in Reincarnation Growing in U.S." I would only comment that I have a different take on past-life regression. From what I've seen, when people aren't properly hypnotized, and they are encouraged to let their imagination run free, they do so, and what you get is imagination. When they are hypnotized, however, past-life memories "bubble up" forcefully, and the subject will actually argue with the therapist if the therapist tries to suggest anything different. Furthermore, there are a number of very strong proof cases (such as the "James the Submarine Man" case--see the Articles section of this website) based on hypnosis. Now, here is a column by a Christian writer, responding to the article above. The last portion of the article is dedicated to defending against reincarnation from the traditional Christian point of view, and true to form, Hebrews 9:27 is cited. You will see elsewhere in this website that my interpretation is that Paul taught against reincarnation, but Jesus and His direct disciples took it for granted. This whole mess got started because of the mischief of including Paul's teachings in the Bible, so that now they are solidly identified with Christianity. Working the scenario backwards, here's my take on it: I suspect that Paul essentially plagarized the apostles' teachings but mixed them liberally with his own beliefs, which he had not entirely given up after his conversion (whether it was genuine or not). Where he sounds magnificently wise, that's the apostles talking (who got it from Jesus, presumably). Where he teaches nonsense like "eternal hell," that's Paul talking. Reincarnation is real and it is being proven as fact. Two thousand years after this mistake of taking Paul's teachings as holy scripture, Christians are going to have to choose--go into la-la land where their religion denies something which has been proven as fact, or let go of Paul. It's going to be hard and it probably won't be a smooth transition. Regarding the other objections at the end of the article, it's a myth that "most people report famous past lives," or even laudible ones. Well, it's probably true in the sense that people are much more likely to want to publicly share the past lives they are proud of. But privately, all sorts of obscure and not very flattering past-life memories also come up for people. See my further comments.
From "Today in History," for October 22, 1926: "The Ladder," J. Frank Davis' drama about reincarnation, opens today for a 789-performance run. Among its stars, Antoinette Perry, later namesake of the Broadway awards. The show is unusual in that its producer will keep it running long after it begins to lose money, often allowing people in for free, because he thinks the world needs to hear its essage. He will lose a half million pre-Depression dollars on it. Another version of the story mentions J. Frank Davis' financial backer, Edgar Davis. In this account, a negative review is cited--very likely, this was as much due to prejudice against the topic as the play's own merit or lack of merit. In "The Door to the Future" by paranormal writer Jess Stearn, even more background is provided. Edgar Cayce had given a friend, Dave Kahn, a tip on finding oil. Edgar Davis followed up on this tip, and after much persistence, struck oil and sold out to Standard Oil for $12 million. Financing "The Ladder" at a loss was his way of paying his debt to Cayce. (pp 54-57) It's an interesting story because the automatic assumption that the whole thing was nonsense is obviously not true if you dig deeply enough (no pun intended).
A couple look at their childhood photos and realize they crossed paths in Disney World as toddlers. There are no coincidences--such things happen due to karmic connections from past lives.
Yet another reporter describes her past-life regression experience. Her concluding comment is typical: "It all makes sense now." Not to be too much of a wet blanket, but it should be said that there are potential side-effects, including "bleed-through" of unwanted past-life personality traits and emotions, experiencing severely traumatic scenes, seeing aspects of yourself in a past life which are uncomfortable to integrate into your present-life identity, inappropriate attachment to people in this life who are recognized from a past life, and the possibility that in a future life you will remember past-life scenes when you don't want them, because the natural memory barrier has been forced open in this life. For this reason I don't publicly recommend it for sheer curiosity, except in the context of formal research; I do recommend it for therapy, but strongly suggest that you get a competent therapist. Just think of this as the "surgeon general's warning" label they don't have yet because they don't believe it's real yet.
A novel crafted around the declaration in the 5th Ecumenical Council in 553 AD that Origen's teachings of the pre-existence of the soul were "anathema." My reading on the subject says that Pope Vigilius boycotted the meeting (called by Emperor Justinian just before the official council convened), but not that the Pope was held captive until he signed. The meeting, according to my reading, simply went on without him.
Actress Emma Roberts is told by a psychic that she is the reincarnation of actress Carole Lombard. Something told me to pay attention to this one, so I compared photos... It's in line with what I've come to expect with past-life matches, about 85% similar with the basic "look" intact, plus the personality behind the eyes having a similar "feel" to it. The more recent personality is likely to have learned something, and that learning will be reflected as a difference in their attitude (in this case, less arrogance, perhaps). See also Jeff Keene's case in the Cases page. I don't consider a psychic reading and physical similarity as proof, but I note that some psychics have been proven as genuine, and that physical similarity like this often occurs in reincarnation cases that have been historically proven, so this proposed match is consistent.
An interview with author Susan Schecter about her new novel, a love story with a reincarnation theme, entitled "Lifetimes Ago: A Love Story Inspired from Past Life Memories".
A skeptical Psychology Todayblog by lecturer Steve Stewart-Williams. It's nonsense--basically, he's like the proverbial ostrich sticking his head in the sand and saying, "I don't see any lions." You will find my response below the article. Note that this fellow gets invited to give lectures--presumably, because he tells classes what the professors want them to hear. I have yet to be invited to speak to a class, even though "In Another Life" has been purchased by some 65-70 college professors and this website has been disseminating the best information on the subject for about 12 years now.
A British woman, after having migraine headaches, wakes up with a Chinese accent that won't go away (video). Note to skeptics--want to apply "Occam's Razor" to this one? And no, it's not fraud--I've reported on several of these cases over the last few years, and none of them look like fraud to me. They look like ordinary people coming to grips with a rare condition, as gracefully as possible...
I want to quote Phil, from Elgin, IL, who has recently left this comment on my "guest map" (which link is located near the bottom of the home page): "For anyone who has done any research on this subject at all, the knowledge of one's spirit continuing to exist and taking on another body is a simple conclusion." Thanks, Phil, that about says it all.
I just finished reading this book, "Butterfly Kisses," a new novel by Sharmila Jayasinghe Niriella which revolves around a reincarnation theme. I enjoyed it immensely--the writing style is intimate, real, and engaging. It's a 200 page book and I read it in two sittings. I highly recommend this one--very real, very human, and quite accurate as regards its portrayal of past-life memories of the kind studied by Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Tucker (below).
An interview with Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson, about their research into past-life memory and reincarnation. See also the video interview with Dr. Tucker on the "Interviews" page of this website.
A science writer describes a recent "Sages and Scientists" symposium at the Chopra Center, including a presentation by Dr. Tucker.
A Wiccan perspective on reincarnation. I don't know much about Wicca per se, but this presentation is certainly right in line with the "perennial philosophy".
The Leininger family was on Larry King Live, with Deepak Chopra, on Dec. 22nd, 2009, and I got a chance to watch the recorded program about a week later. (See also a transcript of the show.) The Leininger case is one of Carol Bowman's, which was first shown on ABC's "Prime Time". It's a very strong proof case (see below), and is even more remarkable because it has gotten mainstream media exposure. The Leininger family was interviewed for a few minutes, long enough to describe their case briefly. Dr. Jim Tucker was also interviewed, and with his usual aplomb, simply stated what the evidence is and how strong it is. Deepak Chopra came out like a lion, and he and skeptic Michael Shermer (see below) locked horns. Mr. Shermer sounded the same old skeptical note--it can't be proven or disproven, we can never know for sure, etc. It's the skeptical mantra now...but it isn't supported by the facts anymore. It's like continuing to claim that man can never fly, even past the point when planes are already flying. A three-year-old boy (if I understand the Leininger case correctly) cannot name his past-life ship, plus a fellow crew member, and be accurate, due to coincidence. A three-year-old boy is not "into airplanes" the way a 10-year-old boy might be. Let Mr. Shermer take any three-year-old boy and get him to correctly name an obscure WWII aircraft carrier plus correctly name one of its obscure crew members. Let him find a three-year-old who knows that the bulbous object on the bottom of a Corsair is a drop-tank. If he does, he will have found yet another past-life case....
Here is a highly sarcastic article by Mr. Shermer, and here is my own response to his article.
The Leininger case also made it to Yahoo.com's front page on 6/8/09 and again on 6/9/09. I think it was essentially the same video as from the Primetime episode, linked above. Somebody in ABC is reincarnation-friendly, or trust me, it wouldn't be there.
A musical prodigy. Child prodigies are one type of evidence for reincarnation. More examples can be found elsewhere in this News page.
A writer muses about reincarnation, karma and cosmic justice in light of the recent earthquake disaster in Haiti. Here are my comments.
An open-minded pastor discusses his near-death experience when he was seven years old. What he knows is based on experience--what he doesn't know yet remains to be seen. Most importantly, he cares deeply what's real and what isn't real, but he simply takes stock of what he knows for sure and what he doesn't. It's a scientific attitude, but not a materialistic scientific attitude. With so much evidence for the afterlife and the immortality of the soul, cynical materialism can no-longer claim to be a scientific attitude in its true sense.
A young college student in India kills himself after watching a reincarnation-themed movie 25 times. The writer's take on it is that myths are dangerous; the filmmaker's take on it is that myths are entertaining. Neither take reincarnation seriously--only the boy did. Unfortunately, what he took seriously was a half-baked interpretation by people who were using it as entertainment. What's dangerous here is toying with a powerful concept which has, in modern society, degenerated into myth and entertainment. Suicide is less likely to result in reincarnation than it is to lead to a hellish state of consciousness between lifetimes, or to being stuck as an earthbound "ghost" near the physical plane. If good information were provided about reincarnation, and if it were taken seriously by those presenting it to the public, people would never consider suicide based on that information. Depending on their real motives, I think that a gullible and ill-informed person like this would probably be assisted by helpers on the other side--but all my studies tell me that suicide is a very unwise choice.
Doctors mistakenly assume for 23 years that a fully-conscious, paralyzed man is in a coma. Materialism causes medicine to take the entire subject of consciousness far too lightly, and coma is one particularly neglected area. Conventional wisdom has it that people in comas can still hear you, which is quite plausible when you consider what we're learning about near-death experiences (search on "Mindsight" below). See also Roger La Borde, who claims to be able to communicate psychically with people who are in a coma.
Here's an article about a retiring professor who had expertise in statistical analysis, and who came to a different conclusion about Stevenson's work (I reproduced the article on this website after it went offline): Prof. Doris Wilsdorf, Professor of Applied Science at the University of Virginia, teaching her last seminar on Science and Religion. Note the statement, referring as I assume to the work of her colleague at that school, Dr. Ian Stevenson: "Using the mathematical 'Theory of Theories,' Wilsdorf has shown that reincarnation can indeed exist by multiplying the probabilities of the unusual aspects of particular cases together, convincing her students that there is a point when 'coincidence' cannot describe thousands of scientific cases and studies."
On this 60-Minutes segment, Lesley Stahl meets the inspiration for the lead character in the classic film Jurassic Park and reports on how famed dinosaur hunter Jack Horner is shaking up the paleontology world. Of particular interest to me is the resistance his findings have encountered from mainstream paleontologists, which is reminiscent of mainstream science's reactions to Dr. Ian Stevenson's reincarnation studies. In particular, it strikes me that many of the objections are irrational. Isn't that a fascinating paradox in terms of the psychology and the sociology of science?
Alfred Russel Wallace developed a spiritually-based theory of evolution parallel with Charles Darwin's materialistic version. I ran across an article (since gone off-line) about Giuseppe Sermonti, an Italian geneticist who is criticizing Darwin's theory. The text read that if one believed in reincarnation, one might think he had been a poet in a past life because of his writing style. So, it occurred to me on a whim to compare photographs. I had originally listed all the websites where I found these images, but the Sermonti link which contained the photograph has gone offline. This portrait can, however, still be found via Google Images last time I checked. Understand I have no idea if this is a genuine past-life match, except that it would be consistent with commonly-observed patterns and it makes intuitive sense. I do not feel that these kinds of comparisons are proof to a scientific standard, in and of themselves, but they are very interesting.
Billy Graham answers a question on reincarnation in his column. For my comments on two earlier columns, see the Articles page of this website. This column's response, based on simplified Christian dogma, is, from my perspective, such a mixture of truth and falsehood that it would take yet another lengthy article to try to separate them. One would have to deconstruct it sentence by sentence. I'll just start it here for purposes of illustration. The Incarnation of the Avatar--who repeatedly incarnates at certain intervals through history, one of those incarnations being Jesus the Christ (Christhood being a state of spiritual authority and consciousness), is not the same as the reincarnation of ordinary individuals. One does not preclude the other as Rev. Graham suggests--this is an apples-and-oranges comparison. The Word is the primal vibration from which and by which God created everything. The Christ can be described as an embodiment of that primal vibration, the first manifested thing down from God the Absolute (also called the "Son" of God).
This four-year-old has become famous on the internet for delivering a inspiring locker-room speech from the hockey movie "Miracle". It's clear enough to anyone who's studied reincarnation, and knows that no strong childhood interest comes out of a vacuum, that this young fellow has had a strong interest in hockey before...
An interview with author Stacy Horn about her new book, "Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory." The writer of the article mentions being turned down for an interview with the head of the University of Virginia's Division of Perceptual Studies (formerly headed by Dr. Ian Stevenson), because of some kind of "gag order". I don't know what that's about but on this website there's a long video interview with Dr. Jim Tucker, who has taken up Dr. Stevenson's work there (see the "Interviews" section).
Dan Whitney, in his column, "Basic Biitner," muses about his personal preference for city life despite living in the country, and considers reincarnation as a possible explanation. Personal, emotional preferences that one feels one has "always had" are actually fairly reliable clues about past lives. Through a careful process of elimination, if one has developed the capacity to be extremely honest with oneself, they can actually be used to ferret out specific historical verifications, as I am attempting to do in proving my own case.
Israeli government bans the practice of past-life therapy. I have reproduced this article on a separate page within the "In Another Life" site because I got a suspicious pop-up when I visited the original article website. I have been warning on this website for some time that there are potential side-effects from hypnotic past-life regression, and recommending it only for therapeutic purposes under the guidance of an experienced therapist, or for legitimate research purposes. One of the dangers I've warned against is "past-life bleedthrough". Based on such instances, the Israeli government has gone to the extreme of banning the practice altogether, ignoring the many instances of impressive cures. The fight has just begun. I'm sure the therapy will take place whether it is banned or not. Ultimately it will displace the mighty drug companies, when a large percentage of what is currently addressed by drugs is found to be curable through two or three sessions of past-life therapy. It's coming, folks, because it's real and it works. But there will be quite a fight, and some of that fight will be backed by special interests. I would guess they already know, though publicly they would ridicule it. One of the main professional organizations for past-life therapy is the EARTh, European Association of Regression Therapy. If reincarnation were accepted as being real, and past-life therapy were accepted as being valid, such issues should logically be handled by the field's own professional association, rather than banning the entire practice.
A review of a book entitled "Persons, Souls and Death" by David H. Lund. The whole thing is by philosphers, for philosophers, but what fascinates me is the reviewer. He sounds highly rational, but he dismisses the evidence for paranormal phenomena with a wave of his hand, as follows: "As Lund recognises, most people, and I include myself here, would think that whatever the logical possibilities allowed for by the argumentation in the first part, the claims about the paranormal examined in the second hardly deserve serious attention." This isn't rational or objective thinking at all. It's a sophisticated way of saying, "we all know it's nonsense because we've all agreed it's nonsense." The hospital patient who had a near-death experience and told her nurse that there was a blue tennis shoe on a ledge under a window on the opposite side of the hospital, had the answer to all of this reviewer's sophisticated objections. Basically, it shows you that the most sophisticated intellect can go into denial, and when it does, the result is no more sophisticated than the child who claims he didn't steal cookies from the cookie jar.
The winner of the "irrelevant to reincarnation" category...I received this wrong number message on my answering service a couple weeks ago--which also means that the message didn't get to who it was intended for (probably a building superintendent or a wedding planner). Even though it was several hours later when I heard the message, and the situation had long resolved itself somehow, I felt vaguely responsible...some weird bit of karma left over from a past life? From what I've read, every single interaction with another human being is a result of karma from past lives, even a seemingly random mistake like this one. (Identifying name and phone number deleted.)
Another parent explores Carol Bowman's work, after her three-year-old daughter piped up suddenly mentioning a past life. I sometimes tell people, if you dare, ask around in your circle of family, friends, acquaintences and co-workers, and I'll bet you that if they trust you enough to tell you--which is probably a function of how respectful or disrespectful you are about the topic--you'll discover at least one instance of a child relating a past-life memory. It's that common. (You'll note that this is a Catch-22--if you are disrespectful, you are not going to be told about these events, which then reinforces your belief that they don't occur. This is the answer to the skeptical argument that reincarnation cases seem to occur most often in countries that believe in reincarnation.)
A woman who had an abortion explores how reincarnation relates to that issue. From my studies, it's my understanding that the soul (i.e., the subtle body or body made of light and energy) generally enters the fetus at about 5 months, corresponding to the time of "quickening". After this point, abortion could, I would say, aptly be considered as killing a child. Before the soul enters the fetus, it may still be hanging around, in and out, or in some kind of connection or state of anticipation (depending on the sources you read).
I often introduce something on this page as "not being relevant to reincarnation," and then some relevance occurs to me, which is kind of my way of showing just how relevant reincarnation is to everyday life. But this time I'm stumped... I suppose we can ask, did my warped sense of humor come from Mad Magazine, or did Mad Magazine trigger my past-life sense of humor? This tune, It's A Gas, was released on a record inside one of the magazines in 1968, and I was just reminded of it recently.
A biased piece of skeptical propaganda against reincarnation, pretending to be rational and objective. Really, I'm not kidding. You wouldn't necessarily know it if you haven't studied the subject in depth as I have for the past 12 years. Just for starters, people having past-life memory is not rare at all (see the "personal accounts" section of this website), past-life regression has not been discredited, but rather the opposite as far as its potential to stimulate verifiable memories is concerned (see Dr. Peter Ramster's research). Past life regression is by no-means the only, or even the most common source of such memories, especially if you consider that practially all of our children appear to be trying to tell us about a past life until we shame them out of it. The Bridey Murphy case was not really debunked at all--in fact, it was the debunking which was a deliberate scam, and skeptics have repeated the scam until it "stuck" in the public mind that the case had been debunked, on the principle of whoever shouts loudly enough, for long enough, wins. When I use the word "propaganda," I do so because the misstatements are constructed in such a way that it looks like deliberate lying instead of just ignorance about the subject--as though they know full well how much of a threat the evidence for reincarnation is to their point of view, and they have to try to counter it much as a politician running for office might conduct a dirty campaign. These are not "skeptics," but cynics with an agenda, and they do not hold the high ground of rational, objective inquiry into the truth of the matter.
An astrologer (ironically, giving his article the same title as my documentary) analyzes the Bruce Kelly/James Johnston case.
Reincarnation: Real or Delusion? is the title of this abc News article. It's more balanced than similar articles I've posted here as recently as a couple of years ago. Usually, the bigger the news source, the more cynical the reporting. I've noticed, however, that reporters who actually undergo a past-life regression, as a whole, write less cynically than those who don't. Of course, objective students of reincarnation do take into account factors such as cryptomnesia and confirmation bias (see the "Lighter Side" link on my home page for humor built on an intentional exaggeration of confirmation bias). Another very common factor, where past-life regression is concerned, is too-rapid hypnotic induction which leaves the person not actually hypnotized, but still encouraged to use their imagination. However, there are also many cases with very clear historical validation, such as the Cockell case mentioned in the article (several others are presented or linked to in this website). Such validation means that past-life memories can, in a certain percentage of cases, be real memories. Logically, as psychologist William James pointed out with his "white crow" analogy, it only takes one and the entire materialistic paradigm is set on its ear. That question is no-longer up for grabs, but that is precisely the question that skeptics are still attempting to debate. It simply isn't rational, which is why people like myself and Victor Zammit have been pointing out for years that the skeptics do not, actually, hold the high ground of rationality in this business. Note the subtitle of the article: "Though Many Believe in the Existence of the Past Life, Experts Urge Caution." This statement is biased. Know how? It's inherently paradoxical because the "experts" they are referring to are not really experts. They are "experts," alright, in certain realms of knowledge, but they are not "experts" in this field. When you examine this more closely, you see that there is a "brain drain" of skeptical experts. The experts who study reincarnation carefully and who are unbiased, become believers because it's a real phenomenon. The "experts" who are left, by-and-large, either have not studied it carefully or are biased. Therefore this statement is bogus (or at best, based on belief and emotion).
A website dedicated to media about Meher Baba, including photographs, video, music and audio books. The video includes a portion of a documentary by Tim Thelen which includes teachings on reincarnation, and there is also a newsreel from 1932; the audio books are narrated by Don Stevens, who originally edited them for Meher Baba (I audio-edited these narrations and proofread them very carefully, so they are accurate). These books are also available in printed form online (see below).
Several of Meher Baba's written works have recently been published online. "God Speaks," which lays out the entire circular theme of creation, evolution and the involution of consciousness, also explains how integral reincarnation is to this process, and thus ties it in with its deeper meaning. "Discourses" includes several chapters on "Reincarnation and Karma." "Listen, Humanity" contains a jewel of a discourse opening Part II called "Death and Immortality" which, in my opinion, is the single finest source on the subject of death.
Country singer Reba MacEntire goes public with her belief in reincarnation. What's interesting is not that she believes it, but that she is risking losing the Christian portion of her fan base by admitting it. It may be a bigger risk than she realizes. It's also an indication that the old order is cracking and the change is in full swing. Basically, Christians will now have to wake up to the fact that what they have been accepting is a watered-down version of Christianity, originally forced upon Christians by the State in earlier centuries; and that reincarnation was an integral part of what Jesus originally taught, that had erroneously been banned as "anathema".
In this British survey of Roman Catholics, 38 percent report believing in reincarnation. The writer goes on to add "even though it has never been part of the church's teaching". This simply isn't true--in fact, Pope Vigilius actually boycotted the meeting, called by Emperor Justinian, in which Origen's teaching of the pre-existence of the soul (which teaching includes reincarnation) was declared "anathema". The article itself is written from a muddled perspective and would require yet another article to sort out its various assumptions. Just as an example, reincarnation is not a "tenet" of Hinduism--it is a fact that Hinduism recognizes, and that the Christian Church used to recognize. A second "muddle" concerns hell--from a reincarnationist perspective, there is a hell(ish) state through which people may pass in-between incarnations, if they have lived in a certain manner against their conscience. (This is commonly understood by people who study reincarnation in depth, so if that 38% of Catholics who accept reincarnation study deeply enough, they will find that the error was thinking that hell was a physical place you are sent to for eternity.) So the article attempts to paint a picture of Catholicism weakening, and cites belief in reincarnation as an example, when actually it may be that people are seeking a purer Catholicism. In that purer Catholicism, Catholics may choose, along with Pope Vigilius, to "boycott" the political move of Emperor Justinian, who tried to make the teachings of one of the great Church Fathers "anathema".
A documentary about Australian psychologist Dr. Peter Ramster's work in hypnotically regressing four subjects and then bringing them to the location they remembered, carefully researching and filming each step in the process. The film is broken into 11 segments on YouTube.com. I doubt it's posted with permission so I don't know how long it will be there, but it's important work that most people won't have the opportunity to see otherwise, so I've decided to link to it for as long as it's available (with apologies to Dr. Ramster). Thanks to Jeff Keene for bringing this to my attention.
Also on YouTube.com, someone has posted the "Proof Positive" episode about Capt. Robert Snow. See also the telephone interview with Capt. Snow on the "Interviews" page of this website.
A brief video of a reincarnation case reminiscent of those studied by the late Dr. Ian Stevenson and colleagues on YouTube.
An interview with Dr. Jim Tucker, successor to Dr. Ian Stevenson. See also the video interview with him on the "Interviews" page of this website.
The writer of this article underwent a past-life regression, and had a profound experience. You will note his tone is not skeptical.
An article in Newsweek on reincarnation which is mostly notable because it's in Newsweek. People who are skeptical and approaching the subject superficially seem only able to be aware of what confirms their perspective. Without dismantling the entire article, I'll point out two obvious errors in skewed reporting, one of commission and one of omission. First, Kaballah is not a "new-age movement". It is an ancient tradition being passed down through generations, a result of the hard-won insights of brilliant, deeply intuitive men of the past. It has been newly-discovered and has become popular as a result of the current hunger for deeper knowledge, because of the spiritual poverty of our current materialistic culture. Secondly, Carol Bowman is briefly mentioned as a therapist. Actually, she has become a therapist relatively recently. For years before, she was, and remains, an author and researcher, extending the findings of Dr. Ian Stevenson and colleagues into the Western world, popularizing them, and acting as an advocate for parents and children who remember past lives. She has presented a number of stunning proof cases, one of which you can find (on James Leininger) in the Articles page of this website. For the writer not to mention these things was tantamount to artificially weakening the case for reincarnation.
Retired attorney Victor Zammit, an Australian, who is bent on showing that the evidence for the afterlife is plenty strong enough to meet the legal standard of proof, has been kicking it into high gear with a series of video presentations. Here is one entitled "The Afterlife on Trial."
Yet another link courtesy of Mr. Zammit. This paper is entitled "Pathological Disbelief" by Brian D. Josephson of Cambridge University (pdf file). See also my Update of 8/2/06.
A cynical article from India on reincarnation, citing a couple of recent cases in the popular press (one of which is linked to, above). Note that 66% of the readers who answered the poll disagree. There are three serious errors in the logic of the presentation. First, the statement that there is "no scientific basis" is simply false. Such a statement is often cited by skeptics as though it is true by mutual agreement--if they repeat it often enough amongst themselves, they can believe in it (sounds like some other belief systems, doesn't it?). Secondly, the author indulges in the logical error of "straw man", which is, purposely citing weak examples and inferring that they represent all cases. Another logical error is to group reincarnation in with several other unrelated topics, damning by association. Lastly, if you look at the people posting responses, the "pro" responders sound more intelligent, generally, than the "con" responders. If the premise of the article were true, that reincarnation is a superstition, it should be the reverse--the "con" responders should generally sound more intelligent.
This fascinating article suggests to me what can happen when my work is successful--when I, and others attempting the same kind of work, manage to convince an atheistic skeptic of reincarnation. Note that he pricks the balloon of irrational fundamentalist beliefs--as I do--and takes the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson seriously--as I do. But he also advocates torture, apparently, suggesting that it works and it is a small price compared with the deaths of large numbers of people in war. Well, justifying things like this is a very tricky business. I think that morality is in the smallest act as well as in the biggest. It is a "holographic" model of morality--the whole is contained in each of the parts. If each part of your life is moral, then your life will be moral. How you treat a store clerk on Friday is as important, in this sense, as how you administer your corporation. Besides, if one believes in reincarnation, one then very quickly encounters the idea of karma. I am not sure I'd want the karma of torturing someone to come back around, which it will if my motives are not 100% pure. (Fooling yourself with regard to your motives does not impress karmic law.) Remember when we talk about reincarnation, we are talking about something that has now been scientifically proven to exist. If the sages were right about reincarnation, it follows they were probably right about karma also.
An Indian article [POP-UP WARNING ON THIS LINK] about one of Dr. Walter Semkiw's reincarnation cases, written in a skeptical tone. My reaction to Dr. Semkiw's work is mixed. I like and admire him personally, and appreciate that he gave me 15 minutes to speak at one of his presentations (thanks in part to my friend Jeff Keene also being on the bill). I think he's sincere, and I think his major premise, that it is possible to identify famous people in recent history who have reincarnated and who often show similar personal traits and facial features, is correct. His methods concern me because he has the authority of being a medical doctor and he claims that they are scientific, but in my opinion they fall short of a scientific standard. For that matter, most of the time they fall short of even the legal standard of proof, i.e. "beyond a reasonable doubt." Still, some portion of the cases are genuine, in my opinion. More troubling is his reliance on one medium to confirm his findings. I had the opportunity to see that medium in action at the presentation where I spoke, and I thought he was acting. He supposedly channeled two spirit entities, but used the same idiosyncratic mannerism in both personalities, which was a strong indication of fraud in my opinion. Using mediums is not necessarily a bad idea--but one would need to use several of them under controlled conditions, and then compare their responses. They would have to be given less information in advance. You can't just approach one medium, present a proposed match, get their official stamp of approval on it, and call that science. So the good news is that Dr. Semkiw is creating public awareness of reincarnation case comparison. The bad news is that he is inadvertently tempting the public to ridicule it even further, especially if it is ever shown publicly that, as I suspect, the one medium he relies on (made famous by his association with actress Shirley Maclaine) is fraudulent. How will the public ever get past a knee-jerk, black-or-white reaction to reincarnation? Maybe this is part of the protective function of the universe. People who aren't ready for reincarnation come across pseudo-science and reject the whole idea out-of-hand. People who are ready for reincarnation encounter pseudo-science and say to themselves, "That's a little fishy but something about it is intriguing--I wonder what else there is being done in that field?" And then they look into it a little more and find Dr. Jim Tucker or Carol Bowman. Meanwhile, the people who weren't ready for it are left (safely) ridiculing Dr. Semkiw's work, when there are actually some genuine matches and some valid ideas in it. Famous person cases are comparatively easy to find, so Semkiw can find quite a few of them, and out of such a large number, patterns and principles emerge. His observation that one can compare facial architecture, personality traits, abilities, and life-course are, in my opinion, correct, and it's actually a significant contribution. It's not completely invalid science, it's just extremely sloppy science (I would encourage him to tighten it up by combining Dr. Gary Schwartz's methods of working with several proven mediums under controlled conditions, plus Dr. Ian Stevenson's methods of insisting on documented and verified past-life memories). It's going to take a balanced approach to come to grips with it adequately, but very few people are willing to approach it in this way so far.
An article on rebirthing. An interviewee in "In Another Life" describes a past-life memory experience which occurred during a rebirthing session, which apparently is not unusual. Dr. Roger Woolger explains that past-life traumas create a knot of unresolved emotions which in turn creates a pattern that can manifest in the birth experience, in childhood experiences, and in adulthood as phobias and other psychological problems. In short, these are all part of a whole and are not mutually exclusive. Note the sad report of misuse of rebirthing techniques, and the legal overreaction. The same types of issues may surface in past-life therapy, and the same kind of overreaction may prevail for awhile.
Oriundi, Anthoni Quinn's last film, about reincarnation. Similar to "Birth," "Oriundi" builds up a conviction that a lost love has returned through reincarnation, only to undo that conviction with a trick ending. I have watched a screening copy of the film (my distributor lent it to me), and I thought it was extremely well shot, directed and acted, despite my copy being very badly reproduced. The film appears to be languishing in no-man's land--a film set in Brazil, in Italian, with English subtitles about reincarnation, and the producers can't even send out a copy that doesn't freeze throughout playback, or bother to write back to the distributor who has an interest in it. A thousand obstacles appear in any effort to bring ideas about reincarnation to the public, apparently.
"Miss Witherspoon," a theatrical comedy with a reincarnation theme playing at ACT Theatre in Seattle. Although the metaphysics are a tad off-the-beam when the main character reincarnates as a dog, basically it sounds like the playwright had some knowledge of the subject and treated it respectfully.
A 20-month old prodigy drummer. We are entering an age when people who lived in the 1960's and 70's, and then passed on, are starting to reincarnate. I predict we're going to see more child prodigies with advanced skills in areas specifically related to modern life. Here's another video of prodigy Tony Royster, Jr., who was 12 years old at the time this was filmed. I'm not a drummer, but when I say this is good, I mean this is one of the best, and most mature, drum solos I've ever heard.
A reporter undergoes past-life regression, having an experience of a past life of an obscure person, which she was unable to verify historically with a brief internet search. However, in this case the regressionist was also a psychic, and in the psychic reading which followed he made a number of strong "hits" on specific information he had no normal way of knowing (which is what genuine psychics are capable of doing, and what separates them from the charlatans).
Boxing champion Johnny Nelson undergoes a hypnotic past-life regression for British television show "Inside Out."
Here is a British article about reincarnation, primarily focusing on Dr. Stevenson's work. The skeptics--and journalists always must quote a skeptic--continue to drag out the same tired argument that it would be possible to find matches for the child's statements in any city. This is nonsense. Why? Because, just for starters, the child will name the town where they lived in the past life. Then without any assistance they will locate the house, give people's names, and describe details, including intimate details. These kinds of specific details--20, or 30, or 40--simply do not exist in any other town with people of those names. But as a fair debunker, you don't get to sift through an entire town, because in many of the best cases I've read this is not a selection process where an entire city is sifted for a matching situation. You only get to choose one house, because in these studies, the child knows exactly where he or she lived. The odds of a child picking one house in a single town, with 30 or 40 specific memories including people's names at that house being accurate, are astronomical. So this skeptical theory evaporates when you compare it with the actual cases. The thing is, it is not poor science at all. It is excellent science, and these kinds of objections were already anticipated in the investigation design. The problem is that it's poor criticism. What the skeptics do is a version of "straw man"--they set up poor science when they test the theory and then criticize their own bad mockup, claiming they've debunked the method. If you wanted to try to fairly debunk these findings, you would have to choose one house only (as the child does) at random in a particular town. You would have to create (in some random way which prevented unconscious use of psychic abilities), say, 30 specific imaginary details including names, and some of those details would have to be intimate details not generally known except to one or two people. These are the kinds of details that would apply only to those people, like details of a couple's sex-life, or where money was buried (actual examples from Stevenson's cases). And then, all or most of those imaginary details including names would have to turn out to be spot-on for that one real household and the people in that household. No debunker I know of has tried this, because of course they know they would be checkmated before they started. You could probably run this fair version of the test for a thousand years and never get a match, but it would still not replicate some aspects of Stevenson's findings, like the child's emotional reactions to the past-life family, xenoglossy and birthmarks. In order to do that, you'd have to randomly choose a young child who would turn out to be able to speak a language he had never been taught (as a debunker you're dead in the water right there), and would have birthmarks corresponding to the death wounds of a child that the family just happened to have lost in the house that you randomly selected from the one town. He would also have to display appropriate, sincere behaviors and emotions toward the people in that randomly-selected household (it would not be easy to randomly select a very young child who could convincingly feign great joy at being reunited with total strangers, for example, no less persuade one to insist on staying with the strangers). See additional comments.
The most recent Gallup poll shows 20% of Americans believing in reincarnation, down a full 5% from the 2001 poll [note this was in June 2005; a November 2005 poll has risen to 21%]. I have no explanation for the result, assuming it is not a polling artifact of some kind. Perhaps current political upheavals and disasters are driving people back into familiar religious beliefs, or the converse, driving them into cynicism about all beliefs. Meanwhile, a Harris poll from 2003 is quoted at 27% of Americans believing in reincarnation. One cause of these fluctuations may be that belief in reincarnation is generated partly by personal experiences, which cuts squarely across all demographic categories. Thus, if I am understanding statistics correctly, ordinary demographic categories wouldn't apply for this variable, and a larger than normal sample size would be required. A too-small sample size might inadvertently skew the results by capturing more or less people who had had these experiences. (Anyone versed in statistics, please correct me if I'm mistaken.) Here's a fascinating thought--the people who constructed the poll may, perhaps, assume that there is really no such thing as reincarnation--i.e., that it is simply and only a belief. Therefore, they built this subtle bias into the poll by not taking into account the possible variable of personal experience. Which goes to show that one's unconscious assumptions can skew even professional pollsters' results. I'm guessing they would be very surprised if they asked those people who profess belief in reincarnation, whether or not they had had a personal experience which proved reincarnation to them.
Sometimes just out of curiosity, I search on the phrase "In Another Life." This time I ran across this miniature painting by the same name, for sale on ebay by the artist, "rfenton." He writes he was just painting a modern house, and this is what came out! He says he wishes he could have a studio there. I wonder...
Music opening this page by Abby, through prompting in Garage Band software, a few months after we got together in 2010--SS