I just had the opportunity to view the "Ancient Aliens" episode on reincarnation, in daytime re-run, and I am bursting at the seams to critique it and react to it. So here goes...
First, let us get the professional jealousy out of the way. Or, it would be "professional," if I ever had any sales. I suppose that sans sales, it is just plain petulant. But both my knowledge of reincarnation, and my reincarnation case, are as strong as any of the people and cases they featured. I did learn of one new colleague (again, he would be a colleague if anyone paid any attention to my work), named Bob Good. It was an easy name to remember, because I connected it with Sponge Bob. I'll have to look him up. He seemed credible.(1)
Now, the introduction to the subject of reincarnation, itself, was excellent--especially the interview with James Leininger, who is now a young man. I noticed with interest that most of his memories have faded, but when he began describing the most emotional one--i.e., being in the middle of air combat--he, himself, became very emotional, and he began reliving it on-the-spot. This is precisely what I have experienced, and reported. A flood of specific memories came to me, in normal waking consciousness, for example, when I began e-mailing my first researcher that I didn't remember anything about my wife Abby's funeral. Suddenly, I did remember it. All of what I remembered about this event has been verified as being entirely plausible; and there was at least one specific detail which, if it could ever be verified, would nail it down.(2)
I was familiar with all the reincarnation cases they used as examples--James Leininger, Om Seti, Shanti Devi, etc. I was particularly interested to see that, while they didn't present a side-by-side comparison photograph, James Leninger now looks physically at least 85% like his previous personality, as I have come to expect. After this point in the presentation, however, it started going downhill. There is no retrograde reincarnation into animal forms (I don't care how many Buddhists believe it). There is also no multiple reincarnations, i.e., one soul reincarnating into several bodies at the same time (Walter Semkiw's book notwithstanding).(3) And let me just say here, that these twin errors render reincarnation into something like crippled shareware, for the public. Being nonsensical, anyone being exposed to the information for the first time intuitively knows it, and simply tunes out the rest. Perhaps there is a wise purpose behind this--my documentary, "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" is like fully-functional software; but it only gains a relatively small audience. This episode on the History Channel is crippled shareware, and it gets a massive audience. So be it.
On the other hand, there is reincarnation on other planets; and reincarnation from other planets. This, from my Guru, Meher Baba. So in this sense--and in this sense, only--I agree with the Ancient Astronaut theorists, that aliens are among us.
(We might want to start with Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, the one with the hair.)
There was a great deal more, but I wasn't taking notes (still having my caretaking duties going on at the same time). Perhaps some of the points I wanted to address will come to me later, and I'll insert them.
But after this rather classy and nearly accurate presentation of the subject of reincarnation, they proceeded to try to tie it in with Ancient Alien theory, itself. As best I understand it--and I don't think they understood it or thought it through very well--somehow ancient aliens engineered the human body, when they bred it, to make reincarnation possible.
This is very weak; and like all of their theories, it betrays people who have no background in, or understanding of, esoteric studies. After all, anyone who thinks that Shiva or Rama or Krishna were aliens, is hopeless in this department--so it's about what I could expect. Tying ancient aliens to reincarnation in this way, is like a company showing you a pretty, smiling girl in a bikini, and then tying it, by association, to their product. (I strongly suspect they do something similar with the sometimes-compelling evidence for past advanced civilizations.)
They are also not thinking through the implications of reincarnation. For want of a better way to say this (when I'm exhausted after a day of work and can barely think), reincarnation shoots the hell out of both materialism and reductionism--but these guys are both materialistic and reductionistic. The cause of everything abnormal or paranormal, is physical aliens, either in the present or in the past. Every myth having to do with flying, or the sky, or the stars, is to be taken literally; every god, or angel, or saint, or mystic, was an alien, or was taught by an alien, or was given (physical) technology by an alien, or was the bastard child of an alien. This, folks, is a sneaky, new-age form of reductionism. And they can take their reductionistic hands off my topic, reincarnation! Case in point, they cited the physics interpretation, which is also a reductionistic attempt to explain reincarnation in material terms--something about "tubules." And David Wilcock, who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, presented some of that. I'm not convinced he is Cayce's reincarnation, but if he is, he certainly sold out on that one. I guess they must pay pretty well.
David's material soul may have entered his present body through physical tubules, but mine didn't.
There is a lot more I want to say, chiefly about how much more accurate the information that I present is, and how strong my own case is. But I think I'll end with a tip-of-the-hat to the Ancient Alien folks. They presented reincarnation to their audience (despite trying to usurp it with their own ideas); so I will return the favor, and present a little article I ran across in my perusal of one of the newspapers that I used to write for. This comes from the August 21, 1830 edition of the New York "Constellation," reprinted from the St. Andrews "Herald." Although the observer concludes that the ball of light he saw was about 50-60 feet in the air, and about five inches in diameter, there is every likelihood, knowing what we know now, that it was far larger and much higher. So this appears to be an 1830 UFO sighting. I have seen ancient accounts, and I have seen 20th century and 21st century accounts, but not so many from the 19th century. Keep in mind that while there were many reports of giant skeletons, and of a giant sea serpent, so far as I'm aware, there was no UFO or flying saucer craze at this time. This means the observer was entirely free from prejudice or expectation (hence, perhaps, misjudging the object's size).
(And no, I don't believe this had anything to do with reincarnation.)
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
1) I had a chance to glance through as much as Amazon will let one read of his book, and took a quick look at his website. My impression is that he has built himself into an expert, seemingly overnight; but that in terms of substance, what I saw was a very elementary presentation of Dr. Stevenson's work. Maybe the book gets better. But I see that he is doing the circuit, seems to have several books, and in general has gone commercial with it. I am an actual expert, who does none of this stuff, and I am largely ignored. Dr. Tucker, whose work I admire and respect, was too closed-minded to admit I had real results, when I hashed it out via e-mail with him, recently. Chester Carlton, who originally funded Dr. Stevenson's research, was schooled in Vedanta; and when I interviewed Dr. Tucker in 2007, I saw that they had the Vedanta Society's books in their library--probably donated and unread. I began a serious study of those same books when I was 19 years old (I am now 63). I have a far stronger theoretical background in reincarnation than Dr. Tucker has, with his western degree in psychiatry (which is largely irrelevant to the topic).
2) There were several elements which at first seemed very unlikely; but further historical research revealed that everything I remember was entirely plausible. For example, Abby's grave, when it was discovered, was not in the part of the cemetery I had remembered. However, it turned out that it had been a burial ground when her body was interred; and that most likely, the existing bodies were moved to the front, and put in tight rows, when it was officially made into a cemetery. There was a record of that having been done at a cemetery nearby. The road behind the cemetery, which I found on Google Maps, would have been some 600 feet from the present location--but only about 200 feet from the back of the cemetery, as I remembered walking--down a slight incline, which would also be correct. The road bows toward the cemetery in the same direction I remembered it doing; and the likely house where the reception was held, is in the same direction, and about the right distance from the cemetery, as I remembered it being. The location of Abby's grave was discovered by my reseearcher well after I recorded (and digitally dated, because it was e-mail) these memories.
3) I personally checked on this with Don E. Stevens, co-editor of Meher Baba's book "God Speaks," and he told me he had never heard Baba say anything of this sort.
Music opening this page: "Spaceship Earth" by Sugarloaf, from the album, Spaceship Earth