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A European Reincarnation-type Case

The new issue of Journal of the Society for Psychical Research contains an interesting case of the reincarnation type. It’s from Germany, which is unusual as there are relatively few such cases from Europe. Evidentially it’s not particularly strong, but it’s intriguing in some respects, and also rather dramatic.

The case concerns a psychotherapist from the town of Erlangen near Nuremberg, named here as ‘Mrs Wolf’, and her third child ‘Rolf’, aged 14 at the time of writing. This is a brief outline:

Mrs Wolf was involved in a late-night accident on the motorway, in which the car in front of her hit a pedestrian, a young man, who had apparently strayed in front of the traffic. She stopped and pulled him off the road. He seemed to be aware of her, but then lost consciousness.

He began bleeding from the mouth and nose, but not very much. The lower part of his right leg was at an unnatural angle. Mrs Wolf took him in her arms and felt his pulse, which was becoming progressively weaker. Fearing he was about to die she said to him: ‘Don’t be afraid. Go into the light and accept the facts as they are.’

When she finally managed to get to sleep later that night, she dreamed that the young man in the accident came to her. He seemed to have formed an attachment to her, to the extent that he wanted to adopt her as his mother. The same happened on the following two nights. In the dreams she understood that he wanted to reincarnate into her family, and she vehemently resisted the idea.

On the third occasion she was surprised to see him, in her dream, standing by a picturesque lake near a cemetery where a funeral was taking place. He explained it was his birthplace in Italy, and the funeral was his own. This surprised her as he had been fair-haired and blue-eyed, and not typically Italian in his looks. He was still insistent about being born to her, and by this time she had softened somewhat. In the back of her mind she reassured herself that she was not in a relationship with anyone, and even if she did have an unplanned liaison she would use contraceptives, so there was little chance of her becoming pregnant.

Shortly afterwards she contacted the boy’s mother, having discovered the contact details from a published press article. The mother explained that his name was Mario, and he was aged 18. The parents, one German, the other Italian, lived in Erlangen where they ran a shop, but spent part of the year in Italy near a lake where Mario was buried. On the night of his death, it appeared, Mario had been driving his mother’s car which he had crashed near a slip road to the motorway; it was uncertain whether he had wandered onto it in a state of confusion, or whether he planned to kill himself.

Nine months later Mrs Wolf accidentally became pregnant and in due course gave birth to a fair-haired blue-eyed boy whom she named Rolf. By this time she had forgotten about the previous incident, and had had no further contact with Mario’s mother. But one day, when the boy was three or four years old, he said spontaneously to her: ‘I have lived before. I died in a traffic accident, but it was not so terrible. I was bleeding a little bit on my head and my leg was hurting.’

That’s it as far as the sequence of events goes. Mrs Wolf’s belief that Rolf was – or at least might be – the reincarnated Mario, came to the attention of a paranormal investigator, Dieter Hassler. He interviewed the two of them, also Mario’s parents, who were divorced. As it turned out, Rolf had no memories of a previous life (which was to be expected, as he was now long past the age when these memories typically start to fade), and was unable to recognise Mario’s parents’ shop, or any of Mario’s possessions that were shown to him. Mario’s father did not have much to say; however his mother, who like Mrs Wolf believes in the possibility of rebirth, was quite forthcoming.

Much of the interest of this case lies in the startling match between the two boys’ personalities. Rolf is quite effeminate: his mother describes him as very fashion-conscious; trendy clothes are very important to him, particularly American ones. He is vain about his appearance, uses perfumes, and spends hours doing his hair. He has a mincing gait aimed at getting people’s attention; and so on. His mother also says he is ‘very helpful’, ‘adored by girls’; and ‘charming - knows to twist everyone round his little finger’.

When Hassler interviewed Mario’s mother, a similar picture emerged. Mario was mad about clothes, particularly American ones. He was very meticulous about his hair, used perfumes, walked with a feminine gait, and was popular with girls (whose advances he rejected). Hassler also lists other similarities: both boys are good at drawing and painting; have practical abilities; show an interest in religion - all of which are general enough to be purely fortuitous, however. There is also one major difference: Mario was good at languages, which Rolf is not.

Investigation yielded a certain logic to his death. Mario was bullied by his father and sister (which one supposes was because of his obvious sexual orientation, which he realised when he was 13). He had a strong relationship with his mother; however shortly before his accident he learned that they had decided to divorce, which apparently would have meant he would have more contact with his father and sister, and less with her. That evidently depressed him, possibly to the point of wishing to kill himself. Whether it was suicide or an accident, there is perhaps a motivation on his part, being now deceased, to try again in a different family.

Mario’s mother described some rather striking psychokinetic events following Mario’s death:

She said she was in the habit of listening to soft music on CDs when driving her car. When Mario was with her he would protest at this, and switch it to radio-mode and a station transmitting pop music. Three weeks after Mario’s death, when his mother was driving along a road they had taken regularly together, she was thinking about Mario, when the radio spontaneously switched from CD-mode to radio-mode without her intervention and started playing pop music. She interpreted this as having been initiated by Mario. Nevertheless, she asked a garage technician whether the radio could switch on automatically and was told that it was impossible.

Some weeks later all the lights went out in her shop and the surrounding area. The utility services were not aware of a power failure but promised to send a technician.

Having already had the experience with her car-radio she suspected that Mario could be involved, so she said aloud: ‘Mario, stop that nonsense. You cannot switch off all the lights with customers present.’

The immediate result was the return of power and the lights coming back on. She phoned the utility services a second time, but they could not give any explanation.

As Hassler himself notes, the case is not particularly evidential. He points out that there are very few solved European cases that are not ‘in-family’, which are inevitably weaker than those that involve different families, particularly those separated by some distance. Although this is potentially one such (since the two families are separate), with the original contact between the mother and the previous personality, and later with his mother, and the announcing dream, that advantage is lost.

There were no witnesses who could corroborate Mrs Wolf’s dream experiences following the accident, or Rolf’s single statement about a previous life. There was only a single informant on the side of the previous personality. One could argue that the fact of Mario being gay, and Rolf quite likely to be (although this was not known at the time of writing), is not a very surprising coincidence. In theory Mrs Wolf could be fantasising, and although Hassler thinks she is genuine, being apparently truthful and having nothing to gain from a hoax, in purely formal terms that’s just his opinion. Parts of the story, as told by him, read like a synopsis for a television drama.

That doesn’t mean it lacks value, however. If rebirth occurs, we naturally want to know, what are the drivers for it? Here one gets the sense of a person who loves his life, but who is being obstructed in the living of it, and having, whether by accident or design, brought it to an end, wants to resume it on the same terms, but this time under the protection of someone he instinctively trusts.

To me, this is one of those many instances which are too weak to justify belief in an anomalous phenomenon on their own, but which – assuming that belief is justified by much stronger evidence – potentially deepen our understanding of it.

Some Precognitive Dreams

Thanks to Lawrence Brennan for this post about some recent precognitive dreams.

I am not psychic. I take that word to imply believing oneself to have a controllable or even vaguely useful power of some kind. However I've experienced enough odd things to be convinced that psi is real. Recently precognitive dreams (PDs) have been to the fore. I can't add much to the sum of knowledge on the subject, but can maybe make a few useful observations.

In my case, at least, the idea that PDs are movie-style visions of exactly what is going to happen is completely untrue. Likewise the idea that they are warnings of disaster is a popular fantasy. They are, by and large, completely trivial. I can't of course assume that the limits of my experiences are a rule that must apply to everyone else. But my suspicion is that the headline grabbing cases of foreseeing assassinations are distinguishable from the trivia only by virtue of their box office value...and no divine forewarning is intended.

In a 2011 Guardian article Richard Wiseman relies heavily on the idea of a Law of Large Numbers to explain away seeming PDs . . . putting a "once-in-a-lifetime" coincidence in the context of millions of dreams. This would only be a persuasive argument if they were remotely as rare as he imagines.

I found my dreams were precognitive, sometimes, when I started recording them into a bedside dictaphone, whenever I stirred in the night. Listening back to my sleepy mutterings after a day or two, some of the dreams I was reporting matched incidents which had subsequently occurred. This happened too often to dismiss.

On one recording I described a low flying aerial view of a city which I decided was Berlin, as the attention was drawn to a specific point below, which my dream self identified as the spot where Hitler was born. I would have no conscious memory of this dream if it were not on the recording. Four or five nights later a new TV documentary about Hitler is broadcast and begins with low flying aerial footage of an Austrian town, seeming to hone in on a particular building, as the narrator points out this was where Hitler was born. You can imagine how startled I was.

Last Monday night, 6 May: I dreamt of the Queen at a Commonwealth gathering and the (genuine) plot of a movie in which a missing girl had been abducted and kept alive below ground.

In the morning I noted down the dreams, then checked the news. Stories included Amanda Berry, the kidnapped woman who escaped from her captor's basement and the Queen to miss the Commonwealth Conference for the first time.

You'll see that my report of both dreams appear to be direct hits. And I consider them so. But it's worth pointing out that your agreement - if I have it - was partly won by my summarising the tale and referring only to the matching imagery itself. If I included more detail of the dream - it was the Queen at a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony . . . not a dream about her not attending a heads of government meeting; and in the other dream I carefully chose to say "kept alive under ground" instead of "buried alive" to draw out the comparisons with Amanda Berry - then you might be drawn to the differences and denounce my observation of a link as tenuous. This in fact is what Wiseman does in his article. And this fallacy strikes me as important to correct.

It is the imagery in the dream, not its plot, which appears precognitive. Though one might use the Law of Large Numbers here to acknowledge that, by chance alone, sometimes for some people the sleeping brain's dream factory must re-assemble the images that go into it in very close to the "correct" order.

This point was evidenced on Thursday night, 9th May. I thought my recording attempts were a complete washout, as the second I tried recalling each dream it vanished. So the first 3 or 4 recordings consisted of no more than random images, without the accompanying plot details.

Exact transcript of the first recording, 2-3am, Friday morning:

There was . . . oh god I can't remember it's so . . . I'm going to say some words to try and remind myself . . . Linda Bellingham . . . cameras . . . Ian? Not 'that' Ian . . . I'll get back to you in a second . . . no hold on . . . mmm . . . will get back to you in a minute.

Lunchtime 12.30pm, I switch on the television show Loose Women (for the first time in 3 weeks):

Today's guests are Linda Bellingham and Ian Kelsey.

Deprived of its actual plot, the dream - whatever it was, for I've no idea - appears undeniably precognitive.

In Wiseman's article he composes a hypothetical dream sequence (about a fictional rock star in a car crash) and suggests there is something silly in connecting it to certain equally hypothetical "real" events, given the numerous differences between them. This is a convincing sounding yet irrational argument. He is - in the proper sense of the phrase - begging the question. That is, his conclusion - that dreaming the future is not possible - can only be reached by starting with the premise that perceiving the future is not possible!

How so?

Well consider if you had a dream in which Peter O'Toole turned up as your window cleaner. Afterwards you scratch your head as to why on earth it should be him of all people. Then you recall that in the day preceding the dream you'd caught a glimpse of Lawrence of Arabia while flicking between television channels. Aha! But following Wiseman's logic your "explanation" would be tenuous and faintly laughable because, after all, O'Toole did not play your window cleaner in Lawrence of Arabia! Such an argument for a 'no connection', where one is so self-evident, would doubtless be considered bizarre.

But if it is, it must also be bizarre to make this "tenuous connection" argument if O'Toole were seen not before the dream, but rather on the day after, perhaps being interviewed on a magazine programme which also later features an item on streak free window cleaning. You can only reasonably treat the logic of the "tenuous connection" argument applying in one case but not the other as rational if you start from the point of view that of course one cannot ever perceive the future!

Record your dreams. You'll be surprised how often one can.

Dean Radin's Psi Research List

I'm very glad to see this list of psi research articles compiled by parapsychologist Dean Radin. The articles are all downloadable, and cover a range of topics - exactly what's needed.

By way of introduction Radin says:

In the past, my response to the "show me" challenge has been to give the titles of a few books to read, point to the bibliographies in those books, and advise the person to do their homework. I still think that this is the best approach for a beginner tackling a complex topic. But given the growing expectation that information on virtually any topic ought to be available online within 60 seconds, traditional methods of scholarship are disappearing fast.

So I've created a SHOW ME page with downloadable articles on psi and psi-related topics, all published in peer-reviewed journals. Most of these papers were published after the year 2000. Most report experimental studies or meta-analyses of classes of experiments. I will continue to add to this page and flesh it out, including links to recent or to especially useful ebooks. This page may eventually become annotated, then multithreaded and hyperlinked, and then morph into a Wiki.

I hope to go through the full list in the months to come, and will recommend it to visitors. In the meantime, I have commented on one of the papers in a separate post, below.

How To Make Psi Disappear

Dean Radin's new list of psi articles includes one which he referenced on his blog some time ago, and which I mentioned here quite recently. It's one of those richly comical moments that bubble up in sceptic discourse from time to time, so I thought I'd add a bit more detail.

The paper was published in The Humanistic Psychologist in 2005, by psychologists Edward A. Delgado-Romero and George S. Howard. Their general drift is that experimental findings in psychology are much less reliable than is realised, due to little acknowledged factors such as the file drawer problem. Here they propose to investigate the case of parapsychology. They take as their starting point the Wiseman-Milton meta-analysis, which concludes that the accumulated results of methodologically sound ganzfeld experiments is non-significant. To confirm this then carry out their own experiments, but worryingly, after doing eight studies they have an overall hit-rate of 32%. Not only does this match the positive meta-analyses, when added to the Wiseman-Milton study it brings it, as they say, 'precariously close to demonstrating humans do have psychic powers', a conclusion which they admit makes them feel 'very uncomfortable'.

What to do? A thought strikes them.

In the ganzfeld procedure, participants are run in pairs. According to psychic theory, if one member of the pair is psychic (P) but the other is not (n) there will be no transmission of information. Only PP pairs can successfully send and receive messages. What exactly does this imply?

It implies, they believe, that the statistical approach in the ganzfeld methodology is fatally flawed. If the research literature is recalculated to accord with this idea, the significance in the database practically vanishes. To confirm their hunch, they do one last study, pairing up people whose psi-hitting in their previous studies indicates that they have psychic powers. As they suspect the result is now not significant.

These are enormously disappointing data for individuals who believe humans possess psychic powers- especially because the sample had undergone a selection procedure to increase the percentage of Ps in the sample. Due to this last data set, we do not believe that humans possess telepathic powers.

That said, they admit to remaining 'perplexed' by the 32% figure obtained in an enormous number of other psi studies. Perhaps, they suggest, it's

comparable to Meehl's (1978) "crud factor," which suggests that everything is correlated with everything else to a small degree. Meehl cited this as evidence that a null hypothesis is never literally true. Or, perhaps it simply reflects our enduring preference for significant results over studies that obtain nonsignificant findings.

I'm used to critics tearing published psi experiments to ribbons, with caustic remarks about potential security flaws, alleged failure to randomise properly, and so on. But when disbelieving psychologists do their own experiments they sometimes seem to lose touch with reality altogether. They wander onto a field about which they know almost nothing, and casually reorganise matters to suit themselves, without the slightest reference to anybody or anything.

Until now I'd never heard of anything called 'psychic theory', or the notion that transmission of information depends on both receiver and sender being psychic. The authors give no reference for it; it seems to have just popped into their heads. No serious parapsychologist, as far as I'm aware, talks about people having 'psychic powers'. The prevailing paradigm is that it's a property of consciousness, a form of knowing that is potentially available to anyone, but which in practice is favoured by certain conditions and characteristics. And no parapsychologist would dare declare, on the basis of a single study, that the existence of psi has been proved, so it seems reckless, to say the least, for critics to declare, on the basis of a single study, that it does not exist - never mind crowing about how devastating this must be to its advocates.

The problems are discussed by Radin in a tart rejoinder to the journal. If the authors had done some homework, he suggests, they would have realised that there is no file drawer problem in parapsychology, for the simple reason that it's such a small discipline that pretty much every extant study can be tracked down. Intriguingly, while discussing the Wiseman-Milton study the psychologists point out in a footnote that its sampling method represents a serious departure from the norm. If this is corrected, they concede, it greatly increases the effect size. Yet, as Radin says, although they profess to be puzzled by this, it doesn't stop them using the study as an authority. (An analysis based on a 'theory of crud' is hardly persuasive, Radin adds.)

I wondered how a paper so deficient in an understanding of established parapsychological principles could ever have made it in to print. My guess is that it's a symptom of the way that parapsychology is marginalised, and the views of its experts distrusted. Since from a certain point of view telepathy is a fiction, there must be something wrong with the way parapsychologists do their experiments. So it's something that anyone can have a go at, even complete beginners. The worst that could happen is that they get positive results, but then they can use the opportunity to figure out the mistake, and in so doing make a real contribution to science. In their own minds, they're at no more of a disadvantage than the veterans who have been doing it for forty years.

But perhaps that's just my attempt to make sense of something that is actually incoherent. The feeling I'm left with is of otherwise intelligent people having temporarily gone mad. It's the Enchanted Boundary phenomenon described by Walter Prince: confronted by something that seems to imply a complete breakdown of logic, they engage in wild mental contortions that they hope will restore order. It's not science so much as the effect on the academic mind of cognitive dissonance - a fascinating phenomenon in its own right, and it's good to see it sometimes illustrated so graphically.

Things Children Say

A reader sent me a link to a Reddit thread which I hadn't seen before, about the odd stuff that very young children sometimes come out with. I thought I'd pull out some of the more interesting ones.

There are actually two threads, this recent one, and another from a year ago. Each paragraph is a separate story. I won't add any comments - sometimes it's good just to listen.

When my little sister was younger she used to walk around the house with a picture frame with a picture of my great grandpa in her hands crying and saying "I miss you Harvey." Harvey had died before even I was born. Other than this common occurrence my mom told me that she would constantly say things that my great grandma Lucy would say.

While changing my daughter in front of the open closet door. She kept looking around me and laughing. I asked her what was so funny. She said, "the man." To which I replied, "what man?" She then pointed at the closet and said, "the man with the snake neck." I turn around and nothing was there. I'm afraid to look into the history of my house to see if anyone hung themselves in the closet. At least she wasn't scared.

Why are you crying? "Bad man." What bad man? "There." Points behind me at a dark corner of the room. Lamp on bookshelf next to said darkened corner falls off as soon as I turn to look. She slept in our bed that night.

Getting my two and a half year old daughter out of the bath one night, my wife and I were briefing her on how important it was she kept her privates clean. She casually replied "Oh, nobody 'scroofs' me there. They tried one night. They kicked the door in and tried but I fought back. I died and now I'm here." She said this like it was nothing.

My 3 year old nephew was at my cottage. He's asked me numerous times about the "girl over there" while pointing at one of the back bedrooms. The place is small, and there is definitely nobody there so I just dismiss it as a really active imagination (he has lots of imaginary friends) . . . Then some friends are visiting and they have a daughter around the same age. She has never met my nephew. Twice in the one day she asked about the "pretty girl" while pointing at the exact same room. Definitely caught me out and I didn't know what to think . . . Then at Christmas my family was over at my place and my nephew points at a picture of my wife and asks if she is coming to visit us here or does she just stay at the cottage. My wife died ten years ago. Personally I don't really believe in paranormal stuff so it's probably just my logical brain putting together a bunch of kids ramblings but it definitely got my attention.

When I was about 4, I would remember talking to "Mr.Peterson" whenever I was at my grandmothers house. He looked like a hobo from the great depression and had a guitar and sang me old timey blues, he told me that he died when he fell of a train he was riding whist drunk on moonshine. I stopped seeing him when I was about 6. Anyway, 6 months ago I found my dads old acoustic guitar and started playing, and my little cousin told me "Mr.Peterson is proud of you!" And left.

When my daughter was around 4 or 5, we lived in a house that had been converted into three separate apartments. We lived in the basement portion. Because of the way they converted the house there was a small recessed area under one of the stairways that formed a small closet/storage space in her room. One night while she was getting ready for bed I overheard her talking to someone in her room. I poked my head in and asked if she was calling for me. Her words - "No. I was talking to the little boy who lives in my closet... He's dead."

A good friend of mine and her husband bought what is considered an 'old' house around here. (Western Canada...not many houses over 100 years old). They were renovating the basement one day while I was visiting. I was down there alone with their son, who was barely 2 at the time, and could not yet speak in full sentences. He took my hand and led me over to a brick chimney-like thing thing, with a rusty metal door on it. He looked up and said 'That's where the dead babies go.' . . . I was horrified. Firstly, because, like I said, the kid could barely talk, let alone say something like that. I doubt he even knew what 'dead' meant. I'm positive that no one would have told him that, and there were no older kids around that would have said that as a joke. Still creeps me out to this day.

My wife was getting my 2yr old son up one morning. He was standing in his bed/crib. As she said good morning and walked over to him he picked up her shirt a little and crooked his head to the side. She asked him what he was doing and he said, "looking for my baby sister in your tummy." She laughed it off as a weird kid imagination thing. We found out later that at the time she was 2 weeks pregnant and it was, in fact, a girl. We are due in September. We had never really had the talk about where babies come from nor did we talk about having another child at all around him. So spooky.

When my little sister first started talking she used to say some really disturbing things. She used to tell us about how her old family would put things inside of her and would make her cry but her Daddy eventually burned her so much that she was able to find us, her new family. She spoke about things like that from the ages of almost two to four, she was much too young to have ever been exposed to any content where children, or anyone else could be sodomized, so my family has always thought she held memories of a prior life.

Between the ages of two and six my son would tell me the same story of how he picked me to be his mother. He said something about being with a man in a suit and picking a mother that would help him accomplish his souls mission (I'm atheist, so we didn't discuss spirituality at that point, nor was he raised in any sort of religious environment). The way he described it was that it was similar to grocery shopping, that he was in a bright room with people who were lined up like dolls, and that he picked me. The man in the suit asked him if he was sure, he replied that he was, and then he was born . . . My son also had an early fascination with WWII era planes. He could identify them, their parts, what region they were used in and the like. I still have no idea where he got that information. I'm a science gal, his dad is a math guy . . . We have always called him "Grandpa" because of his peaceful and gingerly demeanor. This kid seriously has an old soul.

My nephew when he first began really talking in sentences told my sister and her husband that he was "so happy he picked them". And then went on to say that before he was a baby he was in a bright room and saw lots of people and he "picked his Mom because she had a nice face".

When I was young, like maybe two years old, my grandma was in the hospital, dying of cancer. Obviously i had no idea what was going on, but apparently one day when my mother and aunt were watching me, I suddenly looked at them and said "Only one Grandma." . . . They kept trying to convince me otherwise, that no, I had two grandmas, but I kept repeating that line over and over . . . Then the phone rang. It was my uncle calling to tell my mother that my grandma had passed a few minutes ago . . .

My brother had a similar experience as a child. We had gone to visit my grandparents earlier in the day and everything was fine. When it was time to go to bed my brother, he was about 5 at the time, started crying and saying he wanted to "talk to Papa because he's sick". My mom and dad kept assuring him that he was fine as we were just over there earlier in the day. My brother wouldn't stop screaming so my mom called my grandparents. My grandma was awake and said my grandpa was asleep but she decided to take the phone into his room so he could talk to my grandpa. When she went in to the room my grandpa was unresponsive and had just had a heart attack. Fortunately for him my psycho brother knew somehow and he was able to survive. That was 23 years ago and my grandpa just passed 2 years ago . . .

My mum's dad died 10 years before I was born. I was about 6 or 7 when my parents divorced. The day before my mum told me they were divorcing apparently I was at the kitchen table drawing or something while my mum cooked tea. She says I stopped instantly and looked toward the front door as if I'd heard it open. I stared for a long time, then giggled, turned toward my mum and said "Grand-dad says don't worry, everything will be okay and he won't let anything bad happen." I then began humming and went back to my drawing. My mum says it's the single creepiest thing that's ever happened to her, and I have no memory of it happening.

According to my mom when I was younger I would tell her about how I had died in a fire a long time ago. I don't remeber that but one of my biggest fears is my house burning down or Just being around open fire scares me.

While changing my daughter in front of the open closet door. She kept looking around me and laughing. I asked her what was so funny. She said, "the man." To which I replied, "what man?" She then pointed at the closet and said, "the man with the snake neck." I turn around and nothing was there. I'm afraid to look into the history of my house to see if anyone hung themselves in the closet. At least she wasn't scared.

When my sister was little (like three or four), she explained about how she used to be black until the soldiers came to raid her village and how she died when they shot her family and set fire to the hut . . . I'm still not sure if she somehow encountered the concept of Africa on the radio, or what. And she doesn't remember it anymore.

The most detailed one I ever heard was actually delivered second-hand through my friend's mother. Apparently beginning around the time my friend could form sentences until he was little more than 2, he would go on and on about how he was a Native American named Conchon and that after his wife and son got sick and died, he moved to a mountain to live by himself with his horse. He died of a broken neck when he fell into a ravine.

As someone who frequently gave details of a past life, I can confirm I have absolutely no recollection of the life I supposedly lived before this one, but I do remember one time when I was about five giving a detailed story of being a viking executing someone. I used to always give very detailed stories of when I 'was a viking on the ship' and they always went together. I said that I was part of the same family and what not. Later found out that my family actually was vikings hundreds of years ago, and the names I gave were real people. Again, I have absolutely no memories of the viking days, just the one time I told the story.

I had one of those when I was young, we were walking along and there was a plane flying over head and I pointed at it and said "I can't wait to get a new one" my dad was obviously kind of confused and asked what happened to my old one and I said "it crashed so I came here", also strange side note, I have a line of birthmarks on my left shoulder that perfectly follow the curve of my shoulder and I have frequent dreams about being attack by a shark, what happens is I am floating in the water with a lot of fire everywhere and a shark grabs me by my left shoulder and drags me down. (See here for a picture of the birthmark.)

My mother told me this story once that a woman she worked with told her, about how her son used to speak French in his sleep, even though he couldn't speak French while awake. It turned out he had been having a series of dreams where he was a French fur trader in colonial era America (or pre-colonial?).

According to my father, when I was a toddler I had a nightmare and woke up screaming, and told him about how I was stuck in a burning building with a bunch of people jumping out windows. Keep in mind, we lived in an incredibly rural town in Portugal at the time and had no television or internet, so there was no way the concept or image of a burning highrise could have gotten into my head. My father thought it was weird, and wondered if that could have been how I died in a past life or something.