There’s quite a bit of new activity in the reincarnation research category of the Psi Encyclopedia. This piece by Jim Matlock discusses patterns that can be found in the research. Karen Wehrstein has contributed an entry on adult memories, and another on claims to have lived as a famous person.
There’s also a fascinating case study about detailed memories of a life as a sixteenth century Spanish woman, written by Stephen Braude, who for once finds it quite impressive, even though being a regression case it wouldn’t normally be considered particularly evidential. Karen is working on case studies, including two well-known and unusual Indian cases: Sharada-Uttara and Sumitra-Shiva, which will be uploaded shortly. And Erlendur Haraldsson has contributed an entry on a particularly detailed Lebanese case that he investigated, Nazih Al-Danaf, and plans to write other articles in the coming months.
I should also mention that Matlock and Erlendur have co-authored a new book, I Saw A Light and Came Here: Children’s Experiences of Reincarnation, published by White Crow. I ordered it from Amazon, and it came just today, so I can’t talk about it in detail, but it contains a number of unfamiliar cases, and a lot of what looks to be interesting analysis.
That’s the bulletin part of the post over. I’m going to hand over now to a lady called Adri D, who got in touch recently to describe her own past life memories as a child. I quite often hear from people about their experiences, and am always glad to get them, but I thought this was especially interesting, and she’s happy for it to be shared here. Thanks Adri.
Adri D writes: When I was a young child, from about the age I could start talking until I started school (approximately), I spoke frequently about my "other family", especially my other mother. I often commented when seeing my mom do something that my "other mommy didn't do it like that" - for instance, things she did around the house, the way she prepared food, and really all matter of things. Also, I couldn't accept my name – I was insistent that my name was Jennifer.
Extended family thought it was quite funny, definitely chalking it up to imaginary friend-type talk, and admittedly I was a bright and imaginative child. However, I would often become frustrated and annoyed with the way things were done in our household and the rules my parents lay down; at other times I expressed benign surprise. My parents tolerated it and took it lightly, but did not encourage the talk.
As I got older and, I suppose, more used to being a member of my own family, the talk and references faded. However, it took me a very long time to accept both my first and last names, and I despised revealing the information to people as a child. It just felt so wrong to me. I still have vivid memories of feeling that I had another family, (even though I don't actually consciously feel that way any longer), and somehow knowing things about them. I also remember feeling that I was from someplace else, and indeed belonged somewhere else – and in fact I still feel that way, at age 38! I had cousins from Alaska who would come down and visit every couple of years or so, and Alaska became in my mind the place where I might be from. This is definitely something that I may very well have made up – I don't think it’s Alaska itself that is very significant, or perhaps even the name Jennifer, but rather this very strong feeling that I was from somewhere else, that I had another name, that I WAS someone else!
(I do still very much want to visit Alaska, and I'm preparing for a spiritual journey there.)
I fully admit this could all be the workings of my imagination, and have never really made a big deal out of it. I learned about the eastern belief of reincarnation when I got interested in Buddhism and certain New Age concepts as a teen, but never made any connection to my own experience and memories until I first heard of children who remembered past lives via a book I had found in my university library while searching for books on Theosophy, (I was a philosophy major, it was VERY dry) and immediately I thought to myself in a very calm way, "oh my God, that explains it."
I told my mom about it the next time I was visiting. Although we are Catholic (at least in upbringing) she has an open mind to these things, and so do I. It truly sobered her to hear the stories of the kids who'd been studied, and she revealed that she had found my talk of another life and family very creepy, and it disturbed and hurt her. She said she never encouraged it, and was relieved when it stopped. My mom is a very content woman spiritually and doesn't feel the need to research things and get too philosophical. But she definitely thinks that if anyone came out of womb yammering on about their past life, it was me.
Another perhaps odd thing about me is that I was always prepared for disaster, especially in the night. I had significant insomnia and night fear as a kid, and would lie awake for hours, listening. I would also sometimes sleep in my shoes, and sometimes my school uniform, and I would be very worried that someone would find out, but it helped ease my anxiety that I would be able to escape the house all ready to go, in case the need arose. One night when I was about 9, we actually did have to evacuate, because our next-door neighbour's car port had gone up in flames for some unknown reason. When I heard my parents shuffling around before coming to get my sister and I, I was calm and ready for action.
Reincarnation has never fascinated me all that much – one might think it would, but in fact I can't even get through books or television programs about these kids who feel that they remember a past life- they just can't hold my attention! Not entirely sure why. (I have no qualms about accepting the possibility of reincarnation on anecdote alone, though my favourite after-life possibility is post-death survival of personality leading to a transition into complete union with God).
That being said, plenty of other topics that you address on your blog do interest me very much. I have always been a keen seeker, and consider myself to be quite psychic, intuitive, and sensitive. I’m a very late bloomer, evolving into each new stage of life very slowly and cautiously. I feel that if my memories really are indicative of a past life, it was a life in which I died young. In my most transcendent moments, and in certain dreams, I even feel sometimes that I can actually remember things from OTHER lives – it’s just a quality of feeling that arises when I think of certain dreams or visions.
I had this very strongly once when some military planes in formation flew over our city in salute, the morning of our suburb's annual air show - when those planes flew overhead I had a terrible, transcendental dizziness, and I actually peed my pants I was so scared. I was shaking for hours afterwards. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, but I cannot explain why, and obviously I never thought consciously that I was in any danger. A very strange experience indeed.
I’ll conclude by saying that it's not anything I feel I'll ever need an iota of "evidence" for, and certainly I would never feel I had to convince anyone of this. I have opened up about it with different people and everyone has found it very easy to accept. For other friends of mine and people I know that feel that they have experienced stuff like ghostly and alien encounters, precognition, telepathy, and communication or contact with the dead, there also seems to be this calm acceptance and not a hint of needing to prove it to oneself or anyone else.
In terms of "dyed in the wool skeptics" and people who have a very materialist view of reality, I think that this might have a lot to do with their spiritual constitution. Some people are just not cut out for experiencing the world this way, and they get intensely annoyed whenever anyone starts talking about anything that they term "woo" because it's like everyone is speaking a language they know they'll never understand.
I deal with a lot of people from Taiwan in my work, and they have a complex spiritual worldview that I find very interesting. One girl was explaining to me that whether or not you will have any kind of sensitivities or aptitude for spirit communication is something you are marked with at birth, and that's just who you are or are not. I thought that was very interesting.