Children with Past-Life Memories (overview)

This article provides an overview of information about research on the past-life memories of children in the Psi Encyclopedia. In addition to classified lists of entries on the subject, it includes illustrative summaries of case studies reported by Ian Stevenson in Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (1966/1974) and in the four volumes of his Cases of the Reincarnation Type series (1975-1983).


Ian Stevenson began to study past-life memories as evidence for reincarnation in the early 1960s. He concentrated on the cases of children, partly because it was much easier to rule out normal sources of information with children than with adults, but also because children's cases proved to be the best developed phenomenologically. See here for an introduction to this research. Research on the past-life memories of adults is covered in a separate article.

As he began his research, Stevenson quickly discovered that children’s reincarnation cases included much more than memories – the memories typically were accompanied by behaviours and sometimes by physical traits that appeared to be carried over from the previous lives. Over the years, he was able to discern both universal and culture-linked patterns in the case phenomena.

The Psi Encyclopedia includes articles about all aspects of reincarnation research, with new pieces added from time to time.

General and Introductory Articles

This section lists pieces of a general nature.

Dreams and Past-Life Memory

Past-Life Memory and Amnesia

Past Life Memories Research

Patterns in Reincarnation Cases

Psychological Studies of Children Claiming Past-Life Memories

Reincarnation and Karma

Reincarnation Beliefs, Research and Criticism (overview)

Reincarnation Fraud and Deception

Major Case Features

Children's reincarnation cases include several regular features, in addition to memories of previous lives: typically the past and present lives are linked by behavioural and physical traits and there may be memories of the intermission period between lives. Also, reincarnations may be 'announced' in dreams or other ways.

Announcing Dreams and Related Experiences

Behavioural Memories in Reincarnation Cases

Birthmarks in Reincarnation Cases

Experimental Birthmarks and Birth Defects

Reincarnation Intermission Memories

Physical Signs in Reincarnation Cases 

Reincarnation and Phobias 

Xenoglossy in Reincarnation Cases

Distinctive Types of Case

Children's reincarnation cases may be grouped into several thematic classes.

Famous Past Life Claims

Hidden Treasure in Reincarnation Cases

Interethnic and Intercultural Reincarnation Cases

International Reincarnation Cases

Past-Life Memories Illustrated

Past Life Memories of the Holocaust

People Who Knew Each Other in Past Lives

Reincarnation Accounts From Before 1900 

Reincarnation Cases with Sex Change

Reincarnation of Tibetan Lamas in the West

Replacement Reincarnation

Suicide and Reincarnation 

Twins Reincarnation Research

Cultural Inventories

The following entries list reincarnation cases by region or culture. Inventories of cases in Asia and the Middle East are planned; until these are available, see the summaries of cases investigated by Stevenson and reported in his books.

American Children with Past-Life Memories

Brazilian Children with Past-Life Memories

Dutch Children with Past-Life Memories

European Children with Past-Life Memories

Native American Children with Past-Life Memories

Signs of Reincarnation in Africa

Stevenson’s Cases

This section provides summaries of sixty cases Stevenson studied and reported in Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation and the four volumes of his series, Cases of the Reincarnation Type. These summaries serve to illustrate major case features, including not only verified memories, but also behaviours, physical traits, and other phenomena. Also of note are variations in the distance between the places of birth and death, the length of the interval between lives, and the relationship between the child and the person whose life he or she recalls.

In the majority of cases, children are unrelated to their previous incarnations, but in some cases (especially in tribal socities) there are family or acquaintance relationships. If a family or acquaintance relationship is not indicated in the line above the case summary, the two families were unknown to each other before the onset of the case. Cases with shorter distances between lives or in which the two families are related or acquainted cannot be considered strongly evidential, but such cases are still notable for behaviours and other features that correspond closely to the remembered life.

Especially significant from the evidential point of view are cases with 'stranger' relationships in which a child's memories were recorded in writing before verifications were attempted. These cases, known as 'early bird cases', are indicated in the line above the case summary.

Ampan Petcherat

Born 1954 in Song Klong, Thailand 

At one year of age, Ampan began telling her mother about ‘another mother and father’ at Klong Bang Chag (fifteen kilometres away). Ampan cried and asked to be taken there. She said she had been a boy, described a house and various objects it contained, and told how she had drowned after being bitten by a snake. One day, aged seven, she recognized a woman she saw in the street as her aunt, embraced her and asked to be taken to her family. She showed strongly masculine inclinations when she was a child, preferring to dress as a boy and wear trousers, and playing boy’s games such as boxing. Ampan’s statements and behaviours were found to correspond closely to the life and death of Chuey Puang Pei, a boy who was four when he drowned at Klong Bang Chag in 1950. Ampan was taken to meet the family where she made additional statements about the previous life and recognized people and places connected with Chuey.1 

Bishen Chand Kapoor

Born 1921 in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India (early bird case)

When Bishen Chand started to speak at ten months he was heard uttering the word pilivit. He then began to speak of a previous life in Pilibhit (a large town fifty kilometres distant). He mentioned many details, including the name of the previous personality, Laxmi Narain, and an uncle named Har Narain. He said his father was a zamindar (a wealthy landowner and tax collector). An investigator arranged a visit to Pilibhit, having first written down the boy’s statements. There Bishen Chand recognized various places and made additional statements. The statements corresponded exactly with facts in the life of Laxmi Narain, who had lived a playboy life and died of a fever in 1918, aged 32. Nearly all those that could be verified were correct. In one incident, Bishen Chand was able to reveal the room where Laxmi Narain’s father, now deceased, had hidden a stash of gold coins. In another, he spontaneously recognized a shop in the bazaar that had once been owned by a friend of Laxmi Narain.2

See here for a longer article about this case.

Bongkuch Promsin

Born 1962 in Tha Tako, Thailand

At one year and eight months, Bongkuch began talking about a previous life, saying ‘this is not my home’. In further statements over the next two years he said his name had been Chamrat, that his family was originally from Laos, and that he had been murdered by two men while attending a fair in Hua Tanon (four miles distant). He asked repeatedly to be taken there. Among other things he said he had a girlfriend called Thien and owned two cows. He identified his two murderers, and described the event in some detail. Word reached a family in Huan Tanon whose son, Chamrat Pooh Kio, had been murdered in 1954 aged eighteen. The family made two visits to the Promsins in 1964 and verified nearly all of Bongkuch’s statements as accurate for the life of Chamrat. Both families told investigators they were not acquainted and had not visited each other’s villages. Bongkuc’s family considered his behaviour to be more characteristic of Laotian than Thai people in matters such as dietary preferences; he also used several Laotian words, the language spoken by Chamrat’s family.3 

See here for a longer article about this case.

Cevriye Bayri

Born 1958 in Adana, Turkey

When Cevriye began to speak she often repeated the world ‘Azu’, which eventually developed into ‘Ramazan’, then ‘Ramazan killed’. She then gradually gave details of the murder of Şehide Süzülmüş, wife of Abit Süzülmüş. She told how she (Şehide) had gone out in the dark to look for him and how she was murdered in her turn. Cevriye gave the names of Şehide’s children and recognized members of Şehide’s family and friends. Still aged only two, she spontaneously approached an ice-cream vendor in the street, called him by his name and stated that on the day of her death she had given him some food to eat, which the man confirmed was true (he had been destitute at the time) During an arranged meeting with İsmail Altınkılıç (the child who remembered the life of Şehide’s husband Abit), the two showed intimacy and exchanged accounts of the murders. Cevriye also claimed that she had given birth after her death. At the time it had not been recognized that Sehide had been in labour, but when her body was exhumed an unborn baby was found partially extruded from her body.4 (See also Ismail Altinkilic.)

See here for a longer article about this case.

Chaokhun Rajsuthajarn

Born 1908 in Surin Province, Thailand (family relationship)

The Ven. Chaokhun Rajsuthajarn was a highly respected abbot in Thailand, who died in 1976. He said that from infancy he had some memories of a previous life as his mother’s brother Nang Leng. In particular he remembered his death, which took place when lay sick at home while his sister, heavily pregnant, was praying and meditating at the nearby temple. He felt uncomfortable and tried to move, then suddenly felt normal and could move around, but no one observed him. He watched his funeral. Later he was drawn to the child his sister had just delivered and again found himself in a helpless position. As soon as he could talk he called his grandmother, mother, and his mother by a pet name he had called his sister. The family concluded he was Nang Leng reborn, but tried to make him forget his memories.5  

Charles Porter

Born 1907 in Sitka, Alaska 

As a small child, Charles used to say he had been killed by a spear in a clan fight of the Tlingit Indians. He named the man who had killed him, the place where he had been killed, and the Tlingit name by which he had been known. He pointed to his right flank where he said the spear had entered. The location corresponded to a prominent birthmark.6  

Corliss Chotkin Jr

Born 1947 in Sitka, Alaska (family relationship)

A year before he died in 1946, Victor Vincent told his niece that he would return as her next son, and showed her some operation scars by which she would recognize him. The following year she gave birth to Corliss, who was seen to have two marks of the same shape and location. On one occasion, when he was just over one year old, his mother pressed him to say his name and he responded: ‘Don’t you know me? I’m Kahkody’ (Victor Vincent’s Tlingit tribal name). Aged two, he spontaneously recognized a stepdaughter of Victor Vincent and hugged her. On other occasions he spontaneously recognized Victor Vincent’s widow, his son and several friends. He also described incidents from the life of Victor Vincent that he was unlikely to have discovered by normal means. Certain prominent traits, such as a pronounced stutter, religious devotion and an interests in boats, corresponded to Victor Vincent.7 

Derek Pitnov

Born 1918 in Wrangell, Alaska

Derek was born with a large diamond-shaped birthmark on his abdomen having the appearance of a recently inflicted wound. Elderly members of his family related the mark to a spear wound inflicted on a leading tribal figure in a battle in 1852.8

Disna Samarasinghe

Born 1959 near Kandy, Sri Lanka

Aged eighteen months, Disna was watching her mother washing clothes when she remarked that she too had done so at her home in Wettewa (a village five kilometres distant). Over a period she gave further details, saying she had lived alone with ‘Mahattaya’ and a woman. Mahattaya was later identified as RM Gardias, whose mother Tilakacharige Babanona died aged 72, and the woman as Babanona’s daughter-in-law. At her mother’s prompting, Disna led the way to the house she said she had lived in, and identified a woman standing outside as the daughter-in-law. A number of statements she had made about the previous life were now found to be accurate for the life of Babona: that she had made her own choice of marriage; that she liked to watch a ‘Tiger Dance’ (found only in the district from which Babanona’s husband came); and that a sum of money was buried in a cigarette tin near the fireplace (it had been discovered three months after Babanona’s death).9 

Dolon Champa Mitra

Born 1967 in Calcutta, India

This is a comparatively rare case involving a change of gender. Aged three and a half, Dolon began to give details of a previous life as a boy in Burdwan, a city some one hundred kilometres distant. She said her mother was called Baudi, her father had ‘heaps of money’, and their house was near the Maharajah’s palace. She gave other details of the family and locality, but provided few names. However, the details were found to be a close fit with the life of Nishith De, a member of a wealthy family in Burdwan who died in 1964 of a brain tumour aged 24. On a visit to the locality, Dolon found her way to the house near the Maharajah’s palace. Her statements relating to the house, her schooling as Nishith, and other details were confirmed on this visit. She also made a number of recognitions of De family members.10  

Erkan Kilic

Born 1962 in Adana, Turkey

As an infant Erkan cringed at the sight or sound of aeroplanes. Aged two he demanded to be taken to see his ‘real mother’, and also to ‘his wife’. He named himself as Ahmet Delibalta and said he had owned nightclubs; he also gave the names of his children and other members of his family. He described having been killed when the aeroplane he had been travelling in from Istanbul crashed into the Toros Mountains. These details corresponded closely with the life and death of Ahmet Delibalta, who had lived in Adana and died in an air crash while returning from a business trip in Istanbul. Erkan found his way unaided to the homes of Delibalta’s mother and widow, and showed a strong interest in their doings; he also found his way unaccompanied to the home of Ahmet Delibalta’s first wife. He showed knowledge of intimate details of Delibalta’s life, for instance his theft, aged fifteen, of a household item from his parent’s home, which he sold in order to get money to see a football game – an incident known only to Delibalta and the two friends who accompanied him.11 

Faruq Andary

Born 1963 in Ain El-Sohha, Lebanon

At age three, Faruq began to refer to a previous life, stimulated by seeing a cigarette lighter in the hands of a guest. He asserted that the lighter belong to him and that he had bought it for five Lebanese pounds, adding that he smoked only Marlboros, not local brands. He then declared, ‘I am Afif Mahmoud from Kornayel’ (a nearby village); described the house he had lived in; mentioned the names of other members of the previous family; and said he died from suicide, describing the circumstances. The statements were found to refer accurately to Afif Mahmoud Elawar of Kornayel, who had died aged seventeen from the effects of insect poison, which he had swallowed after quarrelling with his mother over the loss of a cigarette lighter. Many other of Faruq’s statements were found to be true of Afif, including names of family members and places, and descriptions of particular incidents. He named his parents and siblings, correctly stating that a sister had died suddenly. The two were found to be notably alike in personality, being selfish, bad tempered and obstinate.12  

Gamini Jayasena

Born 1962 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

At about eighteen months Gamini saw his mother use a sewing machine and remarked, ‘There is a machine like that at our house.’ He talked about another mother, a sister, an uncle called Charlie and someone called Nimal, who had been bitten by a dog. He further mentioned having falling into a well; a toy elephant he had bathed; and mimed the act of turning on a light switch to create light (his family did not have electricity). He prayed in a Christian kneeling posture. Aged two and a half he was on a family bus trip when the bus stopped at a place called Nittambuwe. He mentioned that this was his previous home. A later visit to this place led to the identification of a family of Christians called Senewiratne, whose son Palitha had died in 1960 aged eight. On later visits Gamini recognized a number of people and places, and the statements he had made were verified as accurate for the life and circumstances of Palitha.13

Gnanatilleka Baddewithana

Born 1956 near Hedunawewa, central Sri Lanka (early bird case)

Gnanatilleka began talking about ‘another mother and father’ when she was one year old, and later referred to a previous life in Talawakele (some sixteen miles distant). Whenever she was angry she threatened to return to her Talawakele mother. Investigation in Talawakele matched her statements to a boy named Tillekeratne, who had died in 1954 aged thirteen. On a visit to Talawekele, she correctly named several members of Tillekeratne’s family and two neighbours, having been introduced to them one by one. On this occasion she failed to recognize only one person who, however, Tillekeratne had not known and who had been added to the group to test her. Gnanatilleka showed a particular fondness for a teacher with whom Tillekaratne had had a close relationship. She recalled significant details in his life, such as once having seen Queen Elizabeth travel past the village in a train, and going through a tunnel on the train journey to school. She also narrated in detail a mythological tale that had been taught to Tillekaratne, but which she had never heard in her family.14

See here for a longer article about this case.

Gopal Gupta

Born 1956 in Delhi, India

When Gupta was two years old, an incident occurred when he lost his temper at being asked to perform a task. He had no need to work, he said, as he had lived in a large house with many servants to do housework. This was in Mathura (160 kilometres distant), he went on, where he had another father and two brothers; one of the brothers had shot him to death. Among other details he said he had quarrelled with his wife and owned a company, named Suk Shancharak, that had to do with medicines. Some years later when Gupta was eight, enquiries were made in Mathura, where it was found that his statements closely corresponded to the life and death of Shaktipal Sharma, a well-known businessman, whose younger brother had shot and killed him after a quarrel in 1948. When the two families met, Gopal recognized Sharma family members and correctly identified individuals in photographs. He found his way unaided to Shaktipal’s house and to the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant that Shaktipal had jointly inherited from his father.15 

Hair Kam Kanya

Born 1861 in Tung Mah Niew, Thailand (family relationship)

As a small child Hair Kam Kanya identified strongly with the life of a maternal great-aunt named Sukanta Vilasri, a market trader who had died aged fifty in 1945. Hair Kam accurately described several features of Sukanta’s life and daily routine. She spontaneously asked to be taken to a village named Buagped, where she correctly identified the place where Sukanta had been born. She recognized Sukanta’s two daughters, whom she picked out of a group at the station, and correctly identified items of clothing that Sukanta had worn at the time of her death, picking them out from others as a test. Hair Kam also showed a strong behavioural identification with Sukanta, behaving more like an adult than as a child, and acting towards Sukanta’s children as if they were hers. Like Sukanta, she was strongly religious, to a degree unusual for a child. She also shared Sukanta’s habit, unusual in the family, of linking her hands behind her back.16 

Imad Elawar

Born in 1958 in Kornayel, Lebanon (early bird case)

Before he was two, Imad started making references to a previous life as a member of the Bouhamzy family in the village of Khriby (25 miles distant). He named individuals, and described events and property he said he had owned. He repeatedly mentioned a woman named Jamileh, and said she was more beautiful than his mother. He begged to be taken to Khriby. These statements were recorded by an independent investigator, who matched them to the life of Ibrahim Bouhamzy, a former resident of Khriby, who had had a beautiful girlfriend named Jamileh and died in 1949 while still a young man. Of 47 items that Ibram made before the first journey to Khriby all but three proved correct relating to the life of Ibrahim, for instance that he had owned a small yellow car, a bus and a truck.17

See here for a longer article about this case.

Indika Guneratne

Born 1962 near Pilyandala, Sri Lanka (early bird case)

Indika was three and a half years old when he began speaking of a previous life in Matara, a city 170 kilometres distant. He said he had been wealthy, with a fine house and estates, a truck and a ‘Benz’ car, and had kept elephants. He complained about the modest circumstances of his own family, and the lack of meat in the family diet. He gave almost no names. However, the memories were found to correspond closely to the life of KGJ Weerasinghe, the wealthy owner of a lumber and building business, who died in 1960 aged 72. Weerasinghe kept elephants and was also strongly interested in motor vehicles.18 

Ismail Altinkilic

Born 1957 Adana, Turkey

Abit Suzulmus, a resident of Adana, was murdered in 1956 along with one of his two wives and two of his children. Ismail, born the following year in a different district of Adana, claimed as soon as he could speak that he was Abit Süzülmüş and refused to answer to any other name than ‘Abit’. Questioned, he named Abit Süzülmüş’s two wives and three children, recounted details of the murder and identified the perpetrator as a man named Ramazan (who was independently tried and eventually hanged for the crime). Aged three, Ismail led his father to the other house where the murder had occurred. There he recognized various persons and places connected with Abit. He continued to visit members of the Suzulmus family and showed enduring affection for them, reacting with strong emotion to events in the family, such as the death of Abit’s mother. Witnesses agreed that İsmail showed feelings and behaviours that were appropriate for Abit Süzülmüş, but unusual for a small boy, including adult habits such as drinking raki.19 (See also Cevriye Bayri, below.)

See here for a longer article about this case.

Jagdish Chandra

Born 1923 in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India (early bird case)

In this case the subject’s statements were written down before verification was attempted. Aged three, Jagdish one day spontaneously demanded his father buy a car (a great rarity in India at the time). He then suggested his father get ‘his’ car, which was at the house of ‘Babuji Pandey, his father’ who lived at Benares (now Varanasi) a city some five hundred kilometres distant. Jagdish described features of the house, including an iron safe fixed in one of the walls and a courtyard where Babuji sat in the evenings. He went on to describe other details concerning Babuji and other family members, and of their neighbourhood. Readers responding to a newspaper appeal quickly identified a man named Babu Pandey, a wealthy Brahmin resident of Benares, as corresponding closely to the boy’s statements. Pandey’s son, Jai Gopal, had died aged ten in 1922. Of 36 statements that were written down, at least 24 were verified before the two families met. Jagdish Chandra also showed attachment to customs and dietary preferences, such as an insistence on eating before other members of the family, that are normal for a Brahmin but improbable for an infant belonging to a different caste.20

See here for a longer article about this case.

Jasbir Lal Jat

Born 1950, Rasulpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

In 1954 Jasbir, then three years old, was thought to have died of smallpox. However before he could be buried he appeared to revive. He now believed himself to be the son of Shakar, of Vehedi village (some twenty miles away), and said he wished to go there. For two years he would eat no food with his family unless it was prepared in the Brahmin way. His statements and changed behaviour distressed his family. Word reached the Tyagi family in Vehedi, who said Jasbir’s statements corresponded closely with their son Sobha Ram, who died in 1954 after falling off a chariot. Members of the family visited Jasbir, who identified them correctly. Taken to the outskirts of Vehedi, Jasbir was able to find his way to the Tyagis’ house without difficulty. There he demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the Tyagi family and its affairs, returning home with great reluctance. His own family were distressed by the bonds he subsequently developed with the Tyagis.21

See here for a longer article about this case.

Jimmy Svenson

Born 1952 in Sitka, Alaska (family relationship)

At two years of age, Jimmy began to say he was John, his mother’s brother and lived in the village of Klukwan (100 miles distant). He talked much of Klukwan and often said he wanted to go there to visit his grandmother (John’s mother). He gave some details that John would have known, but which it is unlikely he could have learned about by normal means. On visits to Klukwan he repeatedly asked to go fishing with a man who had been his uncle’s close friend and fishing companion. His uncle had died when a boat capsized; he was thought to have drowned. However Jimmy said that he (as John) had been shot to death, pointing to his stomach. He was born with four round marks that were said to resemble healed bullet wounds.22 

Kumkum Verma

Born 1955 near Darbhanga, India (early bird case)

Aged three, Kumkum began speaking of a previous life in a blacksmith’s family in Urdu Bazar, a district of Darbhanga some forty kilometres from her present family’s village. She said she had been poisoned by her daughter-in-law; named a son, Misri Lal, and a grandson, Gouri Shankar; and asked to be called ‘Sunnary’. Her repeated requests to be taken to Urdu Bazar were ignored and she was four years old before attempts were made to verify her statements. In Urdu Bazar an investigator identified Misri Lal Mistry, a blacksmith, and brought him to visit Kumkum’s family; he verified everything she had been saying as corresponding closely with the life of his mother Sundari, who had died in 1950 of unknown causes amid a family quarrel. Her correct statements included details of the family house and local environment, including the existence of guava, plum and date trees nearby; details of an iron safe guarded by Sundari’s pet cobra, and various other possessions; and accurate descriptions of various of Sundari’s relatives and their habits and activities.23

See here for a longer article about this case.

Lalitha Abeyawardena

Born 1962 in Pilyandala, near Colombo

At age two, Lalitha said she lived in Mirigama (48 kilometres distant), and had two sons and a daughter. She said her name was Nilanthie, and that her husband, whom she also named, was a schoolteacher, as she herself had been. Lalitha gave other details about a previous life, including how her house could be reached; a blacksmith nearby; and a bo tree near the crossroads going to the house. She also named members of her family, and the village where her younger sister lived. She mentioned that her mother was very fond of kukulala, a root which her present family had not heard of, but which Milanthie’s family had often eaten. She described the intestinal illness from which she said she had died, showing strong emotion about this and also about the fate of the children. An acquaintance identified Lalitha’s statements as true of the life of a woman named Nilanthie, who had died in 1953, nine years before Lalitha’s birth, probably of typhoid fever, and many were further verified in subsequent enquiries.24 

Mahes de Silva

Born 1965 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

When Mahes started to speak aged two, he often said, ‘I am Dolly Silva of Panadura’ (a nearby village). He would also say, ‘Let us go and see our Nallee at Panadura’, repeating these statements throughout the day. Noticing some bottles of spirits at the home of an uncle, he said, ‘I used this stuff.’ He remembered being hospitalized after a train accident. Word of these statements reached Nalene Peiris at Panadura, and she connected them with the life of her father Jolly de Silva, a senior transport official who became alcoholic and died in 1964 aged 59. A meeting between the two families led to Mahes’s statements being verified as true for Jolly de Silva, including mentions of a house that contained many books, a mechanical grindstone in the garden, and other details. Several of the child's behaviours also corresponded to de Silva, for instance a phobia of trains (de Silva had once fallen out of a moving train), and an unusual sitting posture that was common to both.25 

Mallika Aroumougam

Born 1955 in Madras, India

In 1956, Mallika’s family moved to Pondicherry, where they rented an apartment from the Mourougassigamany family. When she was about four years old, Mallika accompanied her mother on a visit to the upstairs apartment of the married couple who owned the building. There she recognized some embroidered cushions which their hostess said she had made herself. Maillika shook her head and said: 'That was me!' The cushions had been made by the woman’s sister Devi, who had died of a fever ten years previously. On a visit to the house in which Devi and her family had lived, Mallika identified ‘her’ mother and father in photographs of Devi’s parents, also a brother who she correctly stated ‘is never at home’ (he was often away on business). She also recalled unusual incidents, and became as attached to Devi’s brother as he had previously been to Devi’s sister. She seemed more attached to Devi’s parents than to her own.26

Marta Lorenz

Born 1918 in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (acquaintance relationship)

Maria Januaria de Oliveiro, known familiarly as Sinhá, was the daughter of a prosperous rancher. She was friendly with Ida Lorenz, wife of the local schoolteacher. She contracted tuberculosis and died aged 28. Before her death she promised Ida that she would be reborn as her daughter and identify herself by describing her present life. Ten months later Ida Lorenz gave birth to a daughter, Marta. Aged two and a half, the child began to speak about events in the life of Sinhá, telling her older sister ‘When I was big and you were small, I used to carry you often’, and that she used to live ‘far from here where there were many cows, oxen, and oranges’ (an accurate description of Sinhá’s family’s farm). She said her name was Maria, and that she also had another name, which however she could not remember. Marta made a total of 120 separate statements and recognitions of people known to Sinha.27 

See here for a longer article about this case.

Mounzer Haider

Born 1960 in Choueifate, Lebanon

At age three, Mounzer began referring to a previous life as Jamil Souki in Aley, a town fifteen kilometres distant. He gave many details of his part in the brief civil war of 1958, and closely described the circumstances of his death from a gunshot wound. Word reached the Souki family, who visited Mounzer’s family. During this and subsequent contacts Mounzer recognized Jamil’s mother and sister and several other relatives and friends; correctly indicated a closet in which Jamal had kept clothes, and noted missing items; and recognized the house formerly lived in by the Souki family. He described Jamil’s father, who he said ‘killed sheep with a sword’ (he was a butcher who used a large knife), and mentioned a brother called Najeeb and a sister ‘in America’ (she had been about to join her fiancé in Venezuela when Jamil died). Mounzer further mentioned that he had written a letter to his mother a few days before he died, and asked if she had received it (she had); and correctly stated that he had 31 Lebanese pounds on him when he was killed.28 

Nasir Toksöz

Born 1960 in Yukari Ekinci, near Antakya, Turkey

Aged two, Nasir was heard repeating, ‘My son has gone to Belgium’. Questioned, he went on to name four sons and a daughter he remembered having. Later he spontaneously recognized in the street the daughter of Nasir Alev, a seventy-year old villager who had died after contracting tetanus as the result of a fall. Nasir led the way to her house where he recognized other persons and places connected with Nasir Alev. Following this meeting he continued often visiting the family.29 

Necati Çaylak

Born 1963 in Karaali, near Antakya, Turkey

Aged two or three, Necati mentioned having lived near the highway at Karaali, then that he had been killed when his car hit a bridge. Seeing the bridge, he cried and described the accident in detail. Later he said his name had been Abdülkerim; that he had a wife and four children, naming three of them; that his father was called Selim; and that he had lived at Bedirge, a village eight kilometres distant. Word of this reached the widow of Abdülkerim Hadduro?lu, who had lived in Bedirge and died aged 29 in a car crash at the bridge at Karaali in February 1963. The widow visited Necati and was recognized by him; he also correctly named other members of the Hadduro?lu family, and later spontaneously recognized friends and relations of Abdülkerim. Other details in Necati’s statements – for instance that he had lost his shoes in the accident and that the car had been taken without its owner’s permission – were also found to be true.30 

Norman Despers

Born 1944 in Hoonah, Alaska (family relationship)

When he was about three years old, Norman was taken to a cove called Dundas Bay some 35 miles from Hoonah. There he spontaneously said: ‘I used to have a smokehouse on the strait here, and I was later blind’, showing great excitement. These two statements corresponded to the life of his grandfather Henry Despers Sr, a fisherman who had owned a smokehouse in Dundas Bay and died in 1937, having been blind for four years.31  

Ornuma Sua Ying Yong

Born 1972 in Dhonburi, Burma 

The year before Ornuma was born, her mother dreamed that two children came to her hand in hand, called her ‘auntie’, and ate Chinese noodles from her kitchen. They said they would stay with her, as they had no parents, having drowned ‘at the pagoda in the middle of the river’. When Ornuma was one year old she narrated details of the life of a young child who had accidentally drowned while in a boat with another child, near the pagoda at Paknam. She said the boy, named Ai Kai, had sat carelessly, the boat capsized and they both drowned, she hitting her head on a pillar. She had been four years old. Ornuma was born with an area of concavity at the back of her skull, which she herself attributed to having banged her head on a pillar when she drowned.32  

Parmod Sharma

Born 1944 in Bisauli, Uttar Pradesh, India

Aged two and a half, Parmod began telling his mother not to cook, because he had ‘a mother in Moradabad who could cook’. Later he said he owned a large soda and biscuit shop in Moradabad (a city ninety miles distant), and asked to be taken there. He related how in the previous life he had become ill after eating too much curd. This came to the attention of the Mehra brothers in Moradabad, who owned hotels, shops, and a biscuit and soda water manufacturing business. They recognized Parmod’s statements as pertaining exactly to the life and circumstances of their late brother and partner Parmanand Mehra, who had died in 1943 from an illness contracted after he gorged himself on curd. Aged five, Parmod was taken to visit the Mehras in Moradabad, where he spontaneously recognized several members of the family and behaved towards them in a manner appropriate to Parmanand’s relationship to them. Among other statements and recognitions he indicated someone he said owed him money: this person admitted that she had owed a debt to Parmanand before he died. He also made accurate observations about the house and changes that had been made there since Parmanand’s death.33 

Paulo Lorenz

Born 1923 in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (family relationship)

Emilia Lorenz was the eldest daughter of Ida Lorenz, and the older sister of Marta. She had a short and unhappy life, saying that if there was such a thing as reincarnation she would return as a man. She rejected suitors and made several attempts at suicide, one of which eventually succeeded when she was nineteen. In 1923, Ida gave birth to a boy, Paulo. Until he was five Paulo wore only girls’ clothes, played with dolls, and made remarks asserting his identity as Emilia. He showed an unusual skill in sewing, one of many traits he had in common with Emilia, who had possessed a great talent for sewing and embroidery. Already as an infant, Paulo could show other people how to use the sewing machine and could complete their work. Asked how he could sew without lessons, he replied: ‘I knew already how to sew ... The machine was mine and I have already sewed a lot with it.’34

Prakash Varshnay

Born 1951 in Chhatta, Uttar Pradesh, India

At the age of four Prakash several times woke in the night and ran out of the house, saying he belonged in Kosi Kalan (a town six miles distant). At such times he said his name was Nirmal and that his father was called Bholanath. In later statements he gave names of relatives and friends of ‘Nirmal’, described vivid memories, including the four shops owned by his father, and begged to be taken to his old home. His family discouraged this talk, and beat him to make him stop. Word of the child’s statements eventually reached Sri Bholanath Jain, a shopkeeper in Kosi Kalan whose son Nirmal had died of smallpox aged ten in 1950. On a visit to Kosi Kalan Prakash spontaneously recognized Nirmal’s parents, siblings, other relatives and neighbours, and showed strong signs of emotional attachment. He correctly identified rooms in the Jains’ house and shops, showing knowledge that was sometimes out of date, but would have been accurate at the time Nirmal was alive.35

Puti Patra

Born 1964 near Tamluk, West Bengal, India

Aged two, Puti spoke of having been married to a man named Bera, also having had a daughter and a son. She said her husband had come home drunk one day and hit her, knocking her out. Thinking she was dead he then took her body to a cowshed and hung it with a rope, in order to make it look like suicide. Puti’s statements seemed to refer to an incident in a neighbouring village when Lolitia, the wife of Bansi Bera and mother of a girl and baby boy, was said to have committed suicide eight years before Puti’s birth. When Puti was aged three, she was being carried by her father and spontaneously said, ‘This is our house’, indicating the house occupied by the Bera family.36  

Rabih Elawar

Born 1964 in Kornayel, Lebanon

Aged three, Rahih began to talk of a previous life, saying his name was Chowki and asking to be allowed to go to ‘his family’ who lived ‘down there’ (ie. further down the mountain village). When he was eventually allowed, Rabih went directly to the house of Asaad Sabra Elawar, a small mansion 150 metres from the hotel, boldly entered and introduced himself to its occupants as ‘Chowki’ – the name of a son of the family who had been killed in 1963, aged seventeen, in a motorcycle accident. Family members were astonished at being identified by an unknown child, and his familiarity with the interior of their house. Rabih went on to give many accurate details of the life of Chowki, notably the motorcycle accident that killed him. He mentioned details that were known only to a friend who had been riding pillion and who survived the accident, for instance that they had repainted the vehicle days before. He subsequently showed a strong attachment to the previous family and expected to be treated as a member.37 

Rajul Shah

Born 1960 in Vinchhiya, Gujarat, India

Aged two, Rajul began speaking of a previous life as Gita in Junagadh. Later she said she had been small when she died of a fever, and gave many details about her home and family, and their confectionary business. Her family identified a resident of Junagadh named Gokaldas K Thacker, whose daughter Gita died of measles aged two and a half, shortly before Rajul’s birth. Some of Rajul’s statements were found to be accurate for the life of Gita. Others were less accurate, but possibly reflected the limited understanding of the infant Gita had been when she died. On a visit, Rajul recognized Gita’s mother and other members of the Thacker family. Her preoccupation with sweets and candies was found to relate to a sweets shop run by her uncle. Among several others in the locality she spontaneously recognized the particular shop that Gita had frequented.38 

Ranjith Makalanda

Born 1942 in Kotte, Sri Lanka

When Ranjith was two years old his father noticed traits that were more characteristic of English people than of Sinhalese children, for instance in his skilful use of a knife and fork when eating out (unlike his siblings, who found this difficult). At three years, his father heard him telling his mother and siblings that they were not his family, which was in England. He named two brothers as Tom and Jim, and a sister as Margaret. He said his father worked on big steamers. His house was on a top of a hill without other houses close by. He described feeling cold, and the appearance of ice outside which was picked up by horse-drawn wagons (neither of which he could have seen in Sri Lanka). Eventually he went for a while to live and work in England. He also had an intense love of flying: in adulthood he speculated that he had been a British aeroplane pilot who had been killed in an airplane crash near Kotte, where the RAF had a base.39

Ratana Wongsombat

Born 1964 in Bangkok, Thailand

At eleven months, Ratana insisted her father to take her to the nearby temple. There she showed an intimate knowledge of the buildings and behaved like an experienced Buddhist devotee. She then stated she had been a Chinese woman named Kim Lan who had lived in the temple grounds. She pointed out the hut where she had lived and recognized nuns and monks by name. She talked frequently of a daughter, to whom she had been close. At age five, Ratana was taken to visit Kim Lan’s family home in a town south of Bangkok, showing strong affection towards Kim Lan’s daughter. She made many statements relating to the life of Kim Lan, of which the great majority were verified as true, for instance that she had donated money for rooms to be built in the local hospital and that when she died her ashes were scattered instead of being buried as she had stipulated.40 

See here for a longer article about this case.

Ravi Shankar

Born 1951 in Kanauj, India

Sri Jageshwar Prasad, a barber of the Chhipatti District, had a son named Ashok ‘Munna’ Kumar. In January 1951, the boy was knifed to death by neighbours, who hoped by getting rid of him to inherit his father’s property. A few years later, Sri Jageshwar Prasad heard that a boy named Ravi Shankar, born in July 1951 in the neighbouring district, was claiming to be the son of Jageshwar, a barber from Chhipatti. From the age of two Ravi had also been saying that he was killed by having his throat slit. He revealed the identity of the two murderers, the scene of the crime, and other circumstances of Munna’s life and death. Prasad met the boy, then aged four, who recognized him as the father of the previous life and gave him an account of Munna’s murder that corresponded closely with the confession extracted from one of the murderers, whom he was able to pick out of a crowd. Ravi accurately described certain of Munna’s possessions, including a toy pistol and a wooden elephant. Ravi had a linear mark resembling closely the scar of a long knife wound across the neck.41

Ruby Kusuma Silva

Born 1962 in Galle, Sri Lanka

Before she was two, Ruby talked about a previous life in a town called Aluthwala, fourteen kilometres distant, where she attended religious school at the temple. She described many details, appearing puzzled that she was now a girl. She further said she had drowned after accidentally falling into a well. Investigation identified a family in Althwala named Singho, whose son Karunasena had drowned in a well aged seven in 1959. Nearly all Ruby’s statements were found to be true for Karunasena, for instance that his father drove a bus, that he had two brothers, that the house was bigger than Ruby’s and roofed with tiles, and that there was a rubber plantation nearby. Other true statements included descriptions of fights with the neighbours over vegetable plots; an episode in which an aunt washed a piece of sooty loom machinery in a well; a scene in which a cobra was caught and killed; and the lameness of Karunasena’s father (he used a cane after suffering a stroke).42

Sayadaw U Sobhana

Born 1921 in Myingyan District, Burma

Ven Sayadaw U Sobhana, a monk living in Nakhon Sawan in Thailand, described memories of a previous life which he said he had since very early childhood. When he could talk at the age of two, he started speaking about it to his parents and siblings. He described dying of a fever in hospital, finding himself alone in the jungle in great distress – unaware he was dead – then meeting a ‘very old man dressed in white’. The man called him by his name and led him to a house in his village, close to where he had lived, and told him to enter. He saw people there and afterwards remembered nothing until he came to consciousness in his present existence. He said he remembered all his previous relations, friends, property and even old debts, and often visited the family of the man whose life he remembered.43 

Shamlinie Prema

Born 1962 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

As an infant Shamlinie showed a marked phobia of water and of buses. Among her earliest utterances were ‘Galtudawa mother’ and ‘Galtudawa Pema’. Asked about her phobia, she said, ‘I fell because of a bus’. She gradually told more details of a life she lived at Galtudawa, a small village two kilometres distant, naming her parents, a sister named Sriyawathie, and school friends. She described in detail how she had gone to buy bread and walking along the road had been splashed by a bus, stepped back and fell into a flooded paddy field, then ‘went to sleep’. She repeatedly demanded to be taken to Galtudawa and threatened to run away. One day she recognized Sriyawathie in the street. This meeting led to a visit by Shamlinie and her father to Galtudawa, where her statements were confirmed as relating exactly to the life of Hemaseelie Guneratne, who had died aged eleven in a drowning accident in 1961, having stepped off a rural road to avoid a passing bus while on her way to buy bread.44   

Sujith Lakmal Jayaratne

Born 1969 near Colombo, Sri Lanka (early bird case)

Aged one, Sujith said that he had lived in Gorakana (a village twelve kilometres distant from their home in a Colombo suburb) and had been known as ‘Gorokoana Sammy’. He had worked with trains, but had also sold arrack, the local spirits made from coconut. He had wife named Maggie, with whom he quarrelled. One day after a row with her he went to buy cigarettes, and when he stepped into the street was run over by a lorry, and died immediately afterwards. Local monks took an interest in Sujith’s statements, and investigated in Gorokano. They found that these and other details corresponded to a man named Sammy Fernando, who lived by the illicit production and sale of arrack, and who had died six months earlier after being struck by a lorry, in exactly the circumstances Sujith described. As a young child Sujith demonstrated behaviours typical of a habitual drinker of arrack, and of Sammy in particular.45

See here for a longer article about this case.

Salem Andary

Born 1944 in Falougha, Lebanon

Among Salem's first words were ‘Bedouins’, ‘stones’ and ‘hit’. Aged four, he described a previous life as Hasan Hamed of Krayye in Syria, a friend of Sultan Pasha Atrash (a well-known Druse leader), about whom he talked frequently, and described how he had been killed by Bedouins, who stoned him to death. Salem often had nightmares about the murder. He showed a marked animosity towards Bedouins, also a strong interest in guns and horses, which were not common in the mountain area where the Andary family lived. If he saw a gun he would say it belong to him; he liked to be photographed holding a gun. No attempt was made to verify Salem’s statements. Then when Suleyman was about 21, he and his father had occasion to attend a funeral in Krayye; there they discovered that his memories of having been murdered (which he still retained) matched the circumstances of a youth called Hasan Hamed, who had been killed by Bedouins in 1942 in revenge for a murder of a Bedouin by a member of his own family.46

Sukla Gupta

Born 1954 in Kampa, West Bengal, India

Between the ages of one and four, Sukla talked about a previous life as a married woman in Bhatpara, a village eleven miles distant. She mentioned an infant daughter named Minu, an unnamed husband, and his younger brothers Khetu and Karuna. She claimed she could lead the way to the family’s home in Bhatpara and insisted she would go there alone if she was not taken. Her father then learned from an acquaintance that a person called Khetu lived in Bhatpara. Investigation revealed that this person had had a sister-in-law, Mana, who had died in 1948 leaving an infant girl called Minu. When she was five years old, Sukla and her family journeyed to Bhatpara where she led the way to Mana’s house. She recognized Mana’s former husband in a group of more than twenty people, calling him ‘Minu’s father’, the correct style of address for a Hindu wife. She accurately identified other people and objects and recalled details from Mana’s life, for instance her husband’s favourite food, an infant son who died, and a period of residence in another locality.47  

Suleyman Andary

Born 1954 in Falougha, Lebanon

As a small child, Suleyman recalled vague memories of a previous life in a village called Gharife (thirty kilometres distant), where he had owned an olive press. He did not talk about them, however. At age six he was heard in his sleep muttering certain names; told of this, he recognized them as those of some of the children of his previous life. Aged eleven he recalled more details, among them that he had been the village mayor, named Abdallah Abu Hamdan. Two years later he began for the first time to talk about the memories with adults. Word now reached residents of Gharife, who recognized the statements as true of Abdallah Abu Hamdan, who had owned an olive press, and had been mayor for fifteen years before his death in 1942 aged 65. Suleyman now made two visits to Gharife, where he found his way through the orchards to Abdallah Abu Hamdan’s house, following an old and disused route, and recognized individuals associated with Abdallah Abu Hamdan, also a neighbour. Tested for his knowledge, he impressed the locals by correctly indicating and naming a place nearby that was not well-known even by most residents.48

See here for a longer article about this case.

Suleyman Zeytun

Born 1938 in Kayish, near Adana, Turkey

Suleyman was born deaf and mute. Aged two, he began trying to communicate something by gestures and behaviour, and as soon as he could walk he took a close interest in a widow and her children who lived in another part of the village. The woman’s husband, Mehmet Cosman, had drowned in an accident that occurred in 1938 when he was trying to wash his horse in a stream. As Suleyman grew he managed to convey to the family that he was Mehmet reborn, gesturing to a nearby field that belonged to the Cosmans, indicating that it belonged to him. He also claimed to be the owner of certain objects in the household, and had sometimes to be restrained from taking these away with him. Suleyman gave precise gestures describing the circumstances of Mehmet’s death: the stream had been unusually full, the horse became restless and bit him, and both got out of their depth and were drowned. These facts were known to many, including Suleyman’s family, but since Suleyman was a deaf-mute it is certain that he could not have overheard any discussion of them.49 

Sunil Dutt Saxena

Born 1959 in Aonla, Uttar Pradesh, India

When Sunil could barely talk, he repeated the word ‘budaun’ several times. On a visit to New Delhi, aged three, he saw for the first time household objects such as a radio, telephone and refrigerator, which his family did not possess, and commented that he owned these things. Shortly afterwards Sunil told his mother that he came from Badaun (a town about 35 kilometres away) where he had been wealthy, owned a factory and a car, had a wife, children and servants, also that he had founded a college, whose principal he named as Master Sahib. Sunil showed reluctance to do housework and wanted to be taught by Master Sahib. He repeatedly asked his parents to take him to Budaun. A family acquaintance thought these statements corresponded to a certain Seth Sri Krishna of Budaun. The family then visited a college founded by Seth Sri Krishna, members of his family and associates, also his former home and his widow. At each of these places Sunil recognized people places or objects that would have been familiar to Seth Srik Krishna and established to their satisfaction that he was talking about people and events in this person’s life.50

See here for a longer article about this case.

Swarnlata Mishra

Born 1948 in Shahpur, Madhya Pradesh, India (early bird case)

Passing with her father through the village of Katni, 170 miles from their home, three-year-old Swarnlata suddenly asked the driver to turn down a road towards ‘my house’. She later spoke of a previous life in Katni as ‘Biya’, the daughter of Sri Hira Lal Pathak and mother of two boys. She described the family house having four stuccoed rooms, black doors fitted with iron bars and a stone floor. Other details included a girl’s school behind the house, a railway running in front, and lime furnaces visible in the distance. The family owned a motor car (a rarity at the time). Swarnlata also performed unusual dances and songs which she could have had no opportunity to learn and which were in Bengali, a language which her family did not understand. Her father wrote down some of the statements and found the Pathak residence in Katni by following her directions. The Pathaks confirmed that the statements corresponded closely with the life of their daughter Biya, who had died in 1939. Subsequently Swarnlata recognized members of the Pathak family and other people and places, and made appropriate comments on various changes.51

See here for a longer article about this case.

Ma Than Than Sint

Born 1965 in Rangoon, Burma (family relationship)

When she was one year old, Than Than Sint began saying she had been Daw Ma Ma May, the first wife of her mother’s sister’s husband, naming both, and making accurate statements about their possessions. When her mother’s sister came to visit, wearing some buttons that had belonged to Ma Ma May, Than Than Sint examined them intently and asserted that they were hers. She said the same about other objects that had belonged to Ma Ma May, including dresses, a purse and a blanket, and recognized the woman’s niece, who was unknown to her own family. She insisted on being called Ma Ma May, although her family ignored her request.  Ma Ma May had been notably pious: Than Than Sint showed a precocious interest in religion and knowledge of Buddhist practices. When she was two years old, she spontaneously sat in the lotus position and began chanting, although there was no one she could have learned this behaviour from.52  

Ma Tin Aung Myo

Born 1953 in Nathul, Kyaukse, Burma 

When Tin Aung Myo’s mother was several months pregnant she dreamed repeatedly of being followed by a stocky Japanese soldier telling her he would come to stay with her. She recognized the soldier as an army cook who had befriended her during the Japanese occupation. When Tin Aung Myo was four, she was frightened by an aircraft flying overhead and said, ‘I want to go home. I want to go home.’ Over time she began to tell how, as a Japanese army cook, she had been strafed and killed by an Allied airplane.  Tin Aung Myo had strongly masculine traits, played with toy guns, said she wanted to be a soldier – unlike her siblings. She wore men’s clothes, and preferred to drop out of school than be forced to wear girl’s clothes. She disliked the hot climate and the spicy food, preferring half raw fish and sweet foods. She frequently expressed a longing to go to Japan, and sometimes cried for homesickness. The family nicknamed her Japangyi, ‘Japanese guy’.53

See here for a longer article about this case.

Veer Singh

Born 1948, near Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

As an infant, Veer sometimes refused to eat. As soon as he could talk he announced that he would not eat food cooked by his mother, saying, ‘I am not your son. I am the son of a Brahmin of Sikarpur’ (eight kilometres distant), mentioning his father’s name as Laxmi Chand. A neighbour who knew of these statements happened to meet a man named Laxmi Chand Sharma, a Brahmin resident of Sikarpur, whose son Som Dutt had died fifteen years earlier aged four. Laxmi Chand came unannounced to the Singhs’ village; seeing him, Veer called him ‘Father’ and embraced him. On a visit to Sikarpur, Veer made a number of recognitions. Veer’s statements closely corresponded with facts concerning Som Dutt, such as that he had a brother called Mum Chand. A strong attachment developed, and Veer made extended stays with the Chand family.54 

Warnasiri Adikari

Born 1957 at Kirikita, near Weliweriya, near Colombo, Sri Lanka

At four years of age, Warnasiri began to talk of having lived a previous life at Kimbulgoda, a village eight kilometres distant, describing his house as blue and being near a school. Word of this reached T Ranaweera, the mother of a young man named Ananada V Mahipal, who had died suddenly of a heart attack in 1956 aged 30, and she recognized the statements as being true of his life. On a visit to Kimbulgoda, Warnasiri led the way to Ananada’s house, finding however it had been torn down. At a neighbour’s house he recognized T Ranaweera as his mother, disregarding attempts to mislead him, and asked her, ‘Where are your teeth, mother?’ (she had had them extracted after his death). He made a number of other accurate statements about the family, house and environment, and the circumstances of Ananda’s death.55  

Wijanama Kithsiri

Born 1959 in Wehigala, near Kandy, Sri Lanka 

From the age of three, Wijanama was often heard muttering words in his sleep; these included Allaha (the Arabic word for God), and words from the Tamil dialect spoken by Kandyan Muslims, in the correct accent. Aged four, he began to talk of a previous life in Kandy (25 kilometres distant), and expressed a longing to visit his previous parents. His statements and unusual behaviour made it clear that the life was in an urban Moslem family, with different customs from his own rural Sinhalese Buddhist family. During a visit to Kandy, made when he was aged five, he begged to be taken to ‘his’ previous house, and insisted on going to the temple where he worshipped (in fact a mosque). Investigations were impeded by the hostility of Muslims to the idea of reincarnation. Extensive inquiries failed to identify a person corresponding to his descriptions, and Wijanama made no further recognitions. However there were no Muslims in his village, and therefore no normal means by which a young child might pick up Muslim interests, preferences and behaviours.56 

Wijeratne Hami

Born 1947 in Uggalkaltota, Sri Lanka 

Wijeratne was born with a marked deformity of his right breast and arm. When he was two, his mother overheard him saying to himself that this was because he had murdered his wife in his previous life, mentioning details about the crime. Her husband, to whom she mentioned this, then told her for the first time about his younger brother Ratran Hami, who had been executed in 1928 for the murder of his wife in a neighbouring village. He said he thought the child’s statements referred to this event, and this was confirmed by investigators on the basis of interviews and court documents. During his trial Ratran had argued he had not intended to kill his wife, but following his conviction accepted that he had to die for the crime. Wijeratne told an investigator that he (as Ratran) had committed the murder and expressed no contrition, saying that in a similar situation he would do the same again. He regarded the deformity as a just punishment for his behaviour, but thought he had acted correctly as a husband should.57 

William George Jr

Born 1950 in south-eastern Alaska (family relationship)

Before his death, William George Sr repeatedly told his favourite son and daughter-in-law that he would return as their son, and that they would recognize him by birthmarks similar to the ones he already had. A few weeks later he disappeared from a fishing boat. Nine months after this his daughter-in-law gave birth to a boy, who had two prominent birthmarks in exactly the locations mentioned by his grandfather. As he grew, the boy showed a precocious knowledge of fishing and boats, including the best places for fishing and information about nets. He identified closely with his grandfather, referring to his great aunt as sister, and to his uncles and aunts as sons and daughters. His siblings called him ‘grandfather’, to which he did not object. He laid claim to his grandfather’s gold watch, insisting it belonged to him.58 

Maung Yin Maung

Born 1960 in Rangoon, Burma (family relationship)

When Yin Maung was two, he could he heard saying, ‘U Po Taik. U Po Taik’. His parents thought he meant to indicate U Po Saik; this was the father of an old friend of the family named U P Tin, an air force pilot who had been killed in an aeroplane crash. Yin Maung later confirmed this, saying he had been Au Maung (a pet name of U P Tin). Over the next few years, Yin Maung made statements about the previous life. He identified U P Tin’s sister and gave details of a cash loan he had made to her, which he now wanted back. The sister confirmed the loan, which was known to her and only one other living person, which however she claimed had been a gift. He gave many details about the circumstances relating to the fatal accident. He also showed a strong attachment to U P Tin’s mother who he repeatedly referred to as ‘my mother’.59  

Zouheir Chaar

Born 1948 in Ainab, Lebanon

When Zouheir could talk he criticized his mother Samiya for having ‘stolen water’ from him. This and other remarks suggested he was remembering the life of Jamil Adnan Zahr, a neighbour of Samiya’s family who lived near Abadye, some twenty kilometres distant: Jamil had frequently quarrelled with Samiya for unfairly using up all the water that both families depended on to irrigate their fields. Jamil became ill and died at the age of thirty-five, close to the time of Zouheir’s birth. On a visit to Abadye, Zouheir pointed out ‘his house’, cried when he saw Jamil’s father there, and made correct statements about the Zahrs’ property and its boundaries. He enquired about the bees that Jamil had kept and indicated exactly from which area the honey came. Aged four, he recognized one of Jamil’s sons, his daughter, and other relatives and friends. Zouheir strongly identified with Jamal and showed the same affinities and preferences towards Jamal’s family as Jamal himself had shown. He continued to rebuke his mother about the water problem, and often visited Abadye where he participated in the affairs of the Zahr family.60  

Other Case Studies

Numerous reincarnation cases have been studied by researchers other than Stevenson. The Psi Encyclopedia includes articles on the more notable of these cases. In many of them, the case subjects' memories were recorded in writing before verifications were undertaken. These 'early bird' cases are indicated in the following list.

Dorothy Eady / Omm Sety (England)

Dilukshi Nassanka (Sri Lanka, early bird case)

Duminda Ratnayake (Sri Lanka, early bird case)

James Leininger (USA, early bird case)

Jenny Cockell (Mary Sutton) (England, early bird case)

Kemal Atasoy (Turkey, early bird case)

Nazih Al-Danaf (Lebanon)

Pollock Twins (England)

Pretiba Gunawardana (Sri Lanka)

Purnima Ekanayake (Sri Lanka)

Rakesh Gaur (India)

Ramoo and Rajoo Sharma (Burma)

Ryan Hammons (USA, early bird case)

Sumitra / Shiva (India)

Thusita Silva (Sri Lanka, early bird case)

Toran (Titu) Singh (India)

Uttara Huddar/Sharada (India)

Wael Kiwan (Lebanon)

Researcher Biographies

The following articles introduce the investigators who have contributed substantially to reincarnation research.

Erlendur Haraldsson

Jürgen Keil

James G Matlock 

Antonia Mills

Satwant Pasricha

Titus Rivas

Ian Stevenson

Jim B Tucker

Robert McLuhan and James G Matlock


Stevenson, I. (1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (2nd ed., revised). Charlottesville, Virginia, USA: University Press of Virginia.

Stevenson, I. (1975). Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. I: Ten Cases in India. Charlottesville, Virginia, USA: University Press of Virginia.

Stevenson, I. (1977). Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. II: Ten Cases in Sri Lanka. Charlottesville, Virginia, USA: University Press of Virginia.

Stevenson, I. (1980). Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. III: Twelve Cases in Lebanon and Turkey. Charlottesville, Virginia, USA: University Press of Virginia.

Stevenson, I. (1983). Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. IV: Twelve Cases in Thailand and Burma. Charlottesville, Virginia, USA: University Press of Virginia.


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  • 37. Stevenson (1980).
  • 38. Stevenson (1975).
  • 39. Stevenson (1974).
  • 40. Stevenson (1983).
  • 41. Stevenson (1974).
  • 42. Stevenson (1977).
  • 43. Stevenson (1983).
  • 44. Stevenson (1977).
  • 45. Stevenson (1977).
  • 46. Stevenson (1980).
  • 47. Stevenson (1974).
  • 48. Stevenson (1980).
  • 49. Stevenson (1980).
  • 50. Stevenson (1975).
  • 51. Stevenson (1974).
  • 52. Stevenson (1983).
  • 53. Stevenson (1983).
  • 54. Stevenson (1975).
  • 55. Stevenson (1977).
  • 56. Stevenson (1977).
  • 57. Stevenson (1974).
  • 58. Stevenson (1974).
  • 59. Stevenson (1983).
  • 60. Stevenson (1980).