In the great majority of reincarnation cases, verifications of past-life memory claims were made and a person matching them was identified before investigators reached the scene. This article lists 31 cases in which records were made of a subject’s memory claims before they were verified. In these cases, there is no question about what subjects said about the previous life before their memories were confirmed. Some cases have written documentation of the previous person’s life and death as well, supplying another level of evidential support. Sceptical critics nonetheless have sought ways to discredit such cases.
- Cases with Early-Bird Testimony
- Dilukshi Nissanka (Sri Lanka)
- Duminda Ratnayake (Sri Lanka)
- Gnanatilleka Baddewithana (Sri Lanka)
- Imad Elawar (Lebanon)
- Indika Guneratne (Sri Lanka)
- Iranga Jayakody (Sri Lanka)
- Jagdish Chandra (India)
- Kemal Atasoy (Turkey)
- Kumkum Verma (India)
- Prabhu (India)
- Shanti Devi (India)
- Sunder Lal (India)
- Sunita Chandak (India)
- Swarnlata Mishra (India)
- Thusitha Silva (Sri Lanka)
- Early-Bird Cases with Past-Life Documentation
- Ajendra Singh Chauhan (India)
- Bishen Chand Kapoor (India)
- Chatura Buddika Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
- Christina K (Netherlands)
- James Leininger (USA)
- Jenny Cockell (Charles Savage) (UK)
- Jenny Cockell (Mary Sutton) (UK)
- Ruprecht Schulz (Germany)
- Ryan Hammons (USA)
- Rylann O’Bannion (USA)
- Subashini Gunasekera (Sri Lanka)
- Sujith Lakmal Jayaratne (Sri Lanka)
- Sunita Khandelwal (India)
- Takeharu (Japan)
- Thusita Silva (Sri Lanka)
- Will (Wilhelm Schmidt) (USA)
- Critical Responses to Early-Bird Cases
The study of reincarnation in psychical research or parapsychology involves the investigation of cases of past-life memory arising spontaneously in the waking state or dreams, without the aid of hypnosis or other induction procedures. This research is controversial and, naturally, has attracted sceptical criticism.
When Ian Stevenson began the systematic investigation of past-life memory claims in 1961, he found that by the time he learned about them, most cases had been ‘solved’ – the subject’s memories had been confirmed and the previous incarnation had been identified. Most of the memory claims came from young children who were so insistent about going back to the places they recalled having lived that their parents took them there. Parents followed their children’s directions in locating the previous families, many of whom lived in neighbouring villages,1 but rarely did they write down what their children were saying before doing this.
In investigating past-life memory claims, Stevenson talked to as many first-hand witnesses as possible, both on the side of the case subject and the side of the previous person, returning to interview them repeatedly, in order to establish as best he could exactly what the child had said and the steps that led to verifying his or her memories.2 From the start, Stevenson appreciated the need to reach cases early enough so that he or a colleague could record a child’s statements in writing or on tape before assessing the accuracy of the memories, but it proved difficult to do this in the Asian countries in which he concentrated his research. As Stevenson built up a network of assistants, however, this ideal became easier to achieve, and he and his teams were able to study more cases in which they recorded a child’s statements before verifying them.3
Stevenson’s diligence in interviewing and re-interviewing witnesses notwithstanding, cases without records made prior to verifications are open to the question of faulty or selective memory. Once facts about the previous life are known, one cannot be certain that witnesses have not harmonized their memories with what they now know to be true, forgetting unconfirmed remarks or unconsciously reworking recollections of a child’s statements to make them seem more accurate than they were in fact.4
Although this possibility must be considered seriously, it does not necessarily account for the research findings. Sybo Schouten and Stevenson compared cases with and without prior written records. On average, 20% to 25% of children’s memories about the previous life in solved cases were wrong in one way or another and this was true whether or not the statements were recorded in writing before they were checked. A comparison of Indian and Sri Lankan cases found that 76.7% of statements in cases with prior written records and 78.4% of statements in cases without prior written records were correct for the previous person, even though many more statements were recorded per subject in written-records cases.5
Moreover, when Stevenson and Jürgen Keil compared fifteen cases that had been reinvestigated by Keil twenty years or more after their investigation by Stevenson, they found that in only a single case was the assessment of paranormality higher in Keil’s series (it was lower in eleven cases). New details were added to a few cases, but on the whole, considerably more was lost than was added, and there was no indication of selective improvement of witnesses’ memories.6
Philosopher Stephen Braude introduced the term ‘early-bird testimony’ to refer to records of a subject’s statements made prior to verification.7 However, reincarnation cases do not involve memory claims alone. Case subjects often recognize places and people from the previous lives and when the previous persons are identified, similarities in personality and behaviour between the lives usually become apparent. Additionally, there may be physical correspondences such as likenesses in facial structure, eye form or skin colour; birthmarks or birth defects matching scars or wounds; and recurring diseases.8
Records that help establish not only the accuracy of a case subject’s memories, but these other features also, exist in many cases. Contemporary documentation obviates reliance on the memories of witnesses and when combined with records of the subject’s memories before verification, adds substantially to the evidential strength of a case. Stevenson sought out police, medical and autopsy reports to confirm the previous person’s injuries and manner of death and collected birth and death certificates and other documents in support of other aspects of the memories.
Critics frequently complain about the lack of early-bird testimony in reincarnation cases, but when it is produced, they are not satisfied. Sceptics have assailed such cases on various grounds, even suggesting fraud on the part of investigators. Sceptical attention so far has been directed solely to records of children’s memory claims and has overlooked records pertaining to the previous person’s life and death, although many cases include materials of both classes. Altogether, 31 cases with early-bird testimony have been reported in print between 1924 and 2021 from nine countries, including the United Kingdom and United States.
Cases with Early-Bird Testimony
A case subject’s past-life memories may have been recorded by the subjects themselves or by family members, friends or journalists, as well as by researchers, but with a single exception (as explained below) each of the thirty cases listed here was followed up by the research community.9
In all cases, there was no family or acquaintance connection between the lives; even when statements are recorded in family and acquaintance cases, the possibility that the subject overheard something that someone said cannot be ruled out conclusively. In all but two cases, the main memories surfaced in early childhood. With rare exceptions, not only had the subject’s memory claims not been investigated before being recorded, the identity, or probable identity, of the previous person was unknown to the subject’s family.
Not many cases qualify for inclusion here. Of roughly 2,500 cases in the files of the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of Virginia in 2005, only 33 (1.3%) were early-bird cases,10 and reports of only twenty of these have been published.
The DOPS early-bird count includes cases studied by Stevenson’s colleagues Erlendur Haraldsson, Antonia Mills, and Jürgen Keil or earlier generations of researchers, in addition to Stevenson himself.11 All are Asian cases. As more Western cases have come to light in recent years, it has been easier to obtain written records from early stages in a case’s development. Eight Western cases with early-bird testimony have been reported by Stevenson, Jim B Tucker, Titus Rivas, James Matlock, and KM Wehrstein. Two were self-reported by Jenny Cockell.
This section lists fifteen early-bird cases without records relating to the previous life. Sixteen additional cases are listed under the heading Early-Bird Cases with Past-Life Documentation. Notes on each case emphasize who recorded the initial testimony and describe the nature of the records involved. Space limitations preclude summarizing the cases in greater detail, but links to online reports or entries in the Psi Encyclopedia are provided for the majority and published sources are cited for the remainder.
Dilukshi Nissanka (Sri Lanka)
Dilukishi Nissanka’s memory claims were documented initially in a letter to the abbot of a rock temple, who undertook their verification. When he encountered difficulties, he contacted a journalist friend who interviewed Dilukshi and her family, then wrote an article for his newspaper, Weekend. This article came to the attention of a man who recognized Dilukshi’s memories as referring to his deceased daughter. He wrote to Dilushki’s father, sending a photocopy to the abbot.
Duminda Ratnayake (Sri Lanka)
Duminda Ratnayake’s memories of being a Buddhist monk were recorded by a Sri Lankan journalist who quickly identified them as referring to a certain man, but Haraldsson found that the statements better fit someone else. Duminda also displayed behaviours corresponding to this other man, who had been chief monk of the monastery in the 1920s.
Gnanatilleka Baddewithana (Sri Lanka)
This was the first Sri Lankan reincarnation case to be investigated, by Buddhist scholar HSS Nissanka, between 1960 and 1965.14 The first stories about it appeared in the Sri Lankan press in 1960 and 1961.15 Nissanka reported on his investigation in Sinhalese in 1964 and later in an English-language book, The Girl Who Was Reborn.16
Nissanka not only recorded many of Gnanatilleka’s memories before verifying them, he was able to make controlled tests of her recognitions of people from the previous life. Stevenson came to the case after Nissanka but investigated it independently; he included his report in his 1966 monograph, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.17 The case is described elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Imad Elawar (Lebanon)
Stevenson was the first to record the past-life memories of Imad Elawar and identify the person to whom they referred. His report appeared in Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation in 1966. The identification of the previous person was questioned by sceptic Leonard Angel, whose arguments were assessed as misleading by Julio Barros.18 The case is described and the controversy treated at greater length elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Indika Guneratne (Sri Lanka)
This is another case Stevenson was fortunate to encounter before the present and previous families had met. A tentative identification had been made by Indika’s father, although he had done nothing to verify the boy’s memory claims. Indika’s family was interviewed and his statements recorded by Stevenson’s Sri Lankan field assistants before verifications were made. Stevenson’s report appears in the second volume of his Cases of the Reincarnation Type series.19
Iranga Jayakody (Sri Lanka)
Stevenson’s Sri Lankan team learned about this case, interviewed the family and made lists of Iranga’s statements before tracing the person to whom they referred. Certain of Iranga’s behavioural traits that were out of place in his family were found to resemble this person. Stevenson and his colleague Godwin Samararatne reported on their investigation here.20
Jagdish Chandra (India)
Jagdish Chandra was the son of KKN Sahay, who investigated his past-life memories and wrote about them in a booklet published in 1927. The case was later gone over by Stevenson, who spoke to Jagdish in adulthood and added new details.21 This important case and the criticisms it has engendered are treated elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Kemal Atasoy (Turkey)
Kemal Atasoy retained his memories when he was interviewed by Jürgen Keil, who was the first to make a written record of them. Keil was then able to identify the person to whom Kemal referred. Jim Tucker summarized this case in a book, but the principal report is in a journal paper he authored with Keil.22 The case is treated at greater length elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Kumkum Verma (India)
An aunt took an interest in Kumkum Verma’s memories and recorded them in a notebook before any attempt to verify them was made. The aunt’s notebook unfortunately was lost, but not before several of Kumkum’s statements had been copied out for Stevenson’s team. Stevenson’s report of his investigation appears in the first volume of his series, Cases of the Reincarnation Type.23 The case is described more fully elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
The case of Prabhu was one of the first reincarnation cases to be investigated by modern standards and is the earliest early-bird case of which there is a published account. The case was investigated in the 1920s under the direction of RBS Sunderlal, a local government functionary, who reported it in a French journal article.24 KS Rawat and Titus Rivas provide an English-language summary of the case that draws on a 1964–65 follow-up investigation by HN Banerjee, PK Mathur and SC Mukherjee, in addition to Sahay’s original report.25
Shanti Devi (India)
This 1930s case is important because a teacher recorded Shanti Devi’s memories in a letter and sent them to the town she claimed to have lived, addressed according to information she gave, and received a reply certifying them as correct. A government committee was formed to accompany Shanti Devi on her first visit to the town and witnessed her recognitions of people and places there.26 The case was studied extensively by Swedish journalist Sture Lönnerstrand in the 1950s.27 It is treated at greater length elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Sunder Lal (India)
The case of Sunder Lal is one of seven KKN Sahay included in his booklet and one of three of which a written record was made before the past-life memories were verified.28
Sunita Chandak (India)
Sunita Chandak’s father enlisted the help of a journalist in assessing her memory claims. The journalist published an article about the case, listing several of Sunita’s statements. A reader of the story recognized these as corresponding to his deceased daughter. When she was taken to his village, Sunita recognized places and people connected to the previous life.
Although Stevenson investigated this case, he never published a report of it. It is known from the account of Tom Shroder, a Washington Post journalist who accompanied Stevenson on a research tour to India in 1997.29 The case is described elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopaedia.
Swarnlata Mishra (India)
Some of Swarnlata Mishra’s past-life recollections were recorded in writing by her father, who gave them to HN Banerjee. Banerjee went to the town Swarnlata said she had lived and, solely on the basis of these notes, was able to identify the family to whom Swarnlata was referring. When taken to the town, Swarnlata recognized places and people, despite attempts to mislead her.
Thusitha Silva (Sri Lanka)
Tissa Jayawardane of Stevenson’s Sri Lanka team made a written record of some of Thusitha Silva’s memories, then went to the town she recalled having lived and on their basis tracked down the family to whom they referred. A second member of the team. Godwin Samararatne, recorded additional memories before Thusitha met members of the previous family. Stevenson and Samararatne reported on their investigation here.31
Early-Bird Cases with Past-Life Documentation
Sixteen cases with early bird testimony include records relating to the previous life and death. Such records are important in providing confirmation of a subject’s recollections and other case features without relying on the memories of witnesses. All cases apart from the Charles Savage life of Jenny Cockell were investigated by the research community. An exception is made for this case because it possesses good documentation, which Cockell has reproduced in publications and thus made publicly available.
Ajendra Singh Chauhan (India)
One of Stevenson’s Indian scouts and field assistants, GRS Gaur, learned about this case from a relative of Ajendra Singh Chauhan’s family. Gaur recorded Ajendra’s memories about the previous life and death and went to the town he recalled having lived, where he confirmed the essential ones. Ajendra recalled having been shot and killed, and Gaur obtained records of an enquiry into the incident from the local police station. Antonia Mills followed up the case with Gaur’s assistance and wrote about it in a book chapter and a journal paper available online.32
Bishen Chand Kapoor (India)
This is another case originally studied by KKN Sahay in the 1920s. On meeting Bishen Chand, Sahay noted things he had been saying about the previous life, and with these notes traced the person to whom the boy’s memories referred. Sahay accompanied Bishen Chand on his first visit to the town, where he recognized places and picked out his father’s image in an old photograph. Certain details of his memories were confirmed by the diary of a lawyer who had represented the previous person in a criminal affair.
This case was restudied in the 1960s and 1970s by Stevenson, who reported on it in the first volume of his Cases of the Reincarnation Type series.33 It is described at greater length elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Chatura Buddika Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
Two Sri Lankan journalists heard about Chatura Karunaratne’s past-life memories and independently interviewed him and his family concerning them. A published story about the case came to the attention of Tissa Jayawardane, then assisting Erlendur Haraldsson. Tissa Jayawardane met with Chatura and recorded additional items before the previous person was identified. The case was solved when a man saw the newspaper account and recognized it as referring to his deceased son.
Haraldsson subsequently obtained a document from a military court of enquiry regarding the circumstances of the death in question. A photograph of the previous person’s body taken at his funeral shows his face bare, but his head and neck covered with bandages extending over his left ear, the location of Chatura’s birthmarks. Haraldsson reported his investigation in a journal paper and later in a book.34
Christina K (Netherlands)
Titus Rivas investigated the Dutch case of Christina K over several years and wrote about it more than once. When he first reported it, he had identified a likely previous person from records in a municipal archive but had been unable to trace family members from the previous life. Later he did so, and this allowed him to confirm others of Christina’s memories.35 For more about this case, see Rivas’s summary elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
James Leininger (USA)
This American case has occasioned a good deal of controversy, but it is well documented. James Leininger’s parents wrote about his memories and their investigation of them in Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot.36 Unfortunately they did not retain their contemporary records of his statements, but they did preserve his childhood drawings and James was filmed talking about his memories for a television documentary before the case was solved.
This documentary was never broadcast, but Jim Tucker obtained a copy of it, as well as an after-action flight report in which the previous death was described, consistent with James’s memories and drawings.37 Additionally, James’s father, Bruce Leininger, was able to confirm details of James’s memories in flight logbooks posted to the internet years after James related them. Tucker wrote about his investigation and summarized his findings in a journal paper and in book chapters.38 Recently, James Matlock has examined the case and produced a detailed timeline of developments.39This case and the criticisms it has received are covered at greater length elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Jenny Cockell (Charles Savage) (UK)
Jenny Cockell had waking memories and dreams in childhood that she was able to connect to Charles Savage, but she did not initially know who he was. As an adult, a partial name came to her in regression under hypnosis, and this enabled her to track down his death certificate. The fatal accident noted there differed from what she had envisioned under hypnosis, but was consistent with a childhood dream. Cockell wrote about her memories of Charles Savage initially in Journeys Through Time and later met a member of Charles’s family, from whom she confirmed the accuracy of items of which she was previously uncertain.40 This case is summarized elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Jenny Cockell (Mary Sutton) (UK)
Jenny Cockell’s well-known memories of Mary Sutton have more documentary support than generally is realized. She gave a detailed account of her memories to a BBC reporter before they had been verified; the reporter’s nine-page list of statements and their corroboration by Mary’s eldest son is reproduced in one of Cockell’s books.41 A map of the town she drew in childhood turned out to conform to an actual map of the town, which she had not previously seen.42 Cockell obtained Mary’s birth and death certificates, establishing her age at death and confirming other details of her memories.43
Cockell’s self-investigation was reviewed by Mary Rose Barrington, who deposited her records in the archives of the Society for Psychical Research. For more on this case and criticisms it has engendered, see the article about it elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Ruprecht Schulz (Germany)
Ruprecht Schulz was in his fifties when images of killing himself in an earlier life came to his mind. By following up hunches and clues in his memories, he identified the person he believed he had been. He then wrote a book about his experiences, which brought them to the attention of Stevenson and other researchers.
Stevenson obtained an account of Schulz’s memories written before he made contact with the previous person’s son. Stevenson also obtained this man’s death certificate and Ruprecht’s birth certificate. He described the case in European Cases of the Reincarnation Type.44 For further details, see the summary elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Ryan Hammons (USA)
Ryan Hammons’ mother Cyndi recorded his many past-life memories in a journal, which by the time the case was solved included well over two hundred items. Ryan recalled being associated with Hollywood, but the case was solved only with difficulty. He recognized a photograph in a book as being of himself, but this man was identified only after research in the archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Among other things, Ryan said he had died at 61, which was initially contradicted by the previous person’s death certificate, but subsequent research determined that the wrong date of birth was given there and that Ryan was correct on this point. Jim Tucker investigated this case and wrote about it in Life After Life.45 It is described elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopaedia.
Rylann O’Bannion (USA)
Rylann O’Bannion appeared in an episode of the American television programme Ghost Inside My Child in 2014, when she was six. By that time, her case had been solved, but it had not been when her mother began corresponding with producers of the show, resulting in an unusually long and detailed documentary history of Rylann’s memories leading up to the identification.
James Matlock interviewed Rylann and Cindy four years after the show aired and covers more recent developments in Signs of Reincarnation. Matlock obtained the previous person’s autopsy report, which supported Rylann’s recollections of her death. Matlock has described the case in an article for Paranormal Review, as well as in his book.46 It is described elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Subashini Gunasekera (Sri Lanka)
The case of Subashini Gunasekera is another that Stevenson’s Sri Lanka team learned about and documented before solving by talking to witnesses in the area of the previous life. When Stevenson joined the investigation, he examined contemporary newspaper reports of the event that resulted in the previous person’s death, further supporting Subashini’s memories. Stevenson and Godwin Samararatne reported on their investigation here.
Sujith Lakmal Jayaratne (Sri Lanka)
Sujith’s past-life memories came to the attention of a monk in a nearby monastery, who took down a list of things he had been saying, and went to the town he cited and confirmed their correctness for the person he claimed to have been. Stevenson was later able to verify details of that person’s fatal accident through police records. He reported on his investigation in the second volume of his Cases of the Reincarnation Type series.47
Despite its many strong features, critics have raised questions about this case. These are discussed in an article elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Sunita Khandelwal (India)
A lawyer friend of Sunita Khandelwal’s family wrote down several of her memory claims and sent the list to HN Banerjee, who interviewed Sunita and her family and recorded several more items before verifying them.48 Stevenson later went over the case and secured medical records that documented the death Sunita recalled, confirming that a birthmark she bore was at the site of a fatal wound. Stevenson reported his investigation in Reincarnation and Biology.49 This case is described more fully elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
When Takeharu was two years old, he played with toy ships in the bath in a peculiar way, sinking it as if it had been attacked. When he was three, he started talking about Yamoto, which at first meant nothing to his parents. Gradually they realized he was referring to a battleship Yamoto which had been sunk by American forces during World War II, 67 years before the boy's birth.
Takeharu said various things about a past life he seemed to be remembering. His mother wrote these things down and contacted Ohkado Masayuki, who discovered that Takeharu's memories matched a young officer assigned to the ship. For a fuller summary of this case and its investigation, see here
Thusita Silva (Sri Lanka)
Thusita Silva’s past-life memories were documented by members of Erlendur Haraldsson’s Sri Lankan team before verifying them. In addition, Haraldsson secured a document from the local coroner’s office that confirmed the circumstances of the death Thusita recalled. Haraldsson reported on his investigation first in a journal paper and later a book.50 He also described the case elsewhere in the Psi Encyclopedia.
Will (Wilhelm Schmidt) (USA)
This case is one of two in the present list (the other being Ruprecht Schulz) in which past-life memories emerged principally in adulthood, although there were childhood precursors. It is the only case verified solely through research on the internet, with no contact with persons acquainted with the previous life to confirm the accuracy of the identification, and is therefore the most weakly developed case in the list. However, it includes memories from dated and time-stamped entries in online forums that were subsequently verified by research on Ancestry.com and other sites.
The life involved here, of a man named Wilhelm Schmidt, is one of thirty that Will claims to recall. The case is reported by KM Wehrstein in an article currently in press.51
Critical Responses to Early-Bird Cases
Champe Ransom was a research assistant to Stevenson in the early 1970s. At that time, there were only eleven early-bird cases in Stevenson’s files. Ransom writes that seven of these were ‘seriously flawed in some respect’ and that ‘the other four had the merits and weaknesses of the typical rebirth case’.52 Presumably the eleven cases included the five published by Sunderlal and Sahay and one would have been Imad Elawar, but Ransom tells us nothing more about the reports he examined. There were in any event considerably more early-bird cases recorded by 2015, when Ransom issued these comments.
Ransom’s contribution of 2015 is in the main a partial summary of a critique of Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation he prepared for Stevenson when he was working for him. Among other concerns, Ransom notes Stevenson’s heavy reliance on interpreters. However, in only two of the cases with early bird testimony listed above (the cases of Imad Elawar and Kemal Atasoy) were the records made with the help of interpreters. In 28 of the thirty cases, the memory claims were initially recorded by persons whose native language was the same as the case subject, and in all except the case of Will, of the previous person as well.
In his critique, Ransom took Stevenson to task for spending only a few days on his cases, but this overlooks the fact that he had teams on the ground who investigated the cases before his arrival and after his departure, and that his investigations typically spanned years.53 This is characteristic of Stevenson’s investigation methodology not only with early-bird cases, although it is evident with them.
Ransom questioned the reliability of the memories of witnesses related to the previous life. Although this is a serious concern, acknowledged by Stevenson, it is partially rectified with documents compiled during that life or shortly after death in the life. Fifteen of the thirty published early-bird cases have written documentation confirming some part of the past-life memories. Although in no case do these documents cover the full range of the memories, they provide limited support to the cases.
The ‘Ransom Report’ has become part of the standard critical response to Stevenson, probably because it alleges many of the flaws critics assume mar Stevenson’s research. Sceptics have targeted several early-bird cases for special treatment. All are covered elsewhere in the Psi Encylopedia, so it is enough to indicate them here: Gnanatilleka Baddewithana, Imad Elawar, Jagdish Chandra, Kemal Atasoy, Bishen Chand Kapoor, James Leininger, Jenny Cockell’s memories of Mary Sutton, and Sujith Lakmal Jayaratne. Interested readers are directed to these pieces to see the substance, or lack thereof, of the criticisms. A common strategy of sceptics is to throw out charges (including investigator fraud) without substantiating them – in striking contrast to the works they are critiquing.
James G Matlock
Allix, S. (2021). When I Was Someone Else: The Incredible True Story of Past Life Connection. Rochester, Vermont, USA: Park Street Press. [Translation of Lorsque j'étais quelqu'un d'autre. Paris: Mama Éditions, 2017.]
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Angel, L. (2015). Is there adequate empirical evidence for reincarnation? In The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, ed. by M. Martin & K. Augustine, 645-54. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.
Banerjee, H.N., Mathur, P.K., & Mukherjee, S.C. (1965). Review of a Case-History Suggestive of Extra-Cerebral Memory: Prabhu—Report of the Case Suggestive of Extra Cerebral Memory. (Research Monograph No. 3.) Jaipur, India: University of Rajasthan Department of Parapsychology.
Barrington, M.R. (2002). The case of Jenny Cockell: Towards a verification of an unusual ‘past life’ report. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 66, 106-12.
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Cockell, J. . Past Lives Eternal. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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Grubbs, A. (2006). Chosen to Believe. Jonesboro, Georgia, USA: Pink Elephant Press.
Gupta, L.D., Sharma, N.R., & Mathur, T.C. (1936). An Inquiry into the Case of Shanti Devi. New Delhi: International Aryan League.
Hall, M.P. (1946). Reincarnation: The Cycle of Necessity (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society.
Haraldsson, E. (1991). Children claiming past life memories: Four cases in Sri Lanka. Journal of Scientific Exploration 5, 233-62.
Haraldsson, E. (2000). Birthmarks and claims of previous-life memories: II. The case of Chatura Karunaratne. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 64, 82-92.
Haraldsson, E., & Abu-Izzeddin, M. (2002). Development of certainty about the correct deceased person in a case of the reincarnation type in Lebanon: The case of Nazih Al-Danaf. Journal of Scientific Exploration 16, 363-80.
Haraldsson, E., & Matlock, J.G. (2016). I Saw a Light and Came Here: Children’s Experiences of Reincarnation. Hove, UK: White Crow Books.
Haraldsson, E., & Samararatne, G. (1999). Children who speak of a previous life as a Buddhist monk: Three new cases. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 63, 268-91.
Keil, H.H.J., & Tucker, J.B. (2005). Children who claim to remember previous lives: Cases with written records made before the previous personality was identified. Journal of Scientific Exploration 19, 91-101.
Leininger, B., & Leininger, A., with Gross, J. (2009). Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot. New York: Grand Central Publishing.
Lönnerstrand, S. (1998). I Have Lived Before: The True Story of the Reincarnation of Shanti Devi. Huntsville, AR: Ozark Mountain Publishers.
Matlock, J.G. (2019). Signs of Reincarnation: Exploring Beliefs, Cases, and Theory. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.
Matlock, J.G. (2020). The reincarnation of Jennifer Schultz? Paranormal Review No. 93, 12-15.
Matlock, J.G. (in press). Clarifying muddied waters, Part I: A secure timeline for the James Leininger case. Journal of Scientific Exploration.
Mills, A. (2004). Inferences from the case of Ajendra Singh Chauhan: The effect of parental questioning, of meeting the ‘‘previous life’’ family, an aborted attempt to quantify probabilities, and the impact on his life as a young adult. Journal of Scientific Exploration 18, 609-41.
Mills, A., Haraldsson, E., & Keil, H.H.J. (1994). Replication studies of cases suggestive of reincarnation by three independent investigators. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 88, 207-19.
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- 1. The median distance between the past and present lives in cases investigated by Stevenson is only 25 km or 15.5 miles (Stevenson, 2001, 242).
- 2. See Stevenson (1974, 1975, 2001) on his research methodology, which has been followed by persons he trained. For an examination of how cases are solved by the families involved, see Haraldsson & Abu-Izzeddin (2002).
- 3. Stevenson & Samararatne (1988).
- 4. This argument was made most famously by David Barker in Pasricha & Barker (1981).
- 5. Schouten & Stevenson (1998).
- 6. Stevenson & Keil (2000).
- 7. Braude (2003), 182.
- 8. Matlock (2019). Physical signs in reincarnation may be surprising but Matlock points to indications that they are psychogenic, produced by the reincarnating mind.
- 9. Apparently reliable cases excluded because they have not yet been scrutinized by the research community include Grubbs (2006) and Allix (2021). All the listed cases include documents seen by investigators. Generally, copies remain in their possession.
- 10. Keil & Tucker (2005, 97).
- 11. Stevenson (1975, 144 n1) cites three unpublished cases with written records made prior to verifications, one each from Germany, Sri Lanka and Lebanon. No information is available about the remaining ten cases with prior records in the DOPS files.
- 12. Haraldsson (1991); Haraldsson & Matlock (2016), 73-80.
- 13. Haraldsson & Samararatne (1999); Haraldsson & Matlock (2016), 28-33.
- 14. HSS Nissanka is not related to Dilukshi Nissanka.
- 15. Nissanka (2001), 11.
- 16. Nissanka (2001).
- 17. Stevenson (1974), 131-49.
- 18. Angel (1994, 2015); Barros (2004).
- 19. Stevenson (1977).
- 20. Stevenson & Samararatne (1988), 225-29.
- 21. Sahay (1927), 1-8; Stevenson (1975).
- 22. Tucker (2005), xi-xiv; Keil & Tucker (2005).
- 23. Stevenson (1975).
- 24. Sunderlal (1924).
- 25. Rawat & Rivas (2021), 35-39; Banerjee, Mathur, & Mukherjee (1965).
- 26. Gupta, Sharma, & Mathur (1936); Lönnerstrand (1998).
- 27. Hall (1946), 147-54; Lönnerstrand (1998); Rawat & Rivas (2021).
- 28. Sahay (1927), 16-18.
- 29. Shroder (1999), 191-96.
- 30. Stevenson (1974), 67-91.
- 31. Stevenson & Samararatne (1988), 221-25.
- 32. Mills & Lynn (2000); Mills (2004).
- 33. Sahay (1927), 9-15, under the nickname Vishwa Nath; Stevenson (1975) as Bishen Chand Kapoor.
- 34. Haraldsson (2000); Haraldsson & Matlock (2016), 88-93. There are differences between these accounts. The present summary follows the earlier, more detailed journal paper.
- 35. Rivas (2004, 2020); Rawat & Rivas (2021), 88-91.
- 36. Leininger, B., & Leininger, A., with Gross, J. (2009).
- 37. Reproduced in Tucker (2016).
- 38. Tucker (2013, 2016); Mills & Tucker (2013).
- 39. Matlock 2022).
- 40. Cockell (2008), 267-73; (2017), 23-40.
- 41. Cockell (2021), 31-32, 111-12. Cockell includes a photocopy of the list as an appendix in Living with Past Lives (2021, 165-73).
- 42. Cockell (1993), 65-67. The owner of the shop through which she ordered this map witnessed her first look at it in comparison with her drawing.
- 43. Cockell (1993, 2021).
- 44. Stevenson (2003), 210-22.
- 45. Tucker (2013), 88-119.
- 46. Matlock (2019, 2020).
- 47. Stevenson (1977).
- 48. Banerjee’s investigation is described in detail by Rawat and Rivas (2021, 91-95).
- 49. Stevenson (1997), vol. 1, 468-91.
- 50. Mills, Haraldsson, & Keil (1994); Haraldsson & Matlock (2016), 84-88.
- 51. Wehrstein (in press).
- 52. Ransom (2015), 644.
- 53. Matlock (2019), 99, 107.