Reincarnation

It is already quite some time ago, that in my first explanation of the term reincarnation I should believe the stories, that after a bad life a human being could return as an animal or another  insignificant creature and after a good life with a higher ranking in the human hierarchy or better the casts system in India. I couldn’t take that as being serious.

Edgar Cayce’s discovery of reincarnation
That changed, however, after I came across the experiences of Edgar Cayce, who was extremely surprised himself as a convinced and conservative Christian being confronted with previous lifes of people in his “readings”. During and after his life (1877-1945) the material of his “readings” has been an extensive source for further study in the A.R.E. foundation, Virginia, which led to many publications and currently also video’s. Those experiences from previous lifes of the persons who consulted him (initially mainly for health problems) present a fascinating look at living in Egypt, Atlantis, Persia, Yucatan, the Old-and New testament periods, Greece, the revolution in America, the crusaders, etc. There I learned for the first time about the concept of the akashic records or the Akasha Archive or the Akasha Chronicles. The  Akasha-archive concept is similar with a collective memory, a cache, where all thoughts, emotions and events of all times on earth are stored, and which can be accessed by paranormal people.

Past Life Regressions
In the same context I also learned about the phenomenon of reincarnation within regression-therapy. When I read more about hypnosis because of my interest in paranormal abilities I learned to know in that context also about regression-therapy under hypnotic trance. Thereby (a.o. in treatments for trauma’s) people didn’t only go back to previous situations during their lifetime, but also even further until before being born, often a previous life or even periods in-between lifes.

The experience of Morey Bernstein as described in his book “The search for Bridey Murphy” (1956) on a previous existence of Ruth Simmons from Pueblo, Colorado, which turned up during a series of regression-therapy sessions as a simple Irish countryside woman Bridey Murphy in the first half of the 19th century in Belfast drew a lot of attention at the time. Many of the facts mentioned by her could be proven to be true, although never a historical Bridey Murphy could be found, who fitted in the facts of these regressions.

I can remember myself 2 documentary programmes on TV, one programme of the Australian hypnotist, Peter Ramster, who presented four cases in his documentary ending with at a woman in the English countryside, who even started speaking an old English dialect. The other one was a weekly Dutch TV programme “Wie was ik?” (Who was I) of the KRO in 2005, in which Lowie de Bie brought 52 people back in a hypnotic trance to a previous life. Eight of them still remembered things, which could be proven afterwards, for instance in visits to those places.

I should also mention Michael Newton here with his famous Life Between Lives (LBL) regression therapy method, who initially didn’t believe in it, and later on bcame world famous through his books on the journey of our soul after dying and acess to previous lives. In this interview he tells how he discovered this possibility.

Reading more about it
But I also think of books on such experiences and research like for instance “Vorige Levens” (Life Before Life, 1989) by the American philosopher, psychologist, and physician Raymond A. Moody and “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation”, 1981 by Prof. Dr. Ian Stevenson, who via serious scientific research started to investigate and document many cases of reincarnation. I was in particular very impressed by this book of Ian Stevenson with his serious scientific approach. Also both books “Een ring van Licht, (1+2)” by Hans ten Dam (1983) contributed a lot to my views. And in addition to that still several other publications, amongst which “Parapsychologisch reïncarnatieonderzoek” by Drs. Titus P.M. Rivas (more on this below on this page).

Also the book “Initiation” by Elisabeth Haich fascinated me, in which she described her previous life in Egypte and described her initiation in that time interwoven with her later life, where also persons from that past had returned.

And the series of small books on experiences with children by Henri De Vidal de Saint Germain from his therapeutical practice.

See for instance too John Van Auken of the Association for Research and Enlightenment in the video with his presentation on our soul during and after its physical existence. The life of our soul encompasses both previous lifes and the existence in-between incarnaties, which concerns reincarnation and karma.

More recent experiences, which I encountered
In addition to that there are various – sometimes emotional – experiences of contact with past away persons, through paranormale mediums or not, in dreams or with young children. Then I think for insance of:

  • The experience of my niece with a medium, when my mother “came through” at a seance where she had brought with her something her grandma once had given to her, and told her: “It is good here with me” (and also referred to the period in her life of that moment).
  • The experience of another niece, who shortly after the passing away of my father saw her grandpa standing in front of her bed in a dream, something which happens more often, when family members still feel the shortly before deceased person around them at home. See also the description of Pim van Lommel on the next page about NDE’s of contacts with the consciousness of deceased persons, the so called post-mortal experiences. “This type of experiences often happen during the night, it is, however, not a dream but a form of contact during a dreamless deep sleep.”
  • The case of the American boy, who identified himself as the woman who die during a fire in an apartment block (see the internet article on this from 2011).
  • The case of James Leininger, of which dr. James Tucker told about a boy who already very young (as from 1½ to 2 years) claimed to be shot down as a pilot by the Japanese during the Iwo Jima attack (see his impressive presentation on this. This subject comes by in the video in the time interval between 1:13:11 – 1:22:55). All facts of this case could be checked and turned out to be true.

And finally there is the impressive study by the cardiologist Pim van Lommel, who was confronted in his practice with the phenomenon of near-death-experiences in which he initially didn’t believe. Because the phenomenon intrigued him he started an extensive scientific research project, of which the results were published in 2001 in the scientific magazine The Lancet. He subsequently described his experiences in the book “Eindeloos bewustzijn” (Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience) with extensive argumentation and illustration with factual data and literature. The page hereafter elaborates on Near-Death Experiences, but I mention it here also, because it is an example of recent scientific research, which is also in line with the views on reincarnation and further supports these.

Research form the past decades delivering ever more evidence
Scientific research has increasingly developed over the past years with a stream of publications. As far as I am concerned Titus Rivas and Dr. Ian Stevenson play a key role.

Titus Rivas
In 2007 Titus Rivas published together with Dr. Kirti Swaroop Rawat the book “REINCARNATION The Scientific Evidence is Building”, dedicated to ‘all scientists, contributing to reincarnation research in memory of Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2007)’. Due to irritant behaviour of the publisher ‘Writers Publisher’, Vancouver BC and a too uncritically signed contract that book is unfortunately not obtainable anymore, although it is still ever mentioned on their website with many dead links and contact is not answered, while on the other hand any form of publication is frustrated by threatening with lawsuits.

The book was written after an international conference on survival of consciousness and reincarnation organized in 1991 in Spain. Dr. Kirti Swaroop Rawat and Titus Rivas met each other there for the first time and decided to write together a book on what they considered as good evidence. It contains a thorough elaboration on the subject and at each chapter extensive literature referrals. Because unfortunately it is not possible anymore to obtain this book, while its content is not allowed anymore to be either totally or partly published on penalty of lawsuits, I added as a replacement an earlier publication “Parapsychologisch reïncarnatieonderzoek” of Titus Rivas from 2003 met with his consent with the extensive literature referrals, wwhich version can be opened and/or gedownloaded here. Reading this is very useful in order to understand what it is all about with reincarnation.

Titus Rivas is an extremely productive scientist who approaches the reincarnation research both filosophical, parapsychological, and practical as well in his books, articles and book reviews. A large overview of this can for instance be found on the website http://txtxs.nl/zoek_auteur.asp with the extensive database with (downloadable) articles of mainly Titus Rivas, but also of others.

Dr. Ian Stevenson
Because Ian Stevenson can be considered as the nestor of the western parapsychologiscal reiincarnation research I include here a summary of the ‘In Memoriam’ by Titus Rivas after his passing away in 2007, which was published in the ‘Tijdschrift voor parapsychologie’ (Magazine for parapsychology). How important his role was in the scientific reincarnation research becomes clear from the many times his name is mentioned in the literature referrals in the before mentioned publication “Parapsychologisch reïncarnatieonderzoek”.

Sufficiently plausible to me
All this material and many other experiences show a picture, that survival after this life – or better a sequence of subsequent lifes, in which karma plays a role – is many times more plausible to me than the assumption, that the existence of a human bein does not go further than the period between conception and its final breath.

In Memoriam Ian Stevenson
On February 8, 2007 dr. Ian Stevenson, emeritus professor at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Ian Stevenson was born on October 31, 1918 in Montreal (Canada) as son of the Scottishlawyer John Stevenson. His mother Ruth Preston Stevenson had a large library on paranormal phenomena.
After studying medicine at the St. Andrew’s University in Schotland and the McGill Universiteit in Montreal he worked some time in hospitals in Canada and the U.S. He was very interested in psychosomatic medicine, psychiatry and psychanalysis and decided to specialize in psychiatry. Stevenson experimented some time with psychedelic drugs like LSD and rejected the psychoanalytic model of Freud of the developing personality. In 1957 het became psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. Already in the 50’s Stevenson became fascinated by the subject of children with memories of past lifes. He did a thorough literature research which was published in 1960, The evidence for survival from claimed memories of former incarnations. Chester Carlson, the inventor of the Xerox copying machines, conidered this article that important that he decided to sponsor Stevensons own field work in this area. As from 1961 the psychiatrist travelled to farawy countries like India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Turky, Burma, Thailand and Brazil. He collected a total of more than 2,500 cases, among which also cases from Europe and America. He punctually reported his findings in articles and books, like Twenty cases suggestive of reincarnation, Children who remember previous lives, Reincarnation and biology en European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. His works Xenoglossy and Unlearned Language provide an overview of the paranormale language capability in a language that never was learned in this life. A ‘Case of the Reincarnation Type’ (Stevensons standard term) or CORT generally starts with the statements on a previous life by a child of on average 3 years old. Those statements contnue on average during some years and may be accompanied by emotions, desires and a strong identification with what the child experiences as memories. In aparanormal case the statements comply to a high degree with facts about a historically deceased about whom the child can not have had any knowledge in a normal way. It can also be a case of paranormal capabilities and with bodily characteristics related to the previous life. Usually the child stops speaking about its memories as soon as it starts to attend basic school. In some cases gevallen there are also memories of a spiritual in-between period which resemble near-death experiences. Meanwhile Stevenson was eventually able to establish his own Division of Personality Studies, later renamed the Division of Perceptual Studies due to a donation of Carlson. In addition to reincarnation, also other areas of survival research are studied here, like near-death-experiences and ghost apparitions, and also spontaneous cases of telepathy and psychokinesis. Stevenson wrote also papers and books on these subjects, sometimes with colleagues of the Division, like Bruce Greyson and Emily Kelly. Ian Stevenson remained active practically until the end, amongst others in the form of a book together with Mary Rose Barrington and Zofia Weaver on the previous psychic Stephan Ossowiecki. His work on reincarnation in the division is continued by the children psychiatrist Jim Tucker and moreover by other researchers like Erlendur Haraldsson, Satwant Pasricha, Antonia Mills, Kirti Swaroop Rawat and Jürgen Keil.
Allegations of naiveness
More than once Ian Stevenson has been alleged of intellectual naiveness. First of all his reincarnation research would be that contradictory to the basic views of modern neuropsychology, that it wouldn’t be able to produce scientifically interesting results. Actually, Stevenson was continuously aware of the materialist paradigm of the established neurology, which considers the spirit as a product of the brain or even considers it equal to certain functions of it. He explicitly rejected this, not from ignorance, but as declared advocate of a dualist paradigm on ontological foundation.
Futhermore, people argue that the cases easily can be explained by social-psychological factors. But also in this respect Stevenson time and again argued why that can or can not be assumed in concrete cases.
Moreover, Stevenson wouldn’t have been aware of the possibilities to explain paranormal CORTs by means of a form of ESP. He was, however, fully aware of the attempts of trying to explain his arguments by a so called Super ESP- hypothesis, and explicitly and extensively criticized that. He referred to the psychologically improbability that a child unconsciously – via ESP – would be willing to emotionally identify itself with a until then completely unknown deceased person. He also emphasized the cases of children with paranormal capacities or birthmarks and marks that specifically seem to coincide with deadly wounds from a previous life. This kind of cases contains namely more than only paranormal information and can thus not sufficiently be explained by extrasensory perception. The filosopher Stephen Braude recognizes in his book Immortal Remains, that Stevenson’s research provided extremely good evidence for afterlife consiousness, since Super ESP is extremely unbelievable for motivation-psychological reasons. Stevenson did by the way nowhere speak of a ‘hard’, physival proof of reincarnation, but dit argue that there is meanwhile sufficient evidence for rationally believing it. In that respect he didn’t consider the reincarnation hypothesis in itself as the best explanation for a hard core of cases, but referred also to the explanatory power of it within amongst others the personality science, psychiatry and development psychology. It is noteworthy though, that Stevenson stated (contrary to popular literature) that hypnosis has hardly provided any interesting evidence and that no clear indications have been found for the supposed phenomenon of karma. In a similar way as with reincarnation Stevenson looked at arguments for Super ESP-explanations of amongst others cases of poltergeist, apparitions, drop-in communicators and near-death experiences. Due to his carefully considered, competent assessments also Stevenson’s publications on these subjects are ery valuable.
Ian Stevenson and parapsychology
Stevenson distinguished himself within parapsychology not only by his great interest in reincarnation and the afterlife, but still too by his strong emphasis on naturalist reserach in line with the original psychical research. Eventually he felt less comfortable within the mainstream parapsychology, which just focussed more on investigating ESP and psychokinesis in laboratoriums. According to Stevenson the parapsychology was doomed to fail as a separate scientic branch, even more so when continuing along the same path. Eventually his frustration on the direction of many parapsychologists went that fat, that he decided not to present himself any longer as parapsychologist. He presented himself later on as a conventional scientist with unusual areas of interest. In this respect Stevenson didn’t have the illusion, however, that he still would be able to change much in the established science during his lifetime.
A loss to parapsychology
At this moment there is no parapsychologist reseracher with so many years of experience in the field of naturalistical research like Stevenson. He was moreover popular among colleagues with an academic background, but also among a very mixed readers public. In other ways there is little reason to be sad. More than anyone else Ian Stevenson has laid an empirical foundation for a dualistic tradition within the parapsychology that is alive and well. I wouldn’t be surpised if Stevenson will also be honoured for this by the coming generations of intellectuals. Let us hope that he – in whatever way – may enjoy that too.

Titus Rivas
Article for Magazine for Parapsychology, 2007, issue 1.