Children who claim to remember past life

by frankiespeakin 86 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Inquisitor
    Anyway that thread just ask for opinions, which I got, even if they were ill informed. I will go back to that thread if I get some comments that show some insight, or aleast show they have given what they post some thought.


    On your other thread, I challenged the credibility of the account of a 2 year-old boy "recalling" his past life. Kids his age could not possibly speak as eloquently as he did. Were my comments ill-informed? Lacking insight? Did I show a lack of thought? If so, how? If not, why did you not address it?

    If you expect people to give your arguments some benefit of doubt, you should at least be prepared to extend the same courtesy. But if you're dismissive of any criticisms towards "evidence" of past lives, should we take you seriously?


  • Inquisitor

    Perhaps there are kids who can remember events that they have never experienced. That would be a truly amazing discovery. And I am all for discovering the answers to such abilities.

    However, it is unwise to:

    1) Immediately hail these accounts as evidence for reincarnation. All you have are kids who can tell you experiences that aren't theirs. What possible hypotheses can one make? Mind-reading? Telepathy? Why must it necessarily be "proof of reincarnation"?

    2) Attack people who challenge the research. Scientific claims are always challenged by the skeptics. A good, solid theory MUST be able to survive the critrics. The opposite is true with religious claims. People are expected to have faith that religious phenomena occurred. So which approach would you prefer us to take with this research into past life? Scientific skepticism or blind faith?



  • Narkissos

    Hello Frankie, nice to see you.

    I have basically the same problem with this discussion as in a debate about the existence of God. The main issue is not the data (in this case, what children may say, under which circumstances) but its interpretation and the mental constructs this interpretation resorts to and aims at.

    Here the central, yet unquestioned and unexplained concept, instead of "God," is "individual". Presumably "human individual". What is an individual? How can it be said to be different from, or the same as, another? What is new and original to a given individual, what is old and inherited? The only "thing" which appears to be new and original is not really some-"thing" but a particular combination of existing "things" (matter and genes and language and mind structures... and stories). Just as all faces in the world are different combinations of the same elements. And that -- which is no-"thing" -- we call "I".

    We cannot deal with "it" objectively except through mythical language. From this perspective, "ego" or "subject" are no less mythical than "soul" -- they carry the same risk of treating the no-"thing" as some-"thing". And all "objective" conclusions are condemned because of this.

    Subjectively, on the other hand, we speak and express "ourselves" -- our original no-"thing"-ness just as what we have (or, actually, are) in common with "others". We relate, we connect, we communicate, we love, we hate, we "identify" -- with "all" perhaps but always through particular others. A story, an image from the other side of the planet or centuries ago can trigger such a sense of identification -- I am this one, I am that. This proves no-"thing" (objectively) but has to be expressed -- mythically.

    As an alternative mythical pattern to "reincarnation" for the (Old-Age ) Western mind I'd suggest the classical Christian notion of communio sanctorum ("communion of the saints").

  • lisavegas420

    I have a three year old granddaughter that has talked about her 'other life'. She says she used to have horses in the 'other life'. At first I just joked with her and said.."Sure you did.." She got really upset...and said, "I did have horses, lots and lots of horses." Then she started naming off the names of these horses, names that we had never heard of before. I could tell she totally believed what she was saying.


  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    My youngest son use to tell us stories of " when he was a man " at age 3-4 . I wish I had written them all down . After meetings he would entertain the teenagers telling them detailed stories .We all just laughed then, but in the back of my mind I really wondered how he came up with them all. One story I do remember him telling us was that he use to be big and that he caught sharks .

  • daystar

    Again, the problem I see with this is in the assumption that these memories these people have had are necessarily from past lives that they have lived rather then anything else, such as the possibility that they have somehow tapped in more clearly into the collective unconscious.

    A child's sense of self is much less clearly defined than that of an adult's in most cases. It's possible, in my mind, that these memories they are tapping into are not their own, of a past life's, but rather they are tapping into memories, information, from outside of themselves.

    I used to have a friend whose daughter, at the age of 4 or 5, seemed to know various Old Norse words. In fact, she was known to speak full sentences all in the Old Norse language. No one picked up on exactly what she was speaking for some time.

    I've read a number of books that discuss this subject to one degree or another, most of the titles of which I forget unfortunately. The one, though, that always sticks in my mind is a study by C.G. Jung regarding somnambulism, in part. Psychology and the Occult. It's been so long since I've read it that I'm sure I have some of the facts incorrectly. However, I recall a case study he had where a young girl would pass into a somnambulistic (trance) state and relate information that she could not possible have known. She drew diagrams of spiritual realms, etc. which were similar to others you might find. However, she'd never seen any of these herself.

    These are all interesting studies to be certain, however they absolutely do not lend proof, specifically, of reincarnation. They indicate that some people are able to tap into information that their own minds should not be otherwise privy to. But this otherwise does not seem to prove anything.

  • daystar

    Oh, and I also wanted to relate that my son, five years old, has told me that he used to be my father and I, his son. And he said that he would be may father again. Interesting, yes. However, my son also says a lot of other things. He says that God is female and that there is a wizard who is with her who has this wand with all the colors of the rainbow on it.

    Children have a much closer connection with subtlety than we adults do.

  • kid-A

    Anecdotal evidence is not proof of anything. Research has been conducted in this area and the emerging consensus, not surprisingly, is that there are clearly definable psychological, sociocultural, psychiatric and neural processes that are responsible for children creating these sorts of stories. It is also not surprising that these anecdotes are limited to particular cultures (such as the Druze in Israel) where the ability of children to invent these stories provides social and psychological benefits to both the child and parents. The existence of these accounts from children (some as young as 2) provides no tangible evidence whatsoever for "reincarnation". This assumption is about as valid as the "demonic smurf" stories that became "factual reality" within the Jehovahs witness culture.

    Psychol Psychother. 2003 Mar;76(Pt 1):55-67.

    Children who speak of past-life experiences: is there a psychological explanation?

    Haraldsson E .

    University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland. [email protected]

    Children who claim to remember fragments of a past life are found in some countries. Various explanations have been put forward as to why the alleged memories develop, ranging from reincarnation to 'therapeutic resource'. This study puts to the test the role of some psychological characteristics and the circumstances in which the children live, such as fantasy, suggestibility, social isolation, dissociation, and attention-seeking. Thirty children in Lebanon who had persistently spoken of past-life memories, and 30 comparison children, were administered relevant tests and questionnaires. The target group obtained higher scores for daydreaming, attention-seeking, and dissociation, but not for social isolation and suggestibility. The level of dissociation was much lower than in cases of multiple personality and not clinically relevant. There was some evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms. Eighty per cent of the children spoke of past-life memories of circumstances leading to a violent death (mostly accidents, also war-related deaths and murder). It is discussed if this imagery-when experienced repeatedly-may serve as a stressor

    Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Dec;83(3 Pt 2):1107-21.Related Articles, Links
    Feelings of past lives as expected perturbations within the neurocognitive processes that generate the sense of self: contributions from limbic lability and vectorial hemisphericity.

    Persinger MA .

    Department of Psychology, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

    Normal, young men and women who believed they may have lived a previous life (n = 21) or who did not endorse (n = 52) this belief of "reincarnation" were exposed to partial sensory deprivation and received transcerebral stimulation by burst-firing magnetic fields over either the left or right hemisphere. Individuals who reported belief in reincarnation could be discriminated from nonbelievers by their more frequent report of experiences of tingling sensations, spinning, detachment of consciousness from the body, and intrusions of thoughts that were not attributed to the sense of self. The results support the hypothesis that there may be neurocognitive processes which identify experiences as originating from the sense of self (episodic or autobiographical memory) or "not self." When anomalous experiences are beyond the boundary of the experiences contained with the generalization gradient of concurrent autobiographical memory, they are more likely to be attributed to culturally available default explanations such as living a previous life.

    Cult Med Psychiatry. 2006 May 24; [Epub ahead of print]

    The Psychosocial Function Of Reincarnation Among Druze In Israel.

    Dwairy M .

    Emeq Yezreel Academic College, Oranim Academic College, M.Ed. Program, P.O. Box 14710, Ora st. 3b, Nazerat Ellit, 17000, Israel, [email protected]

    To gain an understanding of the psychosocial function of reincarnation among Druze, interviews were conducted with nine male subjects who had experienced reincarnation (Notq) and with one or two of their family members. Analysis of these interviews revealed that the onset of Notq typically occurs at between two and five years of age. Five of the subjects had displayed psychological distress in their childhood that was alleviated after the Notq. Once the child has displayed initial indications of reincarnation, such as mentioning names that the family construes as being from a past life, the family takes an active role in constructing the past-life story and matching it to a known real story involving a tragic death. This match creates a new order in the life of the child, the family, and the past-life family. All parties benefit from this new order: the child receives new special attention and love and becomes able to control and manipulate the parents; the parents are relieved because they see the child happy, and benefit from the social attention and regard they receive; and the grieving of the bereaved past-life family is alleviated by the realization that the soul of their lost son still lives. The findings support the sociocognitive notion of the constructing of past memories by the social environment. Additional research that should include data collection from the past-life family and examination of the affinity of reincarnation with dissociation and child abuse is recommended.
  • FMZ


    As you may have seen in my post, I relate to your quandary. The fact that this could well be due to the "collective unconscious" is certainly a possibility.

    I err on the side of reincarnation though for a number of reasons. First and foremost, these children generally have these memories of one very specific life, and the vast majority of the time, this life is in no way related to their current persona. I don't believe I have read a single account where a child has had access to the memories of more than one verifiable life. It would seem that if the child were able to access the collective unconscious so readily and with such clarity for one life, it would be a simple thing for them to recall events of any life, past or present.

    Also, again, I feel that reincarnation is very possible. In fact, many of those that have had Near Death Experiences (such as myself) and/or have been regressed or progressed with hypnotism to a time between their lives, relate that they undergo a life-review after passing away, and after some time to "rest" in the ether, they are afforded the option to come back to the mortal coil and start it all over again, for the purpose of learning more.

    These experiences abound, and interestingly, the culture and religion the person is part of has very little effect on this post-life process. This happens all around the world, and often, only small details change from belief-system to belief system. For instance, usually NDEers report being greeted by a different spirit when they live in the Western world than the East.

    Again, this is my personal feeling on the subject after studying the issue quite fully. Of course, there is also the chance that some of these children are tapping the collective, and some really are recalling previous incarnations.

    Always in love. FMZ

  • daystar


    Fair enough. You have no idea how unpopular my feelings on this subject are amongst a large number of my friends and acquaintances. Fortunately for me, I don't care one bit about whether people like me for my ideas or whether they make me feel good about life. I want Reality.

    As in many things, I think there is something to it. I feel, for example, that there is a source of life, a "Force" in the universe from which everything has arisen and which seems to have something like an intelligence (though mostly beyond human comprehension). However, I am most certainly an atheist in most ways that matter. I have deep, personal, meaningful experience with this "intelligence", and yet I still express deep doubt in God, because I'm not so certain that these experiences I've had were not more in line with a connection with some sort of "higher self" than with any sort of god in the normal sense. (Though this is arguable when you begin to debate the definitions of gods, humans, spirit beings, and what makes Self and Mind.)

    Anyhow, I'm beginning to ramble. Carry on.

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