Is Reincarnation Real? The Fascinating Phenomenon of Children Remembering Past Lives

Written By Wise Healthy n Wealthy

Have you ever heard of Jim Tucker? He’s a child psychiatrist who has spent much of his career talking to children who claim to have memories from a past life.

And no, it doesn’t just seem like the product of an active imagination.

The “memories” often accompany unexplained phobias or inclinations that make little sense in the context of their current family life. Moreover, when you research the statements they make about the deceased person, as Tucker does, they usually check out.

Some examples of the things these children say include:

  • “You’re not my mommy.”
  • “That happened before I was in mommy’s tummy.”
  • “When I was big, I used to work downtown.”
  • “Remember when I lived in that other house?”
  • “I have a wife/husband/kids.”

Some kids even have birthmarks or defects that correspond with how the individual died (as proven by postmortem reports). Indeed, 70% of the kids who claim to remember past lives do so for someone who died from an unnatural cause. The birthmarks often match fatal wounds the dead person suffered.

It all sounds crazy, right? Yet the evidence is compelling enough to have justified decades of research at the University of Virginia. A research group devoted to the phenomenon (and others like it) was founded there in 1967.

It’s called the Division of Perceptual Studies, and Tucker’s at the helm. Together, the DOPS team has investigated thousands of cases all over the world, including many in the United States.

Could it be evidence of reincarnation?

Jim Tucker, Image credit: Dan Addison, University of Virginia Public Affairs/Audio Visual Dept, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

A Famous Case of Potential Reincarnation: James Leininger

Before you dismiss this as hogwash, consider one of the most notable examples of an American child who claimed to remember a past life.

His name is James Leininger.

James was born on April 10, 1998. When he was two years old, James started having nightmares.

These weren’t ordinary bad dreams. They were intense, recurring, and specific. He dreamed he was in a plane crash. He was an American pilot shot down and killed by the Japanese.

There were other notable incidents even before the nightmares started.

James had been obsessed with planes from as young as 22 months old, when his dad took him to a Flight Museum near Dallas, Texas, where they lived.

On a second trip to the museum a few months later, he stood in a hangar full of World War 2 aircraft, lulled to silence by the scene, staring and pointing at the planes.

It wasn’t long before James started saying, “airplane crash on fire,” and smashing his toy planes into tables nose-first.

Then, the nightmares began.

Just screams, at first, but then came words: “Airplane crash on fire! Little man can’t get out.” He’d shout it over and over in his sleep while thrashing his body around.

Over time, more details emerged.

James told his parents his plane had been shot down by the Japanese and crashed on fire. He told them the type of plane – a Corsair – and that he’d flown it off a boat called the “Natoma.” When his dad did some research, he discovered the USS Natoma Bay had been an escort carrier in the Pacific during WW2.

It didn’t stop there.

James gave his parents the name of someone the “little man” was with at the time, Jack Carsen. While his dad was thumbing through a book called The Battle for Iwo Jima 1945, James pointed at a picture showing the base of the island and said, “That’s where my plane was shot down.”

His dad spoke to a veteran from Natoma Bay soon after, who confirmed he’d known a pilot called Jack Larsen.

Meanwhile, James had started drawing pictures of plane crashes. He signed them “James 3” and did so even after turning 4 years old. When his parents asked why, he said it wasn’t his age—it was because he was “the third James.”

A long series of events led James’s dad to a Natoma Bay veterans’ reunion, where he discovered Jack Larsen had survived the war. He went to visit him and learned that only one pilot from Natoma Bay had died during the Battle of Iwo Jima:

James M. Huston, Jr.

Huston was a 21-year-old Pennsylvanian man whose plane crashed exactly how and where James, the child, had described.

What Do You Think?

So, what’s the conclusion here? Is reincarnation real? Are these children really remembering past lives? Are people who have died, often in tragic and traumatic circumstances, really being “born again” through some unknown otherworldly process?

Or is this all fake? Are the children, ultimately, making it up? Drop a comment with your thoughts.



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