It doesn’t matter what you believe in, past life stories are exciting and interesting to listen to. They blow our minds and they don’t make any sense in terms of our normal understanding. We find it difficult to explain logically the occurrences that take place – especially when it comes to children. How do children who are just learning to talk, know about historical details that they have never heard or seen before?
The stories are endless, and we have picked out a few of the most well known here to look at. First let’s cover off some facts about what past-life regression really is.
Past-life regression (PLR) is a separate concept to reincarnation. PLR refers to recalling details, events and people from a previous life lived. It is usually aided through hypnosis and it does, to a certain extent, require belief in a form of reincarnation.
Although separate to reincarnation, past life regression can generally be linked to the philosophical or spiritual concept that the soul or spirit can begin a new life in a new body after death. Taken from the Latin word it means “entering the flesh again”.
Reincarnation stems from many different religions but the most notable is Hinduism and the belief of karma. Hindu gods (Devas) are said to have reincarnated. Lord Vishnu is known to have ten incarnations. Hindus believe that the soul is eternal but the physical body keeps dying. The soul takes on other bodies depending on its karmas.
After services in the afterlife, the soul enters the karma and rebirth system and is reborn as an animal, human or divinity. Reincarnation continues until the final release is gained.
There are conflicting opinions about the ideas of past-life regression as well as reincarnation. As always, it depends on who you ask whether it is true or not! Sceptics believe that PLR is nothing more than hypnotically induced delusion or confabulation. Confabulation can be defined as memory disturbance or, the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself, or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.
There is research in the field however. Dr Sam Parnia for example, is seeking evidence of Near-Death-Experiences by studying what happens to people physiologically when they die. Roger Penrose and Stuart Hammeroff have developed the Orchestrated Objective Reduction Theory that tries to explain the soul through quantum mechanics.
Brian Dias and Kerry Ressler did a study on mice and discovered that memories can in fact be inherited. They were able to create an aversion to a specific smell that proved to have passed down to multiple generations of mice. This phenomenon is known as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. This opened up the thought that experiences from parents, from exposure to physical trauma to inherited phobias, can influence their offspring.
Now that’s a title to grab someone’s attention.
Barbro Karlen was born in 1954 in Sweden. She was plagued as a young child by nightmares of a past life. When she was two years old, she told her parents that her name was not Barbro – it was actually Anne. Growing up, she became more and more confused as to why her parents kept calling her Barbro. Her parents dismissed the matter as fantasy while Barbro became more insistent that her “real father” would soon come and get her.
By the age of six, her parents were concerned about the mental health of their young daughter that they decided to take her to see a psychiatrist. Understanding that no one believed her, Barbro decided to keep quiet about her dreams and memories in fear that she might be taken away. When Barbro started school and learned to read and write, she began writing poetry. By the age of twelve, her first poetry book was published. She learned that Anne Frank was in fact a real person, as Frank’s diary became more and more popular. Barbro suddenly felt embarrassed to be telling people that she was Anne Frank once she discovered Frank was a real person.
At the age of ten, Barbro’s family decided to take a trip to Europe. They had planned on visiting historic sites and one of them was the house of Anne Frank. Upon calling for a cab, Barbro told her parents that they didn’t need a cab, and that she knew how to get there. Her parents were startled by this since Barbro had never been to Amsterdam before and it was impossible for her to have known the way to the house. Nevertheless, Barbro led her parents to the house quite accurately.
Barbro’s mother noticed that her daughter became fearful upon entering the house. Her hands went cold and her chest became tight. Barbro did not want to leave the house because she wanted to see that everything was the same as she remembered it in her nightmares. Barbro claimed to see pictures on the wall, but her mother could not see these pictures. She approached one of the staff members on site and asked about the pictures, to which he replied that they had taken them down because people were stealing them.
Barbro’s mother believed everything her daughter had been saying from that moment.
A three year old boy near the border of Syria said that he had been murdered with an axe. The boy’s story was witnessed by Dr. Eli Lasch, who is best known for developing the medical system in Gaza as part of an Israeli government operation in the 1960s. Although the community the boy grew up in accepted reincarnation as fact, they were surprised by this story.
When the boy could speak, he told his family that he had been murdered. He had a birthmark on his forehead which he claimed was the place where he had been hit with the axe. The elders of his community took the boy to the village he said he was from, and, once there, he remembered what his name used to be. When they asked the community if they knew about a man by that name, they said that he had disappeared four years prior and they did not know what had happened to him.
The boy then told the elders that he could lead them to the place where his body had been buried. Upon digging in the spot the boy pointed to, they discovered a skeleton. The skull had a wound to the head that matched the boy’s birthmark. The boy was then able to lead the elders to the murder weapon and said that he could remember the name of his murderer.
Confronting the murderer, he turned pale and began acting suspiciously. He later admitted to the murder.
Jamey, between the ages of 4 and 6 years old, had vivid memories of sailing and dying on the famously doomed ship, The Titanic. After watching the film about the tragic voyage, Jamey started drawing pictures, showing hundreds of rooms and every level of the ship. Sometimes he would draw the Titanic cut in half. He suffered from nightmares frequently and his mother recalls him waking up and running throughout their house as if looking for a way out.
His mother took him to see the Titanic Exhibit in Chicago in 2000 hoping that it would bring an end to his terrors. But it was after seeing the exhibit that his nightmares seemed to intensify. His mother refers to them as “the death dreams”. She was watching TV when she heard rhythmic “bangs” coming from his bedroom wall. Running to investigate, she found her son almost convulsing from shaking, he was so out of control. He screamed in terror “she’s going down” but what unsettled her the most was that it was in a man’s voice that her little boy screamed.
It was after this “death dream” that Jamey slowly stopped talking about the Titanic. His family believed that what triggered this terror was coming so close to seeing the Titanic in his dying moments from his past life.
One day, when he was only two years old, the little boy of this case study told his dad “when I was your age, I used to change your diapers”. The parents of the little boy, feeling interested by this statement, gently drew out more information from him.
The parents came to discover that the little boy believed he was his deceased grandfather. They asked him how he came back and he replied “I just went whoosh and came out the portal”.
Although he was an avid speaker at such a young age, his parents had never heard him use the word “portal” before. They asked if he had any siblings, the little boy responded that he had a sister but some bad people turned her into a fish. She had in fact been murdered many years prior and her body had been found floating in water.
The parents asked their son how he died. He responded by hitting his forehead and acting as though he was in pain. The grandfather had passed away from a cerebral haemorrhage.
The young boy of this past life regression case used to have nightmares frequently. He would wake up terrified and beg his mother to take him back to his old house in Hollywood. He kept mentioning that he was homesick, but his mother could not understand what he was speaking about.
She went to the library to find some books on old Hollywood to show her son, hoping that it would calm him. When she turned the page to a still from the movie “Night After Night” in 1932, the little boy became excited and exclaimed that he was the man in the photograph. The man was Marty Martyn.
They were able to contact Marty Martyn’s daughter and upon meeting her, she was able to confirm over fifty facts about her father’s life through the little boy.
Why not throw in a feel-good story instead of all those sad and creepy ones!
Estelle’s friend encouraged her to go to a hypnotist seminar to keep her company. The hypnotist in question happened to specialize in past-life regression. She agreed and went along.
The hypnotist began by asking everyone to think about a problem that was currently holding them back in life. He wanted a volunteer – Estelle’s hand shot up. She wanted to know why she always chose emotionally unavailable men and why the thought of love suffocated her.
When she was hypnotized, Estelle found herself in Pilgrim times as a man named Jonah! He was thirty-five years old, in the military, and in love with his brother’s wife. Jonah said that he had lost his wife to Scarlett fever a few years ago while she was eight months pregnant. On Jonah’s last day alive, he tried to tell his sister-in-law how he always felt about her but she didn’t want to hear it. Jonah died of heart disease.
When Estelle came round, she felt that her question had been answered. She was able to understand that she had been afraid to let herself fall in love because she lost everything in her past-life. She chose emotionally unavailable men to ‘fix’ Jonah, in that past life, and was too scared to show her feelings to anyone as a result. She, like Jonah, had to shut down her heart to survive.
A while later, Estelle finally met and married her husband. She felt at last, that she was able to let go of her past-life and choose better partners. She felt confident enough to be vulnerable and accept love, as well as give love, to her new husband.
Past-life regression stories cannot be definitively explained. One camp says that it all comes down to suggestion, mind games and misinterpretation of memories, while the other camp explains it religiously. Science has made efforts to prove that memories, phobias and patterns of habit can be inherited through generations to explain how and why some children have these experiences.
At the end of the day however, these stories are entertaining and usually make us think about spirituality in a deeper way.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced memories that could be explained as PLR? Or do you think these are simply fabricated? We would love to hear from you.
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