The concept of reincarnation is one that has long fascinated the world of Western medicine. Experts have dedicated time, money and resources to studying the phenomenon, attempting to gain a better understanding of whether or not it actually exists, and if so, how the process works.
Dr. Ian Pretyman Stevenson (1918-2007), a Canadian American psychiatrist, dedicated a good part of his career to exactly that pursuit, studying and understanding those who claimed to have had a past life, or who suspected that they may have been reincarnated. Throughout his career, Dr. Stevenson travelled around the world studying 3,000 different cases of children who stated that they had experienced memories or recollections of a past life.
During his career, Dr. Stevenson wrote a book titled ‘Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect’ as well as a research paper titled ‘Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons.’ In these works, he outlined his years of study describing specific examples that would startle even the biggest skeptic.
In one example Dr. Stevenson discussed a young boy named Maha Ram from India. In his conversations with the boy, Stevenson learned that the boy had been experiencing ‘flashbacks’ to a past life in which he had been shot in the chest. Upon further examination, Dr. Stevenson discovered that the boy had birthmarks on his chest that corresponded to the bullet holes from his flashbacks.
Dr. Jim Tucker from the University of Virginia, a student Dr. Stevenson had taken on in a mentorship role, explained that even if one accepts the existence of reincarnation, it is hard to explain how a physical mark on the body would physically appear representing a past life. He did, however, acknowledge that there is scientific evidence eluding to the fact that one’s thoughts can impact their physical appearance.
He wrote: “If the mind continues after death and inhabits a developing fetus, then I could see how the images could affect the fetus. It would not be the wounds on the previous body per se that produced the birthmark or birth defect, but rather the images of the wound in the individual’s mind that did it.”
Dr. Tucker, in his writings, provided an explanation for the connection between birthmarks today and incidents from the past. If one is still experiencing these memories from their past life, then they will, in turn, manifest these thoughts in the form of corresponding birthmarks, reflecting the injuries that their ‘former self’ experienced.
In another example, one that Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Tucker worked together, they studied a boy from the American mid-west named Patrick. Before Patrick was born Patrick’s parents had another child, Kevin, who died due to complications of Cancer. Patrick had a series of three birthmarks that corresponded with the wounds that Kevin had acquired.
During treatment Kevin encountered vision problems, resulting in blindness in his left eye. Patrick was born with a white opacity that covered his left eye, ultimately resulting in an experience similar to blindness. In order to administer treatment medical professionals inserted a central IV line into Kevin’s neck on the right side. On that same side, Patrick had a birthmark, marking the spot. Finally, a tumor had grown over Kevin’s right ear. On the same side, in the same location, Patrick had a nodule.
While there is still study required to confirm D. Stevenson’s discoveries, the evidence that he presented is hard to refute. His countless examples intrigue experts, drawing attention to what may be defining evidence of the existence of reincarnation.