The concept of reincarnation has grown from its roots in ancient mysticism to a vibrant cultural meme, recycled and reinvented from generation to generation. Reincarnation, at the very least, suggests a collective human memory bank and powerful cosmic synchronicity. Contemporary views on reincarnation are beginning to transcend stale religious platitudes, which is refreshing for those of us who wish to redefine paranormal activity and fringe theory into something less like a clown’s autopsy.
In the last decade, there has been a stunning number of claims of reincarnated children–or, children whose demonstrably arcane powers of recollection suggest past lives. One of the most notable cases of a ‘reincarnated child’ is that of James Leininger, whose mind-blowing story exploded onto the scene in 2005.
James Leininger loved toy planes. In fact, according to his parents, Bruce and Andrea, James was obsessed with planes and frequently performed creative diagnostic inspections on his toys, using terminology he couldn’t possibly have absorbed in any kind of formal educational context. This terminology included seemingly random references to his plane’s auxiliary fuel drop tank.
At the age of five, James began having nightmares. Vivid nightmares of a fighter plane going down in flames. On more than one occasion, he woke up screaming from these nightmares. When his mom asked him what he had seen, he replied: “Airplane crash on fire, little man can’t get out.” James began to draw these images in crayon, signing them ‘James 3′. They depicted a World War 2 plane consumed by fire, hurtling toward the ocean.
James’ father Bruce became disturbed by his son’s illustrations and began to research. Because, you see, James was having more than just nightmares: he was recalling specific information from events that occurred approximately six decades earlier. He knew the type of plane: a Corsaire. He knew the warship his plane took off from: the Natoma.
And James even seemed to know the name of his co-pilot: Jack Larson. In his research, Bruce learned that there had indeed been a Natoma warship in WW2; there had also been a pilot by the name of Jack Larson, a friend of James M. Huston Jr., who was a pilot killed at Iwo Jima when enemy fire detonated his plane’s drop tank.
Fighter pilot James’ code name was ‘Little Man’.
This is just one of thousands of stories of children who seem to be able to recall specific memories from past lives. Another story, featured on the show Extraordinary People, introduces us to Cameron Macauley, who, from the age of two, has talked at length about his life on the island of Barra. Cameron lives with his mum, Norma, in Glasgow. They have never been to Barra.
On a daily basis Cameron recounts the minute details of his alter-ego past life in Barra: his house, his brothers and sisters, his dog, his mum and dad. He misses his family there, his life in Barra, his old identity….
Other stories involve kids who recall specific events and impressions from the point of view of firefighters who rushed into the burning World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. One story comes from a confounded mom, who says her four year old believes he is a firefighter. Though she claims her son has never been exposed to the images of 9/11, he speaks of planes crashing into buildings and people jumping to their deaths.
Another mother, who was featured on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, claims her son, who was only a year and a half at the time and had only just begun speaking, recalled specific memories of rescuing people from buildings. He also told his mom that he had picked her to be his mom.
One of the most chilling of these 9/11 stories came from a mom whose son claims he was a businessman in New York City on the day the towers collapsed. One day, the kid saw a photo of the WTC towers in a National Geographic and excitedly pointed to a window, exclaiming, “That’s where I used to work!” The kid went on to recall the feel of the building falling and then being buried in rock and rubble. He says he is still buried there.
So what are we to make of this? Are these kids truly reincarnated souls remembering their past lives? Or have certain pictures, videos and facts somehow slipped into their minds from the media or the Internet? Perhaps there is a middle ground, a subconscious human repository of ideas and images, a flowing river of collective archetypes that deposits our minds into an ocean of shared experience?
Carol Bowman, past life therapist and researcher, has been studying the phenomenon of reincarnated children and past life regression for decades and says reconciling past lives can lead to profound psychological benefits. Past life memories, which she calls “the autobiography of the soul”, are particularly strong in children, who do not have the mediating bells and whistles that restrict adults from understanding the eternal energy that binds all things.
Perhaps this is why a child who was consoling his mother in the hospital, once said: “Honey, I’ve been around this earth at least 189 times now and you know what? It’s always OK in the end.” Of course, that kid could have also just been trying to horribly freak his mom out. Kids are honest…they are also very weird.
If, like us, you can’t get enough of this subject, you may be happy to know that a reality TV show on the subject of reincarnated children is slated to air on the Bio Channel later this year. Surely this venerable piece of programming, titled “Ghost Inside My Child,” won’t be cheesy or exploitative.