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Reincarnation: Best Evidence

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HANDWRITING

Can past lives be proved by comparing the handwriting of a living person and the deceased person he or she claims to have been? Indian researcher Vikram Raj Singh Chauhan believes so. Chauhan has undertaken a study of this possibility, and his findings have been received favorably at the National Conference of Forensic Scientists at Bundelkhand University, Jhansi.

  • A six-year-old boy named Taranjit Singh from the village of Alluna Miana, India, claimed since he was two that he had been a person named Satnam Singh. This other boy had lived in the village of Chakkchela, Taranjit insisted, and even knew Satnam's father's name. He had been killed while riding his bike home from school. An investigation verified the many details Taranjit knew of his previous life as Satnam. But the clincher was that their handwriting -- a trait experts know is as distinct as fingerprints -- was virtually identical.

BIRTHMARKS AND BIRTH DEFECTS

Dr. Ian Stevenson, head of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia, is one of the foremost researchers and authors on the subject of reincarnation and past lives. In 1993, he wrote a paper entitled "Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons" as possible physical evidence for past lives. "Among 895 cases of children who claimed to remember a previous life (or were thought by adults to have had a previous life)," Stevenson writes, "birthmarks and/or birth defects attributed to the previous life were reported in 309 (35%) of the subjects. The birthmark or birth defect of the child was said to correspond to a wound (usually fatal) or other mark on the deceased person whose life the child said it remembered."

But could any of these cases be verified?

  • In one fascinating case, an Indian boy claimed to remember the life of a man named Maha Ram, who was killed with a shotgun fired at close range. This boy had an array of birthmarks in the center of his chest that looked like they could possibly correspond to a shotgun blast. So the story was checked out. Indeed, there was a man named Maha Ram who was killed by a shotgun blast to the chest. An autopsy report recorded the man's chest wounds -- which corresponded directly with the boy's birthmarks.
  • A man from Thailand claimed that when he was a child he had distinct memories of a past life -- as his own paternal uncle. This man had a large scar-like birthmark on the back of his head. His uncle, it turns out, died from a severe knife wound to that very part of his head.

Dr. Stevenson has documented many other such cases, many of which he could verify through medical records.

Poll: What do you think of such evidence for reincarnation?

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