IMG_0569
Blog powered by Typepad

« An angry communicator | Main | Checkmate! »

Comments

This is such a compelling case, and you've done a good job of covering some of the key points.

"First, little James showed strong emotions when remembering his past life as a pilot. The whole episode began with James' nightmares, in which he struggled and screamed in bed."

Glad to see you're continuing the theme from your last post of pointing out the emotional aspects of survival cases. James' nightmares, night after night for years, are central to the truth of what's going on here, and skeptics tend to gloss over that sort of data.

"Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can't get out!" I don't know if this has been commented on by others, but I couldn't help wondering why James would describe the pilot as a "little man."

I wondered about that myself when I read the book. It's hard to imagine that he was reporting that experience solely as an observer, because he's described as "lying there on his back [in his bed], kicking and clawing at the covers . . .like he was trying to kick his way out of a coffin." But maybe you're right that he was re-living it with a dual perspective--both in and out of the body--as NDErs say happens in their life reviews. Interesting theory.

"Perhaps an unexpected death, one that the soul is not properly prepared for, is more likely to be recalled in the next incarnation, either because of lingering trauma or from a sense of unfinished business."

Christopher Bache--one of the sharpest minds around when it comes to reincarnation--writes about this and why it likely skews Stevenson's research and thinking. Go to this link and click on "page 43".

http://books.google.com/books?id=cEL8eWF-vHgC&q=stevenson#v=snippet&q=stevenson&f=false

If you don't know Bache's work, Michael, you're in for a treat.

Michael, if you get a chance, read also Chapter One of the book I linked to. Its subject is similar, if not identical, to what you were saying about the dangers of over-relying on the rational mind.

A profound topic, and Bache addresses it magnificently.

This is a compelling case. Would be cleaner if most of the research was done by outside investigators rather than James's father. And whenever a book deal is involved, this should be cause for some concern, from a purely profit motive explanation. The good news, Jim Tucker (from the University of Virginia's DOPS department)has an evolving casework of US and European cases.

FRom an interview with DR. Tucker:
Q:"How do you rule out other explanations for some of the phenomena that have been described--explanations like clairvoyance or, more prosaically, unreported prior knowledge of the deceased person's life?"

Dr. Tucker: "In some cases, other explanations cannot be ruled out. In others, a child talks about a deceased individual who lived a great distance away, and there seems to be no way that the child could have learned the information through normal means.

As for clairvoyance, these children generally show no other paranormal abilities, and the knowledge of past events all comes from the vantage point of one deceased individual. In addition, the birthmarks, as well as the great emotion that the children often show about the previous life and the behaviors, such as phobias, that seem consistent with the previous life, cannot easily be explained by clairvoyance."

For me the James Leininger case is extremely compelling indeed. Every (pseudo-)skeptic who dismisses this case out of hand is a blinkered bigot. Paul Kurtz for example, who claims that little James heard it all from his (little) friends.

Could it not be equally well explained by some form of spirit obsession?

James when he got to say 5 might start playing with miniture action figures - those a little men!So through say precog/future memory - this is what he used to reference the super psi info from the pilot.
Just an idea - what in this case gives super psi the boot though??

just another thing that bothers me - aspects of our mind are outside of time - if james read about the case when he was older - it could be precognition - especially if the story had strong emotion for him.
psi as a lot of future to the present info flow going on.

My understanding of Super-PSI is that it can apply to most of the communications that purport to come from those who have passed on or via reincarnation. IMHO it often looks far more complex and harder to credit than simply accepting we, or some of us, or some part of us, survive death.

Also, I have never understood how Super-PSI accounts for the reconstruction complete personalities as often seem to be communicated as opposed to simple regurgitation of facts acquired by some complex set of abilities.

" if james read about the case when he was older - it could be precognition - especially if the story had strong emotion for him."

But this is where the emotional logic of a case enters the picture. Remember--he suffered from agonizing nightmares night after night after night. When his mother entered his room, he seemed to be fighting for his life.

Not to mention his passion, during his waking hours, for planes and WWII.

And all this, you're saying, might come from simply reading about a case (whether in the past or the future)?

I don't see it.

This skeptic notes the father brought the boy to a WW II military museum: http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/reincarnation_a.html which might have had an effect on the boy. Personally, I could go either way with reincarnation, I just don't know. I've always had nightmares about tsunamis, and once in a dream saw myself in a mirror as a Japanese woman in a 1940s dress. There are some bizarre cases such as this boy, but the human mind can absorb an incredible amount of information, then seemingly "forget it," only to have it emerge in another way.

Kathleen, that skeptico post totally deliberately ignores some of the more persuasive evidence of the case; for example the three year old boy knowing the names of other members of his wing, including the others who were kia.

In fact, the skeptico post is as ridiculous as it is dishonest. The suggestion that a year and half old boy (baby really) would absorb details like drop tanks and landing gear issues - or even the name Natoma - from a visit to a museum is risible and, quite frankly, tellingly desperate.

Not to mention the emotional component noted by Michael. Why the emotion? How does a two year old emotionally understand war and sudden violent death at a personal level (or any level)? They don't; not normally.

BTW, maybe it is just my imagination working over time, but the boy and the pilot do kind of look related?

http://www.ianlawton.com/cpl3.htm

I think the "cases of the reincarnation type" are a very promising area of survival research and that the Doctors Stevenson and Tucker did an incredible job. However, I have some concerns with the Leininger case. The biggest is, as mentioned before, that the boy had visited the WW II museum before he began to talk about a previous life. The skeptico article that the link above refers to isn´t that bad. In general I believe that past life memeories of young children might have a paranormal component and that the Leininger case might be one of them but the boy might have very well overheard some talk like it is described in the sceptico article...It isn´t likely but possible and we are talking about extraordinary claims! I have a two and a half year old child and I am impressed about what details she has been able to remember from random conversation, even at a very young age...

My daughter has talked about the world before this one, "coming down into mommy" and many other things that she has not heard from her parents or anywhere else.

My question about the Leininger case is this: presumably after he died in WWII he went to the Afterlife where he should have been able to recover from his trauma a bit. Why would he start his new life as a child with all that emotional inertia, so to speak?

Yet, I've experienced this too. I used to have these very intense kind of anti-fantasies of claustrophobia and suffocation. I was talking with a psychic who didn't regress me but somehow helped me recall what I believe to be my fifth life ago, in which in the late 1700s I was in the hold of a warship that was blown up and I couldn't get out but remember looking up through the water and seeing things burning on the surface of the sea. After I was able to recall this death experience, the anti-fantasies have basically ended.

Again, presumably, I have been to the Afterlife a few times since then, yet I carried this trauma with me since then (or maybe I didn't experience it in earlier lives but it resurfaced, who knows).

Could it be that our existence is on kind of a "dual track" in which we visit the Afterlife qua spirit but maintain a kind of emotional/karmic inertia from life to life? I am leaning toward believing that this is a piece of the puzzle.

Cheers,

Matt

Iris, I have two children - grown now- and I remember well their capabilities at age two regarding putting together details such as those that James Leininger did. I don't think they could have done it (and I think my children are pretty bright:-). Age 3 1/2 to age 4? maybe, but not at 2. I, like the Leiningers, would have been extremely concerned if either had expressed vivid repeated emotional reactions to fantasies arising from "overheard" information. That is bizarre. Does your two year old construct such elaborate fantasies from random conversations or trips to museums?

My wife was a teacher for many years with a specialty in early childhood development. We used to frequently discuss research she was involved in with children's learning abilities when she was in grad school. Cognitive skills develop at rather predictable rates and in stages. I suggest you research a little on what capacity a two year old has and see if meshes with your (and skeptico's theory). I think it does not. At any rate, doing so would add a "science" to assertions of other than paranormal explanations.

The idea that the child would have overheard conversations concerning the Natoma Bay and the air squadron attached to her is far fetched. The Natoma was a small and (historicaly) little known ship. As someone who has studied 20th century Naval and Marine Corps combat history, I can tell you that I cannot recall having heard of her until the Leininger story came out. Do a search of books and on line resources - established pre-Leininger - that refer to the Natoma Bay. See if you can find any. Whatsmore, I defy anyone to find a reference in any literature - again pre-Leininger - regarding James Huston or other Natoma Bay pilots that young James mentioned. Remember, James knew not only how the plane was shot down, correctly identifying a head on direct hit from AA fire, but where it crashed as well; pointing to the crash location on a map. The location was confirmed only later after the father found a pilot from another ship who witnessed the event. I contend that this information could not been content in an overheard conversation regardless of what you believe regarding a two/three old child's ability to assimilate and understand because it simply did not exist in any archives accessible to the public at the time.

To mind, the only "normal" explanation for this case centers on the Leiningers being lying frauds, willing to warp their child's mind for the purpose of a book deal. Based on what is reported regarding the Leiningers I find this alternative very difficult to beleive. Always possible though, I suppose.

Matt, There are some things you just don't forget. War/combat are sufficiently intense to require many life times to "get over".

I should add that, contra a sick fabrication on the parent's part are some odd inconsistencies that the parents would have avoided if they were looking for a strong case and a book deal.

For example, had the parents done the background research necessary to construct the ideas planted in young Jame's mind and they had some how come up with the obscure Natoma Bay and they had some how uncovered after action reports concerning the Natoma's squadron, would they not have also included accurate details for items as important as the actual aircraft Huston was flying off the Natoma and that he was killed in?

James spoke about Corsairs and not about Grummans. However, Huston was flying a Grumman when he was killed.

If frauds, the parents would have shown young James a Grumman aircraft at the museum. They would have reinfornced that young James (as Huston) had been flying a grumman when killed.

Instead, James had himself in a Corsair and the parents reported Corsair as they moved through the case. If frauds, they could have substituted Grumman for Corsair at any point to make the case look stronger. After all, misidentifying the aircraft appears to be a major weakness in the case.

Only much later in the cases evolution is it revealed that Huston did indeed fly Corsairs (though not off the Natoma at the time of his death). In fact, among Huston's meager personal belongings that were later shared by his surviving sister with the Leitingers was a model Corsair. The Corsair obviously was important to Huston. The Corsair was considered the premier aircraft in the pacific theater. It was prestigious to fly one. It was sexy to fly one. It was a fantastic performing and good looking aircraft. They were even used throughout the Korean war when more modern jets were available as well. The Grumman was the ugly old work horse of the fleet.

There's a video online in which, toward the end, the boy James is able to pass by boat over the spot where James Huston's plane went down. He throws a wreath onto the water and then just breaks down, sobbing. That emotional connection that you mentioned, Michael, really makes a statement. It gives you the sense that the 60 year-old loop he was closing by tossing that wreath on the water was, to him, an exceptionally real one.

Paul and Bruces comments - Points taken here thanks.
All reincarnation research seems to be fairly old - wonder if theres more recent anecdotes anywhere?

The Leininger case isn't old. It's very recent. The work done by Carol Bowman and Jim Tucker is also recent and ongoing. There are researchers in India and other countries who are continuing Stevenson's work today.

Also, I would not characterize these cases as anecdotes. They are researched, documented, and sometimes peer-reviewed. Not all science is done in a lab. Investigations like these have more in common with field anthropology than with physics, but anthropology is a science too.

Little two year old James Leininger's recollection may have been triggered by the visit to the World War Two museum, but I doubt that the finer details were formed at the museum.

My two year old granddaughter was laying in bed talking to me one evening, when she told me that she used to be a boy, did boy things & played with boy toys. Which is when I told her that she was a girl now & that the boy had his chance now it was time for her to be a girl.

I have often wondered if reincarnation was a karma thing, what did this boy do in a prior life to be brought back as a girl. Life is stranger than fiction.

"Little two year old James Leininger's recollection may have been triggered by the visit to the World War Two museum, but I doubt that the finer details were formed at the museum."

And just as importantly, neither was the trauma that lead to his continuing, horrendous nightmares. Anyone who tries to explain the case in terms of the museum trip has to account for that aspect, too.

"The work done by Carol Bowman and Jim Tucker is also recent and ongoing."

Actually, Carol Bowman played a big role in this case, too. Andrea Leininger contacted Bowman for help and support (at her mother's suggestion, I believe). Bowman counseled her continuously as the case progressed, helping her to respond therapeutically, not to ask leading questions, encouraging her to keep a journal, etc.

I still don't get why his has to be a case of reincarnation as opposed to some form of spirit obsession.

Paul - Spirit obsession - which is the direction of influence here, do you mean from descarnate pilot to James?

Hi tony. Yes that's what I mean.

Paul, I don't think obsession fits well with the in between lives statements made by James regarding selecting his parents and the pink hotel, etc.

Good point no one.

Thanks - ive read this case probably about 4 times in a couple of years, but i need to check it again regarding the pink hotel etc

Whether obsession or reincarnation, the case at least suggests postmortem survival in some form. To me, that's its main interest. But the similarity of the "pink hotel" statement to the purported between-life memories discovered in regression research points more to reincarnation, IMO.

Having re-read the article more carefully, and bearing in mind 'no one's comment, taking the account at face value I tried to construct a non-reincarnation but survivalist view of the report and although I can think of ways to make it fit, reincarnation seems the simplest answer to me.

I am not suggesting that therefore means it is the correct interpretation but to me it appears the most likely.

I am something of a fan of Silver Birch's sayings and he was adamant that it is a fact, though I don't pretend to understand how it works in practice.

I will be channeling some inner turkey tomorrow and want to say thank you to Michael and the comment posters for their continued interesting discussions throughout the year. I find the information shared in this blog to be invaluable.

Kind Regards All.

Hey Paul, I too like Sliver Birch and he is a advocate of reincarnation.

However, as you say, how this works in practice is more difficult to say.

In fact, the closer you look at it, the more complicated it becomes.

In fact, when you look at Sliver Birch's teachings on the subject in more detail, he is actually an advocate of simultaneous incarnations. They only appear to us in a linear manner because of our perspective within time. There is a greater part of us that he says resides outside time, and from that persepctive all our lives are occuring silmultaneously - all our physical lives are 'facets of the diamond'. The diamond is our greater, or higher self.

Interestingly, this is exactly what Seth says as well. It's not a simple story, but I think it makes sense, as we are begining to see now, I think, that the spiritual realm resides outside of our time-space arrangement, something born out by many NDEers, as Art will no doubt point out.

Most mediumistic communicators, while stating that reincarnation is a fact, usually don't go into any details of the mechanics of it, I think becuase the purpose of the communication is different: most participants in a seance want afterlife evidence and to be reassured that their relatives are alive and well - complicated monologues on the nature of quantum time space arrangements are not the order of the day.

PS following on from the previous, some may ask how we can recall other lives if all our lives are taking place simultaneously.

The answer, at least according to Seth and Silver Birch, is to be found with the greater part of us that resides outside time. There is obviously some cross communication between all these different facets, and this can often be picked up or communicated to us here.

As we are inserted into linear time, it may be that we only have access to 'past lives', from our own perspective.

According to Seth, all simultaneous lives are linked in an intricate web and all are influencing of each other.

In this, some lives are VERY closely linked to each other, so much so that the experiences of one are recalled, or 'bleed through' in another.

Of course, how is it then that we can recall the moment of death in another life, if lives are silmultaneous? Well, the part of us residing outside time has access to the whole life, from start to finish, and so we are able to access that somehow. It all sounds difficult to comprehend, but should we really be suprised at this?


"It's not a simple story, but I think it makes sense, as we are begining to see now, I think, that the spiritual realm resides outside of our time-space arrangement, something born out by many NDEers, as Art will no doubt point out." - Douglas
-------------------------------------------

Art has been trying very hard to stay out of this whole reincarnation debate. Since he gets accused so often of being repetitious and has nothing new to add that he hasn't said before Art has been trying to let ya'll just have fun with it and get as much mileage as you can with it. Art figures he'll find out when he get to the other side.

Happy Thanksgiving by the way - and for those of ya'll who believe you have lived many times before, Happy Thanksgiving for the 50th time or however many lives you believe you may have lived in the past.

The problem I have with the multiple simultaneous incarnations idea is that people seldom recall details of a future life. They generally recall past lives. If all the incarnations are simultaneous and the experience of each can be accessed with equal ease, then why do people so rarely access the ones that take place in our linear future?

Another questionable aspect of this idea is that it seems to contradict hypnotic regression research, in which patients clearly remember living their lives in sequence, and even spending time in the afterlife between specific incarnations.

I've been reading a book called More Philosophy of Silver Birch, a collection of transcripts edited by Tony Ortzen. To be honest, I find most of it rather bland. Love is what matters, the Great Spirit has a plan even if we don't see it, spiritual values are more important than materialism ... I don't see much of great interest here. I think my subconscious could come up with most of those "teachings" without breaking a sweat. I'm not saying I disagree, only that I don't see evidence of a higher intellect at work. But I know many people are deeply impressed with Silver Birch, so maybe I'm missing something ...

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

@MP: For me the Silver Birch writing are interesting because they are so ordinary and seem to be common sense. Also because of the person who was apparently used as a medium and the style of communication. I don't view them as evidential of survival at all.

I also don't think there is any need for SB to be a higher intellect, more that he (purports) to have more experience. I would agree that there isn't anything that suggests he will be designing rockets. Simple, basic observations of what 'he' claims to be fact. Take it or leave it. I don't think he was trying to create a following or even appear smarter than the average bear. I view the purported teachings more as a reminder of what I already believe to be correct, broadly speaking, and not 'new light' particularly. Though for some it probably is.

Seth, to me, read completely differently after the first few pearls of wisdom and became (for me) impenetrable.

@Douglas: I would be satisfied to get good personal evidence that we survive and would be happy to leave 'what happens next in detail' until I get there.


"I have come back merely to stress a few elementary spiritual truths. It seems to me - and I am quite an old man - that what your world needs is not some high-flown, theological, abstract collection of doctrines, but a few simple truths enthroned in the hearts of most religions, taught by those who were inspired by the power of the spirit in days gone by, that all mankind is part of one another, that beneath our physical differences there is a common bond of the spirit which unites us all" (Silver Birch, SBS, 56)

Michael said:

"If all the incarnations are simultaneous and the experience of each can be accessed with equal ease, then why do people so rarely access the ones that take place in our linear future?"

It's a great question. Especially since we routinely access our *personal* future through precognitive dreams, why not future lives?

I don't know. Maybe it has to do with problems that would arise if we had that sort of information. Or maybe it's related to the complexity of probable futures and multiple timelines.

My guess is that the answer to that question--like most of the questions we raise here--cannot be comprehended by a human mind in an ordinary state of consciousness.

But since I need to have SOME way of grasping it, I'll go with this: from the perspective of Source, all our incarnations are simultaneous. And from an earthly perspective, they're not.

It's the best I can do this Thanksgiving day.

Hi Bruce,

Yeah, that's the way I look at it.

Actually if you accept that the spiritual world resides outside of our physical time space arrangement (which it must do) then from that perspective all our multiple lives MUST be silmultaneous.

But from each of our perspectives in the physical, they are linear.

To Michael: My answer to why we *generally* don't hear much about future lives may be to do with the fact that we have been inserted into linear time, so this must affect our perception in some way in that we only have access to 'past' lives, from our linear perspective. However, like most things, this is a general rule and there are exceptions. There have a few cases of people recalling 'future' lives, but i agree they are in the minority.

*Maybe it has to do with problems that would arise if we had that sort of information. Or maybe it's related to the complexity of probable futures and multiple timelines.*

I think this is one of the main reasons why we can't recall/foresee our future lives.

I think any vision of the future has to be "resonant" with respect to both the future and the present. In other words, it can't be information that would then cause us to change the future that we see. Although, I think we can have visions of the future that we *do* then change, in which case we may or may not see them as precognitive.

I think the other main reason is that our past lives reside within memory of some type: we have already "earned" those memories by our participation in our own timeline. Visions of future lives have to be seen via a different channel, a psi channel such as clairvoyance, so to speak.

I agree with Douglass that our lives are simultaneous with respect to our higher self but do not seem so (at least not normally) to our individual incarnations.

The simultaneity idea doesn't really jibe with life-between-lives accounts, though. Subjects typically report ending one incarnation, learning from it, then using what they've learned to select a new incarnation. It sounds pretty linear, and the learning and choosing take place in the afterlife, outside of physical reality. On the other hand, those accounts don't jibe very well with most mediumistic reports of life on "the other side," or with NDEs, so the whole thing just gets curiouser and curiouser.

"I agree with Douglass that our lives are simultaneous with respect to our higher self but do not seem so (at least not normally) to our individual incarnations."

I am not so sure about this. One reason is the extent to which free will is operational in our lives and, assuming there is free will, the extent to which our choices made under free will would be reflected in a cause/effect system like karma in subsequent life times.

Or, in other words, if the conditions and personal characteristics of subsequent lives are at least in part dependent on choices we make in this life (or made in previous lives) then how could the future life be occurring simultaneously? It seems the future life would have to be on hold until the current had concluded with all choices made and actions taken. IMO, there has to be some form of linearity.

Hi Michael, I fully agree that the 'inbetween' afterlife part does tend to lend itself to linear interpretations.

Going back to the Seth material however, he clearly states that our 'essence' (traditional term: higher self), DOES select each incarnation very carefully, selecting the parents, location, timeline, genetic material etc. It also applies the information received simultaneously from other currently operating lives, so in this way the actions in other lives DO have influence on this one. The higher self/essence also explores various themes, what in traditional terms would be called 'lessons' that it may choose to work out over various lives, so they all fit together like a jigsaw. Actually, a tapestry is a better term, because the threads of all the lives constantly affect and influence each other, but in this, certain lives are very closely connected and bleed through to each other more than others.

An important point to raise is that we are so conditioned to thinking in terms of linear time we cannot really comprehend life without it, and this also goes for those who are recalling 'past lives'. Remember that they are interpreting their memories through the filter of linear time, just as we are, so I'm not suprised that their natural inclination is to think of their experiences in a linear manner - including their inbetween afterlife memories. I think they are interpreting their experiences in a way that they can most easily understand.

It is only with NDEers that we get some clear accounts of non-linear experiences, although even these are limited, and NDEers find it difficult to describe the experience in ordinary terms to which we can relate.

At the same time however, we don't know if people just jump into silmultaneous time after death or whether there is a more immediate transitional afterlife area that we tend to go to first to slowly become accustomed to things - Seth and Silver Birch certainly seem to think so. If so, then the silmultaneous time experience of some NDeers may not be indicative of most peoples' immediate afterlife experience, and should instead be viewed as more of a taster of what we can expect further along.

In light of that, I'm not sure how all this fits into reincarnation accounts. I agree that it is confusing but as i said, should we be surpised at this? I think the mechanics are probably simple from our higher self's perspective, but from our limited human perspective, none of it makes sense, and we may be chasing the impossible here - We should still give it a go though!

I don't think there's a contradiction. We don't just "become" our higher self between lives, though there may be a greater degree of connection to that self. Thus, it's entirely possible for a person in the Afterlife to perceive his or her existence in a linear way. At the same "time," the higher self would be perceiving *all* of the incarnations simultaneously.

"Simultaneous incarnations" is probably a misnomer. They are not simultaneous from the perspective of the individual incarnation, and they are outside of time or eternal with respect to the higher self, which does not exist in time as we know it.

The above is one hypothesis.

"Subjects typically report ending one incarnation, learning from it, then using what they've learned to select a new incarnation. It sounds pretty linear, and the learning and choosing take place in the afterlife, outside of physical reality."

Maybe those reports come from a level of the afterlife that is still highly influenced by physical reality and linear thinking. Yes, those souls are closer to Source than we are, here on Earth. But not close enough to have completely escaped from the spell of time.

The simultaneity idea doesn't really jibe with life-between-lives accounts, though. Subjects typically report ending one incarnation, learning from it, then using what they've learned to select a new incarnation. It sounds pretty linear, and the learning and choosing take place in the afterlife, outside of physical reality. On the other hand, those accounts don't jibe very well with most mediumistic reports of life on "the other side," or with NDEs, so the whole thing just gets curiouser and curiouser.

I don't have much regard for the life-between-lives accounts given by Michael Newton and others. Most of them are obtained in a procedure using low-level hypnotic suggestion, where the therapist makes the suggestion that the person is going to the supposed decision-point where he (as his soul) determined the outline of the present life. The subject knows and desires the goal of the procedure - to find the between lives soul decision that caused the particular challenges he is trying to deal with. With suggestible New Age believer types the result is predictable - "memories" of a between lives period that seem to explain the problem in the subject's life that he went to the therapist to uncover. Confabulated by the subconscious mind in response to the need. It doesn't work with less suggestible types who don't already have the belief system. Hypnotic regression research is very unreliable, because the unconscious mind is so suggestible and creative. That's why Ian Stevenson rejected regression hypnosis as a reliable way to obtain past life memories.

The comments to this entry are closed.