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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1983 Dec;171(12):742-8.

American children who claim to remember previous lives.


An unknown number of American children claim to remember previous lives. In this paper data of 79 such children are analyzed and compared with data from a larger number of cases in India. Few American children of these cases make verifiable statements, and those who do nearly always speak about the lives of deceased members of their own families. In this feature, American cases differ from Indian ones, in which the children usually speak of the lives of deceased persons in another family and often in another community. Indian children also frequently make verifiable statements about the lives of such persons. In some other respects, however, such as the age of first speaking about the previous lives, the content of the statements they make, and related unusual behavior, American subjects closely resemble ones in India. Although many of the American cases may derive from fantasies, a wish-fulfilling motive or obvious gain for the child is not discernible in most of them. Nor do the cases resemble in their form fantasies of imaginary playmates. Some American cases of this type occur in families already believing in reincarnation, but many others do not. In these families the child's statements about a previous life are often puzzling and even alarming to his or her parents. The child is sometimes involved in conflict over the apparent memories with members of his or her family.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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