Monday, April 3, 2017

Book review: "Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Previous Lives" by Tim Shroder

Disclaimer: I don't believe in past lives or reincarnation. I DO believe that there are so many things that we as humans can't explain and probably will never be able to explain. There's this weird gray area where incidents like these live and I just find that so intriguing. So that's how I found myself with this book.

The author, a journalist, travels with Dr Stevenson, literally across the globe as he interviews people who claim to remember past lives. The three specific parts of the world that are highlighted in this book is Beirut, India and the United States.

There are exceptions but it seems like a lot of the cases went something like this:

A child is born to a family, and at a very young age says things like "This isn't my house", "You aren't my parents". Sometimes they can even name the people who they think are their parents and the town that they say they are from. They refer to themselves as the name of their "PP" (previous persona). They can name and identify their PP's family members. Sometimes they know details about their PP's lives that no one other than that person or their spouse would know.  Almost all of the PP's died violently (thrown from a car during an accident, suicide after being cornered by cops, shot by abusive husband, etc). I think the cases that are most interesting is when there are weird birthmarks. It's like "Well, our son Sid thinks he's actually someone named Bob. Bob died when he shot himself under his chin and through his head. Oddly enough, Sid has a strange birthmark under his chin and on the top of his head where the bullet exited Bob's head. Hmmmmm".

I was explaining this book to some of my coworkers and they asked if any of the children were a different gender then their PP. There were no examples of it in the book but now I'm totally curious.

In this whole situation I feel the most bad for the person whose child thinks they are a PP. Can you imagine, you're pregnant and all excited to meet your new baby and then as soon as they are old enough to talk the things they say to you are "You're not actually my parents." ? 

The author starts as a hardened skeptic but by the end of it he doesn't necessarily end up as a believer, but he realizes there's so many things that he just doesn't have good answers for.


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