NPR on Sunday morning had an interview with Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has studied hundreds of cases of potential reincarnation in children.
You can listen to it at this link. I can’t find any written text / a story that accompanies the interview, unfortunately. But one thing he said that resonated was the idea that our brains may be conduits or receivers for consciousness, which sounds right in line with Vedanta thinking. It also seems that these memories fade: one child he talks about had very strong memories around age 2 that they were able to trace to the death of a pilot in World War II; by age 5, the memories were more or less lost.
In many parts of the world, some young children, usually between the ages of 2 and 5, speak about a previous life they claim to have lived. At the same time they often show behavior, such as a phobia, that is unusual in their family and/or not explained by any current life events but that seems concordant with the child’s statements about a previous life. In many cases of this type the child’s statements have been shown to correspond accurately to facts in the life and death of a deceased person; in many of these cases the families concerned have had no contact before the case developed. Some of the children have birthmarks and birth defects that correspond to wounds or other marks on the deceased person whose life a child remembers. In numerous cases postmortem reports have confirmed these correspondences. Older children may retain these apparent memories, but generally they seem to fade around the age of 7 .
The Division staff have been investigating these cases since 1961 and have published numerous articles and books about them. There is also a list of books on reincarnation which includes one book about Dr. Stevenson’s work by an editor at the Washington Post. The young subjects of these cases have been found most readily in certain parts of the world, such as South Asia. They are, however, also found in other areas of the world, and the Division has studied many cases in Europe and North America. We are interested in hearing about cases with any of the elements discussed here. See Contacting Us. If you are a parent seeking advice about your child who seems to remember a previous life then see Advice to Parents.
Along with having traces of Vedanta, the whole endeavor of applying science to the ineffable is firmly of the Indian tradition, from my experience and study.
Posted by Steve