The Past Life Memories of European Children

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What Happens After Death?
That is one of the questions that humanity has always tried to solve, but for which there
is no answer that any living creature can provide. However, since the birth of Homo sapiens as a species, attempts have been made.

These attempts have usually been regulated by the set of stories created for and by
humans, providing them with something to believe in, something to grasp when in a crisis:
religion. As such, different religions explain what happens after death in different ways; for
instance, Christianity states there is heaven for the righteous ones and hell for those who
deviate from the path determined by God. Other religions, like Buddhism or ancient Nordic mythologies, explain how the soul abandons one’s dead body and reincarnates into another creature. The actions during life would determine what the next species is going to be, considering then that some animals are worse than others.

In the history of humanity, innumerable attempts to explain life after death have been
made. However, they were all based on beliefs, on the myths passed from people to people to
grasp an understanding of these hidden aspects of the world. No one could come back from
the death and confirm any hypothesis. Nevertheless, later instances would start to position the
myth of reincarnation as something more than a belief.
Reincarnation studies
Contemporary reports of reincarnation appeared in the early twentieth century with children
stating memories of past lives, and in the 1920s, systematic research on the topic started to
spread, as the article by Matlock states i
. The first systematic studies were conducted by Ian
Stevenson, mostly in Asian populations but also among children in Europe. The methods used
to conduct the research have included, in general, scientific methods of collecting information
that should add credibility to the results. In the case of studies of past life memories in
children, for instance, these methods mostly include interviews of the subjects and their
families, but also documentation research of materials such as videos, news, and other

Matlock’s paper (2020) emphasizes patterns that emerge in cross-cultural settings. The
interest in children’s past life memories is not arbitrary but a response to the observation that
the claims of these memories tend to fade away when the subject grows old, typically when
the child is 8 or 9 years old. This is not the only aspect that is shared among cases both in Asia
and in Europe. The appearance of past life memories tends to be accompanied by unusual
phenomena: the children would mostly associate the past memories with violent deaths; there
would be unusual behavior such as extraordinary skills or irrational fears; and, interestingly,
some children would have birthmarks that matched wounds from the previous lifeii
Past-life memories
Matlock’s paper (2020) lists children’s claims of past life memories according to the
relationship with this ‘past life.’ Some children claimed to have lived as one of their deceased
relatives in the past, while others would have had the life of a complete stranger. For instance,
Celina from the Netherlands described, when she was still a toddler, scenarios such as the
wedding of her parents and showed qualities that her grandmother also had. So did Kelly, from
the UK, stating affirmations that only her grandmother would know.
On the other hand, Irma from Italy assured she reincarnated from her deceased sister,
who died at the age of three. Not only did she resemble mannerisms, but she explicitly stated
that her sister is her. Bianca, too, from Italy, reincarnated a deceased sister.
Regarding past lives of strangers, the extraordinary children that recall memories have
been, in the research, usually treated as delusional. For instance, Blanche from Belgium
assured she had been a pharmacist and described where she had worked in the previous life.
Her parents thought she was losing her mind until one day she showed them the location of
the alleged pharmacy, which looked exactly as she had described. Helmut, from Austria, also
recalled an old address, this time a home where he would have lived in his previous life as a
military officer. Not only did the address exist, but they discovered the military officer had died
from a head wound. A wound in the same spot where Helmut had a birthmark.
Confirmation, isolated cases, or imagination?
The appearance of memories of past lives among extraordinary children that tend to fall out of
the norm supports the reincarnation belief. It is plausible to think that only these few children
can unlock these memories, and only for a brief period of time. However, that does not mean
that these memories and events do not exist for the rest of the subjects. In this case, these
reported memories, only unlocked by some children, signify something that may apply to
every human being, thus every human being is a reincarnation of another creature.
It is also safe to assume that the reported memories happened only to these few
selected children because they were the only children to have been reincarnated. However,
that raises more incongruities and does not add sense to the whole equation. And, lastly,
skeptics will always present the scenario of coincidence, of coincidentally finding a house
exactly like the one your child said they lived in their past life. They would then state that it is
all fruit of children’s imagination.
Ultimately, people will always find something to believe in. In some cultures, religion is the
main rope that all subjects grab, while in more Western societies, people increasingly believe
in progressive ideas like world equity, technological communities, veganism and
vegetarianism, and so on and so on. Believing in reincarnation can serve as a guideline for
many people’s lives, especially if good behavior is rewarded after death.
But, apart from that, there is nothing to be done. Confirming that past life memories are
real does not contribute to the progress of society in any way. People will still die, and people
will usually not remember anything after dying anyway. And, in case good actions lead to a
better life after death, arguably citizens will show better behavior overall, but only for their
own sake. Is it truly altruistic to do good if the ultimate goal is not the wellness of society but
the belief that you will reincarnate in a “better” creature?

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