The issue of reincarnation has been a huge mystery since the start of humankind. Before the descent of the major religions like Islam or Christianity, it was one of the dominant religious beliefs. In Buddhism, for example, reincarnation is one of the foundational doctrines along with karma and Nirvana. The Buddhists believe that their actions in this life will determine what kind of life they will live in the second. Very much like the belief of Heaven and Hell in Christianity and Islam, reincarnation serves as the reward for people of good deeds in Buddhism. As the Eastern beliefs are more philosophical than their Western counterparts, the said belief has been of greater importance in Eastern religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
The word reincarnation is derived from Latin and literally means “to take on the flesh again”. Although the world had been split into two factions, The East and The West, on this problem, researchers have been encountering more and more cases of strange occurrences regarding this belief universally. To give an example, Ian Stevenson, who have started studying young children claiming to remember a past life in 1961, states that his approach involved a scientific, rational approach to distinguish how much of the children’s statement could be verified and how scientific one can get with such a spiritual case. Until today, more than 2500 cases were studied as part of an ongoing project and they were cases that were confirmed in all continents except Antarctica. Let’s take a look at a case from Turkey.
In 1957, a man named Abit Süzülmüş from Adana was killed by his three employees. A couple of years later, İsmail Altınkılıç, the 4-year-old son of the Altınkılıç family, living a few kilometers away from Abit’s farm, begins talking about a past life. The Indian professor Dr. H. N. Banerjee, one of the few well-known research scientists on the issue of reincarnation, starts investigating the family. After he starts his investigation, he records that young İsmail calls out a name in his sleep repeatedly, upon careful inquiry revealed to be the name of Abit’s daughter. When İsmail was five, they decide to take him to the Süzülmüş home in the neighboring village. Eleven people accompany him, and some try to mislead him on the way, although young İsmail finds the way to the said farm by himself, even though it’s supposed to be his first time around there. When they arrive at the house, there are about 30 people waiting for them. They want to put to test whether the boy could identify his former family members among such a dense crowd. The boy immediately goes up to a woman, calls out her name, says that it was his second wife, and starts crying when he sees his other family members. He then identifies his son and two daughters who are also present. On the way back home, he talks with the villagers, speaking of a debt they owed him in his past life or chattering about things Abit and the villagers used to talk about, shocking everyone. Scientists record this case as one that is hard not to believe since there is no connection between the Süzülmüş and Altınkılıç families and making up such a plot that involves a 4-year-old young boy’s participation along with all other people in the village is almost impossible.
Such stories can be found everywhere around the world, and the judgment on whether they are true or not is left to the mercy of the beholder.
Hardo, Trutz. 30 Most Convincing Cases of Reincarnation. Jaico Publishing House, 2016.
Nagaraj, Anil Kumar Mysore et al. “The mystery of reincarnation.” Indian journal of psychiatry vol. 55,Suppl 2 (2013): S171-6. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.105519
Tucker, J.B.. (2007). Children who claim to remember previous lives: Past, present, and future research. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 21. 543-552.