In My Next Life

I just finished a book that was so fascinating! It’s called “Old Souls” and is written by a journalist by the name of Tom Shroder. It is about the case work of a scientist called Dr Ian Stevenson, and he travels all over the (developing world, mostly) world documenting cases of apparent reincarnation where children claim to remember past lives or claim to be someone from a past life. Dr Stevenson had been investigating such cases for nearly 40 years when the book was written, it follows him through Lebanon, India and Beirut, and ends with a case or two in the United States. It was compelling reading.
That sort of thing has always been interesting to me; in my early high school years I was always looking for new books in the ghost section of the library – I still remember the call numbers were 133.something. I dabbled in school-girl seances like any other, and was thankful that we only scared ourselves with elongating candle flames, rather than anything like the stuff from the movies. I watched all the Poltergeist films with my friends, then we spooked ourselves with stories that the lead characters all died from supernatural causes, like exploding hearts. And then, of course, there came the X-Files. Oh, Mulder, you smolder. What a hottie. One of the stand-outs for me – I cannot have just one favourite – was the episode where an anonymous tip called the FBI’s attention to a cult and one of the members seemed to have multiple personalities. The personalities turned out to be past lives. The poignant thing, though, was that one of the personalities/lives was connected to a past life of Mulder. The line she spoke in a long southern drawl “I’ve missed you” to Fox(y) dang near breaks my heart every time I think of it. He then investigates her past life and his own and it’s a standard awesome episode, including when he rushes to her aid only to find everyone has killed themselves *sob*.
Shroder wonders why there aren’t any or many cases in the United States then actually finds quite a lot. He supposes that some religions include reincarnation, so such claims by children are taken as fact, whereas comments or stories by children in western countries are dismissed because reincarnation is just stuff from the movies. Until he delves a little and finds a few cases that are more than that.
It all set me to trying to remember any funny things that my boys might have said (and that’s it, really, it’s all just funny things kids say, rather than anything more), and nearly 3yo did say a few things last year. It was not long, maybe a month or so, after our baby passed away, that was-then nearly 2yo said he could hear the baby crying, and he said it a few times over a few weeks, I think. I didn’t question him about it, I was a little bit petrified that he would elaborate, but it was still interesting at the time, even as it caused me pain. I was wondering if he was referring to his lost brother, or if he was remembering something from “before”, as some of the children in the book say.
I don’t remember the big boys saying anything that could be construed as something more, but it was a long time ago, my brain has been fried by having children and perhaps I dismissed it, even if they did say something.
I don’t think I would be interested in finding out about my own past lives because – aside from confusion and complexity for all and sundry – the subjects in the book have feelings for their “past personality” families, thus, confusion for all. I don’t think I would encourage the boys to remember “before” because I wouldn’t want to share my own children with other families, and of course, I wouldn’t want to share Husband with “other” wives.
Sometimes I wonder if people who go through hell in this life, must have done something very bad in their past life, but that’s an awful lot of naughty, just for my small circle of friends.
Garfield used to say – when I read his musings – that he wanted to come back as a pillow in his next life. In my next life, I may have many incarnations, one of which may be as a Praying Mantis, so that I may dispose of my spouse over and over. Another may be as a Penguin, so that I stay happily married for ever and the spouse may do the child-rearing. Perhaps I would be a tree, so that I may live for nearly ever, but that seems an awfully long time, and right now I am just hanging for naps.

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