Tips for figuring out whether a child remembering a past life is real or just imagination
Anyone who has spent any amount of time around kids knows they are capable of making up some wild and entertaining stories. So how do we know when a child remembering a past life is a legitimate thing and when it’s just an imagination thing?
The answer I want to give you isn't the most scientific response. Truth is, when it happens, you just... know. It's one of those things that's hard to explain unless you've experienced it. It's an energy thing, you know? Your skin gets prickly, the hair on the back of your neck raises. Intuition, I guess. Some deeper knowing.
But, alas, that isn't a good enough answer for some people, and I get it. For that reason, I wanted to share this info I gathered from a book called Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child.
Here are what expert Carol Bowman has dubbed The Four Signs in determining whether your child is remembering a past life or is just making shit up for fun. It should be noted that a kid doesn’t have to exhibit ALL 4 signs for the memories to be valid. It could be any combination, though she's never encountered a strong case that didn't have at least 2 of these.
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1) A Child Remembering a Past Life Uses a Matter-of-Fact Tone
It’s not just *what* the child is saying. It’s *how* they say it. It becomes immediately obvious that this is not something silly that the kid has made up on the spot. It’s factual to them. It is said with the same confidence as telling you what their teacher’s name is or that they’re holding a blue cup of chocolate milk. Oftentimes, the kid’s tone and voice will change a bit — as though they are suddenly much older than their actual years.
One example Bowman uses in her book is how her own very young son was talking about his past life memories and he would use words like “betrothed.” Almost no one in our current Western society uses that term anymore, but especially not some kid under age 10. It's kinda creepy, right?
Often parents and other adult witnesses say it is as though their child went into a light trance when discussing their past life memories. There's also a common trend where kids seem most likely to talk about their past incarnations when they're in the bath, riding in a car, or lying in bed just before sleep.
Now what do those things have in common? They are very relaxed states. These alpha and theta brain waves states are the same you experience during a hypnosis session.
2) Consistency Over Time - Even Years
Think about all those criminal shows that teach us how to catch a person who is lying. One of the basic points is that when a person tells a lie (or a kid is just making up a story) it’s harder to keep the story straight if they have to tell it more than once. With untruths, you are *creating* something, not *remembering* it.
So, yeah, if your kids is repeatedly telling you the same story of something that happened in his “old life” it’s probably a real memory. This doesn’t mean he won’t possibly ADD to the story if he remembers more later, and it also doesn't mean he won't get mixed up sometimes. Especially with very young children, they can confuse the present life with the past ones.
Time is a complicated topic for any of us and it can be especially daunting for kids. On a similar note, be considerate that your child may be working with a limited vocabulary. What might sound like fiction on the surface could be really a struggle to verbalize a deeper meaning.
For example, there was a viral video on Tiktok (see it here) about a little girl who told her mom that in her old life the "house was bleeding everywhere" and that her other mother turned into a "monster" and died. Maybe this was that girl's way of trying to explain that there was murder or some other tragic event that happened to her in the past life.
Forgetting Doesn't Mean those Memories Weren't Real
It seems that most people forget their past life memories by the age of 10 or so. Some critics will argue that this is proof that reincarnation isn't real, as though it's just a phase the kid outgrew like believing in Santa or the tooth fairy.
I find that to be a weak argument. Most adults have forgotten huge chunks of their own childhood in this current lifetime. Does that mean that those things never happened?
Furthermore, there are numerous cases of children who never forgot their past life memories. Joan Grant famously remembered multiple past lives well into old age and documented them in her book Far Memory. You can also check out my articles about Swarnlata Mishra and Cemil Hayik for more detailed examples.
3) A Child Remembering a Past Life Has Knowledge Beyond Experience
The internet is full of videos showcasing child prodigies. (Here's one example!) While every child who recalls a past life won’t be a 2yo concert pianist, it’s not uncommon for a kid to have shocking knowledge or a skill he didn’t learn from his family. And plenty of these cases existed long before iPads and YouTube were around.
Sometimes the surprising knowledge a child has is about strangers that live far away or it pertains to old family secrets that have buried a long time. There are thousands of documented cases of children knowing things about people they've never met and there's no logical explanation for how they would have access to the information.
Read about Dreams: How Past Live Show Up in Your Sleep
4) Corresponding Behavior and Traits
This one kinda overlaps with the last sign, but it also includes things like phobias, strange food preferences, and mannerisms, etc. A 3yo may insist on being vegetarian even though no one else in the family is. A 6yo may be terrified of water even though she never had a traumatic experience in this lifetime. Maybe your kid accurately says phrases in another language even though you don't have a bilingual household.
This may also show up as physical characteristics like a birthmark that corresponds with a fatal wound in the last life or as a birth defect ((like my son who was literally born with his intestines out of his body and had to be rushed into surgery)).
Dr. Ian Stevenson did EXTENSIVE research on this particular category. He believed that birthmarks and birth defects could be the key to proving reincarnation is real.
FYI, these are affiliate links, which just means that I get a tiny percentage if you happen to purchase any of the books while using my links. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra.) Even if you don’t purchase, you can still click the links to read more about the books.
As mentioned previously, this information comes directly from a book by Carol Bowman called Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child. It's a perfection option if you're looking for more in depth information on this specific aspect of reincarnation. If you're interested in additional books on past lives, here are a few others I recommend. You can also check out my full list of reincarnation books here.
The Children that Time Forgot by Peter and Mary Harrison
Children Who Remember Previous Lives by Dr. Ian Stevenson
Old Souls by Tom Shroder
Reincarnation by Paul Roland
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