The reincarnation of Cemil Hayik - a true story and a legend.
The extraordinary reincarnation of a man named Cemil honestly sounds more like a movie plot more than a true story. But it’s all real, folks. Even if we can’t definitively *prove* the reincarnation aspect, the fact remains that a man in Turkey lived a fascinating life, becoming a local legend. And 2 days after that man’s death, a child was born who grew up to have compelling evidence that he was, in truth, the reincarnation of that man.
Personally, I’m a believer. A recovering skeptic, if you will. But this case is strong enough that even the toughest critic just might be a little more open to the idea of past lives.
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The Reincarnation of… Who?
First things first, let me give you all the dirt on this folk hero. Cemil Hayik lived in the Hatay province of Turkey in the 1930’s, and he was an outlaw of the Robin Hood type. (In his book Reincarnation and Biology, Volume 1, Dr. Ian Stevenson specifically makes that comparison, even though there’s no known “real life” Robin Hood.)
Cemil didn’t steal to give to the poor per se, but if he jumped out of the woods to rob you, he only took enough money to buy himself some food and cigarettes. He never took more than he needed and he never hurt anybody.
Except for those times he murdered a few people. But he only killed people who snitched to the police about his whereabouts or who hurt his family. Case in point: two men, including a rejected suitor, raped two of his sisters. Cemil did what he felt was necessary. He killed the men and eventually turned himself in.
Though he garnered much support and sympathy from people, he was ultimately sentenced to death at his trial. And Cemil wasn’t ready to die yet. He faked an illness so that he could be transported to a hospital. It was there that his wife was allowed to visit him, and he promptly traded clothes with her so that he could escape.
And it worked. (I told you it sounds like a movie plot.)
Family of Thieves
In his defense, banditry was kinda a family business for the Hayiks. His father was the leader in a group of bandits, and Cemil basically became his apprentice. They were all wanted (“the object of an intense hunt”) by the French police.
This is important because not only does it lead to Cemil’s eventual death, but it further explains why so many people sympathized with Cemil and the Hayiks. While the government of Turkey was working peacefully to have Hatay returned to them, most people in the country saw the French as being their oppressors.
That said, it must also be noted that the Hayiks belonged to the Arab minority and wanted Hatay to be a part of Syria. It’s complicated… But at the end of the day, the Hayiks relied on the aid of the mountain people. Sometimes those people were happy to help. Other times they were simply afraid not to.
The Dramatic Death of a Hero
It was about 2 years from the time Cemil had escaped from the hospital in his wife’s clothes, when he and his brother Ibrahim (also in the family business of being an outlaw) were in the home of someone who ultimately betrayed them. The man of the house secretly got a message to the French police and soon there was a whole squad surrounding the place.
A dramatic shootout ensued. Cemil and Ibrahim held their own. One of their sisters said they killed 3 officers and injured 7 others. That was before the French police got the idea to set the roof of the house on fire.
The brothers stopped shooting. Everything was quiet. Then 2 single shots were heard. More silence.
(I mentioned the whole movie-worth thing, yes?)
Some of the officers decided to venture into the house before the whole house went up in flames. They saw streaks of blood on the floor, implying one body had been dragged. Both men lay dead, their heads pointing south toward Mecca.
It was clear that the brothers had one intention. They wanted to be sure everyone would know they’d taken their own lives before allowing the French gendarmes to do it.
The Reincarnation of Cemil
Cemil Hayik’s death was public knowledge. The French police had displayed his body (and his brother’s) in front of the courthouse for 2 days. This was supposed to discourage other criminals, I assume.
The day after his death, a distant relative named Mikail Fahrici had a dream Cemil entered his house. The next day, Mikail’s wife gave birth to their son. The baby had a distinct, oozing birthmark on his neck - in the same location where Cemil had put a gun to his own throat to end his life.
Do you find the dream part to be odd or suspicious? It’s actually quite common in reincarnation cases. They’re called announcing dreams. Dr. Ian Stevenson saw this so often that he dedicated a large part of his research specifically to this aspect. You can also learn more about the role of dreams in reincarnation by reading books like Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts or Children’s Past Lives by Carol Bowman.
Also, if you’re confused about how Cemil could be reborn two days after his death (as opposed to needing to be present for conception) please read my post How Long Does It Take to Reincarnate? There’s a lot of good information in there about when the soul enters the human body.
Let’s Talk about that Birthmark
Days after arriving home, the parents had to return to the hospital with their new baby. His birthmark was bleeding like an open wound, and in fact, it had to be stitched up. It took over a month to fully heal, and even then it would still flare up and bleed on occasion.
It was also reported that as he grew older, he suffered interior mouth pain. He would have toothaches in that area in addition to the impaired growth of the teeth there.
The birthmark was still quite visible into adulthood, as his beard would not grow in that spot. To take things to the next level (as if a bleeding birthmark were not enough), Dr. Stevenson had a brilliant idea while doing follow-up interviews on the case a few years later.
At least 2 interviewees who had seen Cemil’s dead body had mentioned how the bullet had emerged through the top of his skull. Dr. Stevenson wondered, shouldn’t that mean that the person claiming to be Cemil reborn would also have a birthmark representing the exit wound?
(For the record, I think the answer to that could be complicated, depending on the individual case.)
Dr. Stevenson and one of his associates returned to the Fahrici family. Without specifying a particular location, they asked the man if he had any other birthmarks. He immediately pointed to the top of his head. In the photos included in his book (see the image below), Dr. Stevenson showcases the man’s second birthmark and an autopsy photo from a person killed of a gunshot wound. They look eerily similar, and if that doesn’t give you chills, then you’re not me.
Other Details Indicating the Reincarnation of Cemil
The strength of this case is in the physical evidence (the 2 birthmarks) but it’s only fair to include all of the fascinating details. You may have noticed that as of yet, I haven’t told you the name of the person claiming to be Cemil Hayik reborn. That’s because it’s part of the evidence.
When the baby was born, his parents named him Dahham. As soon as he could speak, around age 2, the kid asserted he was Cemil Hayik and gave details to support his case. He refused to be called his given name, insisting everyone call him Cemil.
I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps because his father had had the announcing dream and Cemil Hayik had been so infamous, the parents had potentially created an environment that led the child to believe he was or at least wanted to be Cemil. This is a logical response, but it also shows a lack of understanding of that culture.
Reincarnation Beliefs of the Parents
Just because people believe in reincarnation doesn’t mean they want their family members to recall their previous lives. (Many, many people believe we forget or “come under the veil” for good reason.) And rarely, if ever, are they seeking fame or attention. Quite the opposite. Oftentimes, the parents are afraid that the members of the previous personality’s family will hear about the situation and will seek out their child and claim the kid for themselves. (In this case, that’s exactly what happened!)
For this reason, when a person is young and claiming to remember a past life, the parents go through great lengths to quiet them — or at least to keep them from talking about the memories outside of their home. In this case, the parents would put bitter substances in his mouth or even spit at him when he spoke of his past life.
It was only after pure exasperation that the parents gave up on their methods and sought out a religious leader to guide them. Their child would cry frequently and completely freak out if they called him anything other than Cemil. The hoca advised them to give in. Changing his name had a dramatic, calming effect and he never went back to his birth name.
Other Notable Evidence
Cemil (the second one, that is) suffered frequently from violent nightmares about his past life. In his waking hours, he wavered from fear of the police to outright disdain for them. Usually he leaned into the anger.
There are multiple stories of how he would throw stones at men in uniform or pick up a stick and aim it at them, pretending he had a gun. In one instance, he tried to steal his father’s actual rifle so that he could shoot some French soldiers. (He wasn’t even 4 years old yet when this happened!)
Though Cemil Hayik was a well-known man, the second Cemil must have had enough compelling evidence that wasn’t known to the general public. He convinced the Hayik family to the extent that, as mentioned earlier, they asked the Fahrici parents to allow them to adopt him. They felt he belonged to them first and they wanted him back.
Though the Fahrici family declined the adoption request, the Hayik family did not give up. Eventually they settled with being allowed an affectionate relationship with him. They visited often, usually bringing him gifts, and Cemil cried when they left. The relationship continued into his adulthood.
One More Odd Little Thing
I would be remiss to not mention the fact that years later, Dr. Stevenson learned of another man who had claimed to be the reincarnation of Cemil Hayik. His evidence was not as compelling - though he did have a large birthmark at the top of his head, and as a child, he had claimed to have memories of the infamous outlaw.
Dr. Stevenson did not personally investigate this case, but he had a few theories on the situation based on the evidence he was given. In particular, he supposed that the child may have never named himself as Cemil Hayik but had claimed to remember the life of a bandit. Perhaps his family had simply surmised, in conjunction with the birthmark, that he was referring to Cemil Hayik.
This would not be the first time that multiple people have claimed to have been the same famous person in the past. Maybe some of these people are fantasizing or outright lying. But there are other explanations including psychic abilities, imprinting, and split souls. Hmm, maybe I have the topic for my next post…
While the earlier part of his life was a bit dramatic, Cemil Fahrici went on to lead a peaceful life as a prosperous baker. If you want to learn more about the reincarnation of Cemil, or if you’re interested in reading about past lives in general, I’m including the following list of book suggestions. You can also check out my post The Best Books about Reincarnation for a more in depth list.
Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives by Jim B. Tucker, M.D.
Old Souls by Tom Shroder
Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect by Ian Stevenson, M.D.
Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child by Carol Bowman
Between Death and Life by Dolores Cannon
Children Who Remember Previous Lives by Ian Stevenson, M.D.
My primary resource for this post was Reincarnation and Biology, Volume I by Ian Stevenson, M.D. but it is an academic book and very expensive (at least a few hundred dollars). It's probably not the best one to start with, but if you have serious interest in learning about scientific proof of reincarnation, it's a fantastic investment.
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.
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