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Remembering Past Lives

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Childhood Recollections Supporting Reincarnation

By James Donahue

Most people in the world believe the spirit lives on after the death of the body. Without ever experiencing what really happens to us after we die, various social and religious groups have adopted theories that range from reincarnation . . . or returning over and over again to live on in new bodies to passing through the veil into a spiritual world that exists in another dimension and sometimes refusing to leave and just hanging around in a spiritual or ghostly existence in this plain.

Christians like to think that people who live good and faithful lives as servants of Jesus are rewarded with a new existence in Heaven. The others, they believe, risk eternal damnation in Hell. This group tends to reject any other form of reincarnation of the spirit.

There have been recorded cases, however, where children have come into this world with vivid memories of having lived past lives. Their stories have been studied by researchers who admit they are astounded by the information these children begin to deliver from the moment they learn to talk.

One of the most celebrated cases has been that of James Leininger, the son of Bruce and Andrea Leininger of Lafayette, La., who suffered nightmares and had vivid memories of being a World War II fighter pilot who died when he was shot down over Iwo Jima in 1945.

The parents said James’ memories appeared to have been triggered when he was 18-months-old and his father took him to visit the Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. There he was fascinated by World War II aircraft. After that he began having terrible nightmares. His mother said he would kick and scream: "airplane crashing, on fire, little man can’t get out!"

As he grew older, the memories of what happened to him became even stronger. At one time Andrea asked: "what happened to your plane?" He answered: "Got shot." He said the plane was hit in the engine and it crashed in the water. "When I asked him who shot the plane, he gave me a look like a teenager, rolling his eyes," she said. He answered: "The Japanese." Andrea said that "he knew it was a Japanese plane because of the red sun. What little child knows about the Japanese? My husband and I were shell shocked."

James also remembered that his earlier name also was James and that he flew a Corsair that took off from a carrier named Natoma. He also remembered a fellow flyer named Jack Larson.

The stories sparked Bruce Leininger’s curiosity so he began digging into historical records involving the Battle of Iwo Jima. He learned that there was a small escort carrier called the Natoma Bay which was involved in that battle. Twenty-one of that ship’s crew perished, including James Huston, the pilot of a Corsair fighter plane. Another pilot witnessed Huston’s plane get hit in the engine by Japanese fire on March 3, 1945. It went down in flames and sank the moment it hit the water.

James Huston was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1923.

The second case was recorded in a Swedish book: I Have Lived Before: The True Story of the Reincarnation of Shanti Devil."

It seems that Sahti Devil was born in Delhi, India, on December 11, 1926. She did not speak much until about the age of four. After this she began talking about her husband and children and describing her home in Mathura. She said he name was Lugdi Choubey. She also spoke of certain foods and clothing she especially liked.

At first the family ignored Sahti, but when a granduncle finally made contact with the Choubey family, it was learned that everything the girl was telling them was correct. When this family met the girl they asked questions and became convinced that she really was the reincarnated spirit of the late wife of Kedar Nath Choubey and the mother of a boy, Nitlal, who by this time was older than Sahti.

Everyone who questioned Sahti, including some critics who attempted to disprove her story, concluded that she was, indeed, the reincarnated woman she claimed to be.