These are four common attitudes towards the possibility of a continued life after we die: Death is the end of our existence, We cannot know if we live on or not, We have an eternal life ahead of us, We will be born again in a new body.
According to the European Values Study, 45% of the population of Europe reject any idea of life after death, 28% believe in life after death but not in reincarnation and 20% believe that they will be reborn.
Let us explore the possibility that we will be born again. The evidence comes from rare cases of children who claim to remember episodes of a previous life. Professor Haraldsson will present some cases from Lebanon, Sri Lanka, India, and Iceland, describe how they were investigated, their characteristics, and give an overview of the major findings in this area of research. The cases can be found in many if not most countries. Analyses of the contents of these alleged memories reveal interesting features, such as frequent accounts of memories of a violent death, phobias relating to these memories/images and deep preoccupation with them. These children tend to be gifted, do well in school and have a greater than average vocabulary at an early age. Attempts to verify their past-life memories have been successful in some of the cases. Various models for interpreting them will be discussed and their implications.
Erlendur is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Iceland. He has published many papers on this subject and is the author of five books. He has investigated numerous cases of children who claim to remember a previous life, particularly in Sri Lanka, India, and Lebanon. His investigations have centered on the question of whether statements made by these children can be verified and if some person can be found that fits the description made by the children, as well as examining psychological, religious and cultural explanations for this phenomenon.
Analysis of the contents of these cases reveals interesting features, such as the frequent images/memories of a violent death, the early age of the onset of the images/memories, and the relation of the children to their families. Psychological studies have revealed remarkable differences between them and their peers.
Website with text of published papers: www.hi.is/~erlendur/
Erlendur Haraldsson and Majd Abu-Izzedin (2004) Three randomly selected cases of Lebanese children who claim memories of a previous life. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 68.2 (875), 65-85.
Ian Stevenson and Erlendur Haraldsson (2003). The Similarity of Features of Reincarnation Type Cases over Many Years: A Third Study. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 17, 2, 283-289.
Erlendur Haraldsson (2003). Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation? Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice. 76, 1, 55-67.
Erlendur Haraldsson and Majd Abu-Izzeddin (2002). Development of Certainty about the Correct Deceased Person in a Case of the Reincarnation Type: The Case of Nazih Al-Danaf. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 16(3), 363-380.
Erlendur Haraldsson and Godwin Samararatne (1999). Children who speak of memories of a previous life as a Buddhist monk: Three new cases. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 63(857), 268-291.