The afterlife will always be a subject of human fascination. We all wonder what happens when we die. Stories of reincarnation give believers hope that their consciousness continues after death, but sometimes leave skeptics rolling their eyes. Some reincarnation stories, however, are not so easy to dismiss. When past-life memories come with unnerving precision, even the most hardened skeptics may become believers.
In these potentially true reincarnation tales, individuals are able to recall intricate, eerie memories of lives they never lived. Their stories are rich with details that seem too exact to be drawn from imagination alone. People who have been reincarnated may remember information that is later verified, such as former addresses, old family members, and deadly accidents.
While some past life recollections can be easily dismissed, these stories are rich with haunting details that defy logical explanations. Such chronicles will leave even staunch skeptics wondering, “Is reincarnation real?”
In 2009, at the age of four, Ryan Hammons began waking up, clutching his chest, and screaming about how his heart exploded in Hollywood. His mother, Cyndi, became intrigued when Ryan revealed more details from a former life. He insisted he once lived in a house in Hollywood on a street with the name "Rock" in it where he had three sons and a friend named “Senator Fives.”
One day, Cyndi was going through a book featuring photos from old Hollywood. Ryan peeked over her shoulder and excitedly identified one man as George and another as himself. Cyndi contacted a psychiatrist from UVA Medical Center who conducts research on reincarnation. The psychiatrist verified the man in the photo was a film star named George Raft and the other man was Martin Martyn, who died in 1964. Upon contacting Martyn’s daughter, she confirmed Martyn was a Hollywood agent, lived on North Roxbury Drive, had three sons, and once met with New York Senator Irving Ives.
After meeting with Martyn’s daughter, Ryan lost interest in his Hollywood memories. He was standoffish at the meeting and told his mother afterward his daughter’s energy had changed. The psychiatrist’s explanation? Upon seeing people from their past have moved on, reincarnated children gain closure and forget their former existences.
At first, Erica Ruehlman laughed off her five-year-old son Luke’s odd tendency to call toys and objects “Pam." She was also unconcerned by his comments about having once been a girl. He would say he had black hair when he was a girl, or that he wore the same earrings as his mom when he was a girl. Out of curiosity, Erica eventually asked Luke who Pam was.
“I was,” he said, “Well, I used to be, but I died and I went up to heaven. I saw God and then, eventually, God pushed me back down and when I woke up I was a baby and you named me Luke.”
After pressing him for more details, Luke told his mother he lived in Chicago, took the train a lot, and died in a fire. After mentioning his death, Luke made a hand motion indicating someone jumping out a window. When Erica punched the information into a search engine, she discovered a news story about a fire in the Paxton Hotel in Chicago. In March of 1993, 19 people died in a fire at the building and a woman, Pam Robinson, perished when she jumped out a window.
Erica couldn't explain how Luke would have known about a fire in Chicago. He had never been to the city, and she never discussed it with him. While the haunting story of Pam Robinson could be a coincidence, it was enough to make Erica believe.
John and Florence Pollock were devastated when their twin daughters, Joanna and Jacqueline, died in a car accident on May 5, 1957. The following year, they were thrilled to hear they were expecting and, once again, Florence was carrying twins. The twins, Gillian and Jennifer, were born identical except for Jennifer's birthmarks. She had a birthmark on her waist, similar to a birthmark Jacqueline had, and a birthmark on her forehead that resembled one of Jacqueline’s scars.
John and Florence moved away from their old home when their daughters were three months old. John and Florence told Gillian and Jennifer very little about their late sisters, but the girls seemed to share Joanna and Jacqueline's memories. They would request old toys that had belonged to the deceased twins, recognized landmarks when traveling to their parents' former home, and were inexplicably terrified of cars. Upon seeing oncoming traffic, they would shriek, “The car is coming to get us!”
Luckily, by the age of five, these frightening memories mostly faded away. The girls went on to live relatively normal adult lives. However, their story is still frequently cited as evidence of reincarnation.
Shanti Devi of Delhi, India, was born in 1926 and barely talked until she was four years old. She then began insisting she lived with her husband and son in a town called Mathura, where she had died 10 days after giving birth. Eventually, a teacher in Devi’s school asked for her former husband's name and she replied, "Pandit Kedarnath Chaube." The teacher identified a man of this name in Mathura and wrote him a letter.
Chaube confirmed his wife, Lugdi, died during childbirth nine years prior. When Chaube traveled to meet Shanti, he introduced himself using his older brother's name. Shanti immediately caught the bluff and recognized Chaube as her husband. She recalled details of Lugdi’s life, such as Kedarnath’s favorite food and how Lugdi bathed in a well in their courtyard. She also chastised Chaube for remarrying, as he had promised Lugdi he would not.
Mahatma Gandhi eventually heard of her story. He met with Devi and set up a committee of 15 people to evaluate her claims. The committee, surprisingly, could not debunk the story.