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Monday, May 28, 2012

IAN STEVENSON - Reincarnation & biology - BIRTHMARKS.1

 IAN STEVENSON - Where reincarnation and biology intersect

4. BIRTHMARKS RELATED TO
PREVIOUS LIVES WITHOUT VERIFICATION OF POSSIBLE CORRESPONDING WOUNDS


Although it may seem perverse to present weaker before stronger cases, I do so with the intention of helping readers to become acquainted with the wide range of birthmarks that occur in these cases. In none of the nine cases of the group that 1 describe here was the presumably related wound on the previous personality observed by any informant. Indeed, for most of the cases such a person was not even identified from the child's statements, so these cases remain unsolved. Nevertheless, the subjects all showed some or much behavior that was unusual in their family but that plausibly accorded with what the subjects said about the pre- vious lives they claimed to remember. A few of the subjects said they remembered events between death in the previous life and their birth.
The first 3 subjects of the group were all Burmese children who said that they remembered previous lives as Japanese soldiers who were killed in Burma. (This sets the dates of death in the presumed previous lives as not later than the spring of 1945, when the British Army conclusively defeated the Japanese Army; Rangoon [now Yangon] was captured early in May 1945.)
U Tinn Sein, the first of these subjects, had a single birthmark on his chest. It was a flat round area of increased pigmentation (*). (Unlike most of the birthmarks of these subjects, which I said were not simple moles or nevi, his was just that.) U Tinn Sein described how in the previous life he, a Japanese soldier, had been near a lake outside the town in Upper Burma where he was born. An airplane had come over the town and, strafing the area with bullets, hit him in the chest. After dying, he said, he remained as a discarnate personality in the area of the lake. For diversion he sometimes frightened persons who walked that way by throwing stones at them. (This was a claim of poltergeist activity from the perspective of a discarnate agent.) After the devastation of the war, firewood was scarce in the town, and U Tinn Sein's future father came out to the area of the lake with a wagon to collect firewood. The discarnate Japanese soldier followed him home and became born to his wife.
In addition to giving the foregoing account and making some other statements, U Tinn Sein, as a child, showed a constellation of what I call "Japanese" traits. One of the most prominent of these was his conspicuous industry. He was indefatigable in working and scorned those who were not. The Burmese are not a lazy people, but their society provided the prototype for the idea that "small is beautiful," and they rarely wish to produce more than they need. When the child Tinn Sein came home from school, he would find his parents sitting at ease and talking amiably together. He would say to them: "Why are you not working? In Tokyo we had to go to work when the siren sounded, and we had to continue until it sounded again."
Another Burmese subject of this group, Maung Sein Win, also claimed to remember the previous life of a Japanese soldier in Upper Burma. He, too, said that he had been killed by a shot from an airplane. He said that he had died near the village where he was born. Unlike U Tinn Sein, he had two birthmarks, a small round one on the front of his left upper chest (*) and a much larger one, also round, on his left upper back (*). The larger one was about 2.5 centimeters in diameter; it was hairless, puckered, and scarlike in appearance. This is the first of eight cases (to be described in this book) with birthmarks corresponding to bullet wounds of entry and exit. The presumed wounds on the Japanese soldier whose life Maung Sein Win remembered were not verified; but I shall later describe cases in which such wounds of entry and exit were verified.
Maung Sein Win exhibited the unusual (for Burma) industriousness of the children who claimed to have been Japanese soldiers. He said that he had been a mechanic in the previous life, and he was gifted in the use of his hands. When he grew up, he built his own house. Perhaps his most unusual behavior was a marked phobia of airplanes. As a child, when he would hear one, he would run toward the nearest house and throw himself under it on the ground. (In Burmese villages, the houses are nearly always elevated off the ground so that there is an open space beneath them.)
Maung Myint Aung was the third Burmese subject of this group who claimed to remember the previous life of a Japanese soldier. He also was born in Upper Burma, in 1972. Unlike U Tinn Sein and Maung Sein Win, however, he said, when he began speaking about a previous life, that he had died in Rangoon, far away from his village. He said that he had been in the Japanese Army that retreated before the British. (As I mentioned, this occurred in the spring of 1945.) He finally found himself, along with four friends, in the Rangoon zoo, where they were in danger of being captured. Preferring death to capture, they all committed suicide. Maung Myint Aung said that he slit his throat, presumably with a large knife or bayonet.
Maung Myint Aung had a prominent birthmark on his neck. It was a horizontal area, about 1 centimeter wide, extending across almost the entire front of his neck. It had slightly increased pigmentation compared with the surrounding skin (Figure 3). It looked much like the healed scar of someone who had slit his throat and survived. I have a photograph of a Virginia man who slit his throat and did not survive (*). It shows a wound closely similar to the one Maung Myint Aung said he gave himself in the life as a Japanese soldier.
To return to Maung Myint Aung's narrative, he said that after dying he remained at the Rangoon zoo until one day he saw his (present) father and fol- lowed him home. (Maung Myint Aung's father confirmed that he had gone to the zoo in Rangoon, before Maung Myint Aung's birth. He was completely unaware that any discarnate Japanese soldier had attached himself to him there and fol- lowed him 400 kilometers back to his home.) Maung Myint Aung said that his father in Japan had died, but his mother was "still living." (This presumably referred to the time when the Japanese soldier left Japan for service overseas.) He was the oldest of seven children. He was unmarried. He did not give a name for the Japanese soldier, state his rank in the army, or give any address of where he had lived in Japan. He evidently remembered being more prosperous than were his (present) parents, and he sometimes offered to go back to Japan and bring money to them from there. He continued making proposals to go to Japan for money until he was about 7 years old.
Maung Myint Aung was one of many subjects of these cases who showed in their play the vocation of the previous life. He liked to play at being a soldier. He would organize games of soldiers among his playmates, assign himself the role of leader, and say that he was an officer.
In addition, Maung Myint Aung exhibited numerous "Japanese" traits. He preferred sweet foods, as do most Japanese people. He knelt on his knees as Japanese people do, but the Burmese almost never. He worshipped in a style unfamiliar to his parents and showed some resistance to their instructions to him about the forms of worship in Burmese Buddhism. He was hardworking and relatively insensitive to pain and physical discomfort. He was noted to be somewhat harsh and brusque. His father described his behavior as tending to be "crude, like that of a rough and ready soldier." Maung Myint Aung was also troubled by any comments or news adverse to Japan; for example, he did not like to be told that a Japanese soccer team had lost a match.
Lutfi Sankaya, a Turkish boy, had several birthmarks on his chest that showed diminished pigmentation; that is, they were markedly paler than the surrounding skin (*), Lûtfi said that he had been stabbed to death in the previous life. He gave some vague indications of where he had lived in the previous life, but the details were not specific enough to permit solving the case.
Duran Incirgöz (a Turk) was born with a large, round, scarlike birthmark on his right buttock (*). It oozed for some weeks after his birth. When he could speak, he said that he had been shot to death in a brothel. He had a marked phobia of prostitutes and brothels. His case is also unsolved.
Henry Elkin, a Tlingit of Alaska, had a small, roundish, scarlike birthmark on the front of his left chest (*) and a larger, irregularly shaped birthmark, also scarlike, at the same level on his left back (*). These seem to have corresponded to gunshot wounds of entry and exit. Henry Elkin himself, however, had no memories of how the person with whom his parents may have identified him had died.
Maung Aye Kyaw, a subject of Burma, had a large birthmark on the side of his head. It was hairless, puckered, and scarlike (*). He said he remembered the life of a man, Maung Shwe, who had been captured, shot, and killed by Communists at the time of the insurgency in Burma during the early 1950s. Maung Shwe's murderers threw his body into a flooded river, where it floated downstream until it bumped against a dock. From there the owners of the dock pushed it back into the river. One of the owners became Maung Aye Kyaw's mother. She must have become pregnant within a few weeks, perhaps a few days, of the arrival of Maung Shwe's body at her family's dock. As a child, Maung Aye Kyaw remembered being shot and then, in the discarnate state, following Maung Shwe's body as it floated down the river until it came to the dock owned by the family of his mother-to-be. This case illustrates what 1 call the "geographical factor," which 1 find helpful in trying to understand why a child of one village has memories of a life in another, often remote village or town, with which the child's family has no obvious connection. Maung Shwe's widow later married and then again became a widow. When Maung Aye Kyaw grew up, he sought out Maung Shwe's widow and married her.
Daw Aye Myint was another subject of Burma, who said that she remem- bered the previous life of a man who had been struck over the head with a heavy sword or chopping knife. Hers was thus a case of the sex-change type. Her birth- mark was a linear area of hairlessness, in part puckered, that extended for 15 centimeters across the top of her head (*). It was oozing at birth and continued to do so for some weeks afterward.
I will now summarize one of the richest cases—as regards details—in this group. It is that of Nirankar Bhatnagar. The previous personality about whom Nirankar talked was clearly identified, but his body was not found, and therefore we have no independent verification of the wound to which Nirankar's birthmark corresponded, as he said it did.
Nirankar was born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1935. I did not meet him until 1976, when he was 41 years old. This was, to say the least, a late start in investigating a case. Nevertheless, the case had been investigated in 1938 by S. C. Bose, who wrote a report of it that I have been able to use. In addition, Dr. Satwant Pasricha (who worked with me on the case) and I found that some qualified informants were still living, and their memories seemed sufficiently reliable.
When Nirankar was about 21/2 years old, members of his family observed him filling small bottles with water, and when they questioned him about this, he said that his wife was ill and he was going to take medicines to her. He then gave some further details of a previous life—and death during a riot—that he was remembering. He said that his name was Mukhtiar and that Moslems had killed him. One of them—supposedly a friend—had sent for him, but when he arrived at the scene of the riot, he was struck on the head with a baton. He fell down and asked for some water. Instead of being given water, he was stabbed with a dagger.
All these statements did not come out in one flow, but probably over several days. Nirankar's family members were slightly acquainted with the family of a man called Shiv Dayal Mukhtiar whose house was about 100 meters from their own. They knew also that Shiv Dayal had been killed by Moslems during a partic- ularly bloody communal riot that took place in a nearby quarter of Kanpur in March 1931, that is, about 41/2 years before Nirankar's birth.
The word Mukhtiar is not a personal name, but rather a vocational title given to certain lawyers, of whom Shiv Dayal was one. He had been a much respected, much loved lawyer and municipal leader. The reports of the riot that I studied in the Indian newspapers gave counts of the bodies stacked up in piles, but few names of the killed were published. Shiv Dayal's was one of these. Because of Shiv Dayal's prominence and the slight acquaintance between the families, Nirankar's family knew nearly everything there was to know about how Shiv Dayal had died. That, however, was not much. He had disappeared into the area of the riot, and the police later recovered his body among the corpses. We therefore have no verification of Nirankar's statements that he was struck on the head with a baton and then stabbed.
Nirankar, however, stated one detail about Shiv Dayal's death that was almost certainly not known to members of Nirankar's family and that was correct. They decided to take Nirankar to Shiv Dayal's house, where Shiv Dayal's widow and one of his sons were still living. As they approached the house, Nirankar said:
"My name is inscribed here." In fact, Shiv Dayal's name was written in Urdu on the door. Inside the house, Nirankar met Shiv Dayal's widow and son. He then rebuked the widow for not giving him a gun that he—as Shiv Dayal—had asked for before going into the area of the riot. Shiv Dayal's son (whom we interviewed) had been only 7 years old at the time of his father's death, but he seemed to remember well the events leading up to it. According to him, the man who had sent a message to Shiv Dayal to come to the area of the rioting advised him to bring a gun. His wife, however, somehow got the gun away from Shiv Dayal or, more likely, persuaded him not to go with a firearm, which might have been con- sidered provocative in such an inflamed situation. He left without the gun. This is the detail connected with Shiv Dayal's death that I believe members of Nirankar's family would not have known. Nirankar certainly knew it and said more than once: "If I had been given a gun, I would not have been killed."
To return to Nirankar's first visit to Shiv Dayal's widow, informants credited him with recognizing various objects in the house, such as a typewriter, a walking stick, and shoes that he said were his. He was unable, however, to answer ques- tions that Shiv Dayal's widow put to him about particular documents and debtors.
Shiv Dayal's widow asked Nirankar whether he would like something to eat. Assuming the authoritative air of Indian husbands toward wives (at least of the 1930s), Nirankar replied: "You know what I like." She did, and she sent for rasgoolas, a sweet Indian dessert. Nirankar ate the rasgoolas, drank some water, and asked for betel nut, such as many adult Indians chew as a digestive after meals or between.
As a result of his statements and recognitions (of which I have not given a complete list here), Shiv Dayal's widow fully accepted Nirankar as her husband reborn. She treated him like a husband, sometimes inviting him to lunch and serv- ing him with food that she knew Shiv Dayal had liked. Shiv Dayal's son told us that he was equally convinced that Nirankar was his father reborn.
For his part, Nirankar adopted a paternal attitude toward Shiv Dayal's chil- dren. He saved his money to give to them and even sometimes set aside a portion of his food for them. (They were far from needing his assistance; but this was the child's manner of showing affection for them.)
I did not obtain consistent testimony about how long Nirankar continued to remember the previous life. His parents tried to suppress him, but he may have simply stopped speaking about the previous life while he continued to remember it. Eventually, but at what age I do not know, he did forget it.
I mentioned that the first observation of unusual behavior on the part of Nirankar occurred when he was seen filling bottles with water, which he designated as medicine intended for his wife. I am unsure how best to interpret this behavior. Shiv Dayal had been married twice. His first wife, with whom he had several children, died of tuberculosis after a prolonged illness during which Shiv Dayal may well have brought medicines to her, although I did not confirm this conjecture. Shiv Dayal married his second wife only a few months before his death. Subsequently, however, she became ill, and she died in 1938, only a few months after she met Nirankar. She took medicines which her stepchildren sometimes brought to her. Therefore, a second conjecture about Nirankar's behavior with the bottles of water supposes that he had some telepathic awareness that Shiv Dayal's second, still living wife needed medicines. If that is correct, he would be one of several subjects who have shown evidence of paranormal communications with members of the previous personality's family.
Nirankar had no phobias, such as of batons or daggers. Nor did he have a phobia of Moslems. He did, however, have an aversion for them. At times he showed a vengeful attitude toward them, and one informant had heard him say more than once: "That Moslem is coming. I will kill him." At the time I knew Nirankar in the 1970s, he acknowledged still having some dislike of Moslems.
Nirankar's birthmark was a hairless area of increased pigmentation near the top of his head and almost in the midline. It was somewhat irregular in shape, measuring approximately 8 millimeters long and 4 millimeters wide (*). This is one of the few cases for which I did not find a person older than the subject who could assure me that the apparent birthmark had been present at birth. I accept it as a birthmark, however, for two reasons: It did not in any way have the appear- ance of a scar from a postnatal injury; and although it did have the appearance of a nevus, these are almost never found on the scalp.
Nirankar said that Shiv Dayal had been struck on the head and then stabbed. He was not aware of having had other birthmarks that might have corresponded to a stab wound; and when I examined his chest, I could find none. If we accept Nirankar's account of the sequence of events, Shiv Dayal might have been in a state of obtunded consciousness, or even unconscious, when he was stabbed; and this might explain why Nirankar had only one birthmark. I shall defer further discussion of this possibility until Chapter 14.





5. BIRTHMARKS CORRESPONDING TO WOUNDS VERIFIED BY INFORMANTS' MEMORIES


In this chapter, I present summaries of cases in which informants verified the cor- respondence between the subject's birthmark or birthmarks and wounds on the previous personality. Such verifications never match in quality what we can obtain from a written record, such as a postmortem report; but, as I shall show later, I believe that we are justified in relying on them in most cases. For all but one of the cases in this chapter, I will condense the report to a single paragraph.
The first case of this group is that of Maung Zaw Thein Lwin, a subject of Burma who remembered the previous life of a man, U Mar Din, who, while trying to rob birds' nests at a temple, had fallen through a weak ceiling board and dropped about 5 meters onto concrete flooring below. He suffered multiple injuries, particularly of the head. Maung Zaw Thein Lwin's birthmark was a large, scarlike area at the back of his head (*). This was at the location of what was probably the most serious of the injuries noted on U Mar Din after he fell onto the concrete floor.
Yvonne Ehrlich was the subject of a same-family case of Brazil. Her case has only meager details and depends on a dream, a single remark she made, some similarities of behavior, and two birthmarks. The birthmarks were areas of distinct redness on the frontal part of her head and at its back. The first of these had faded by the time I examined Yvonne, but the other had persisted (*). Yvonne was identified as the reincarnation of her great-aunt, who had been killed during a bomb- ing raid on Vienna near the end of World War II. Her son confirmed the location of her principal wounds. Yvonne's birthmarks were at the same sites.
Mahmut Ekici was a subject of Turkey who remembered the life of a Turkish partisan engaged in resistance against the French, who were then (the 1920s and 1930s) occupying part of southern Turkey. The partisan was captured and stabbed once, probably with a bayonet, through the liver. Mahmut Ekici had a large depressed birthmark, really a small cavity in the skin, over his liver (*).
Som Pit Hancharoen was a Thai subject who was born with a large oozing birthmark near his left nipple (*). When he could speak, he spoke about the life of a man who, while drunk, had embraced a woman against her wishes. There was a throng at the fair where this occurred. The woman, mingling in the crowd, approached the man from behind, reached around his chest, and plunged a knife into his heart. He had time to say "she stabbed me" before dropping dead. The birthmark might be regarded as an accessory nipple; these sometimes occur in human beings. It also might have had more than one cause.
Ali  the subject of a case in Turkey, was born with multiple birthmarks on his abdomen. They had the appearance of healed stab wounds (*). He remembered the previous life of a man who had got into a fight with another man, who had killed him by stabbing him repeatedly in the abdomen.
The case of this group for which I will present most detail is that of Chanai Choomalaiwong, who was born in central Thailand in 1967. His parents lived separately, and Chanai was at first raised by his mother and maternal grandmoth- er, who owned a duck farm. From the age of 2, he lived alone with his grand- mother at a place called Nong La Korn. When Chanai was born, he was found to have two birthmarks, one at the back of his head (Figure 4) and one at the front, above his left eye (Figure 5). At that time his family had no understanding of their possible origin.
When Chanai was about 3 years old, his grandmother noticed that when he played with other children he would pretend that he was a teacher and would also say that he had been a teacher in his last life. Subsequently, he stated further details about this life. He said that he was called Bua Kai and had been shot and killed while on the way to his school. He said that he had parents, a wife, and children. He began to beg his grandmother to take him to Bua Kai's parents and claimed that he could show where they lived at a place called Khao Phra.
Eventually, when Chanai was still less than 4 years old, his grandmother decided to take him to Khao Phra. They went by bus to a town called Khao Sai, which is near Khao Phra. There Chanai led the way to a house. They entered, and Chanai recognized an elderly couple as "his" parents. They were the parents of a schoolteacher called Bua Kai Lawnak, who had been murdered in 1962. They examined Chanai's birthmarks, and these together with his statements impressed them sufficiently so that they invited him to return. On a second visit to Bua Kai's family Chanai recognized other members of the family and also some objects that had belonged to Bua Kai. He answered questions about Bua Kai's possessions with impressive accuracy.
Informants credited Chanai with making 14 correct statements about Bua Kai's life and death; he made one statement that we did not verify. In Chapter 1, I explained why I think most recognitions attributed to the subjects of these cases have little value. Too often, the circumstances permit the possibility, almost the likelihood, that the persons around the subject give him or her cues that could guide the recognitions. Nevertheless, in my report of this case in the monograph I list four recognitions that do not seem vulnerable to this criticism.
The most impressive of these occurred when Chanai was between 5 and 6 years old. He had continued visiting Bua Kai's family, and on this occasion he was with Bua Kai's twin daughters, Tim and Toi. They noticed an old friend of Bua Kai, whom Chanai had never seen before. They called this man over and asked Chanai whether he knew him. Chanai replied: "Yes, his name is San Am." He then went on to say that San Am and he had been friends. This was correct for Bua Kai.
Bua Kai's biography helps us understand Chanai's unusual behavior, and so I will next give an outline of Bua Kai's life. He was born in 1926. He grew up in the area of Khao Sai. He married a girl called Suan, and they had four children, two of whom were the twin daughters already mentioned, Tim and Toi. Suan was pregnant again at the time Bua Kai was killed.
Bua Kai trained and worked as a schoolteacher. That, however, was not his only occupation; he appears to have had a sideline as a gangster. (He had owned two guns.) He also had affairs with other women whose boyfriends or husbands may have objected to these. Someone shot at him while he was attending a fair in Khao Phra, but he escaped serious injury. After this attempted assassination, and perhaps because of it, he applied for a transfer and was assigned to a school near the large town of Tapanhin, which is about 25 kilometers west of Khao Sai.
On the morning of January 23, 1962, Bua Kai left home to go to his school on his bicycle. On the way, he was shot in the head from behind and died almost instantly. The police arrived and took away his body. A doctor examined it and spoke with Suan, who was summoned, and she also saw her husband's body, as did some other persons, including Bua Kai's younger brother Sai. Suan and Sai agreed that the bullet had entered at the back of Bua Kai's head and exited above his left eye. Suan said the doctor had also agreed with this course of the bullet.
Suan had enough knowledge of gunshot wounds to know that a wound of entry is nearly always smaller than the corresponding wound of exit.
By the time I reached the scene of the case in 1979, 17 years had elapsed since Bua Kai's death. No one could remember any longer the name of the doctor who had examined Bua Kai's body. I had the police records searched, and eventu- ally a report of the crime was turned up. It gave the date of the murder, but no other useful information. The police made no arrest in connection with the crime, although this was for lack of evidence, not for lack of suspects. Because there had been no trial, there were no court documents with which a postmortem report would have been filed.
Bua Kai's murder was widely known in the region where he lived. My inquiries showed that some members of the two families concerned had had some acquain- tance, but there had been no social relationships between them. Chanai's grandmother had no idea where she would find herself when Chanai finally persuaded her to take him to Khao Sai; she clearly did not know where Bua Kai's family lived.
Chanai belonged to a small group of subjects who preserved memories past the age of 7 or 8. He was also one of the few to say that he saw the previous per- sonality's body after its death. In 1979, at the age of 11, he made the following statement:
I don't know who shot me, because he shot me from the back. I was not conscious when I died. Afterward though, I felt my soul leaving the body. I could see myself lying on the road. My legs were still twitching. My blood was running onto the road.
Despite Chanai's just cited denial that he knew who had killed Bua Kai, on another occasion he said that he did know who the murderer was and expressed anger as he said this. In this he joined many other subjects who have shown anger toward the killer of the person whose life they remember.
Among other unusual behavior, I have already mentioned Chanai's play at teaching. He was also interested in guns and spoke about a wish to be a policeman or a soldier when he grew up; he did not intend to be a schoolteacher.
Chanai showed in several matters what I call an "adult attitude." By this expression I mean behavior toward other persons that an older person would ordinarily show toward younger persons, and sometimes toward persons of the previous personality's own age; it is often accompanied by a sense of superiority toward other persons. For example, Chanai expected Bua Kai's twin daughters to address him as "Father." Because they were 17 years old when he was 3, they objected; but he said that if they did not call him "Father," he would not speak to them, and they capitulated. Sai, Bua Kai's younger brother, would not show Chanai the deference due an older brother, and Chanai tended to shun him when he was in Sai's area. Chanai also showed a proprietary attitude toward Bua Kai's possessions. He became annoyed when he learned that some of them had been modified after Bua Kai's death.
For some years, Chanai came to visit Bua Kai's family in Khao Sai and Khao Phra. Sometimes he went with his grandmother, but he also visited them covertly by himself, on the bus; his grandmother would then have to come after him and bring him home. When he visited Tim and Toi, he brought them pieces of sugar cane, which Bua Kai had frequently done.
For their part, Bua Kai's family, after some initial surprise and skepticism, came to accept Chanai fully as Bua Kai reborn. There was even talk of their adopting him, but his grandmother would not allow this.
Figure 4 shows the small round birthmark at the back of Chanai's head. It was about 0.5 centimeter in diameter, hairless, puckered, and with increased pig- mentation. This birthmark corresponded to the wound of entry on Bua Kai. Figure 5 shows a larger birthmark at the front of Chanai's head. It was irregular in shape and measured about 2 centimeters long and 0.5 centimeter wide. It also was scar-like, hairless, and had increased pigmentation. It corresponded to the bullet wound of exit on Bua Kai.
I was able to meet Chanai again in 1986. He was then 18, married, and working as a telephone lineman. He said that he still remembered some details of the previous life, but had forgotten others. I examined Chanai's birthmarks again, and a colleague arranged for them to be photographed for me. The birthmark near Chanai's forehead had changed little since 1979 (*), but the one at the back of the head had moved up in relation to surrounding anatomical sites (*).
Maung Tin Win, a subject of Burma, remembered the previous life of a bandit (called dacoit in Burma, as in India) who was betrayed to government soldiers and shot. Maung Tin Win had a small round birthmark in his right lower abdomen (*) and a much larger birthmark on his right back (*). These corresponded to bul- let wounds of entry and exit on the bandit whose life he remembered. Maung Tin Win is the fourth subject I have so far described with two birthmarks correspond- ing to gunshot wounds of entry and exit. In Chapter 12 I discuss the importance of these cases.
Yahya Balci, a Turkish subject, remembered the life of a man who became involved in a quarrel with another man. His adversary shot and killed him. Yahya Balci had a small, almost perfectly round birthmark on his left abdomen (*). There was some question about his also having a birthmark on his back, presumably corresponding to the wound of exit, but when I examined him carefully I could not convince myself that he had such a mark. If one had been there, it had faded.
Aristide Kolotey, a Ghanian, was born with a long linear birthmark that extended almost from his neck down the front of his chest and to his lower abdomen (*). It showed diminished pigmentation. Aristide was said to be the reincarnation of an uncle who had gone swimming and drowned. The uncle's body was washed up on the shore and found to have a "cut in the middle of the chest." It was supposed that the uncle had dived onto rocks that he did not see and cut himself as he hit them. Aristide had no imaged memories of the uncle's life or death; but he did have a marked phobia of water.
The last subject of this chapter was Daw Aye Than, who was born with a long, scar-like birthmark extending across her right upper abdomen onto the left lower chest between her breasts (*). She remembered the life of a young girl who was caught in a fire from which she could not escape. The intense heat of the fire had expanded the air in the girl's intestines until they and the abdominal wall burst. Daw Aye Than's birthmark was said to correspond to the place where the girl's abdomen had broken open. Daw Aye Than also had asymmetrical breasts; her right breast was markedly lower than her left one (*). Daw Aye Than believed that the asymmetry of her breasts derived from the previous life; and it is conjecturable that the injured area of the body of the child whose life she remembered was larger than the visible linear birthmark suggested.


6. BIRTHMARKS CORRESPONDING TO WOUNDS VERIFIED BY MEDICAL RECORDS


The cases that I describe in this chapter belong to the most important group in the entire collection. The medical records, usually postmortem reports, verify the cor- respondence between the birthmarks and the wounds with a certitude sometimes approached but never reached by the testimonies of informants drawing on their memories.
I will present two of the twelve cases in some detail and give shorter summaries of the remaining ones.
Metin  was born in the village of Hatun Köy, near Iskenderun, Turkey, on June 11, 1963. Even before his birth, he had been provisionally identified, on the basis of dreams his parents had had, as the reincarnation of a relative who had been killed some 5 months before, during a postelec- tion riot in the village.
At his birth Metin was found to have a birthmark on the right side of the front of his neck. It was a small area of increased pigmentation (*). No informant told me to what wound this birthmark corresponded, and I did not know until I examined the postmortem report on  This showed that the bullet which killed  had entered his head behind the left ear and almost exited on the right side of the front of the neck. It did not, however, fully penetrate the skin; as sometimes happens, the resistance of the skin stopped the bullet before it exit- ed. The pathologist had made a small incision and extracted the bullet. The birth- mark therefore corresponded to the pathologist's postmortem wound. As for the bullet wound of entry, I could see nothing distinctly corresponding to that behind Metin's left ear. Nevertheless, I photographed the area and on the developed photograph found a round area of increased pigmentation (*). I believe that this corresponded to the wound of entry. (Perhaps I had failed to see the mark because of insufficient light when 1 examined Metin looking for it.)
Like many other children of these cases Metin showed powerful attitudes of vengefulness toward the man who had shot  He once tried to take his father's gun and shoot this person, but was fortunately restrained. He later became more pacific.
Tali Sowaid was born in August 1965 in the tiny village of Btebyat in the mountains east of Beirut, Lebanon. He had circular birthmarks of increased pig- mentation on each cheek. They were not prominent and yet, once seen, were easily discernible (*).
Soon after Tali began to speak, he started referring to the life of a man who had lived in the village of Btechney (which is about 4 kilometers from Btebyat at the top of its valley). He described how he had been having a cup of coffee before leaving for work when a man came up to him and shot him.
What Tali was saying corresponded exactly to the murder of a man called Said Abul-Hisn, who lived at Btechney. The assailant, a person of noted mental instability, seems to have mistaken Said for another man against whom he had a grudge. He came up to Said stealthily and shot him at close range. The bullet entered one side of Said's face and exited at the other, traversing the tongue on the way. Said was taken to a hospital in Beirut and given emergency surgical treatment. His tongue having swollen, it was necessary to make a hole in his windpipe (tracheostomy) in order to provide an adequate airway. Somehow, Said fell out of bed, and when this happened, his tracheostomy tube must have become obstructed, and he died. The incident of falling out of bed just before dying figured in Tali's memories.
I was able to study the hospital record in this case. It showed that the birthmark on Tali's left cheek, which was the smaller of the two, corresponded to the wound of entry, and the larger birthmark on the right cheek corresponded to the wound of exit. (This is the sixth case that I have so far described with birthmarks corresponding to bullet wounds of entry and exit.)
Tali's family owned their modest house, but his father was poor. In contrast, Said had been prosperous, and his elegant house contrasted markedly with the humble dwelling of Tali's family. Tali sometimes made invidious comparisons about the differences in the economic statuses of the two families. He identified strongly with Said and asked his family to call him "Said."
Tali showed a difficulty in articulating properly. He had special trouble in pronouncing certain "s" sounds, which require elevating the tongue. 1 interpret this defect as a possible residue of the damage to Said's tongue when the bullet passed through it.
Alan Gamble, a Tsimshian, was born in Hartley Bay, British Columbia, Canada, on February 5, 1945. On the basis of a dream and two birthmarks, he was identified as the reincarnation of Walter Wilson, a near relative, who had died several years before Alan's birth under the following circumstances.
Walter Wilson accompanied a friend, who owned a seine boat, when he went fishing off the coast of British Columbia. They were cruising near the shore when Walter noticed a mink running along near the water, and he decided to have a shot at it. The seine boat was towing a skiff, and Walter's shotgun was in the skiff with the barrel pointing toward the bow. He picked it up by the muzzle, but it slipped, the butt hit a board, and the gun discharged. The shots entered Walter's left hand, where he had just grasped the gun, and exited at his wrist. He bled profusely. His friend applied a crude tourniquet and turned the boat toward Prince Rupert, the closest town with a hospital. He was not, however, trained in first aid, and Prince Rupert was 10 hours away. The friend did not know to release the tourniquet from time to time, and when they finally arrived at Prince Rupert, Walter was unconscious and already suffering from incipient gangrene of the arm. Antibiotics were not available then and there. In the hospital, doctors amputated Walter's hand and part of his fore- arm, but this did not save his life, and he died in the hospital on February 18, 1942.
Walter's friend, the owner of the seine boat, was grief-stricken over Walter's death. Some uninformed and unkind gossips magnified the friend's suffering when they began to hint that he was responsible for Walter's death. He was there- fore greatly moved when Alan, as he began to speak, talked about Walter's accidental death in a way that fully exonerated Walter's friend.
Otherwise, Alan made few statements about Walter's life. On one occasion, when Alan was still a young child, he reacted fearfully when he saw a shotgun shell. He did not, however, develop a phobia of guns, and in adulthood he hunted with a gun.
Alan's two birthmarks were on his left hand and wrist. The smaller one (barely visible) was on the palm of the hand (*), and it corresponded to the gunshot wound of entry on Walter. The larger birthmark, which was much more prominent, was on the back of the wrist (*), and it corresponded to the gunshot wound of exit on Walter.
Sunita Singh was born in the Mainpuri District of Uttar Pradesh, India, in August 1967. At birth she was found to have an extremely large birthmark of the port-wine stain type. It extended over her upper right chest (*) and much of her right arm (*). In addition, she had three birthmarks on the lower part of the right side of her neck and the upper part of her chest (*).
Sunita's family did not understand her birthmarks until she was a few years old and began to speak about a previous life. Her grandmother happened to take her on a social visit to a neighboring village, where Sunita noticed a man and said: "He is my son." She gave the man's name, Ranvir. One of the women in this village seemed to frighten and even terrify her. After this, Sunita stated details of how in a previous life she had lived in this particular village. She had been mur- dered there, she said, by her daughter-in-law.
Sunita's statements referred to the life of a woman called Ram Dulari, who had lived with her son and daughter-in-law in the village where Sunita had become frightened. Her son, Ranvir, was often away, and the daughter-in-law had affairs with other men during his absence. Ram Dulari came to know of these and openly expressed her disapproval. In revenge, the daughter-in-law hired professional killers, who broke into the house at night (simulating a burglary) and killed Ram Dulari with a sword. Although the police made no arrests after Ram Dulari's murder, information and conjectures about it diffused into the surrounding villages, including Sunita's. Sunita's father thus knew normally everything that she stated about the previous life. Her mother, however, came from another village and said that she knew nothing about Ram Dulari's murder until Sunita began speaking about it. No one could imagine that Sunita's parents would have encouraged her to identify with Ram Dulari.
Sunita showed a marked fear of Ram Dulari's daughter-in-law when she happened to see her. It was the sight of this woman that had frightened her when she first went to Ram Dulari's village. On another occasion of seeing this woman, Sunita, cowering with fear, told her grandmother: "She will kill me again."
The postmortem report that we obtained showed a satisfactory correspondence between the sword wounds on Ram Dulari's neck and chest and Sunita's birthmarks. We learned that Ram Dulari's body was not washed before it was cre- mated. I believe the port-wine stain birthmarks on Sunita's chest and arm corresponded to the blood left on Ram Dulari's body when it was cremated.
Nasruddin Shah was born in a village of the Shahjahanpur District of Uttar Pradesh, India, in April 1962. His family were Moslems. His father was a poor, landless laborer. Nasruddin was born with several birthmarks, of which the most prominent was a lens-shaped birthmark on his left chest (*). His family did not understand its significance until Nasruddin began to speak about a previous life.
When he did speak, he said that he was a Thakur, that is, a member of the second highest ranking caste of Hindus. Without saying so explicitly, he indicated that he came from a nearby village called Phargana. He said that he was called Hardev Baksh Singh and had been killed with a spear during a quarrel over cattle. These and other statements that Nasruddin made were correct for the life of a man called Hardev Baksh Singh, a Thakur landowner of Phargana. During a quarrel over cattle, which became violent, one of his adversaries drove a spear through his left upper chest, and he died almost immediately. The postmortem report confirmed the close correspondence in location between Nasruddin's birthmark when he was born and the fatal spear wound in Hardev Baksh Singh. By the time we first met and examined Nasruddin (when he was 13 years old), the birthmark had migrated to a position lower on his chest than the position it had formerly occu- pied. (In Chapter 11 I discuss the movement of some birthmarks relative to other anatomical features.) A birthmark on Nasruddin's head had faded by this time.
The most remarkable feature of this case—apart from the principal birthmark—was Nasruddin's "Thakur behavior." Although born a Moslem, he considered himself a Hindu; moreover, he regarded himself as one of particular distinction. For example, he refused to engage in activities, such as collecting cow dung for fuel, that most village boys in India would undertake without question. Nasruddin also resisted the Islamic religion; he would not say Islamic prayers or go to the mosque.
Nasruddin's parents knew that reincarnation is not part of the teaching of their religion, but Nasruddin's statements and behavior convinced them that he was the reincarnation of Hardev Baksh Singh.
Henry Demmert III, a Tlingit, was born in Juneau, Alaska, on October 5, 1968. His parents separated soon after his birth, and he was raised (and adopted) by his grandfather, Henry Demmert, Sr., and his second wife, Gertrude.
Shortly before Henry's birth, Gertrude Demmert dreamed that her husband's deceased son by his first wife, Henry Demmert, Jr., was looking for his father and her. (In the dream he was not looking for the couple who became Henry's parents, but, as it turned out, for those who adopted and raised Henry Demmert III.)
When Henry Demmert III was born, he was found to have a birthmark on his upper left chest in the region of the heart (*). On the basis of Gertrude's dream and this birthmark, Henry was identified as the reincarnation of Henry Demmert, Jr. and given the latter's Tlingit name.
The life of Henry Demmert, Jr. was brief and tragic. He was born in Juneau in 1929. I think his mother must have died when he was still an infant, and he was raised by his father and his father's second wife, who was Gertrude Demmert. When he grew up, he spent some time in the Armed Forces and then became a fisherman. He married and had two children. He was a heavy drinker of alcohol.
On March 6, 1957, he attended a party that lasted all night and where alco- hol was abundantly consumed. Around 5:00 a.m. of the following morning he was stabbed in the heart. He was rushed to a hospital, but died less than 2 hours after being wounded. I was able to obtain a copy of the death certificate for Henry Demmert, Jr. It recorded his death as due to an "accidental self-inflicted wound." Some further details included: "Laceration of the left lung and heart causing exsanguination....knife wound pierced the heart."
Henry Demmert, Jr.'s family regarded his death as a case of murder. The police, however, found no witnesses willing to charge a suspect, and they made no arrests. It is possible that in struggling with another man, who may also have had a knife, Henry Demmert Jr.'s knife became pushed into his chest with the fatal consequences described.
Henry Demmert Ill's birthmark was located below and to the side of his left nipple. It was an elongated area of increased pigmentation, about 3 centimeters long and 8 millimeters wide. It was slightly narrower toward the inside, so that its shape was roughly that of the profile of a single-edged knife (*).
Henry Demmert III belongs to the small group of subjects, who, although identified as being someone reincarnated, say little or nothing about the presumed previous life. When he was about 2 years old, he made the only two statements he ever uttered about the previous life. He said, pointing to his birthmark, that he had "got hurt there." He added that this had happened when he "was big."
Unlike some other subjects who have remembered the previous life of an alcoholic or heavy drinker of alcohol, Henry Demmert III, when he was young, showed no desire for alcohol.
Narong Yensiri was born in the village of Tung Yai in northern Thailand on October 4, 1976. At his birth, his parents noticed several prominent birthmarks, of which the largest was at the lower part of his chest near the midline (*). Large parts of the skin of his back were heavily pigmented (*).
When Narong became able to speak, he began to refer to the life of his maternal grandfather. The grandfather was called Pan Srisukit, and he had been murdered under mysterious circumstances 2 years before Narong's birth.
Pan Srisukit was a farmer who also engaged in cattle trading and perhaps in stealing cattle. One day, two men came to visit him. They ate and drank together, and then Pan Srisukit went off with them without telling his wife where he was going or when he would return. Although somewhat accustomed to such behavior on the part of her husband, Pan Srisukit's wife became concerned when he did not return home after a couple of days. She notified the police, and a search eventually led to the discovery of Pan Srisukit's body in the forest. A doc- tor was called, and he examined the body at the scene. His report, which I could study, showed a good correspondence between wounds on the body and the birthmarks on Narong.
Pan Srisukit's wife had his body cremated at the site where it was found. The increased pigmentation on Narong's trunk may have corresponded to blood left on Pan Srisukit's body when it was cremated.
Necip  was born in Adana, Turkey, in 1951. Necip's mother had a dream before he was born in which a man she did not recognize showed himself to her with bleeding wounds. She did not know how to interpret this dream, but it made some sense when she saw, after Necip's birth, that he had seven birthmarks. Some of these were more prominent than others, and a few had faded by the time I first examined Necip, when he was about 13 years old (*).
Necip was late in speaking and late also, compared with other subjects of these cases, in speaking about a previous life. From the age of 6 on he began to say that he had children and asked his mother to take him to them. He said that he had lived in Mersin (a city about 80 kilometers from Adana). He said that his name was Necip and that he had been stabbed; as he described the stabbing, he pointed to various parts of his body to indicate where he had been stabbed.
His parents at first paid little attention to his statements, which they found more annoying than interesting. Their stance changed when Necip was about 12 years old. His mother took him to meet her father, who was then living, with his second wife, in a village near Mersin. Necip had never met his grandfather's second wife before, but he suddenly said that he recognized her as from the previous life that he claimed to have lived in Mersin. She had known a man in Mersin called Necip Budak, and she was able to confirm the accuracy of Necip's statements. This meeting increased Necip's wish to go to Mersin, and his grandfather took him there. There he recognized several members of the family of Necip Budak. They further confirmed the accuracy of Necip's statements for the life of Necip Budak.
It seems that Necip Budak had been a quarrelsome sort of person, especially when drunk. One day he began teasing and then taunting an acquaintance, who, perhaps drunk himself, stabbed Necip Budak repeatedly with a knife. Necip Budak collapsed on the street and was taken to a hospital, where his wounds were noted and where he died the next day.
Among the statements Necip made, the most impressive was his claim that he had once stabbed "his" (Necip Budak's) wife in the leg and that she thereafter had a scar on her leg. Necip Budak's widow admitted the truth of this statement, and, taking some ladies into a back room, she showed them the scar on her thigh.
Necip expressed great affection toward the children of Necip Budak and fond attachment toward his wife. Indeed, he manifested keen jealousy regarding her second husband and wanted to tear up a photograph of this man.
In the number of wounds matching birthmarks—six in all—Necip's case exceeds all other cases (having medical documents) that I have investigated. In the monograph I give a tabular summary of these and show their correspondence to the wounds on Necip Budak recorded in the hospital where he died.
Hanumant Saxena was born in 1955 in the Farrukhabad District of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Not long before Hanumant's mother conceived him, she dreamed that a man of the same village called Maha Ram appeared to her. Maha Ram had been shot dead only a few weeks earlier. In the dream, Maha Ram said to Hanumant's mother: "I am coming to you." Having said that, he lay down on a cot. The dream ended there.
When Hanumant was born, his parents noticed a large birthmark on the lower part of his chest near the midline (Figure 6). It was irregular in shape and really consisted of several birthmarks close together. The birthmark had diminished pigmentation in comparison with the surrounding skin. Hanumant later said that as a young child he had had no pain in the area of the birthmark, but his parents said that he sometimes had complained of pain there. He himself said that intermittently from the age of about 14 on he had had some pain in the area of the birthmark.
Hanumant's birthmark corresponded closely in location to the fatal wound on Maha Ram, and 1 shall say a little about him and how he died. Maha Ram was born in about 1905 in the same village as Hanumant, and his house was not more than 250 meters from that of Hanumant's family. He was a farmer who had some land and owned a bullock-cart, which he sometimes drove for hire. He married and had five children. His younger brother described him as a "simple, good fellow." He had no known enemies. Nevertheless, on the evening of September 28, 1954, he was standing near a teashop at the crossroads, not far from his home, when some- one shot him at close range with a shotgun. He died almost immediately. His assailant fled, and because he had not been identified, the police made no arrests. Because Maha Ram was such a harmless person, he might have been killed acci- dentally, his murderer, in the dark, having mistaken him for someone else.
The postmortem report showed that the main charge of pellets had hit Maha Ram in the lower chest in the midline; there was some scattering of wounds from shot around the principal wound. The Indian doctor who examined the post- mortem report with me (and who had no knowledge of the location of Hanumant's birthmark) sketched in the location of wounds on a human figure drawing (Figure 7). This shows the almost exact correspondence between the wounds and Hanumant's birthmark.
Hanumant began to speak when he was about 1 year old. When he was about 3 years old, he started referring to the life of Maha Ram. He said that he was Maha Ram, and, pointing to his birthmark, he said that he had been shot there. He made a few other statements that were correct for Maha Ram, and he recognized some people and places familiar to Maha Ram. In particular, he recognized Maha Ram's bullocks, which was perhaps not difficult because the bullocks were standing outside Maha Ram's house.
Hanumant liked to visit Maha Ram's house and to be with Maha Ram's mother, who still lived there. Hanumant's mother told us that he talked about the previous life until he was 5 or 6 years old, but his father said that he continued to visit Maha Ram's house until the age of 10. Unlike many other subjects of these cases, however, Hanumant never seems to have become intensely involved with the memories of the previous life.
Although I first learned of this case in 1964, it was in what was then for me a particularly remote part of Utter Pradesh, and I did not reach the scene of the case until 1971. By this time Hanumant was already 16 years old, but the informants seemed to have a good recollection of the main events in the development of the case. Two of them did not support Hanumant's claim to be Maha Ram reborn. Maha Ram's wife declined to be interviewed, possibly because she mis- look us for some kind of government officials whom it was better to avoid; and Maha Ram's oldest son rejected the claim, apparently because Hanumant had not recognized him. The other major informants endorsed Hanumant's statement that he was Maha Ram reborn.
Before leaving this case, I will draw attention to the possibility that there are many like it in India that neither our team nor anyone else ever learns about, let alone investigates. This case received no outside publicity, and we came across it almost accidentally. A systematic search for such cases in its area would undoubtedly reveal many others like it. Indeed, a judge of this district advised me to drop all my other projects and move to Farrukhabad. The homicide rate was extremely high there, and the judge seemed aware of the connection between violent death and cases of children who claim to remember previous lives.
Sunita Khandelwal was born in the town of Laxmangarh in the state of Rajasthan, India, on September 19, 1969. Sunita's father, Radhey Shyam Khandelwal, was a dealer in grains, seeds, and fertilizers. Despite owning his own business, he lived in modest circumstances, and I judged him to be a member of the lower middle classes.
Immediately after Sunita's birth, she was noticed to have a large birthmark on the right side of her head. When Sunita was born, the birthmark was bleeding, but her family applied talcum powder to it, and the bleeding stopped after 3 days. The mark was an approximately round, hairless, heavily pigmented area. It was slightly elevated above the surrounding skin and slightly puckered. When Sunita was 9 years old, the birthmark was about 2.5 centimeters in diameter (*). At her birth, Sunita was not identified as being the reincarnation of anyone in particular, and her family offered themselves no interpretation of her birthmark.
An interpretation came when Sunita, at the age of about 2, first began to refer to a previous life. She said that she was from Kota, where she said she had parents and two brothers. She added further details, such as that her family had a silver shop and a safe. At about the same time or a little later, Sunita said that she had fallen down "from a small height." She pointed to the area of the birthmark on her head and said: "Look here. I have fallen."
Laxmangarh is a small town with about 5,000 inhabitants. Kota, in contrast, is one of the largest cities in Rajasthan and in 1971 had a population of about 300,000. Rajasthan is the largest state in India, and, although both communities are in it, they are 360 kilometers apart.
What Sunita was saying about a life in Kota made no sense to Sunita's family. They had never been to Kota and had no connections with it. Nevertheless, Sunita asked and then demanded to be taken there. She had, however, given no personal names, and even when she added the details that her cousin (in the previous life) had pushed her down (before her fall) and that she had been 8 years old, her family had no substantial clues for finding in Kota the family to which she was referring.
Eventually, when Sunita was 5, a friend of the family urged Sunita's parents to allow her to be taken to Kota with the thought that perhaps a family corresponding to her statements could after all be found. The discovery of such a family might, it was hoped, please and appease Sunita, who had, from time to time, been refusing to eat unless she was taken to Kota. By the time Sunita was taken to Kota, she had stated a few more details, such as the quarter (Chauth Mata Bazaar) where the (previous) family's silver shop was located. She had also stated that the family's caste was that of the Banias (the businessman's caste), although this added lit- tle new information, because silversmiths would almost inevitably be Banias. Having arrived at Kota, the group set out to enquire among the silversmiths of Chauth Mata Bazaar for any family who had lost a daughter from falling.
They thus came to the shop of Prabhu Dayal Maheshwari. He had had a daughter, Sakuntala, who had fallen from a balcony and died soon afterward. She had been 8 years old. Sakuntala had been playing with her cousin on a balcony that had an extremely low railing. They might have been pushing each other playfully. Somehow Sakuntala lost her balance, went over the railing, and landed head first on the concrete floor below. Her mother rushed to her and found her unconscious with blood running out of one ear. She summoned her husband, who immediately took Sakuntala to the hospital, where she died a few hours later, on April 28, 1968. The hospital records showed that when she was admitted she was still unconscious and bleeding from the right ear. At that time Kota had no neurosurgeon, and treatment was entirely palliative. The hospital record gave a provisional diagnosis of "head injury." The bleeding from the ear indicated a fracture of the base of the skull. Death would have been due to hemorrhage and swelling of the brain.
As I mentioned, Sunita had not given any personal names, and so the ques- tion arose of whether some other family of Kota who had lost a daughter from falling might have matched Sunita's statements as well as that of Prabhu Dayal Maheshwari. This led me first to initiate a search through the medical records of the hospital in Kota where Sakuntala had died, which was the hospital to which all serious cases of head injuries would be taken. The records showed that only three other females (besides Sakuntala) had died of head injuries during 1968. The ages of these females were not given, and they might have been children or older women; nor were the causes of their injuries given, so they might have been injured in falls, in vehicular accidents, or otherwise. Still, there were other years to consider, and if one allowed for a period of 5 years before 1968, as many as a dozen girls might have died of head injuries in Kota during the 5 years before and including 1968.
The next step was to appraise the likelihood that all the other details stated by Sunita could apply as well to some other family. Before she went to Kota, Sunita had made 25 statements of which 21 were correct for Sakuntala, 2 incorrect and 2 unverified. In Kota she made 4 more statements, 3 correct and 1 unverified. Individually, many of her statements were nonspecific and would have applied equally to other families. Taken collectively, however, I think they would not.
A final point of importance is that the visit of Sunita to Kota became well known, and her case generated considerable publicity when her statements led to the family of Sakuntala. A Kota newspaper published an account of the case within a few days of Sunita's first visit. None of this public awareness brought forth information about another candidate family with the suggestion that it matched Sunita's statements as well as or better than Sakuntala's. After a careful appraisal of all the facts, I became convinced that Sakuntala was the correct child and that she alone had had a life and death with details that matched Sunita's statements.
I said that Sunita's parents had never been to Kota before the case developed. Prabhu Dayal had never been to Laxmangarh and did not, at the time the case developed, even know where it was located. Our enquiries did not end there, however; continuing them, we learned that Sunita's maternal uncle, who lived in Jaipur (the capital of Rajasthan), was also a silversmith and that he had been to Kota and had even had some business dealings with Prabhu Dayal. He had not, however, had any social relationships with him and knew nothing about the death of Prabhu Dayal's daughter. I concluded that he could not have been the conduit for Sunita's information about Sakuntala's family in Kota.
In most of these cases, the two families concerned exchange one or several visits, and they may keep up such exchanges for a few years, but rarely for longer. Eventually, they seem to go their own ways and resume lives independent of each other. This case presented an exception. Dr. Satwant Pasricha, who had initiated our investigation of the case in the 1970s, continued to follow it until 1990. Sunita had long since forgotten the details of the previous life, but she had maintained an affectionate relationship with Sakuntala's family and continued to visit them, especially on festive occasions. When, in 1989, Sunita married a law student, Sakuntala's family contributed generously to the costs of the wedding, just as if she were their own daughter.
Dellâl Beyaz was born in Samandag, Turkey, in July 1970. At her birth she was found to have a substantial birthmark at the top of her head, and it oozed for some days after her birth.
As have some other subjects of these cases, Dellal gave the first indications of having memories of a previous life when her mother overheard her talking to herself. She seemed to be calling to someone for help. Gradually she communicat- ed details about the life of a woman who, hanging out clothes to dry on the roof of a house, stepped back, and fell through a hole in the roof. She said that she was from Kavash. This is a district of the village of  which adjoins Antakya, the capital city of the province of Hatay; it is about 30 kilometers from Samandag.
Dellal's statements would have gone unverified longer than they did if a man from  who had relatives in Samandag had not happened to hear about them when he came to Samandag on a visit. DellaTs statements seemed to fit closely the life and death of a woman called Zehide Kose, who had lived and died at Zehide had been doing just what Dellal had said. She had been on the roof of a new house hanging out clothes to dry. A stairway opened on the roof with- out any guarding rail around the opening. Without realizing that the opening was there, Zehide had stepped back and, losing her balance, had fallen into the hole of the stairway. She hit the concrete below, head first. Taken to a hospital, she died there the following day of injuries to her skull and brain.
The hospital record, which I examined, confirmed the cause of Zehide's death. It made no mention of any damage to the scalp that would have corresponded to the birthmark at the top of DellaTs head; but this could easily have been overlooked beneath Zehide's hair.
I first examined DellaTs birthmark when she was a little over 5 years old. It was a round, hairless area almost at the center of the top of her head. It was a little less than 1 centimeter in diameter. It resembled the scar of a healed wound (*).
Dellal was one of the few Turkish subjects to describe an event that occurred after death in the previous life. She gave a correct description of the location of Zehide's grave.
Wilfred Meares, a Haida, was born in Queen Charlotte City, British Columbia, Canada, on November 22, 1961. Before she conceived him, Wilfred's mother, Ruby Meares, had had two dreams about a deceased relative, Victor Smart, who, she said, "kept coming to me." Even before that, this same relative, while he was still living, had said that, if he were to reincarnate, he would like to return as Ruby Meares's child.
Victor Smart was an amiable person, but he was an alcoholic. He also had the dangerous habit of riding in the passenger seat of a car with his back to the door. One day he was being driven with some friends in a car and was sitting in this fashion when the car crashed. The door opened, Victor shot out, and his head hit the pavement. The force was great enough so that he bit his tongue and broke his neck, dying instantly. I obtained a copy of the report of his death at the hospi- tal to which his body was taken; it contained the details 1 have just given.
Wilfred's birthmark was a hairless area at the back of his head that, when he was 12 years old, measured about 2 centimeters long and 5 millimeters wide (*).
When Wilfred could speak, he made a few statements about the life of Victor Smart. He showed friendships and animosities toward members of the fam- ily that accorded with those of Victor Smart.
Wilfred had a precocious interest in alcohol and would hang around adults who were drinking, expecting them to serve him some alcohol. It was observed, however, that he was always polite about this matter and never took a drink without being offered and given one. Ruby Meares told me that Victor Smart also had this admirable trait.
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