Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives

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For the past forty years, doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center have conducted research into young children’s reports of past-life memories. Dr. Ian Stevenson, the founder of this work, has always written for a scientific audience. Now, in this provocative and fascinating book, Dr. Jim B. Tucker, a child psychiatrist who currently directs the research, shares these studies with the general public. Life Before Life is a landmark work—one that has the potential to challenge and ultimately change our ...

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Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives

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Overview

For the past forty years, doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center have conducted research into young children’s reports of past-life memories. Dr. Ian Stevenson, the founder of this work, has always written for a scientific audience. Now, in this provocative and fascinating book, Dr. Jim B. Tucker, a child psychiatrist who currently directs the research, shares these studies with the general public. Life Before Life is a landmark work—one that has the potential to challenge and ultimately change our understandings about life and death.

Children who report past-life memories typically begin talking spontaneously about a previous life when they are two to three years old. Some talk about the life of a deceased family member, while others describe the life of a stranger. They may recount details about previous family members, events in the previous life, or the way they died in that life. The children tend to show a strong emotional involvement with the apparent memories and often cry to be taken to the previous family. In many cases, parents have taken their children to the places they named, where they found that an individual had died whose life matched the details given by the child. During the visits, some children have recognized family members or friends from that individual’s life. Many children have had birthmarks that matched wounds on the body of the deceased individual.

Researchers have studied more than 2500 such cases, and their careful investigations have produced an impressive body of work. JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, stated in a review of one of Dr. Stevenson’s scientific books that, “in regard to reincarnation he has painstakingly and unemotionally collected a detailed series of cases . . . in which the evidence is difficult to explain on any other grounds.”

Life Before Life explores the various features of this world-wide phenomenon, describing numerous cases along the way. We meet a boy in Michigan who, after being born with three birthmarks that matched wounds on his deceased brother, begins talking about events from the brother’s life; a boy in Turkey who gives a number of accurate details, including the name, of a man who lived 500 miles away and died fifty years before the boy was born; and a girl in Sri Lanka who is able to recognize the family members of a deceased stranger as they are presented to her one by one, giving specifics about their lives that she could not have known from their appearance.

Dr. Tucker presents this material in a straightforward way, relating extraordinary stories that have been amassed with a scientific approach. He then considers how best to interpret the evidence, and he lets readers reach their own conclusions—which, for many, will be profound.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this very elegant book, Dr. Tucker offers the most convincing scientific evidence for the fact that our consciousness survives physical death.  And indeed, takes quantum leaps of creativity in the form of reincarnation.  The model that Dr. Tucker presents opens a new vision of who we are, limitless beings that fill up all of space and time."—Deepak Chopra, author of  Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

 

"[A][ solid case for reincarnation…. Tucker introduces powerful grounds for credulous speculation.”—Booklist

“Jim Tucker gives us a clear, concise and eminently rational insight into a 40 year investigation of what is unquestionably the best evidence for the existence of reincarnation. We are lucky to have in him a worthy successor to Ian Stevenson.”—TOM SHRODER, author of Old Souls: Compelling Evidence From Children Who Remember Past Lives

“Anyone with an open mind, on reading Dr. Jim B. Tucker's Life Before Life, will realize that our conventional concepts of life and death are ripe for revision.  The possibilities raised by this book for human destiny are as hopeful as the current view is grim.  Life Before Life is extraordinarily important.”—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things, Reinventing Medicine, and Healing Words

“With his training as a pediatric psychiatrist, and the mind of an inquiring scientist, Dr. Jim Tucker takes a fresh look at one of life's most intriguing questions:   'Does consciousness survive death?'   Through the hundreds of case studies of his predecessor, Dr. Ian Stevenson, and his own cases, Dr. Tucker adds new insight to this amazing research, and draws us closer to understanding this perennial mystery.”—CAROL BOWMAN, author of Children’s Past Lives and Return From Heaven

 

Life Before Life adds to the increasingly impressive science of consciousness and the continuity of mind/memory…this book is the tip of an important iceberg that will continue to expand our knowledge of the spiritual reality of Life.”—C. NORMAN SHEALY, M.D., Ph.D., President, Holos University Graduate Seminary; Founding President, American Holistic Medical Association; author of Youthful Aging—Secret of the Fountain

 

Jim B. Tucker's fine presentation of Ian Stevenson's decades of rigorous scientific research into evidence of children's apparent past-life recollections expresses the true spirit of scientific skepticism, rather than the knee-jerk materialism that all too often waves that proud banner.”—B. ALAN WALLACE, President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312321376
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

JIM B. TUCKER, M.D. is a child psychiatrist at the University of Virginia, where he directs research into children's reports of past-life memories at the Division of Personality Studies and serves as Medical Director of the Child & Family Psychiatry Clinic.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 Children who report memories of previous lives 1
2 Investigating the cases 17
3 Explanations to consider 30
4 Marked for life 52
5 Remembering the past 86
6 Unusual behaviors 114
7 Recognizing familiar faces 141
8 Divine intermission 164
9 Opposing points of view 185
10 Conclusions and speculations 205
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    The Science of the Soul

    While I have a background in science and in philosophy, I ordinarily find this sufficient to find problems with spurious research and problematic premises. I purchased this book largely because of my wife's interest, but I found it to be quite engaging. It has compelled me to read the entire book, but have found it necessary to 'study' the work now. It is quite clear to the reader that should the 'evidence' be sound, the classical concept of soul is certainly a viable construct. The past memories does merit some attention as I have read other works to find them highly problematic. I have not readily found problems with this work. I hope that better minds than mine find problems with the research, and we can dismiss the issue. But, it has been a long time since this book was written and no real serious scientific objections have been noted. The lack of serious objection or criticism does worry me. Sadly, if there is no problem with the research and no serious objections are made, it does not logically follow that we accept the obvious conclusion. Tucker understands this all too well, as he does only claim to 'scientifically investigate Children's memories'. He reports the information, and ostensibly stands for examination. Still, memories from previous lives does seem make the obvious conclusion an inescapable one. I found the work easy to read, and filled with empirical information. It is both interesting and engaging. I found it to be well worth the read, and have encouraged others to read it only so that I have an audience from whom I have ideas to bounce.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Exceptional nonfiction book!

    Exceptional nonfiction book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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