Editorial - Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 71-77, 2010

Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 71-77, 2010

0892-33101/10

 

 

A Case of the Reincarnation Type in Turkey
Suggesting Strong Paranormal Information Involvements

JüRGEN KEIL

School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
hkeil@internode.on.net

Abstract—This recent case of the reincarnation type in Turkey refers to two families who did not know each other and who live in separate localities about 5 kilometers apart. Only several years after the subject had started to talk about the family of the previous personality was contact established. This other family was located because of the paranormal information provided by the subject.

Keywords: reincarnation—type case—paranormal information—field research —Turkey

 

Introduction

Cases of the reincarnation type (CORTS) indicate that some children, shortly after they have started to speak, convey paranormal information about persons who had died before these children were born. "Paranormal information" implies that these children had no normal access to the information that they revealed. Children may mention names that they could not have heard before, or they may make other statements that cannot be explained by their physical environment or by normal contacts with other persons. For many years Stevenson (1977, 1997, 2001) had been mainly responsible for providing a scientifi c basis for this research.

CORTS in Turkey include many children who are related to the persons who died (the previous personalities [PPs]) or whose parents or other contact persons knew the PPs. It is reasonable for critics to argue that CORTS are accepted without justifi cation because the children may have had access to normal information, perhaps unknown to those who identifi ed the children as CORTS. Although it is more diffi cult to show this when relatives of the PPs are known to parents or others who have contact with these children, there are some cases that cannot be reasonably dismissed on the assumption of the critics that normal information transfers were responsible.

Occasionally parents or other relatives and friends of the subjects may respond to the first signs of apparent memories of a previous life (PL) with positive excitement—and this could encourage faulty or exaggerated interpretations— but more often parents and others are afraid that memories of a PL could alienate the child from his or her present family. If practicable, contacts with relatives of the PP may be deliberately avoided or delayed.

A long interval between the time when a subject apparently referred to a PL and the subsequent investigation of such a case has the disadvantage that faulty memories of the events may suggest paranormal connections that did not actually exist. However, there is the advantage—as we noticed also in connection with other cases—that the emotional involvement over time decreased and consequently that it is less likely that paranormal connections between the subject and the PP were imagined or exaggerated.

Nevertheless, a long-time interval between the main events and the subsequent investigation may still be regarded as a weakness. For the case under consideration, particular circumstances existed that justify the fi ndings and interpretations with some confi dence. There is good agreement that the two families had no contact with each other until the subject provided the relevant information and that this happened several years after the subject had fi rst talked about a PL.

 

The M.C. Case in Turkey

The village in this case is located in a remote area where a relatively small number of families have lived for many years. As J.K. can confi rm from his own experience in Germany during war evacuation to a remote village, local events were remembered—including many details—and were discussed after several decades in a similar way.

The M.C. case, which will be presented here, is such an example. (The names of the persons involved are stored at the Division of Personality

Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America, as well as at the Institut für Grenzgebiete in Freiburg, Germany. Mrs. Hande Karadas participated in Turkey as our interpreter. She also checked and endorsed the notes that we took when we visited and interviewed persons in connection with this case.)

This case was investigated during two visits to Turkey, in 2008 and 2009. During the fi rst visit we were only able to meet the 46-year-old subject M.C. and her mother. During the second visit we also met M.C.'s husband, PP's niece, and PP's aunt. Initially the M.C. case did not look like a particularly important one. It also seemed unusual that M.C. still had detailed information about what she had said as a child. Some of this she had later learned from her mother—who was present during our visit and who agreed with the account presented by M.C.

The details presented here are in agreement with the notes that I took during the interviews. Most of M.C.'s statements were in agreement with what we heard from PP's relatives and others. There were no disagreements. However, we did not check whether M.C. has a married aunt in Izmir.

According to M.C.'s mother, at the age of three, M.C. spoke Turkish and Arabic with a different accent. At that age, M.C. cried a lot and told her mother: "You are not my mother."

M.C.'s parents manage a factory making sweets and are financially in a good position. M.C. at times packed up sweets that she wanted to give to "her" (PP's) parents. M.C. told her father that "her" parents are rich. (It was later established that PP's parents in a different rural setting were also in a very favorable fi nancial position.)

At this stage there was no connection or contact between M.C.'s family and PP's relatives. M.C. had mentioned some names: the name of PP's father, PP's brother, and a friend of PP, and perhaps more, but not the name of PP. M.C.'s parents were afraid that if they found PP's relatives, M.C. would die. (Various belief expectations of this kind exist in Turkey.) M.C.'s grandmother splashed water on M.C.'s face when she talked about a PL. This is another custom, which is supposed to make children forget their memories about PLs. However, with M.C. it did not work. When she talked about "her" rich family, her parents gave M.C. gold bracelets, hoping that this would help M.C. to forget "her" previous parents.

At this young age M.C. had also mentioned how "she" had died: "She" was shot when she attended a wedding. M.C. had mentioned that "she" has an aunt in Izmir who is married. Whenever M.C. talked about her PL, her parents tried to stop her. M.C. was upset about this. M.C. had said that "she" lived in a house with oval windows.

Apparently M.C. had not mentioned PP's village by name, but as J.K. can confirm, in this semi-rural area of Turkey it is relatively easy to fi nd localities or persons with the information that M.C. had provided. When M.C. was about 4 years old, her father inquired about the names that she had mentioned. He found out that someone was shot in X village and that the names, which M.C. had mentioned, agreed with the persons involved. M.C. repeatedly wanted to go to "her" village and "her" house, but M.C.'s parents did not take her and assumed she would forget about it. However, M.C. continued to be involved with what she regarded as her PL and did not lose interest.

When M.C.'s parents and M.C. drove one day to Harbiye, on the way M.C. pointed with her hands and said: "There is 'my' village." This happened when M.C. was about 5 years old. At that time, PP's village was still visible from the road on the way to Harbiye. Due to new buildings, PP's village now is no longer visible from the road. The distance between M.C.'s home and PP's home is about 5 kilometers.

On account of the remote location of M.C.'s village, it is unlikely that her parents would have been aware of the news that a young woman was shot during a wedding celebration. Her parents did not remember hearing anything about this. However, this possibility cannot be ruled out with certainty. Nevertheless, it seems extremely unlikely that M.C.'s statements that she made at an early age, several years after PP's death, could have been based on something that she could have heard from her parents.

When M.C. turned 17, her parents agreed to take her to PP's village. Her parents hoped that afterward M.C. would lose interest. From the entrance of PP's village, M.C. apparently found the correct way to PP's house with the oval windows. When they arrived, neighbors told them that PP's relatives do not live in this house any longer and that they had left after the girl (PP) had been shot. They now live in Tartuf. When M.C. saw the oval windows of PP's house, she felt reassured because what she had said for many years had turned out to be correct. M.C.'s father asked her whether she was satisfied now, but she replied that she also wanted to meet PP's relatives. When they made inquiries in the village, they heard that PP's parents had briefly returned for the Bayram festival. When M.C. saw PP's father she apparently recognized him and ran to him. They were all surprised and shocked. A sheep was sacrificed and they had the Bayram feast together. (PP was shot when she was 14 years old. Her name was N.) PP's father told his wife: "Now I have brought you our daughter N. back." PP's mother had cut off some of N.'s hair after she had died and carried it in a little bag close to her heart. After PP's mother met M.C., she removed it because now "her" daughter had come back. Apparently PP's parents see a great deal of similarity with respect to the face, the eyes, and the hair between M.C. and PP.

When M.C.'s parents wanted to go back home after this first meeting with PP's relatives, M.C. insisted that she wanted to stay overnight, and it was agreed that she could stay. M.C. as well as PP's relatives very much wanted to meet frequently. It was difficult for M.C. to visit PP's house, but PP's relatives managed to visit M.C. and her family several times. PP's father wanted M.C. to be closer to his family. PP's brother M. has a son, and PP's parents wanted M.C. to get engaged to him. This would keep M.C. and in a way PP close to PP's family. M.C. accepted to be engaged to this man because she also wanted to have a continued close connection with PP's family.

They got engaged, but M.C.'s mother was upset because the boy is PP's nephew. They were engaged for three months. M.'s son lived in Tartuf. A Sheich was consulted who advised against a marriage between M.C. and M.'s son. The engagement was terminated. Apparently M.C. was not concerned about losing her fiancé but regretted that this would somewhat separate her from PP's relatives. (Within a year M.C. got engaged to another man.)

Before PP's parents died, they included in their will a clause that M.C. should inherit some of PP's father's wealth. When PP's father died, M.C. went to his funeral. She did not accept the money that PP's father had provided for her. At the funeral M.C. met a man. When she heard his name, she remembered that he had been "her" fiancé in her PL. Since this meeting they have occasionally met at weddings and similar festivities.

M.C. particularly remembered the oval windows of "her" house because she was shot while "she" was sitting there. M.C. also remembered that "she" was screaming and that "she" was put into a coffin. It is not quite clear whether some of these events were continuously remembered by her or whether all of M.C.'s relatively early statements are due to her mother repeating them when M.C. was somewhat older.

When M.C. started to talk about a PL, her mother also began to think about reincarnation. M.C.'s mother had not been interested in it before. Apparently M.C.'s mother had not infl uenced or encouraged M.C. in any way to regard herself as the reincarnation of someone else.

This fairly detailed account was presented by M.C. in agreement with her mother who was present during our visit. It seems fairly clear that no contacts existed between the two families and that through the information provided by the subject M.C., PP's relatives were located and that details emerged which are in good agreement with information provided by M.C. before contact between the two families was established.

In J.K.'s assessment, there was no suggestion that M.C. wanted to make herself important. In fact, she had refused to talk about these matters when she was previously approached by another person, mainly because she wanted no publicity. M.C. only agreed to talk to us after she felt reassured that her information would only be kept for serious research. Her mother's behavior did not suggest in any way that M.C. had distorted or embellished anything.

During a second visit almost 1 year later, we met M.C., her mother, and M.C.'s husband at M.C.'s home. We also met PP's aunt and PP's niece who translated from Arabic to Turkish. M.C.'s mother mainly spoke Arabic.

M.C.'s husband had met a man, a distant relative, whose father (Fa) had witnessed how PP died. It was an accident. There was a big wedding party inside and outside of the house when a neighbor got married. As was the custom on such occasions, outside they fired guns in celebration of the wedding. Fa saw how PP's head dropped and that PP collapsed, when she was accidentally hit by a bullet. PP was at the window, an oval window, when she collapsed. When this happened, she was sitting at the window with her friend J. M.C. could remember that she was sitting at the third window with J., but she could not remember who J. was. PP's aunt told M.C. that J. was her (PP's) friend.

When M.C. first started to talk about a PL, her father went to a Hodga for advice. This man told him that M.C. should be stopped from talking, otherwise she would have serious difficulties. The spoon ritual was used, but it did not stop her from talking. This ritual, which had also been mentioned during interviews in connection with other cases in Turkey, refers to a belief according to which an infant can be induced to forget his or her memories of a PL if the child is fed with the spoon of another person.

We heard from PP's aunt that she was in the room with PP when PP was hit by the bullet. At that time PP's aunt was only 14, and now she does not remember many details about PP. However, this aunt remembered that at this wedding PP's mother had bought a dress for PP, but that PP was not allowed to wear it. M.C. does not and apparently did not remember this; however, she remembered that PP's body was transported on the back of a donkey, and PP's aunt confi rmed this. M.C. also remembered some stairs at PP's place which were not in good condition and which were dangerous. PP's aunt also confi rmed this, and that PP was briefl y engaged to M.'s son.

M.C. told us that her parents were afraid that they might lose their good parent—daughter relationship if they contacted the relatives of PP. It was confi rmed again that no contact was made when M.C. was young.

We went to X village situated in diffi cult high hills at the end of the road. From this village minibuses provide a connection to Antakya. As soon as we contacted some persons in X village in connection with M.C., more than a dozen adults with their children surrounded us. What we heard from several individuals was in agreement with those who were also present, and there was no suggestion that any false or deliberately exaggerated statements were made. It was obvious that people in the village were still interested in this case and remembered details from more than 30 years ago.

We met at the house that used to have oval windows—this was confi rmed— which in the meantime had been rebuilt with rectangular windows. Some of the older adults mainly spoke Arabic, and S.G. translated into Turkish. S.G. was about 60 years old when we met him. He also confi rmed various statements on account of his own memories of the events.

We met F.M., a friend of PP. M.C. had recognized her. We also met S.Gy. —M.C. had also recognized her—and PP's cousin J. They had attended the wedding together with PP. J. and PP's aunt were in the room with PP when PP was accidentally shot. We heard from PP's brother, who was not in X village at the time of the wedding, that PP died as had been mentioned and that M.C. had visited for the first time when she was 17. In other words, in X village we received confi rmation of the events from several individual witnesses.

 

Summary

By the time M.C. was 4 years old she had made a number of statements such as: You are not my mother; My parents are rich; I lived in a house with oval windows; I died because I was shot at a wedding. M.C. had also provided the names of PP's father and PP's brother and the name of a friend of PP.

Although we could only obtain confi rmation many years after the relevant events that M.C. made these statements apparently without normal access to information about PP's life, the small village environment provided a good deal of confi dence that this interpretation is justifi ed. As J.K. had noticed during other case studies, in small villages relatives and neighbors readily disagree with the accounts of events by others that they remember differently.

For the M.C. case, there was complete agreement by all who were present. This also refers to the statement that M.C. and her relatives did not know PP or her relatives and that contact was only established after M.C. had provided information about PP.

Comparing the M.C. case with others, her long-term interest in a PL differs from most other subjects. However, M.C. did not meet PP's relatives until she was 17, and this as well as PP's sudden death at a young age probably contributed to M.C.'s relatively strong and continued involvement.

 

Acknowledgments

This fieldwork was carried out with financial help from the Helene Reeder Memorial Fund. This support is gratefully appreciated.

 

References

Stevenson, I. (1977). Reincarnation: Field studies and theoretical issues. In Wolman, B. B. (Ed.), Handbook of Parapsychology (pp. 631—663). New York: Van Nostrand.

Stevenson, I. (1997). Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Stevenson, I. (2001). Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation (revised edition). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.