I Saw a Light and Came Here / Children’s Experiences of Reincarnation by Erlendur Haraldsson and James G. Matlock

Dieter Hassler


Part 1 of the book comprises the first 166 pages, having been contributed by Erlendur Haraldsson (professor of psychology emeritus at the University of Iceland) (Haraldsson 2017). The remaining 106 pages, Part 2, are from anthropologist James G. Matlock (Parapsychology Foundation, USA).

Erlendur Haraldsson may be seen as the doyen of European survival and especially reincarnation research. Among many of his books, he has now, at last, come out with one bringing together, as part of his outstanding lifetime accomplishments, his many relevant articles between two book covers (see references on p. 275) (Haraldsson 2017a). He belongs to the pioneers who around the world investigated cases of children spontaneously claiming to remember a previous life.

Part 1 is written in the manner of an empirical field researcher. He lets his cases speak for themselves. Especially the first three examples, but also others farther down, will pose a problem to skeptics to come up with an explanation devoid of reincarnation.

The first case is about the Sri Lancan girl Purnima Ekanayake (p. 3). She made 20 statements about her previous life, 14 of which were correct, 3 could not be tested, and 3 were false. Large birthmarks corresponded to the mode of death in her previous life. Before verification, the previous and the current family were not acquainted with each other; they lived far apart.

The Lebanese boy Nazih in the second example (p. 13) uttered 17 verifiable statements about his previous life, all of which could be shown to be correct. He was asked 15 questions about very private family matters. He could answer them all to the satisfaction of the researcher. The small boy of only 4 years of age recognized a number of members of the previous family whom he could not have known normally. His case is one of the best documented because there were 9 informants who could contribute information about Nazih before contact was made with the previous family. For verification, 4 persons were available.

Example number 3 deals with Duminda Ratnayake (p. 27), a boy from Sri Lanka, who made 8 statements about his previous life which were all correct. Even more remarkable than this is his behavior shown beginning at age 2 to 3 and which suggests a previous life as a Buddhist monk. Professor Haraldsson lists no fewer than 18 behavioural traits relating to this.

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