This book by Ian Stevenson is often quoted as the definitive proof of reincarnation. I suspect the folks that quote it, don't have it on their bookshelf. I do.
Ian Stevenson spent a large part of his life travelling the world to research children under three years of age who reported memories that sounded like a past life. This book had a chequered history in that the first publisher stopped publication when it emerged the Indian translator was of dubious character, but the book was republished when Ian revisited those cases some years later. I think it was finally published in 1966.
It is very clear Ian Stevenson was a meticulous researcher, and open minded. His interest in this subject stemmed from his desire to prove the continuation of life after death, rather than any specific emotional commitment to the notion of reincarnation.
There are a number of curious things about the cases, and these things he readily admits. One is that a great many of the "past" lives recalled, were of individuals that suffered an unnatural death, hence died far younger than would be expected. This would result in that individual being resident in the astral plane, at the time of the memory recall. Case number two is unusual, but not unique in one very specific aspect. The "past" life reported was not dead at the time the subject was born. In all other respects the accuracy and research technique used on this case is indicative of the other 19 cases. However some others report either illness, weakness or birthmarks relating to the "past" life.
Ian Stevenson, while being aware of "possession" seems to have not had a great deal of understanding of this phenomenon, such as one can derive from reading Gone West (where its from the spirit side) Thirty Years among the Dead (from the human side, as well as getting the attachment to speak) or Remote Depossession, which is via a hypnotherapist, and a remote viewer, and interactions with the attaching entities. If however his definition of possession was based on the sort of cases Malachi Martin described in Hostage to the Devil, I could only agree. But those sort of cases are not about folks having a few past life memories, they are far more serious.
This forum is a short description/review of spiritual books. Its not meant to be in-depth.
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