- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312321376
- ISBN-13: 978-0312321376
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives Hardcover – August 11, 2005
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Is reincarnation possible? Tucker's book full of real-life evidence and an explanation of how quantum physics allows for it makes one think the better question may be Is it impossible? Basing his argument on a study of more than 40 years' duration into the lives, present and past, of more than 2,500 children, psychiatrist Tucker makes a pretty solid case in favor of reincarnation. He opens with the story of William, born five years after his policeman grandfather, John, was killed, with birth defects similar to John's fatal wounds. William was able, at three, to report John's last moments, of which he couldn't possibly have had any knowledge. Then there is the Turkish child who insisted on being called by the name of a man who had lived 50 miles away. Taken to the man's town, the child proceeded to the man's home and identified the man's parents in a roomful of people. All the stories were checked by scientist-interviewers, and all potential deception was eliminated; hence, Tucker introduces powerful grounds for credulous speculation. Donna Chavez
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“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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There are children whose birthmarks reflect the violent way they died in previous lives, others whose special interests and phobias likewise mirror what haven't to them in their earliest incarnations.
The reader is invited to decide for themselves what these stories might imply about life, death and the possibility of reincarnation. Tucker does postulate that the brain, rather than being the seat of consciousness, might instead be a transmitter of an external consciousness. Otherwise his approach to the topic is strictly scientific: all cases have had to be verified via external witnesses and children not given the opportunity to have ideas out in their heads by family, for example. Tucker conservatively concludes this book only demonstrates evidence rather than absolute proof that reincarnation may occur in certain cases, specifically where the previous life ended traumatically. He does not state any belief in the findings of regression therapists, nor in what the major world religions have to say on the matter
I find that scientific approach hugely refreshing, as there is none of the moralizing and evangelizing on karma and so forth that you might get from Believers. In fact, the only 'karma' Tucker recognises is that trauma of any kind needs to be processed before the individual experiencing this can move on.
In this spirit Tucker does point out that it makes best sense to move on from past lives too. It makes no sense to retain a past German identity for example where there is the need to adapt to a new cultural identity in a new lifetime, or to cling to a former parent if in that lifetime the parent had not wanted the child in that lifetime. Tucker also dies not preclude the idea that each new lifetime does offer a soul more time in which to learn from experience a d hopefully become a better person.
Tucker also points out that there is such a thing as scientific fundamentalism too. Both he and Stephenson have I believe been very brave in publishing research that may well still fly in the face of many basic assumptions about the nature of life and consciousness.
This is commonly called reincarnation, where a soul or consciousness survives physical death, then later, enters the mind of an emerging baby from the womb, and takes on another physical body. Of course, this concept, or belief, is not accepted by the Abraham religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), whose members comprise 74% of Americans and 55% of the world. Therefore, the University of Virginia and Tucker’s team are certainly brave, breaking new ground, attempting to prove that this core belief of Hinduism and Buddhism, representing about 21% of the world’s population, could be factual. Also, most spiritual organizations, psychics, and followers of the paranormal believe in reincarnation.
Birthmarks fascinated Tucker. This area of investigation covered many cases, especially in India and Sri Lanka where parents accept children’s comments about past lives. He found that a child’s birthmarks were often the result of the sudden death of the last personality. Since “the median time between the death of the previous personality and the birth of the subject is only 15-16 months,” a child’s recitation of a past life to the team could be easily verified since often the family residence of the previous personality is relatively close to the subject child.
In the case of Purnima Ekanayake, a Sri Lankan girl, her body at birth revealed “colored birthmarks over the left side of her chest and lower ribs.” When four years old she recognized a temple on television, saying that in her recent past life she was a man living close to that temple. He had made incense sticks in his in-laws business, sold them via bicycle, and was killed in an accident with a big vehicle. The father of Purnima asked a friend, who planned to travel to the temple’s location on business, to check his daughter’s statements. While interviewing local incense makers, he found one where the brother-in-law of the owner had been killed by a bus while taking incense sticks to market on his bicycle two years before Purnima was born. Later, Purnima visited her previous family, correctly identifying her former mother and wife. The previous personality’s autopsy report documented fractured ribs on the left, a ruptured spleen, and abrasions running diagonally from the right shoulder to the left lower abdomen.
Interestingly, Tucker attempts to find the most logical explanation for this phenomenon, including fraud, fantasy, knowledge acquired through normal means, faulty memory by informants, genetic memory, extrasensory perception, possession, and reincarnation. He concludes “If we stand back and look at this worldwide phenomenon as a whole, then we see a pattern of remarkable events. Even though the cases are only evidence and not ‘proof’ of a paranormal process, when we consider the weaknesses of the normal explanations . . . reincarnation provides a much more straightforward explanation overall . . .”