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The Boy Who Lived Before - Documentary about a childs memories of another life


Nathaniel

Paranormal Maven
'Ever since he could talk, Cameron has been telling stories of his life on Barra, a remote island in the Outer Hebrides, some 220 miles from his current home in Glasgow. He describes in detail his childhood on the island: the white house he lived in, the black-and-white dog he walked on the beach. He talks about his mother, seven siblings and his father, Shane Robertson, who died when he was run over by a car.
Nothing strange about all that. Except the fact that Cameron is only five years old now; his memories seem to be of a former life. Cameron’s stories have become increasingly more detailed since he first started telling them, and the shock of him insisting “I’m a Barra boy, I’m a Barra boy” has worn off a little. But his emotional attachment to his ‘Barra mum’ concerns his mother, and there’s clearly something going on in the poor kid’s head when he says, “My real barra dad doesn’t look left and right.” Intrigued by her enigmatic son, Cameron’s mother Norma has decided to investigate his claims.

Everyone who comes across Cameron is sceptical, but his stories are just so consistent. In her search to find a rational explanation for Cameron’s tales of his Barra childhood, Norma first visits psychologist Dr Chris French, editor of The Skeptic magazine. French suggests that Cameron might simply have acquired knowledge about Barra through TV or a family friend, and thus invented the stories himself.

Norma isn’t satisfied by this. Her next port of call is educational psychologist Karen Majors, who tells her that the way that Cameron describes his Barra world is similar to the way in which some children speak about imaginary places and people, except that Cameron really seems to believe that he has seen the things he describes first-hand; he also doesn’t seem to be able to control his ‘fantasy’ as other children do. Norma decides to investigate the possibility of reincarnation, contacting leading expert Dr Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia'.

 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
This goes back to the same faulty premise which is that because the subject seems to possess memories associated with the life of some deceased person, that the subject is that deceased person. This is typically expressed in sentences like, he or she is the reincarnation of so and so, and questions like, "Can the dead be reborn?" and the title of this video: The Boy Who Lived Before. The premise is faulty because memories alone are not sufficient to prove any continuity of consciousness and personality. Plus it completely ignores the importance of our bodies with respect to our self-identity. At best it only proves that memories seemingly associated with a deceased person seem to exist in a completely separate living subject, or that the stories relayed by the subject seem to correspond to certain historical circumstances.

To be more clear about this distinction. If there were a process that would allow you to implant a set of memories into your mind, would that mean you are no longer the same person? Clearly the answer is "No". You would still be the distinct person you are in this life, but with some additional memories. To be even more succinct, In this video, living Cameron ≠ the dead son of Shane Robertson. The evidence only indicates that living Cameron = living Cameron + unexplained memories. BTW: do we ever hear Cameron's former name?

Given the above, the responsible thing to do in this isn't to encourage Cameron to believe he is actually somebody who died. This could cause some serious problems with self identity. Rather, it would be much more responsible to reinforce the idea within Cameron that he is his own unique person alive in this world, that his biological parents and family are his real parents and family, and that the memories he possesses are a separate mystery that those who care about him can help him explore. With this approach children like Cameron can still explore the phenomena of having these memories without being confused about who they are.
 
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Nathaniel

Paranormal Maven
You are very much entitled to form your own opinion Ufology, but I have had and continue to this day to have many profound 'spiritual' experiences that prove to me without a shadow of a doubt that the notion of incarnating in to different bodies is a reality. The term 'reincarnation' is a little misleading as all lives lived are concurrent, given the true nature of time. I'm not saying this particular case is a legitimate one, I just thought it was quite interesting.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I am fascinated by the dea of reincarnation, as ufology knows - we've batted it around back and forth many times. While I remain skeptical regarding the idea of reincarnation, I do find the idea to be something that works for me in possible models to deal with issues of identity and the notion that there might be a finite amount of identities the exist in some realm that manifest themselves as various human lived lived on earth. I know it makes little sense in terms of a scientific mind/body/identity discussion but I'm open to entertaining the possibility nevertheless.

Here's the key scientist that's been at the centre of the debate for decades:
Scientific Proof of Reincarnation: Dr. Ian Stevenson

Evidence for Reincarnation |

Here's Ben Radford's brief skeptical dismissal of reincarnation: The Reality of Reincarnation | LiveScience
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
and/
You are very much entitled to form your own opinion Ufology, but I have had and continue to this day to have many profound 'spiritual' experiences that prove to me without a shadow of a doubt that the notion of incarnating in to different bodies is a reality. The term 'reincarnation' is a little misleading as all lives lived are concurrent, given the true nature of time. I'm not saying this particular case is a legitimate one, I just thought it was quite interesting.
I think you're confusing the concept of opinion with that of evidence. Opinions are personal judgements rather than objective analysis. My only opinion is on how the subject ( Cameron ) should be treated in order to maintain a healthy sense of personal identity. Apart from that, my comments were an objective analysis of the evidence. For example, it's not an opinion that the stories told by the subject appear to correspond to some historical circumstances. It's also not an opinion that the source of material for the case appears to based on unexplained memories and/or a creative imagination, and/or assumptions made by those collecting the evidence. It's also not an opinion that Cameron is his own unique self in this world whether or not he has these unexplained memories.

It is however sheer opinion that the set of circumstances in the video means that the subject ( Cameron ) is actually another person who died. It's also sheer opinion that Cameron's set of circumstances represents evidence of continuity of consciousness or life after death. You may also believe "without a shadow of a doubt" that dead people can become other living people, but I doubt that you actually have sufficient reason or evidence to be so certain. That isn't to say that I don't believe some form of continuity of consciousness may be possible. What specifically makes you so sure?
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I am fascinated by the dea of reincarnation, as ufology knows - we've batted it around back and forth many times ...
We sure have, and as of yet, no evidence beyond claims of memories related to some historical circumstance have been produced, and as we've covered in previous discussions, even if someone does have unexplained memories that seem to correspond to circumstances experienced by some deceased person, that is not sufficient to prove that the subject and the deceased person are one in the same person. There is however plenty of evidence to show that they're not. So the mystery here doesn't have so much to do with resurrection into a new body following death, as it does some form of unexplained acquisition of information.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
We sure have, and as of yet, no evidence beyond claims of memories related to some historical circumstance have been produced, and as we've covered in previous discussions, even if someone does have unexplained memories that seem to correspond to circumstances experienced by some deceased person, that is not sufficient to prove that the subject and the deceased person are one in the same person. There is however plenty of evidence to show that they're not. So the mystery here doesn't have so much to do with resurrection into a new body following death, as it does some form of unexplained acquisition of information.
What's interesting about Stevenson's work is his delineation between what he calls "imaged memory" (memories we imagine to be ours) vs. "behavioural memory" (actual created memories). He's against hypnosis and prefers to see his work as something that permits the possibility of reincarnation as opposed to compelling anyone to believe.

Children, are the focus of his investigations as they are seen as likely to have imaged memories, and even best are families who have not already gone to investigate the other "remembered" life. I've read some very compelling cases where the number of facts corroborated and by a child's memory is pretty bizarre to say the least.

His final focus was on the reappearance of birth marks and other body manifestations that explored similar life identities. Children born without fingers remember violent death where their fingers were removed. It's pretty wild material and he was tireless and meticulous in his examinations, using what appears to be a very critical mind, dismissing cases that were corrupted.

I'm rethinking some of your ideas about how memory acquisition could take place between different lives, though the belief systems of karma and reincarnation carry their own cultural weights, hence his strong focus on children from Asia and the many strong cases from that region.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
What's interesting about Stevenson's work is his delineation between what he calls "imaged memory" (memories we imagine to be ours) vs. "behavioural memory" (actual created memories). He's against hypnosis and prefers to see his work as something that permits the possibility of reincarnation as opposed to compelling anyone to believe.
I have to admit that among those who are popular in the field of reincarnation studies ( or whatever it's called ), Stevenson has made more of an effort to find meaningful evidence than most. However there still remains a propensity to interpret unexplained facets as evidence for the concept of reincarnation ( dead Alice = living Bob ). So long as that concept remains in place in any way shape or form, the whole field ( if you can call it a field ) is working from a false premise. Therefore any claims of scientific study go right out the window, and the whole thing is relegated to pseudoscience. That doesn't mean that there may not be something truly mysterious going on. It just means that it's not being studied with appropriate objectivity.

On the evidence of physical characteristics like birthmarks, the subjects may have lineage that dates back to a common ancestor with such a birthmark, the branch of which split and went two separate ways, giving rise to similar birthmarks in seemingly unrelated families. Or it could be that the child isn't actually the biological offspring of the people believed to be the parents. I've never seen these possibilities addressed. It always seems to be taken for granted that the child is the offspring of the parents who claim the child is theirs. This is understandable as it brings awkward issues like fidelity into the picture, or it requires information that isn't available or would be too big a task to acquire. However, although the problems are understandable, it still doesn't mean the holes aren't plugged.
 

TalkingMeatSuit

Paranormal Maven
I posted somewhere here about the experience before, but I have done past life regression (trying again in a few weeks) and the experience struck me as disturbingly real. To me, there's a chance this report could be true, but I'd just as easily bank on it being a kid that's too attached to his imaginary play world or a general BS story.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I posted somewhere here about the experience before, but I have done past life regression (trying again in a few weeks) and the experience struck me as disturbingly real ...
It's interesting that you've tried past life regression, but let me pose this question: Let's suppose you participate in another session and in your mind you seem to be able to perceive certain things that are "disturbingly real", does that mean that you are no longer you? Of course it doesn't. It just means that your mind was able to generate perceptual information that seemed like some other place and time. And even if it turns out that the imagery can be verified to correspond to some other place and time, it still doesn't mean you are no longer you.

At best it just means you were somehow able to access information beyond your normal range of perception, and therefore calling it a "past life" is a completely unfounded assumption. This doesn't necessarily mean that some unexplained means of information transfer hasn't taken place. It only means that the phenomenon doesn't actually have anything to do with your "past life" , and therefore pursuing that hypothesis cannot lead to the real explanation. So assuming that the truth matters to you, you need to discard the typical interpretation of reincarnation ( living Bob = dead Alice ).
 
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TalkingMeatSuit

Paranormal Maven
It's interesting that you've tried past life regression, but let me pose this question: Let's suppose you participate in another session and in your mind you seem to be able to perceive certain things that are "disturbingly real", does that mean that you are no longer you? Of course it doesn't. It just means that your mind was able to generate perceptual information that seemed like some other place and time. And even if it turns out that the imagery can be verified to correspond to some other place and time, it still doesn't mean you are no longer you.

At best it just means you were somehow able to access information beyond your normal range of perception, and therefore calling it a "past life" is a completely unfounded assumption. This doesn't necessarily mean that some unexplained means of information transfer hasn't taken place. It only means that the phenomenon doesn't actually have anything to do with your "past life" , and therefore pursuing that hypothesis cannot lead to the real explanation. So assuming that the truth matters to you, you need to discard the typical interpretation of reincarnation ( living Bob = dead Alice ).
Oh, I agree completely that it could be something else entirely - perhaps the mind in certain states can pick things up like a radio transceiver, tap into some genetic instinctual human consciousness, etc.

None of this stuff can be proven to a point that would satisfy everyone. It's sort of like love. How much do you love your child? You can't measure it with or prove it; you can only point out the symptoms. You may provide for your child and give them every advantage in the world and still hate the little shit - just an extreme example.

I will say that one of the things that made it feel real was the fact that I recognized two of the people in my regression as two people that I know in the present. Upon witnessing my death I was crying without realizing it, laying completely motionless, unaware of that fact until I was snapped out of it. It was an interesting experience.

I'll try just about anything. Just go with it, follow the instructions and temporarily shut off all disbelief. There's time afterwards to critique it all I figure.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Oh, I agree completely that it could be something else entirely - perhaps the mind in certain states can pick things up like a radio transceiver, tap into some genetic instinctual human consciousness, etc.
None of this stuff can be proven to a point that would satisfy everyone.
It's also important to realize that not only could it be something else entirely, it has to be something else entirely. Past lives can be completely ruled out by sheer logic. Believers tend to shrug this off as irrelevant, but it's not. It's not like trying to prove that the feelings we have for our loved ones are real. It's a different kind of problem altogether that can be worked out logically and objectively.
 

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
It's also important to realize that not only could it be something else entirely, it has to be something else entirely. Past lives can be completely ruled out by sheer logic. Believers tend to shrug this off as irrelevant, but it's not. It's not like trying to prove that the feelings we have for our loved ones are real. It's a different kind of problem altogether that can be worked out logically and objectively.
How by 'sheer logic'? What logic? Logic needs a context. What context are you using that rules out past lives by 'sheer logic'?

However, I agree it can be worked out logically and objectively.

As a working hypothesis 'past lives' in a broad sense explains a lot. It's a very 'tidy' (or elegant) idea - as 'tidy' as any working scientific, materially-based hypothesis. For a materialist, any aspect of experience to do with Psyche will present as a problem, because it is no longer the physical universe that can be measured and quantified with physical-universe based instruments.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
How by 'sheer logic'? What logic? Logic needs a context. What context are you using that rules out past lives by 'sheer logic'? However, I agree it can be worked out logically and objectively.
As a working hypothesis 'past lives' in a broad sense explains a lot. It's a very 'tidy' (or elegant) idea - as 'tidy' as any working scientific, materially-based hypothesis. For a materialist, any aspect of experience to do with Psyche will present as a problem, because it is no longer the physical universe that can be measured and quantified with physical-universe based instruments.
I'm glad you're open to discussing this issue further. We're attacked so often by skeptics claiming to be rational, but who behave more like cyberbullies, that we tend to default to a defensive posture and forget that there are also some people out there who are just looking for the truth and enjoy discussing things in a friendly and constructive manner, and that debate isn't the same as browbeating someone into the ground. I've been through the logic before in a sort of piecemeal way in these posts, but I'll lay it out again here in more detail for you. We're going to take this in small steps so we don't get side tracked:

The Premise behind the Concept of Past Lives & Reincarnation

The logical reasoning for saying that past lives can be ruled out is based on the premise contained in the subject itself. Specifically, the phrase "past lives" implicitly states that a living subject ( person ) in the present is the same person as some deceased person in the past. To reinforce this further, reincarnation believers typically use the same or similar terminology e.g. "past lives, The Boy Who Lived Before, past life regression ... etc." all of which suggest that the subject in the now ( let's call him Bob ) is the same person as some deceased person in the past ( let's call her Alice ). This can be stated as a purely logical expression using equal to ( = ) and not equal to ( ≠ ) symbols. So assuming that reincarnation, past lives and the like as defined above is true then it follows that:

living Bob = dead Alice.

If we have agreement on the above, then we can proceed to the next step. If we do not have agreement on the above then the only remaining choice is that living Bob ≠ dead Alice, in which case living Bob's life ≠ dead Alice's life, which means that Bob's assumption that his memories about dead Alice represent a "past life" is false. Furthermore, if you disagree with the premise as defined, then we're no longer talking about "past lives" and therefore whatever evidence is presented in support of it is actually evidence for another topic altogether.
 

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
Okay - so let's get on the same page, clear up some terminology.

The logical reasoning for saying that past lives can be ruled out is based on the premise contained in the subject itself. Specifically, the phrase "past lives" implicitly states that a living subject ( person ) in the present is the same person as some deceased person in the past.


It may for some who have a fairly basic understanding of the concept, but the concept is far richer and fuller than what you have indicated. What I am about to elaborate is the result of extensive reading and study. Since we are not at the stage of verifiable evidence, it's best to keep it all as a thought-experiment at least - and is no less fun. Shall we agree to that? Evidence can come later.

As a 'believer' in reincarnation, if someone said to me, I have never lived before, I would agree, because it is not you that has lived before. You are brand new - never before been, never to be again. Every moment is unique and precious - not to be wasted or frittered away because one-more-of-many-and-one-more-of-many-more--to-come.

How can I say the above - that I believe in reincarnation - if I have just agreed with someone that they have never lived before? Because I am answering the question from the place the person is asking the question - from the place/position of the Soul, not the Spirit.

We have to begin with the correct usage of some very ancient concepts - Soul is one, Spirit is another. Like the onion with it's many layers, the nature of what makes up the human being is many layers - like a Russian nesting doll. The first layer (and smallest) is the physical - the most obvious and the most powerful from an evidentiary perspective for us in the physical universe. Awareness of the physical universe is paramount at this juncture in time (but it was not always so in past times, and we have evidence of that - that for later).

The Soul is composed of the physical body and several subtle bodies that encompass our sense of life (when 'life' - the cohering force - leaves our body the body dies or dissipates) and our emotional and mental existence. In some esoteric streams the Soul is considered to have 4 bodies - the physical being the 1st body, the mental the 4th body. These 4 bodies comprise our identity (called ego in psychology) in this life. - and it is unique as well as determined by our parents and the current world conditions, etc. It is in the realm of the Soul that most paranormal (and UFO) events occur - usually involving one of the 4 'lower bodies' of the human being. It is with these 4 bodies that material-world science concerns itself.

Just as the physical body is drawn from the genetics of the two contributing parents, so, too, the other 3 bodies are drawn from the parents and ancestors as well. However, this is where the tipping point occurs. To quote Teilhard de Chardin: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." (Or another varaition - he expressed this sentiment many times: "You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.") If we are just body and soul, yes, we are born and die and there is nothing more to us. We come from nothing and go to nothing - it is all a meaningless happen-chance (albeit exceedingly organized and remarkably informed).

Here comes either a 'leap of faith' or a matter of experience. Let's just continue with the thought experiment - we are reaching into the realm called in the past Spirit. The 4th body is informed by a 5th body, then a 6th, then a 7th, and so on. Not that we are 'awake' to these bodies while in the physical - not everyone is, but some are. There are some alive today that are barely awake to their lower mental body, let alone another more exalted than that - and were such to 'see' or experience their higher selves they would objectify themselves and call what they see 'God' or some such name. The final 'body' of the human being is vast and has had many names, but lets just call it the Ego, with a capital (the Sanskrit term I believe - not 100% recalling this at the moment - refers to this 'Divine Spark of Identity' as the Monad). This exalted identity is simultaneously within all aspects of our incarnation at varying levels of awareness - and completely apart in Spirit. This is the directing force.

To reinforce this further, reincarnation believers typically use the same or similar terminology e.g. "past lives, The Boy Who Lived Before, past life regression ... etc." all of which suggest that the subject in the now ( let's call him Bob ) is the same person as some deceased person in the past ( let's call her Alice ). This can be stated as a purely logical expression using equal to ( = ) and not equal to ( ≠ ) symbols. So assuming that reincarnation, past lives and the like as defined above is true then it follows that: living Bob = dead Alice.
If we have agreement on the above, then we can proceed to the next step. If we do not have agreement on the above then the only remaining choice is that living Bob ≠ dead Alice, in which case living Bob's life ≠ dead Alice's life, which means that Bob's assumption that his memories about dead Alice represent a "past life" is false. Furthermore, if you disagree with the premise as defined, then we're no longer talking about "past lives" and therefore whatever evidence is presented in support of it is actually evidence for another topic altogether.
It is not entirely that simple. It depends from what 'body' the individual is 'remembering' from. Modern psychology has only taken baby steps in understanding the complexity of the human being - and is only vaguely approaching an articulation of that unknown sequence of universes beyond the physical. Part of the problem - and it is a considerable part - is the lack of precision in terms relating to concepts to do with Spirit.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Okay - so let's get on the same page, clear up some terminology ...
I'm glad that you see the logic so far. It may be simple, but that doesn't mean it should be dismissed. All that matters at this point is that we have agreement on the parameters as outlined in my first post. Under those circumstances either reincarnation fails or we need to move onto the next step, which you introduced in your response. Yours is a typical response of reincarnation believers, and it may help you to know that I once held similar views, and that at the time they seemed perfectly coherent to me. However continued exploration into the subject matter has since led me to what I believe is a more evolved view. The word "evolved" here doesn't imply some sort of superiority. I'm just saying I've been there too, and I that maybe I can offer some insight. Plus I'm also am open to the possibility that I've overlooked something, and may need to revise my own thinking. Anyway, I'll continue in my next post. Right now I'm at a Starbucks Wi-Fi, and have to wrap this one up.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Okay - so let's get on the same page, clear up some terminology ...
Now to continue. In your post you say we need "correct usage", and then go on to explain what you mean by that. So the second issue is how we define "lives" with respect to the subject matter, and this revolves around the concept of personal identity with respect to living beings. So if we can establish through some understanding that the identity of living Bob = the identity of dead Alice, then reincarnation is true, and your post is attempting to do that through the use of the words like "body", "soul" and "spirit", for which you have assigned a number of properties in a hierarchy of importance based on some arbitrary and subjective evaluations. So in your view it seems that our logical model would look something like this:

living body + soul + spirit = whole person

Have I got this correct so far? If so please allow me to proceed before adding more facets to the analysis. If it's not correct, please let me know where the error is.
 

Tyger

Paranormal Adept
All that matters at this point is that we have agreement on the parameters as outlined in my first post.
Whazzat? What parameters?

Under those circumstances either reincarnation fails or we need to move onto the next step, which you introduced in your response.
I disagree. You're being summary. It's this way or that way. A or B. Doesn't work that way imo.

Yours is a typical response of reincarnation believers
Ouch! :p Then we need to distinguish between belief and knowledge.

Also, lets be clear, I am simply fleshing out the concept of reincarnation. What has belief got to do with this discussion?

and it may help you to know that I once held similar views, and that at the time they seemed perfectly coherent to me.
Similar in what way? Again, what I believe and what I know to be true are not the issue in the conversation I am undertaking with you. :) We are in a thought experiment - sans 'evidence' at this juncture. We are Einstein traveling on that train.

However continued exploration into the subject matter has since led me to what I believe is a more evolved view. The word "evolved" here doesn't imply some sort of superiority. I'm just saying I've been there too, and I that maybe I can offer some insight.
Well, I am certainly interested in how your ideas on the subject have changed over the years. Also, what made you 'believe' (rather than know) and what made you move on or why did you 'move on'.

Plus I'm also am open to the possibility that I've overlooked something, and may need to revise my own thinking.
Fair enough. Same here.
 
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