Ian Stevenson, the Founder of a New Age
Trutz Hardo, one of Germany’s leading regression therapists, examines the work of Ian Stevenson.
In 1958 the American Association of Parapsychology organised a competition. The first prize was to be given to the person who could deliver the best scientific report about 'proof of survival of the personality after physical death'. The doctor and psychiatrist Ian Stevenson took part in this competition and won it with his report on: 'Proof of life after death through claims made by those who remember previous incarnations'.
Even though Stevenson had as yet no personal research to base this work upon, he commanded respect by the discriminating way of going about discovering the truth of the matter that he advocated. This work on reincarnation must have fascinated him so much that ever since that time he has dedicated himself mainly to finding and verifying cases to prove its existence.
From 1961 onwards he began to examine the respective cases in situ by employing all scientific procedures available for this kind of research. Whenever he hears about a child somewhere in the world that is able to remember past lives, he travels there if he has the time. Once there he investigates the case, usually with the help of other scientists from the respective countries. With the help of these assistants they sometimes question fifty or more people as part of verifying the memories of an individual past life.
He has collected more than 2500 reports of cases of reincarnation. Seventy of these he described in great detail in various books and scientific journals before publishing his book, Reincarnation and Biology. Anything suspect in the reasoning he would emphasise, and many reports that could be seen to contain ambiguity, which would discredit the authenticity of a case he ignored.
Stevenson was never satisfied with superficial information, so wherever possible he personally examined every case in situ, since none of his colleagues were more reliable and scientifically conscientious than he himself.
Before Stevenson appeared with his scientific investigation methods, there were many other reports of cases of reincarnation that had also been confirmed by witnesses. What was missing in these reports, however, was the scientific substantiation, the meticulous investigation and research down to the last detail that would separate, on the rock solid basis of hard evidence and hard evidence alone, mere claims from real-life experiences.
Stevenson's work as professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, was the start of a modern approach to research into reincarnation. We should all thank this great man for his relentless work with hundreds of children from all over the world, which served to lay the foundations for future research of this kind.
In order to carry out a thorough investigation in situ, it was usually necessary to return to the same place several times. He would have to look up all the relevant people, who were not always all available at the time of his visits, and also follow up on the development of certain individuals.
His research in these various regions was frequently an arduous task due to unexpected wars or rebellions arising in the area he needed to visit. Other times impracticable roads, storms, monsoon rains or other natural disasters would stop him from visiting his places of destination that were often out-of-the-way or difficult to get to. Sometimes even his return home would be delayed in this way. Occasionally, inadequate translators made his laborious work extremely difficult, together with the refusal to testify of certain witnesses or the absence or unavailability of people who had gone on holiday or moved away. But Professor Stevenson did not give up.
He travelled millions of miles by aeroplane and hundreds of thousands of miles by train and road all over the world to open and conquer a huge and as yet uncharted territory in the name of medical science. He can only be likened to great explorers such as Sven Hedin and Livingston, with the previously undiscovered territory he explored bearing the name of 'Birthmarks and Birth defects'.
Professor Stevenson succeeded in putting forward conclusive answers to hitherto unanswered questions by presenting an impressive chain of evidence. His main work entitled Reincarnation and Biology, from which I chose several examples for this book, bears particular witness to this. Through his work as a pioneer Stevenson opened a new door for medical science, namely that of reincarnational medicine. (The combination of this and regression therapy could well be one of the blessings of the new millennium.)
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proved that there is life after death through her research at the bedside of the dying, especially dying children. Stevenson brought about the next major step in the discovery of fundamental truths concerning our extended, larger existence, which we now know to consist of a chain of repeated lifetimes.
He is the one that proved reincarnation conclusively once and for all, thanks to the children supplying the required body of evidence. He freed reincarnation from confinement to the sphere of believers and philosophers and to the 'dungeon of the numinous' and mere plausibility and brought it into the bright light of scientific research and scrutiny once and for all.
Since Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' pioneering work at the bedside of the dying, I know of no greater medical breakthrough than that of Stevenson's proof of the link between birthmarks and birth defects and reincarnation. He not only helped to reveal a great medical secret, but also has proven - as it were 'in passing' - the existence of reincarnation. I feel it would be appropriate to ask for this great research scientist to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for greatly enriching the entire medical world as well as our outlook on life. (In my book Rebirth - the Hard Evidence I equate his achievements in broadening people's outlook on life with those of Copernicus).
Stevenson's investigations heralded a new era as far as reincarnation is concerned. Before him reincarnation was the haunt of believers, followers of esoteric teachings and New Age adepts, or was mere speculation of philosophers and occultists. Now Stevenson has furnished the scientific proof of reincarnation. Inevitably, his work will bring in its wake major consequences for the world's entire way of thinking.
Where previously people lived their lives from the short-sighted perspective of a single incarnation, they will now have to change their way of thinking to include having many lives on earth. In this way much will necessarily have to change in our consciousness on a personal as well as on a social level. In the following chapters I will outline the consequences which a general acceptance of reincarnation and the closely related laws of karma will entail regarding the way we think and behave.
Copyright © 2002 Trutz Hardo