Richard G. Petty, MD

Ian Stevenson R.I.P.

I just heard that the Candian-born psychiatrist and researcher Ian Stevenson passed away last month at the age of 88.

You may not have heard of him, but he spent a lifetime on a peculiar area of academic research: he was the world’s foremost authority on the study of reincarnation. He was interested in children who claim to remember previous lives, near-death experiences,
apparitions (death-bed visions), the mind-brain problem, and survival
of the human personality after death.

Stevenson was always careful and cautious about his claims. He wrote his first paper on reincarnation in 1960 and went on to conduct additional field research about reincarnation in Africa, Alaska, British Columbia, Burma, South America, Lebanon, Turkey,
and many other places. The children studied would typically start recalling
their past life story between the ages of two and four, yet seem to
have forgotten it by seven or eight. There were frequent mentions of
having died a violent death, and apparently clear memories of the mode
of death. He gathered testimonies as well as medical records of
information on birthmarks, birth defects, and other physical evidence
for reincarnation.  

Stevenson published over 200 articles and several books, but they were almost exclusively for the academic and scientific community, so they can be heavy going for a non-speciaist. His research database contains over 3,000 cases that
provide evidence suggestive of reincarnation, though he himself was
always careful to refer to them as "cases suggestive of reincarnation"
or "cases of the reincarnation type."

I first heard about his work as a young student in the early 1970s, and I subsequently read most of his books and papers. They make fascinating reading and it is difficult not to be persuaded that either these are genuine cases of reincarnation, or else there is some unknown non-physical method by which young children can pick up information about people and events about which they should know nothing.

Stevenson’s work continues with a new generation of researchers. It is is important to think about the incredible implications if even one of these cases is genuine.

And it bears repeating that there is not one case, but over 3,000, all meticulously documented.

One of his papers is available for free download, and if you are interested in the topic of survival, I also recommend the Survival Research Network and the International Association for Near-Death Studies.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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