Life after death is something that has always fascinated humans since time began. So many of us wonder what will happen once our time finally comes, but what if the answer isn’t what you were expecting? What if we are reincarnated?
Meet Dr. Jim Tucker
When talking about being born again, it’s unusual to see a scientist in the mix. However, Dr. Jim Tucker, a professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, is where we start our story.
Studying Old Souls
Throughout his career, Dr. Tucker became fascinated by children with ‘old souls.’ He spent a lot of time studying the children who were classified as seeming to be an old soul, working out how their brains process information – and whether it was different from other children. However, recently he started dedicating his research to children who didn’t just seem like an old soul, but those who potentially did have an old soul. Namely, the children who claimed to remember a previous life.
The Reincarnation Book
Throughout his career and studies, Dr. Jim Tucker compiled his research into a book named Return to Life – Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. With years of research under his belt, Tucker managed to include stories of 2,500 children who claimed to recall past lives. Many of these children, usually between 2 and 6-years-old, all had one pretty dark thing in common. They seemed to recall their deaths, which were usually somewhat violent or tragic.
Supporting the Theory
Since its release, Dr. Tucker’s book has been used to support the scientist’s theory that these children are more advanced in several ways. Including their ability to process more complex information than other children their age. All 2,500 of the cases featured in the book have also been used to support the theory that reincarnation does exist – or is at least more plausible than we once thought. However, for Dr. Tucker, there was one case that stood out from them all.
Standing Out From the Crowd
When you have 2,500 cases of possible child reincarnation to focus on, you would think that everything had all merged into one for Dr. Jim Tucker. However, this wasn’t the case when it came to one little boy. This young child stood out from the crowd for Tucker, who found it unusual that the boy could retain such large memories and in such detail. Could this adorable little kid be the answer Tucker had been looking for?
Meet Ryan Hammons
Ryan was just four-years-old when his parents began to worry about his nightmares. The family were from a Baptist background and lived in the Midwest, so when their son started having graphic nightmares, they feared the worst. Was he possessed by some kind of demon? While it’s not unusual to be woken up by your child’s nightmares, Ryan’s mother, Cyndi, was adamant that something more sinister was going on. Especially when he would say things like, “my heart feels like it’s exploding!”
Horror Movie Behavior
Kids are known to say some creepy things at times, so Cyndi Hammons was not phased initially when her son came out with bizarre tales and dreams. However, things soon began to feel like a horror movie for Cyndi. Ryan would spend days in his room, directing imaginary movies, and not going outside or playing with toys. His mom was seriously worried about his behavior, especially when he would come out with odd things or talk about the nightmares he was having.
I Have Something to Tell You…
When Ryan first came up to Cyndi and said, “Mom, I have something to tell you,” we can only imagine what was running through her mind. However, she never expected Ryan to tell her that he used to be someone else and that he wanted to “go home.” It’s certainly not something you expect your child to say, and nothing could prepare Cyndi for how her family’s life was about to be turned upside down.
The Golden Age of Hollywood
Ryan went on to explain to his mom that he had been living a life in the Golden Age of Hollywood, long before he was alive now. How do you react to news like that? For some part, Cyndi could finally understand why Ryan had been spending all of his time directing movies in his bedroom. However, the poor mom had no idea what she was supposed to do. Was it possession? Mental illness? Or something else?
Brushing Shoulders With Celebs
While Cyndi Hammons probably wanted to pretend all of this wasn’t happening, she couldn’t ignore some of the stories her son was telling her. Especially when he started telling her about all of his celebrity encounters! In one story, Ryan tells of the time he went for coke floats with the famous actress Rita Hayworth. He also talked about taking previous girlfriends to see the ocean and having an African American maid, too. None of it made sense to Cyndi.
Keeping it Secret
Not knowing what to do, and with such a religious background as Baptist Christians, Cyndi Hammons tried to keep everything secret. She felt as though she couldn’t even tell her husband, as what he was saying what against everything her and her family believed. How could she believe her son was reincarnated when it went against her beliefs? She made the decision to keep everything under wraps, in the hope that it would eventually all blow over. It didn’t.
Such Detailed Stories
In fact, the stories started getting more and more detailed. Specific memories, such as owning a piano and driving around Hollywood in a green car, were constantly being told to Cyndi by her son. Ryan would also talk almost in riddles, with statements such as, “I used to be big, but now I’m little,” along with “I liked it better when I was big, and I could go wherever and whenever I wanted to go.” Things were getting worse.
Going Back to Hollywood
One day, when Ryan was watching TV, the Hollywood Hills sign appeared. Instantly he began crying and begging his mom to take him back. Ryan was desperate go back to what he called his home. He had told his mother of all the parties and events he attended in LA, even though he’d never visited with his family before. He also spoke about dancing on Broadway and how he had been working as a Hollywood agent at one point.
No Research Around
We know what you’re thinking… The kid clearly has been doing his research. After all, how could he possibly know so much? However, many of the stories and details Ryan Hammons was telling were not available online for him to research. You’ll see a bit later on how much detail he actually goes into further down the line; details that weren’t published anywhere and had no research to be found. It was time for Cyndi to test her son.
Cyndi Hammons decided to take her son to the library in order to test Ryan’s memory with visual aids. Not knowing what else she could do, Ryan’s mom flips through the pages of old publicity shots from the Golden Age of Hollywood. At this time, Ryan was now 5-years-old, so Cyndi was exhausted after a year of trying to work it out. However, as she went through the pages, Ryan stopped her at a picture and said, “That’s me, that’s who I was.”
Ryan had stopped his mom at a picture from the Mae West movie Night After Night, filmed in 1932. He also pointed to another man in the photo and said, “That’s George! We did a picture together!” While George Raft, the actor he pointed to, was quite easy to identify, the other man wasn’t. Weeks of searching came up with the name Marty Martyn who was a Hollywood extra that had died nearly 50 years before Ryan was born.
Reaching Out For Help
It was at this point that Cyndi knew she needed help. She reached out to Dr. Tucker who was renowned at the time for studying children, reincarnation, and possible past lives. His background in child psychology and all of his studies meant he was the perfect man for the job – and Tucker was more than happy to oblige. However, what Dr. Tucker didn’t know was that Ryan was going to be his most compelling case of all time.
Matching Up With Marty
Ryan and Dr. Tucker started working together right away, trying to piece together the story of Marty Martyn’s life. Using the details that Ryan gave him, Tucker did his own research into Marty to see how much of what the child was saying was true. During their time together, Ryan came up with 55 intricate details of his previous life as the Hollywood extra. What was even more surprising was that Tucker managed to correlate every single one of them.
What Ryan had shared with his mom was just the beginning of the incredible details that he had to offer. As they delved deeper into Marty’s life, Ryan explained that his mom had curly, brown hair and that he had two sisters (something even Marty’s own daughter didn’t know). He also talked of sunburn he’d got, which tied up with facts that Marty Martyn was a prolific sunbather. How could this young kid know so much about the Hollywood extra?
How Marty Died
Ryan Hammons also went on to explain how Marty Martyn had died of a heart attack, which explained why he’d been having nightmares about his heart hurting. While knowing a few of these facts would be impressive, being able to detail 55 intricate things about the Hollywood extra’s life was unbelievable. Especially as Marty wasn’t a huge star and many of the details weren’t available to research online or without delving deep into archives. Ryan, Cyndi, and Dr. Tucker were blown away.
One Wrong Detail
During their work together, Dr. Tucker was worried about one wrong piece of information that could cast doubt on the entire story. The doctor said that Ryan “didn’t see why God would let you be 61 and make you come back as a baby.” The problem was, Marty Martyn passed away aged 59 – not 61. This wrong piece of information was all cynics needed to prove the story as untrue. It was surely just a clever kid and an overactive imagination.
Right All Along
The death certificate had said that Marty Martyn had died aged 59, so surely Ryan Hammons was wrong. However, upon further digging, it was discovered that it was the death certificate that was wrong. The Hollywood extra was actually born May 19, 1903, making him 61-years-old. How could Ryan know information that even Marty’s official records had got wrong? Not even the cynics could now doubt that Ryan must have had the memories of who he said he once was.
Still a Scientist
During his time talking about reincarnation and Ryan Hammons’ case, Dr. Jim Tucker received quite a lot of stick from fellow scientists and peers. Many believed reincarnation is a religious concept that has no place in science. However, Tucker argued that he used scientific methods and followed the evidence presented to him, to prove or disprove the story that Ryan had told him. Willing to stake his scientific reputation on the discoveries would have been no easy feat for Tucker.
Do Reincarnation and Science Go Together?
With everything he has researched, does Dr. Tucker really think science and reincarnation go together? Despite all of the cases he’s studied, Tucker isn’t quite ready to admit he’s a fully-fledged believer of reincarnation just yet. However, he does believe that more scientific research is needed, saying, “These cases demand an explanation. We can’t just write them off or explain them away as just some normal cultural thing.” He thinks more attention should be given to the studies.
Other Scientists Agree
Tucker isn’t the first or only scientist to spend their time looking into reincarnation, either. While many people consider life after death to be a solely religious thing, there are many other researchers who have looked into the possibility. Dr. Ian Stevenson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia as well, spent his life looking into evidence of reincarnation. He claimed to have found around 3,000 plausible examples of the phenomenon up until his death in 2007.
Birthmarks Could Be a Clue
One of the studies that Dr. Stevenson published was called ‘Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons.’ He spent his time looking at birthmarks and facial similarities between those who said they were reincarnated and who they said they were in a previous life. His results found that around 35% of children claiming to remember previous lives had birth marks or defects that attributed to the wounds on the person whose life they remembered.
So Many Other Cases
Ryan Hammons isn’t the first big name case to make it into the papers with this kind of story, however. There have been thousands of cases of children claiming to remember a previous life; some more believable than others. Stories include being reincarnated from family members, helping catch their own murderers, and many ex-war veterans. Here are just some of the most believable and spine-tingling stories of a child who believes they lived a previous life.
Gus Taylor seriously frightened his family when he claimed he was his own grandfather, Augie, who had passed away a year before the little boy had been born. When he was 4-years-old, he would point to ‘himself’ (his grandfather) in family photos even though he had never met him. He also spoke about his ‘dead sister’ which had never been discussed with Gus before; as Augie’s sister was brutally murdered and dumped in San Francisco Bay years back.
When he was just 2-years-old, James Leininger started talking about aviation despite his parents not knowing anything about it. As he got older, he’d have nightmares about being shot down by a plane with a red sun on it (a Japanese plane). He told them he had dreams of being Lieutenant James McCready Huston and flown a plane called the Corsair. When his parents dug deeper, they found that much of his story added up, including being shot down by the Japanese.
At four years old, Edward Austrian would constantly complain of a severe pain in his throat. He told his mom that he’d been in the trenches during the war, telling detailed stories of his life as a soldier and being shot in the throat. Doctors couldn’t find a reason for his throat pain so removed his tonsils. However, he then developed a cyst in his throat which only went down when he started opening up more about his past life.
3-year-old Golan, a member of The Druze faith, had a long, red birthmark on his head and claimed to have been murdered in a previous life. As The Druze believe in reincarnation, they listened to the boy when he said he’d been killed by an ax blow in his previous life. He led the Elders to the man who he believed had killed him, along with showing them where his previous body was buried which forced the killer to eventually admit his crime.
Known as The Barra Boy, Cameron Macauley lived in Glasgow but told his mother he was from a small island called Barra, off the West Coast of Scotland. He remembered such intricate details of his life, including what his dog looked like, how many siblings he had, and the house he lived in. Cameron’s parents took him to Barra to try and work the mystery out, eventually finding the house he described, complete with black-and-white dog in their family photos.
Ryan Hammons Now
So what about Ryan today? He is now 12-years-old and admits that the memories he once had of his previous life are beginning to fade. Dr. Tucker has said this is quite common as children grow up, with many forgetting their ‘previous life’ entirely by the time they become a teenager. Whether Ryan Hammons really was reincarnated or just really good at researching is something we’ll probably never know. But you have to admit, it certainly does seem magical.
So Is It Real?
There will always be the question of is reincarnation real. Unfortunately, without real proof, it’s unlikely one that is going to be answered. However, according to researchers around 75% of all reincarnation cases are ‘solved,’ which means that they’ve been matched up with their previous lives. Do we need any more proof than that? The cynics in us say that has to be some other explanation, but the curious in us would love for these previous lives to be true…
Could You Be Reincarnated?
Perhaps you’re reincarnated yourself? Did you have strange nightmares, dreams or memories as a child? Do you have a birthmark in an odd place? Do you get flashbacks of events that seem way beyond your years? Or maybe you remember someone who died long before you were born? While all of this could be a natural phenomenon, it could also mean that you once lived a previous life… Now wouldn’t that be something to tell the grandchildren!