As humans inevitably find themselves faced with the prospect of death, it’s only natural that the topic of life after death would be something of great interest. No doubt as a result of this, a common theme in nearly all religions known to man is some sort of belief in a life after death.
This belief takes many different forms, including dying and being raised to heaven, being resurrected to a paradise earth, and having your soul reincarnated into the body of a new human being.
It’s this last belief – that of reincarnation – that is central to the story of Ryan Hammons, a young boy from the Midwest. This story is unlike anything you’ve heard before, and may even have you questioning your own thoughts on the afterlife.
The Story Begins In An Unlikely Place
You wouldn’t necessarily think that a story about reincarnation would be linked with a scientist, but that’s exactly where this story begins. Dr. Jim Tucker works at the University of Virginia as an associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences. During the course of his career, Dr. Tucker spent much of his time studying children who were classified as old souls, examining how their brains process information. It was only relatively recently, however, that he started to spend more of his research time studying children who not only appeared to be an old soul but potentially also have an old soul. The children that he studied claimed to actually remember living a previous life.
A Book That Supports The Existence Of Reincarnation?
Dr. Jim’s work culminated in the writing of a book, entitled Return to Life – Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. In this book, he compiles a staggering 2,500 cases of children – typically between the ages of two and six – who recall previous lives. Strangely, many of these children share a similarity in their recall of violent and tragic deaths. Dr. Jim’s book stands as support for his theory that these children are more advanced in their ability to process complex information. The cases contained within this book have also been used to support the plausibility of the existence of reincarnation.
One Case Stood Out From The Rest
You can imagine that with 2,500 cases of children who had some sort of experience with past-life recollection they would all blur together. However, for Dr. Jim, there was one case that he couldn’t get out of his mind. For most of the children that he studied, their memories didn’t last for very long. Ryan Hammons, on the other hand, was able to retain a large number of memories with crystal clear detail. The uniqueness of this case caused Dr. Jim to dig deeper and really flesh out the details behind the child’s fascinating story.
It Started When He Was Four Years Old
It’s certainly not an uncommon occurrence for parents to be woken up in the night by their child having a terrifying nightmare. In Ryan’s case, though, there was something that made his mother think something more was going on than just regular nightmares. Ryan’s nightmares started when he was four, and his mom said that he would say things like “my heart feels like it’s exploding!” As a family from the Midwest who had a Baptist background, his parents actually started to have fears that Ryan’s nightmares were being caused by some sort of demonic possession.
“Mom, I have Something I Need To Tell You…”
Most people would agree with the old expression kids say the darndest things, and it’s not unusual for young boys and girls to tell tall tales and dream up some pretty crazy stories. But to Cyndi Hammons, Ryan’s mom, it felt more like the script of a horror movie. Instead of going outside or playing with toys like most kids, Ryan would spend entire days holed up in his room directing imaginary movies. Even with this strange behavior, Cyndi still couldn’t have imagined what her son would tell her when he came up to her one day and said, “Mom, I have something I need to tell you…”
He Had Very Specific Memories Of Another Life
We can only imagine what was running through Cyndi Hammons’ mind when her son told her “I used to be someone else” and spoke of his desire to “go home.” This certainly isn’t a scenario that any parent can prepare for, no matter how many parenting books they may have read. What made Ryan’s claim all the more unnerving was the fact that he also shared very specific memories from his apparent past life with his mother. He told a story of a life lived during the Golden Age of Hollywood, which at least explained why he had been directing imaginary movies in his bedroom.
He Claimed To Have Met Specific People
Cyndi Hammons could have possibly dismissed her son’s claims of having lived another life as the fanciful stories of a young boy if it wasn’t for the fact that he actually spoke of meeting very specific people in his past life. Her son spoke of having enjoyed Coke floats with Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth. He also remembered having an African American maid at one point in his life, as well as having taken girlfriends to see the ocean. Nothing like this had ever been previously discussed in the family home, which made Ryan’s claims that much more curious.
His Mom Kept It A Secret
You’d think that as a parent hearing your child tell you these wild stories, you would want to tell someone about what was happening, even if only your spouse. Because Cyndi was raised as a Baptist Christian, it was challenging for her to know what to do in this situation. Her current belief system was at complete odds with the things her son was telling her about having lived a previous life. So instead of telling anyone about it or confiding in her husband, Cyndi decided to keep it to herself, hoping that it would be a phase that would eventually pass. This didn’t turn out to be the case and in fact, the exact opposite happened.
The Memories Came Flooding Back
Ryan’s initial confession to his mother was just the beginning of the memories that he would go on to share. The memories ranged from vague statements like, “I used to be big, but now I’m little,” and “I liked it better when I was big and I could go wherever and whenever I wanted to go,” to more specific recollections like driving around Hollywood in a green car and owning a piano. According to Cyndi, she realized that these stories couldn’t just be made up. “His stories were so detailed and they were so extensive… a child couldn’t have made it up.”
He Wanted To Return To Hollywood
Ryan’s story continued to progress when one day while watching TV, he saw the Hollywood Hills sign and started crying. He begged his mother to take him back there. Why did Ryan have such a strong connection to Los Angeles, when he had never previously visited there before with his family? He told his mom all kinds of stories about parties that he had attended, how he had worked as a Hollywood agent, and how he had even danced on Broadway. To make things even more unbelievable, almost none of these details were available online at the time for Ryan to have somehow researched on his own.
Testing His Memory With Visual Aids
While many parents find the comparatively mundane aspects of raising a young child to be a challenge, it’s understandable that after her experiences dealing with her son’s recounting of a past life, Cyndi was shaken and exhausted. In order to put her then-five-year-old son’s stories to the test, she showed him a library book filled with movie publicity shots. As she flipped through the pages, Ryan stopped her on a page featuring an on-set photograph from the 1932 Mae West film Night After Night. He pointed to a man on the page and emphatically stated, “That’s me, that’s who I was.”
The Man He Used To Be
Not only did Ryan identify the man he claimed he previously was in the photograph, he also pointed at another man in the picture and said, “That’s George! We did a picture together.” Although it was shocking that Ryan could name this man considering he had never seen a film with this actor in it, the man himself was relatively easy to identify as George Raft, a film star from the 1930s. However, the man who Ryan had originally pointed to was much harder to identify, as he wasn’t a big-name star from the past. After weeks of searching through film archives, the identity of the man finally came to light. His name was Marty Martyn, a man who worked as Hollywood extra for a period of time. The crazy thing? This man had died nearly half a century before Ryan was born.
Enter Dr. Tucker
It was after Ryan pointed to himself in the old photograph that Cyndi decided to reach out to Dr. Tucker. Since his studies were already centered on child psychology and children who recalled their previous life, he was more than pleased to work with Ryan. And as mentioned in an earlier slide, Ryan’s case would soon prove to be one of the most interesting that he had ever worked on. As they started to work together, Tucker began to piece together the details of Marty Martyn’s life and match it up with the details that Ryan had provided. In total, Ryan had recounted 55 details regarding his previous life, and Dr. Tucker was able to correlate every single one of these details with his research. We’ll take a look at a few of these details in the next slide.
Describing Details With Pinpoint Accuracy
We’ve already included in earlier slides some of the details of Marty Martyn’s life that Ryan shared with his mom, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Ryan mentioned that Marty had gotten sunburns, and Tucker’s research revealed that Marty was a big sunbather. He knew that Marty had been married four times. He also knew that Marty’s mother had curly brown hair, that he had and that he had two sisters – a fact that Martyn’s own daughter wasn’t aware of. Ryan even knew how Marty had died: by a heart attack. Knowing just one or two of these facts would be impressive, especially considering this information wasn’t accessible by any means to Ryan. But as mentioned previously, Ryan was able to list off 55 different details about Marty’s life – a truly remarkable feat.
Would One Critical Mistake Ruin The Whole Thing?
With all of the intricate, detailed facts that Ryan was able to share about Marty Martyn’s life, even the most cynical person might begin to wonder if Ryan’s story was in fact true. However, there was one significant detail that Ryan seemed to get wrong, one which could cast a shadow of doubt on the whole thing. According to Dr. Tucker, Ryan said “he didn’t see why God would let you be 61 and then make you come back as a baby.” This appeared to be an incorrect statement, as Martyn’s death certificate showed that he was 59 when he died. However, new information was soon discovered by Tucker showing that Martyn was in fact 61 years of age when he died, meaning that Ryan was right all along.
Dr. Tucker Says He’s Still A Scientist
All this talk of past lives and reincarnation doesn’t necessarily seem to mesh all that well with a scientific view of the world. And indeed, Dr. Tucker has received quite a bit of heat from his peers for using Ryan’s case to support the concept of reincarnation. From Dr. Jim’s point-of-view, however, he’s just following the evidence that has been presented to him and using it to apply scientific methods to esoteric, religion-based concepts. Clearly, Dr. Tucker gives a lot of weight to his discoveries and the link that they have to reincarnation if he’s willing to stake his professional reputation on them.
Is He Claiming That Reincarnation Is A Scientific Fact?
So does all of his work with Ryan, along with the thousands of other cases contained within his book, mean that Dr. Tucker is now a firm believer in reincarnation? He’s not quite ready to make the leap to full-fledged believer just yet. Although the evidence certainly seems to point in the direction of reincarnation in the way that we typically understand it, there isn’t enough proof to declare it a fact by scientific standards. Dr. Tucker is clearly interested in drawing more attention to the topic, however. “These cases demand an explanation,” he says. “We can’t just write them off or explain them away as just some sort of normal cultural thing.”
Other Scientists Also Found Evidence
Dr. Tucker isn’t the only scientist who has explored the concept of life after death. Although it’s typically a religious belief that states that upon death, the consciousness of one person is transferred into a newborn, it seems to be gaining ground with at least some scientists who believe it could be feasible. Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia – and which, strangely enough, is the same university that Dr. Tucker teaches at – made it the focus of his career to find evidence of reincarnation, all the way up to his death in 2007. He even claimed to have found over 3,000 examples of reincarnation throughout his scientific research.
Strange Birthmarks That Provide Evidence Of Reincarnation
One of Dr. Stevenson’s studies was titled ‘Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons.’ In the study, Dr. Stevenson analyzed facial similarities between the person who claimed to be reincarnated and their alleged previous incarnation, while also looking at birthmarks. According to Dr. Stevenson, “About 35 percent children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers. In cases in which a deceased person was identified, the details of whose life unmistakably matched the child’s statements, a close correspondence was nearly always found between the birthmarks and/or birth defects on the child and the wounds on the deceased person.” Although still not definitive proof, this does seem to lend some weight to the the overall theory of reincarnation.
What About Ryan Today?
So what about Ryan? How has his story unfolded since his initial meeting with Dr. Tucker? As of the writing of this post, Ryan is currently 12 years old, and his memories have started to fade as time passes. Based on Dr. Tucker’s experience, this is quite a normal phenomenon. As his memories of his previous life slip away, we’re still left with unanswered questions. Does his story provide proof of reincarnation? Should scientists continue to explore this controversial topic, dedicating more financial resources to finding answers about the possibility of life after death? Or was Ryan’s story simply made possible because he had access to the right information, which he was then able to use to craft an engaging and magical story?
Meet James Leininger
If you thought the previous case was interesting then get a load of this one. His name is James Leininger and he remembers World War II. The only thing is, he was not born yet but he knows about a plane crash that happened off the coast of Japan during World War II. You can say that maybe it is just a hoax, but his story doesn’t seem to have any holes in it that would make you question it. You can be the judge for yourself and determine if this case is indeed factual.
How Reincarnation Effects
You may think that some kids may just be joking when it comes to reincarnation. And if you don’t think they are joking, you could start to feel creeped out but the main person in the middle of it all is the child.
“When a child speaks of a past life memory, the effects ripple far,” said Carol Bowman, author of Children’s Past Lives. “At the center is the child, who is directly healed and changed. The parents standing close by are rocked by the truth of the experience – a truth powerful enough to dislodge deeply entrenched beliefs.”
What It Does For Those On The Outside
We went over what it’s like for the child who has been reincarnated and also the parents but what about others who are on the outside looking in? What does reincarnation mean for those? Is it a sign of hope or just a load of nonsense?
“For observers removed from the actual event – even those just reading about it – reports of a child’s past life memory can jostle the soul toward new understanding,” said Bowman. “Children’s past life memories have the power to change lives.” There is the answer to our question.
In The Beginning
When children have nightmares, it is usually disheartening for the parents because they hate to see their children go through anything like that. After some consoling that the child needs, both parties usually feel better and you can rest easier the rest of the night.
However, when James Leininger started having nightmares at six-years-old, parents Bruce and Andrea Leininger were startled. James would start to have his nightmares four times a week and James would kick and scream while his feet were airborne. Any parent would be troubled if their son was acting like this from nightmares.
What The Nightmares Were Like
Like we said, nightmares are a nuisance for both the parents and the child. It could make sleeping at night for the parents dramatically harder because they are worried for their child and it can even make the child afraid of going to sleep because he doesn’t want to experience the nightmares again.
For James, they said the way he was acting during his nightmares resembled something shocking. They recalled it being like he was fighting with something or buried in a box, attempting to escape. The only way for him to escape was by his parents shaking him awake.
Since He Was A Boy
In the photo above you see James Leininger as a child and James Huston Jr, the person who’s life Leininger seems to recall so well with no supposed prior knowledge. Since Leininger was around two, he has been intrigued by airplanes. The sad death of Huston is remembered in depth by Leininger. During one of his nightmares, he uttered something that made his mom get the chills.
“He would say, ‘Airplane crash on fire, little man can’t get out,'” Andrea says. Imagine your child uttering something like that during their sleep.
Parents Are Distraught
James parent’s Bruce and Andrea began to flip out as they were trying to understand why this was happening and where it stemmed from. The couple likes to label themselves as educated, they would try and create a “Mozart for the mind” feeling for young James and also actively kept violence away from him.
They then proceeded to analyze all their dinner table talks, what James would watch on TV and any other type of influences that could have affected him. Since he couldn’t read yet and they were not involved in aviation, they thought there had to be a logical explanation.
Looking For Outside Help
When something that you can’t explain is happening to your only child, what would you do? If after all the things you have tried failed to bring the results you want, you might try and bring in outside sources. That is just what Bruce and Andrea started to do. Since the nightmares were not going away outside help seemed like the logical answer.
The cures seemed very scarce, so scarce that Bruce thought of even getting an exorcism to help end the nightmares. Would you have considered the same thing if you were a parent and this was happening to your children?
Grandma With A Solution
Once the mission for outside help started to take place and both parents felt as if they had no clue what was going on with their son, an unlikely idea came to their attention. Andrea’s mom, Barbara Scoggin suggested something that flew over everyone’s head. She gave an explanation that could have been correct and that was James could be experiencing a past-life memory.
Now, this might have been a far-fetched answer if it was the first one thrown out there but it was a last resort type suggestion so it wasn’t thrown out the window.
In Comes The Knowledge Of Carol Bowman
Grandmother Scoggin did some research on a counselor named Carol Bowman from Pennsylvania. Scoggin then explained how much of an expert Bowman was on a child phenomenon quite similar to what James was going through. Bowman had the same problems with her own child having nightmares and weird recollections and she even wrote a book titled “Idren’s Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child.”
After learning all of this, what do you think the logical thing would be to do? Andrea called Bowman at once and had several conversations. She was told to discuss the nightmares right after they occur and Andrea said this helped tremendously.
Broken Down By Bowman
Being the expert that she is, Bowman explained what she knew to the family to try and help them understand better. She made very interesting points that made the family feel much better.
“When we are dreaming, our conscious minds are not filtering material as when we are in a waking state, so unconscious material, including past life memories, emerge,” Ms. Bowman explains. “It is not uncommon for young children to dream of their previous lives. We tend to notice the nightmares, because they disturb the sleep and are often dramatic, realistic stories, as in James’ case.”
A side effect of acknowledging what James is remembering is that those facts would become more real to him.
Both parents begin to believe their son was touched by the spirit of a WWII pilot. Before it was just the nightmares that James would remember these WWII happenings but then it started to happen during the day. James would start to mention how his plane took off from the water and the Japanese shot him down.
If that wasn’t enough, he started to give more details about the plane design and the name of the aircraft carrier that was stationed near Japan. This prompted Bruce to do some research with the help of Andrea so they can disprove their son’s “facts.”
Early Signs From James
Andrea said that from a young age her son would be fixated on planes. He would spend hours on hours playing with toy planes and he would even scream when he saw a real plane in the air. Bruce said James would be mesmerized at the planes in the museum. Also, he would always wander back the WWII section of the museum.
When they tried to leave, James would make a scene after already being there for three hours. Bruce just purchased him a Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration videotape. James watched it so much that it pretty much was worn out.
James Gets More Detailed
During the time frame of July 2000 to September 2000, James would start to tell his parents that the plane from his nightmares was taken out the air by the Japanese after it took off from a ship. When asked if he knew who the pilot was, his answer was simple, “James”.
Trying to get more specifics, James and Andrea asked what type of plane he was flying in the nightmares and he said a “Corsair”. He also said the word “Natoma” and after an internet search, James found out that was the name of an aircraft carrier. He wrote it off as a coincidence.
Determined to Disprove
One night after another nightmare, James said another name, Jack Larsen and he said that Larsen would fly with the other James. After receiving one more piece of knowledge, Bruce was determined to put an end to all of this. One day while reading a book he received from a history book club, James jumped on his lap to watch cartoons.
Then suddenly, James pointed to a map of Iwo Jima and said, “Daddy, that is where my plane was shot down.” Bruce couldn’t believe it. He then contacted a person by the name of Leo Pyatt, a man who was linked to the Natoma aircraft carrier.
Questions Needed To Be Answered
A man on a mission, Bruce asked Pyatt all types of questions that could help in this mysterious case. His first question was if there were any Corsairs flown on the Natoma Bay and Pyatt’s first response was no. The next question was if there were any missions happening near Iwo Jima. Pyatt said that he had been a part of a few dozen missions there.
The last question that mattered most to Bruce was this one: is there a Jack Larsen? Pyatt went on to say that he knew Larsen but did not know what happened to him.
Father Loses Hope
Soon after all his research and nothing seemed to disprove his son’s reincarnation stories, Bruce became frustrated.
“All he ever draws are planes fighting, and he knows the type of planes. I mean he even draws the red sun for the Japanese,” Bruce says. “But after he drew ‘James 3’ for the first time, I asked him why he did that. James said, ‘I’m the third. I’m James 3.’ He’s been calling himself that ever since he was 3 years old. I think he is struggling with something unresolved or he just wouldn’t be still drawing those images, like a needle stuck on a record. “
The Doubt Is Dropped
Still determined to disprove that this was all a coincidence, Bruce contacted the sister of the past James. She sent over a package and in it was a photo of James standing next to the Corsair aircraft that his son had mentioned.
“I don’t have an answer for this, so I can’t explain it either,” Bruce says. “Through it all, there has to be an element of faith. There could still be the coincidence of dreaming this all up, but there are odd factors you have to calculate. Lightning can strike once, but when it strikes eight or nine times, you can’t say it’s a coincidence.”
James’ Sister Gives Her Blessing
After the father gave up on trying to prove this to be some coincidence, he told the sister about what was going on. She was shocked at first but had to let it sink in. Then soon after, Bruce received a letter and some of the original James’ things.
“This child couldn’t know the things he does – he just couldn’t – so I believe he is somehow a part of my brother,” Ms. Barron says. “These are the things you read about. There must be a reason for it, but I have no hint of what it could be. It’s some phenomenon that I don’t understand. It all happened nearly 60 years ago. There must be a reason.”
In The End
In the end, all signs point towards to this not being a coincidence and that the James from WWII is inside this James. His father has written a book about this story and it has proven to be very successful.
“If a soul reincarnates with ‘unfinished business,’ or dies a traumatic death, these memories are more likely to carry over into another life,” says Ms. Bowman, the author and expert on such metaphysical phenomena. “In James’ case, he died a traumatic death as a young man. There was still much emotion and energy that may have propelled these memories forward. … As I see it, a part of James Huston’s consciousness survived death and is a part of James Leininger’s soul consciousness.”