The family always seems sincere, the story compelling. But what are we to think about this extraordinary claims that a child remembers a past life?
Do you believe in past lives? An Ohio boy’s family says they didn’t until the child started sharing specific details. He spoke about living another life, in a different city, as a woman who suffered a horrific death.
Parents will tell you that kids say and do the darnedest things. Erika Ruehlman’s 2-year-old son Luke seemed obsessed with safety at their suburban Cincinatti home. Then, there was that other fixation.
The little boy named things “Pam”, but they didn’t know a “Pam”.
“I was like, ‘Who is Pam?’ That’s when he turned to me and said, ‘Well I was.’ I said, ‘what do you mean you were?’ He was like, ‘Well I used to be, but I died and I went up to heaven and I saw God and eventually God pushed me back down. When I woke up I was a baby and you named me Luke.’” said Erika Ruehlman.
As time went on, Ruehlman says Luke talked about dying in a fire, in Chicago.
This story sounds similar to this story from a few months ago where a family thought their child was the reincarnation of a dead Marine who died in Beirut. That story was ALSO featured on the exploitative show “Ghost Inside my Child“.
While these stories on the surface sound VERY convincing, it is a giant mistake to assume that all the items in the story are related accurately and that they have been checked as verified. Typically, the stories are vague and the details are enhanced later as others fit the pieces to real life connections. Children will commonly make up tales taking bits and pieces of real things and putting them together into another made-up story. This is not extraordinary. It’s normal. Asking us to accept that the boy is a reincarnation of Pam Robinson is a huge leap since there is no plausible mechanism for reincarnation and the evidence for it remains highly questionable and not of good quality. Solidly documented cases are rare. None have every been accepted universally as definitive.
The mother cites this book by Ian Stevenson: Children who Remember Previous Lives. His work was possibly the most extensive on this subject. However, the cases rely on anecdotes, not solid documentation of connections.
The fact that this current wave of children remembering past lives is enhanced by a TV show is disturbing. This is not to say that the Ruehlmans got the idea from the show which appears not to be the case, but many others WILL apply their wishful belief to their own children.