Numerous cases of children reporting memories of previous lives have previously been described. Most have come from cultures with a predominant belief in reincarnation, but the current study involved the investigation and psychological study of 15 cases from the United States. Of those, 11 reported memories of the lives of strangers, while 3 described the lives of deceased grandparents and one the life of a greatgrandparent. Most of the parents reported that they had neutral or negative feelings about reincarnation before the cases developed, and only three described a significant belief in reincarnation prior to their children’s statements. With each case, the parents and the child, aged 3-6 years, were interviewed,
and a number of psychological test instruments were administered, including the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: 4th edition, the Survey Form of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, the Child Dissociative Checklist, the Children’s Apperception Test, and the Family Questionnaire. The Children’s Apperception Test is a projective test used to assess general personality functioning, and the Family Questionnaire measures family functioning and, in particular, the dimensions of “Organization-control” and “Cohesion vs. Conflict” in families. On the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the children’s composite scores were significantly above average, with verbal reasoning and abstract/ visual reasoning in the above average range and quantitative reasoning in the superior range. On the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, the children scored significantly above average in daily living skills, motor skills, and on the overall composite score. The Child Behavior Checklist averages were all in the normal range, well below the scores indicating
clinically significant problems in behavior. Most of the children obtained low scores on the Child Dissociative Checklist, indicating few symptoms of dissociation. The Children’s Apperception Test results showed no
unusual themes, and the families did not show any distinct patterns of functioning on the Family Questionnaire. In conclusion, these findings indicate that American children who report past-life memories are intelligent, and their reports do not appear to arise from psychopathology.