Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Boy's Past Life As A WW2 Pilot Subject Of Book

For those who believe in reincarnation, it is possible for the soul (or some part of it) to live on by inhabiting a new body. While some mystical traditions require that the soul move up through lesser organisms before once again inhabiting human form, not all believe this is requisite. Some, like Dr. Ian Stevenson, a Canadian psychiatrist, believe past-life memories, especially among children, represent reincarnated souls who often seem bent on reconciling past conflicts.

At the age of two, James Leininger began reporting vivid, disturbing nightmares of World War II dogfights involving fighter pilots shot down and consumed by flame. The boy recounted highly detailed elements of the dreams, including intimate knowledge of aircraft from the period - knowledge, it seemed, he should not have possessed.

James' parents were deeply concerned and confused. When his grandmother suggested that perhaps the boy was reliving a past life, his mother, Andrea Leininger, began to wonder.

From his dreams, James often recalled how his airplane was shot, crashed, and caught fire, trapping him inside - a horrible vision for any 2 year-old to suffer. However, he seemed to have taken the visions in stride after a while, as evidenced by responses to some of the many questions asked of him. Early on, as his mother tried to ferret out more information, she once queried whom exactly had shot down James' plane. In typical 2 year-old fashion, James rolled his eyes and replied in exasperation, "the Japanese", as if the answer were obvious.

While his mother had warmed to the concept of past-life memories, James' father was harder to convince. Yet, when many details James had supplied regarding the specifics of his dreams (names of ships, where he crashed, names of fellow pilots) began to coalesce and jibe with recorded fact, his disbelief sublimated also. While a frightening possibility, increasingly it seemed to the Leininger family to be the only plausible explanation.

Together, the family began researching the salient details of the boy's visions and the picture they ultimately assembled shocked them beyond belief. His statements matched with astonishing accuracy the details surrounding the life and demise of US Navy pilot James M. Houston, who had been shot down over Japan some 60 years before. Eventually, the Leininger family met Houston's relatives and were able to confirm everything James had been dreaming.

James and his family then headed to Japan. There, near where Houston died, they held a quite memorial service in honor of the fallen pilot. Since then, James' nightmares have faded like bad dreams.

Andrea Leininger has published her story in hopes that other parents faced with similar inexplicable situations will understand past-life memories and reincarnation are possible.


Word Woman said...

Having worked with 2 year olds professionally as a eacher, I am a bit suspicious of the verbal skills related in this story. If the child was able to related detailed information about his dreams, the planes, etc. he was a gifted 2 year old. There is a reason this age is included in the 'toddler' label...they are still so close to infancy....

Kristine said...

Not typical, I agree, but definitely possible. My friends son at 2 could carry on full, detailed conversations with a stunning amount of vocabulary and accurate visual imagery. When he was a young 3 and they were visiting a Montessori preschool for him, the teacher started to tell the visiting parents about the "Montessori method" and he looked at his mom and said, very articulately, "What sort of method is she talking about, Mommy?" Just a snap, but the boy can talk.