The Big Book of Reincarnation: Examining the Evidence That We Have All Lived Before by Roy Stemman provides a brief history of reincarnation, collaborative stories by live witnesses and theories to substantiate the possibility of the dead returning under a new persona. The theory of a reincarnation has theological underpinnings in Hinduism, Jainism, Pythagoreanism and Orphism. The book discusses the theology of reincarnation, witnesses to the event and authenticating methodologies to arrive at the requisite proof.
According to Stemman, dualism is a belief that the soul separates at death and exists in another dimension. He cites the Druze, an Islamic sect which is over a millennium year old and subscribes to reincarnation as a fundamental teaching.
Certain behaviors relate to a person having lived in a previous life. Examples of these behaviors are unusual dietary cravings, advanced level skills acquired without any real evidence of a training apprenticeship, and a thorough knowledge of an ancient language like Aramaic.
The book explains that people who claim to have lived in a previous life have been able to relate details of roads, places, and clothing worn. A plurality of reincarnated souls have been men. Some people have experienced a death followed by roaming the countryside for a time and settling in a new body. Even memories of the dead have been passed on. The difficulty here is to establish
a connection between the mind and the soul in life, as well as death.
Famous people are quoted as having lived before. For instance, Stemman names Phil Collins as having lived a previous life at the time of the Alamo. Henry Ford was convinced that he died at Gettysburg. Sylvester Stallone reported having lived during the French Revolution.
Stemman attempts to collaborate the stories of incarnated persons with particular information which could have been known only to the dead or their families. He is partially successful at making this association. By the end of the book, the author discusses more objective means of authentication, such as DNA testing, handwriting, birthmarks, and Xenoglossy, which is speaking in unknown or ancient languages.
In the modern age, DNA testing could prove to be pivotal if samples were taken just before death, stored and compared to subsequent claimants to a reincarnation. A match of the DNA here would come much closer to the validity necessary in the scientific arena.
The Big Book of Reincarnation-Examining the Evidence That We Have All Lived Before is a fantastic journey into the unknown with some collaborating evidence developed by the author. Only time, DNA testing, and other authenticating methods could provide the real details necessary to prove some of the claims advanced by the author and the people he has interviewed at length. The presentation makes for good conversation by a wide constituency of readers in the arts and sciences alike.