Past Life Memories

It is not unusual for young children to talk or reference another life. This occurs once they have learned to talk and up to around the age of six. In rare cases, the memories persist into adulthood, although usually with much less intensity.   For example, Shirley MacLaine (American actress) has made the following claim, “You know, I think I had my first past life recall when I was 7”.

This might be a vivid imagination or play, but sometimes it becomes clear it’s more than that.  They talk quite naturally about another life and do not realise that this can cause concern or alarm in their parents.  You might find your children’s claims to remember previous lives incredible, but for the child these memories are simply part of their experience of life.  

The sorts of statements made by a child who seems to be remembering a previous life can be quite varied. The following is designed to give an idea of the kinds of things a parent or guardian might hear. Typical statements can include, “I have (had) another mommy / daddy”, “When I was big, I used to …” and “I used to live in … ”. These recollections and statements may also be accompanied by other behaviours, such as unexplained phobias or preferences.

So, what do I do if my child talks about a past life? Well, sharing the memories can be emotionally intense for both the child and parent. But you should listen with an open mind and asked open ended questions such as “Tell me more about …” or “What else do you remember?”

Sometimes a child may insist that they want to go to or live with their old family or old home. While this might be upsetting it’s often useful to make it clear that while they may have had another family from a previous life, their current family is the one they have for their current life. 

You might want to make notes about anything your child says about a past life.  This can be particularly interesting if the child gives enough specific information to identify whose past life is being described.

I have written before about the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) which is a research unit of the Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine in the United States. Amongst other things they research the reported past lives of children experience memories like these. They are interested in hearing about cases of young children who are currently recalling memories of a previous life. 

You can email their research assistant, Diane Morini, at or to submit your observations and experiences of your child’s behaviours and statements about memories of a previous life.  They do not disclose any information in the report without the explicit permission from the parents. And only qualified study team members will have access to your report. They have a strict code of privacy and confidentiality in all instances.

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