This is the original press release for Return from Heaven. It includes short summaries of some of the cases.
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From the pioneering author of children's past lives, true stories that testify to the reality of reincarnation within the same family
RETURN FROM HEAVEN Beloved Relatives Reincarnated Within Your Family by Carol Bowman
When a beloved grandfather, aunt, parent, or child dies, the loss feels so great, so sad, so final. The grieving family yearns to see him again, to hear her voice, to feel his presence. If only they could be with their loved one again!
"There is strong evidence that when the souls of our loved ones die, they can return from heaven to be with us again - not in dream or vision, or through the aid of a medium or psychic - but in reality, through reincarnation as a baby born into the family," says pioneering past lives expert Carol Bowman, in her insightful new book, RETURN FROM HEAVEN: Beloved Relatives Reincarnated Within Your Family (HarperCollins; March 27, 2001). Family reincarnation is so common, she says, "because relationships are so important, and because family relationships, especially, are so intense it makes sense that souls would have many reasons to return to the family it just left-to be with those they love again, to continue learning and growing, and to heal both emotionally and physically."
Bowman, the author of Children's Past Lives, explains the newly-discovered phenomenon of same-family reincarnation-grandfathers return as their own great-grandsons, uncles return as their own nieces, mothers switch places with their daughters, and children who died tragically young sometimes return to the same mother. "It happens all the time," she says, "but most people don't recognize it because they don't know it's possible and don't know the signs. They miss a blessed opportunity to experience reincarnation first-hand."
Return from Heaven argues passionately for reincarnation, but it is not a religious book. It is a collection of true stories and observations that report what actually happens in typical families all across America. It follows these families-most of whom did not believe in reincarnation before it happened to them-as they are convinced by their toddlers' statements and behaviors that the child is remembering the past life of a deceased relative. The families share what it feels like-the personal dilemmas and utter joy-to have a close relationship with two incarnations of the same soul.
These cases are taken from the hundreds of e-mails that Bowman received after Children's Past Lives was published in 1997. "I had been researching children's past lives for more than a decade when I first took notice of these special cases of family return," says the author. "They showed me something I hadn't seen before. They demonstrate how emotions and relationships can actually carry over from one life to the next." She selected the best stories for Return from Heaven to show the range of possibilities. They are all true, told in the words of the families themselves, and make for fascinating reading.
Some of the children readers will meet in these stories include:
Two-year-old Dylan, whose mother, Anne, believes is the reincarnation of his great-grandfather. She heard him say, "I smoke too" and "Sevens! I'm throwing sevens!" and, patting his pants pocket, announce "I keep my smokes here." He also had a strange behavior: he would throw an hysterical fit if he didn't have a toy gun with him at all times. His mother later learned that all of Dylan's strange statements and behaviors fit the life of his great-grandfather. A Philadelphia beat cop during the depression, Dylan's great-grandfather was a chain-smoker who carried his cigarettes in his pants pocket, was never separated from his gun, and frequently shot craps with his buddies.
Three-year-old Peter, who had night terrors and wanted "his Mommy." But when his mother came in he looked at her and insisted "you're not my Mommy." Shortly after these outbursts, he began relating stories about his "friend" Gary, and Gary's father, who died in a fire in a yellow house after crawling under a mattress to get away from the smoke. He added details of a burning pine tree, descriptions of the firemen, and spectators at the fire. Peter's grandmother confirmed everything he said as exact details of the fire that had killed Peter's grandfather and his son, Gary when Gary's sister, now Peter's mommy, was herself a child of two, convincing her that he was the reincarnation of her brother, Gary. No-one had told her details of the fire before, and especially the bizarre fact that firemen had, indeed, found the two bodies under a mattress.
Two-year old Kari knew all of the words to Chattanooga Choo Choo, a song her grandmother loved, and a song nobody else in the family knew. This, and other things she did exactly like her out-going, theatrical grandmother convinced the family she had switched places with her mother to finish a relationship she didn't have time for in her last life.
Kari is one of four mother-switching cases in Return from Heaven, including two in which an abusive mother came back to make up to the daughter she had abused. They are a dramatic illustration of how relationship issues can carry over from one life to the next to renew love or redeem emotional wounds.
Chad was born blind in his left eye and with a dark, slanting birthmark that resembled a surgical scar on the right side of his neck; he also had a cyst on the right side of his head, one inch behind his ear. Chad's mother, Kathy, had a child named James who died seventeen years before Chad was born. James had a cancerous lump behind his right ear, a large tumor behind his left eye that made him blind, and a scar on his neck from a surgical procedure-all which matched perfectly to Chad's birthmark's and blind eye. The physical similarities were too exact to be random, and Kathy was overjoyed to have James back. Chad confirmed this with spontaneous memories of their "other house" that was orange and brown on the outside and which had chocolate furniture. He wanted desperately to go back there, he said to his stunned mother, "Because I left you there." When shown a picture of James, his mother reported a shocked look on his face. "I've been wishing for this picture. I want it because it's me," Chad said.
Chad's is one of three incredible cases in Return from Heaven in which a child who dies is reborn to the same mother. The emotional and spiritual changes both mothers experienced show a side of reincarnation that has never before been described.
Suleyman Capar (in a Turkish case researched by Dr. Ian Stevenson) as soon as he could put words together, implored his parents to take him "to the stream;" he also told his parents his name was Mehmet, a miller from the village of Ekbar, named other people in the family, and described how he had been killed in a quarrel with a floor shovel. When he was two, his grandmother took him to Ekbar where he led his grandmother to all of his old haunts, and his home by a stream. He recognized and met Mehmet's mother who confirmed that she had a son named Mehmet, that he was a miller and that a blow to the back of his head killed him. Suleyman also had a birth defect - the back of his skull was flattened and soft, the skin puckered like a scar: it looked like a badly healed wound from a blow to the back of the head.
From hundreds of cases like these, Bowman has distilled the signs of a true children's past life memory. These signs are illustrated throughout the stories. They include:
· Matter-of-Fact-Tone: When young children speak of past lives, their tone becomes serious, matter-of-fact, and does not resemble the sing-songy, lilting style of fantasy babble. Adults sometimes notice that a child's countenance becomes calm, almost adult-like, as they speak of their other life.
· Consistency of Detail: Unlike the stories of a child who is fantasizing, the basic details and facts of the stories remain consistent over time, though the child may fill in more details as his language improves.
· Knowledge Beyond Experience: Children speak of events or facts from the past that they had no way of learning normally, or show an uncanny adult understanding of emotions beyond the experience of a very young child.
· Memory of Death: To the parent's amazement, a child will matter-of-factly tell them he remembers being shot, or dying in a car accident, or in a war, sometimes in explicit and clinically graphic detail.
· Behavior and Phobias: Inexplicable behaviors and fears that bewilder the parents suddenly make perfect sense in the context of the past life-especially the mode of death.
· The Age Window: Children speak spontaneously of their past-life memories for only a short time, usually between the ages of two and seven; these episodes of lucidity are brief and appear to be random.
Thoroughly researched and substantiated, Bowman's RETURN FROM HEAVEN draws from the work of scientists like the past lives researcher Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia, who has spent forty years documenting and verifying over 2,600 cases of children's past life memories. Bowman explains why Stevenson's work "gives level-headed Westerners permission to treat reincarnation as a serious subject, even to accept it as true, without compromising their trust in reason or science."
Also, drawing from studies of Dr. Michael Newton, past-life psychotherapist Dr. Joel Whitton, Dr. Helen Wambach, as well as esoteric writings of Tibetan Buddhists and Rabbi Omer-Man, Bowman takes the reader on a tour of the interlife state between death and birth. She concludes that "souls do have a say in choosing their next life and often choose to renew old relationships. Reincarnation is not a random process."
Children also add their observations of heaven:
Four-year-old Courtney announced one day how busy she was in heaven; "When you go to heaven you have a little time to rest, kind of like a vacation, but then you have to get to work. You have to start thinking about what you have to learn in your next life. You have to start picking out your next family, one that will help you learn whatever it is that you need to learn next. Heaven isn't just a place to hang around forever. It's not just a place to relax and kick back. You have work to do there."
Return from Heaven is certain to be controversial. It goes beyond arguing for same-family reincarnation and challenges some commonly-held religious and metaphysical beliefs. For example:
· How do we choose our parents? · What happens in the period between death and life? · Do souls communicate with the parents before being born? · How do free will and karma really work? · What happens to a baby that is aborted or miscarried?
What Return from Heaven has to say about abortion and miscarriage will be most controversial. It ties together evidence from same-family reincarnation and current research from hypnotherapy to see what happens to souls that begin, but do not complete, the birth process. Cases show that souls who leave the womb for whatever reason sometimes return, either to the same mother or to another mother in the same family. For example:
Brothers Sam and Peyton shock their parents with their obsession with their uncles' family. They are confused as to who their real parents are, and insist they belong with their Aunt Molly. They argue between themselves about who's idea it was to "leave Aunt Molly's tummy and not get born." Only a few people in the family-and certainly not young Sam and Peyton-knew that Aunt Molly had two twins who died in the last month of pregnancy.
Carol Bowman's studious and thoughtful work helps even the most skeptical readers move beyond the typical questions asked in each case, such as "Can it be? Is it possible," and instead looks for the patterns and nuances of meaning. "The cases read like fiction, but now we know they are not," she concludes. "They describe the lives of real people - real fathers, mothers, grandparents and children. The stories are full of the drama of human relationships, emotions, struggles, and ambitions with all of the color and shading we recognize from our own lives. When you can accept the stories as true, reincarnation ceases to be a fuzzy metaphysical concept. You see instead that it is a practical reality, down to earth, something we can observe and experience directly in our everyday lives."
Return From Heaven will enlighten and uplift readers with a fresh look at reincarnation, and with promise of reunion with beloved relatives.
About the author ..... Carol Bowman, the author of Children's Past Lives, is recognized world-wide as a pioneer and a new voice in reincarnation studies. She writes and speaks from the point of view of a parent, a person who is looking for practical answers she can use in her life. She originally began collecting cases as a mother trying to understand what happened when her own two children remembered their past lives in 1988-the quest that culminated in Children's Past Lives.
Bowman lives near Philadelphia with her husband; their two children are away at college in Philadelphia and Massachusetts. Through her writings, frequent lectures, and TV appearances on shows such as Oprah, Good Morning America, and Unsolved Mysteries, Bowman has opened the eyes of millions of parents to the fact that some children easily remember their past lives.
Bowman holds a Masters degree in counseling and practices past life-oriented counseling and therapy. She continues to promote research of children's past lives and same-family reincarnation, and has sponsored the Children's Past Lives Research Center, which can be found at www.childpastlives.org.
RETURN FROM HEAVEN: Beloved Relatives Reincarnated Within Your Family by Carol Bowman HarperCollins Publishers March 27, 2001 $23.00; 224 pages ISBN: 0-06-019571-1