More Children May Remember Past Lives Than You Expect

More Children May Remember Past Lives Than You Expect
(Illustration - ABO Photography/Shutterstock)
Catherine Yang

When Chase Bowman was 5 years old, he developed a sudden phobia of loud, booming sounds. He had no prior experience that would have induced such trauma.

Sitting on his mother’s lap, eyes closed, he described matter-of-factly a scene that Chase Bowman would not have been exposed to in his five years.

“He said I’m crouching behind a rock, I have a dirty uniform, and I have a long gun with a sword at the end,” said Carol Bowman, Chase’s mother, in an interview with NTD Television for the show “Mysteries of Life.”

Something fateful had led Bowman to come to realize her son was spontaneously experiencing a memory from a past life.

“It was a long time in coming,” Bowman said. From a young age, she knew from experiences “that something within us doesn’t die.”

Then, in her 30s, Bowman spent half a decade battling chronic lung problems, and along with them, visions she couldn’t make sense of. The disease had not responded to medical treatment, and Bowman took a chance with a hypnotherapist to see if she would be able to find relief some other way.

“After one two-hour session, I saw two lives in which I died with trauma to the lungs, and they were very emotional experiences,” Bowman said. She saw a life wherein she died from consumption, and another where she was a young mother who died in a Nazi concentration camp. She cried during the session, but it served as a catharsis, leaving her light and unburdened afterwards. “To my amazement, my lungs cleared up after that one session.”

Her medical doctor was amazed at the recovery, and wanted to try such a past-life regression himself. Bowman, living in Asheville, North Carolina at the time, invited the hypnotherapist Norman Inge to work with a number of her friends.

It was around this time that Chase Bowman had been experiencing terror at loud booming sounds, and she had hoped Inge could give her son some post-hypnotic suggestions to help conquer the phobia. However, when Inge asked Chase Bowman to close his eyes and describe what he saw when he heard the loud sounds, he told a tale that sent Bowman “into a mild state of shock.”

“He went on to say that he didn’t know what he was doing in battle. There was smoke everywhere, he didn’t even know what he was shooting at. And he said, ‘I miss my wife and family,’” Bowman recounted. “It was an electric moment for me. Everything changed.”

Bowman, today a leading researcher in children’s past lives, would soon discover this phenomenon was not unique to her son, and many children around the world experience these spontaneous visions. More importantly, she would guide many to help them.


Inge, experienced in past-life therapy, calmly guided Chase Bowman through the vision.

Chase Bowman described how he had been shot in his right wrist and taken out of battle, placed in a tent with a bench-like bed long enough to be bandaged before being sent out onto the battlefield once more.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to go there. There are other people there. They’re killing people. I don’t want to kill other people,’” Bowman said. “And Norman explained to Chase, in very simple language a 5-year-old can understand, he said, ‘We live many very different lifetimes on Earth. In some lives, we play different roles. Sometimes we are soldiers, and sometimes, being a soldier, you have to kill others in battle and sometimes you are killed. But there’s no blame.’”

“And I could feel Chase’s body relaxing on my lap when Norman said that. Something changed, something shifted. And a couple minutes later, he just jumped off my lap, grabbed a cookie, went to play with his Legos,” Bowman said. She was still stunned when Sarah, her 9-year-old daughter, pointed out that the place her brother indicated he'd been shot was where he had his chronic severe eczema.

A few days later, the eczema that had not responded to any medical treatment cleared up completely. The phobia, too, was gone.

“In fact, he asked for a drum kit his sixth birthday, so he could make loud booming sounds all the time,” Bowman said.

Both Bowman and her son’s experiences had been healing on emotional and physical levels, and she started wondering whether other children had these past life memories floating so close to the surface.

She started asking other parents in her community, and the anecdotes popped up, with one notable commonality.

“They remembered their deaths, usually traumatic deaths,” Bowman said. The collection of stories set her off on her research.

“I understood the implications, I understood that yes, we can heal emotionally, and even physically, from recalling past lives,” she said. “As in my case, the traumatic deaths kind of sealed in the memories, froze in the trauma in the current life.”

“We can have trauma from the past that follows us into our present lives—and that was a big revelation when I saw it in children too,” she said.

Natural Phenomenon

Some parents are surprised when their young child starts to describe a life they lived before they “came into” their current one. The memories sometimes sound benign, even mundane. Most of these can be brushed off as fantasy, a moment of make-believe the child decides to share. Other times the child describes how they died, making the parents take pause. But it’s mostly the cases where these deaths were traumatic, and the young child is plagued by lingering trauma, that the stories start to circulate.

Bowman, a pioneer in the field of past life therapy, says, in fact, it’s natural for children under the age of 7 to remember their past life, or lives.

In cultures where reincarnation is a given belief, families can easily discuss the memories with the children. But reincarnation, or the belief that the soul lives on and is born again in a new body, can be an unknown or written off as superstition in America.

“I noticed that a lot of American mothers needed help in guidance in talking to their children who seemed to be having a past life memory,” she said.

Carol Bowman, author of "Children's Past Lives." (NTD)
Carol Bowman, author of "Children's Past Lives." (NTD)

Bowman is the author of “Children’s Past Lives,” which has been published in 22 foreign editions, and since the book’s publication in 1997 she has received emails, forum messages, and phone calls from people across America asking for help and insight into such cases. Most preface the conversations with an apology, with the fact that what they are about to say must sound crazy, but the stories can actually be strikingly similar.

Bowman’s work follows that of Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918–2007) of the University of Virginia, whose documentation of 2,600-some verified cases of people recalling past lives was groundbreaking in moving the idea of reincarnation into mainstream medical science.

From the hundreds of stories Bowman has collected herself, and the thousands Stevenson documented, they both could see distinct patterns.

“Children most often remember their deaths when they talk about past life memories, usually up until about the age of 5 or 7, and then memories tend to fade,” Bowman said. “This is universal across cultures, families where they believe in reincarnation and don’t believe in reincarnation. So it’s a natural phenomenon.”

As the children remember their deaths, they are matter-of-fact when recounting them, often describing them from what seems to be an aerial view, and the deaths themselves are neither scary nor painful. But some of the deaths happened under traumatic circumstances, and the children display phobias related to those circumstances. When the children describe these memories, they share details only someone on the scene could have known, capturing details nothing in their own experience could have provided material for, and even use vocabulary beyond what they are usually capable of.

Some researchers set their sights on proving the existence of reincarnation. Stevenson did not, but thought of his work as unique addition to the medical field, offering explanation to rare, sometimes one-of-a-kind birthmarks and birth defects that there have been no other medical explanation for (in his cases, these marks bear uncanny resemblance to cause-of-deaths in the past lives remembered).

Bowman, who says she’s yet to hear anyone give her a better explanation than reincarnation, says she is not interested in proof either. Her mission lies in helping the families who, whether due to cultural or religious limitations, lack knowledge and guidance when these past life memories spontaneously emerge. These cases often involve trauma and phobias, and Bowman knows from her own experience how healing is possible, and how powerful it can be.

“I feel that my job has been to educate parents, that this is a real phenomenon. It’s a natural phenomenon. There’s nothing wrong with their child,” she said. “It’s natural for children to remember up to a certain age. And if we can recognize these memories, and talk a child through what happened before. Phobias can go away—even physical symptoms.”

“We can heal emotionally and even physically from recalling past lives,” Bowman said.

‘The Soul Wants to Heal’

There are therapists who specialize in past life regressions, which tends to involve hypnosis which helps guide the patient to recall past lives and gain catharsis in the experience.

But in the case of children, they recall these past life memories without prompting or hypnosis.

After Inge helped Chase Bowman, Bowman’s then 9-year-old daughter said she wanted to try it too. Inge too asked her questions to guide her in recalling the memories, and the girl recounted a life where she had been a child on a farm, going to bed. A house fire had broken out and she was upstairs, not knowing where her parents were. Unable to get out, a fiery beam fell on her head.

“She was very distraught, she was very emotional when she was remembering this,” Bowman said. “In some of the cases, the children remember the out-of-body portion of the death experience, and she seemed to, after she cried about that, realize that her parents had tried to save her.”

After the cry, her daughter was fine—and the phobia was gone. Bowman’s daughter had had a terrible fear of their house burning down, and Bowman only found out after her daughter had a hysterical episode after seeing a movie with a big fire explosion at a friend’s house one night. It was then that her daughter disclosed this long-held fear, and the packed bag she kept under her bed in case she ever needed to flee.

Emotionally and literally, she was then able to unpack the bag stashed under her bed. “It took 10 minutes for this whole process, and she was fine,” Bowman said.

“So are there opportunities for healing within these memories? There’s a reason why they’re coming up. And I think it’s because the soul wants to heal,” Bowman said.

With children, there is no regression technique necessary. One only needs to be a good listener, Bowman added.

“I’ve found that in some cases, a child can have instantaneous healing of past life issues by just talking it through for a few minutes. In some cases, it’s more complicated,” she said. Either way, the window for healing tends to be limited, because the memories fade.

“A lot of kids will say, ‘oh and then I came back, and I’m now in a new body,’ and they’re very delighted to know that,” she said. “That is one of the things that parents can tell their child, that that was before, you’re now safe, or give them whatever assurances they need, and you’re safe in a new body.”

“That comes as a surprise to some of these kids, because they’re still on this continuum of consciousness, where they don’t know the difference between something that’s happened in their prior life, they perceive it as something that’s just happened to them.”

“You have to help them realize they have moved on, using very simple language, and it can work wonders,” she said.

‘A Very Hopeful Way of Seeing Things’

These spontaneous recollections by young children seem to fall into their own category, Bowman has identified. Often, these souls seek resolution for trauma or unfinished business from their immediate past life.

In adults, and in other cases with children, there are cases of remembering even multiple past lives, sometimes of being around the world, or thousands of years ago.

“We change, we can change culture, religion, gender—we experienced many things over millennia. I don’t know how many, or what the averages of how many lifetimes we have. I think it varies from soul to soul, but we have many different experiences,” Bowman said, “And hopefully, it will give us some degree of acceptance of others, knowing that we’ve had lives and other culture, other skin color, and everything. So we are universal beings in that sense. And I know it’s made me more aware of what’s the same in people rather than what’s different.”

Bowman’s first realization that we are spiritual beings that live on after human life and death came years before her past life regression in therapy.

“It was sunrise on the beach, and it just hit me, where I knew that we were all energy, and a part of us doesn’t die,” she said. “It was a very profound moment, accompanied by some lightning on a clear sky, it was very dramatic.”

“There are a lot of cases out there, and for anyone who’s open-minded, there’s evidence in the cases. Give me another explanation that fits, that’s as good as reincarnation. There’s something about consciousness surviving death, and even more than that, that this consciousness carries some kind of memory, or coding, or template, that informs our current lives,” she said.

“I think it can expand your awareness of other people, and what they’re going through, and maybe give us more empathy,” she said. “I think there’s hope in this belief, and a sense of if we need to atone for anything, we have an opportunity. If we die conflicted, we can come back and make things right, or finished. So I think it’s a very hopeful way of seeing things.”

With reporting from NTD News.
Related Topics