Reincarnation is the process whereby the soul of a deceased individual enters the body of a new born baby. The phenomenon is not to be mistaken for spirit possession in which a spirit of a dead person enters into the living body of the person that is already occupied by its own spirit.
The word reincarnation comes from Latin, literally meaning “entering the flesh again”. The Greek equivalent word metempsychosis comes from meta(change) and empsykhoun (to put a soul into), the term is attributed to Pythagoras, the famous Greek philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, born circa 570 BC then died circa 495 BC. Ancient Greece was well aware of reincarnation. In ancient times, Oriental people have referred to people who have reincarnated as being “born again”.
Even though Christianity uses the term to denote a spiritual or mental rebirth; Buddhists and especially Hindus have used the term many centuries prior to Christianity to mean a literal material rebirth; a physical rebirth.
There is a common misconception that people seem to require to be in a deep hypnotic trance to remember a past life. Actually, many folks have claimed, since very ancient times to the present time, to remember having lived before without being in a deep hypnotic trance nor having to practice deep meditation.
In countries that are very big geographically and have very large populations, such as India, China, USA, and Russia; the belief in reincarnation is strong since the largest population nations produce the largest number of people that claim to remember at least one of their past lives.
There are people who claim to remember a past that are downright liars, trying to achieve some sort of special recognition and awe among believers of rebirth. But, there are also individuals who allege to remember a past life who strongly believe they are telling the truth and not trying to impress others.
Individuals who have been hypnotized and seem to remember a past life; describing a great deal of details have produced mixed results. Scientists examining such people have discovered that some people will fantasize under hypnosis, even though they think what they report is real. Other people, under hypnosis, have given testimony on their past life whereby the information they revealed is basically consistent with historical facts.
Hypnotists have tried to do detective work with hypnotized people to follow up a reincarnation story with trying to find out what happens after death all the way up to the rebirth process. In certain cases, these hypnotists would have a group of psychologists, psychiatrists, and historians present to question the hypnotized person.
In cases where the historical information given by the tranced person basically checks out as believable; tranced individuals have mentioned being, after death, a ghost living on earth; living in and around the place the person died. There was no mention, from the hypnotized speaker, of being in a Heaven, nor a Hell.
After many, many years of being a spirit, the hypnotized speaker would describe the rebirthing process as first a senility in which the spirit has trouble remembering things, and struggles to remember his or her own name.
Various psychic investigators believe the soul body begins to break down through extreme old age and wear and that is why there is reincarnation; to place the spirit body in a new physical body for preservation and protection against malign influential changes.
After studying a great volume of cases of reincarnation involving hypnosis; cases that seem credible all in all; to open minded investigators, several patterns become apparent. Reincarnation is a natural activity which seems to happen to everyone, long periods of time after death. People undergo rebirth because of limitations and a lack of complete independence of the spirit body being separated from the physical body. Whatever life the rebirther experiences; whether good or bad is based purely on chance and not according to a divine punishment nor a reward system. Lastly, human beings that died come back as human beings, while animals that died come back as animals.