Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, interviewed young children who claimed to remember a past life. He did more than 2,500 interviews over a period of 40 years and wrote twelve books, including Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.
Stevenson found that childhood memories possibly related to reincarnation normally occurred between the ages of three and seven years. He compared the memories with reports of people known to the deceased, attempting to do so before any contact between the child and the deceased's family had occurred.
Some 35 per cent of the children examined by Stevenson had birthmarks or birth defects. Stevenson believed that the existence of birth marks and deformities on children, when they occurred at the location of fatal wounds in the deceased, provided the best evidence for reincarnation. However, Stevenson has never claimed that he had proved the existence of reincarnation, and cautiously referred to his cases as being "of the reincarnation type" or "suggestive of reincarnation".
Stevenson retired in 2002, and psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker took over his work, and wrote Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives.
- Tucker, Jim (2005). Life before life: a scientific investigation of children's memories of previous lives. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-32137-6.
- Cadoret, R (2005). "Book Forum: Ethics, Values, and Religion - European Cases of the Reincarnation Type". The American Journal of Psychiatry. 162 (4): 823–4. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.4.823.
- Harvey J. Irwin (2004). An introduction to parapsychology McFarland, p. 218.