The New York Times has an interesting piece on reincarnation and the current hipness of past-life regression. Towards the end of the article they talk to Dr Jim Tucker, who has continued on the work of Dr Ian Stevenson at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia:
On the fringes of legitimate science, some researchers persist in studying consciousness and its durability beyond the body. Though Dr. Tucker, who directs the Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic at the University of Virginia, has few kind words for regression therapy or its practitioners, he continues to be committed to the scientific study of what can only be called reincarnation.
He is carrying on the pioneering research of his mentor, Dr. Ian Stevenson, who beginning in the 1960s collected more than 2,000 accounts of children between the ages of 2 and 7 who seemed to remember previous lives vividly without the help of hypnosis.
…Dr. Tucker studies American children and in one case found a young boy who started to say, around the age of 18 months, that he was his own (deceased) grandfather. “He eventually told details of his grandfather’s life that his parents felt certain he could not have learned through normal means,” Dr. Tucker wrote in Explore, which calls itself a journal of science and healing, “such as the fact that his grandfather’s sister had been murdered and that his grandmother had used a food processor to make milkshakes for his grandfather every day at the end of his life.”
Dr. Tucker won’t say such cases add up to proof of reincarnation, but he likes to keep an open mind.
“There can be something that survives after the death of the brain and the death of the body that is somehow connected to a new child,” he said. “I have become convinced that there is more to the world than the physical universe. There’s the mind piece, which is its own entity.”
Below I’ve embedded a little video of Jim Tucker discussing his research into ‘spontaneous past-life memories’ in children:
For more on the topic, see also this recent TDG story about Ian Stevenson’s life work linking to a bunch of articles.