Mental Floss

If you believe it: kids who live to tell


All the hype about the newly released Amir Bar-Lev documentary--"My Kid Could Paint That"--makes me think of when I was casting "Wiccan types" last year & more than a few mothers kept bragging to me about the past lives of their offspring. Of course, this isn't to cast any shade on Wiccans, or challenge the could-be-a-past-life-reference accounts of families--secular and otherwise--for whom I've babysat. I'm always interested in how families make sense of life & death vis-a-vis the idiosyncrasies of their children--in college I researched Carol Bowman vanguard of the child past lives phenomenon, and I've seen the 6 year-old purportedly reincarnated WWII pilot on Montel and ABC Primetime. Coaching speculation aside, it's pretty chilling to listen to a kid expound on getting shot down by Imperial Japanese aircraft.

A 2005 Harris Interactive poll showed that one in five Americans believe in reincarnation. And according to reincarnation theorist Walter Semkiw, Oprah may likely have been abolitionist James Wilson! (via daily mantra) My question to you is: if you're thumbs-up on reincarnation, which historical era do you suspect you've trafficked? If the transmigration of souls is offensive, moot, or otherwise, is there a period in history you wish you could have witnessed?