Researchers Specializing in Reincarnation

In the course of my research, I contacted various renowned researchers in the field of reincarnation in the United States, such as Walter Semkiw (2003), who worked with the psychic Kevin Ryerson, and the late Paul Von Ward (2008), who based their work on Ian Stevenson’s.

Ian Stevenson and Child Case of Reincarnation Types (CORT)

            Ian Stevenson (1918-2017) was a psychiatrist who founded the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia and worked intensively on reincarnation. He based his work on investigators like Frederic W. H. Myers (1903) and their methods, which he then improved upon. Stevenson created the Cases of Reincarnation Type (CORT) based on this investigation. His intention was to give evidence of the survival of the soul, which he called the psychophore, to separate it from religious terminology. He “apparently visualized the memories and DNA patterns revealed by his research being transferred between lifetimes in such a container” (Von Ward, 2008, p. 71). Paul Von Ward (1939-2017) an independent scholar and researcher who worked on cosmology and reincarnation (2008), preferred to use the word psychoplasm to describe both the container and its contents.

Stevenson (1986) developed a methodology regarding the collection of CORT data and observations of unexpected behaviors concordant with the previous life, but not with the current one. He organized his data into tables, but did not really study the psychology of the children recalling previous lives. Rather,

Stevenson (2001) described the typical features of the cases as being: statements from the point of view of a past life; behavior related to past-life memories, including phobias (Stevenson, 1990a) and philias; recognitions of people, places or objects; and birthmarks or birth defects related to wounds experienced by the previous personality (Mills & Tucker, 2015, p. 314).

Stevenson reported that around two thirds of his CORTs were “solved” because the information that the children gave regarding their previous names and/or where they lived was verified and confirmed. However, he “compared solved and unsolved cases, noting that a violent cause of death was even more prevalent in unsolved cases, but that the cause of death is violent or premature in a high proportion of solved cases as well” (Mills & Tucker, 2015, p. 318). 

            According to Stevenson (1986), the identification to the previous life is one of the strongest signs of reincarnation (p. 28). For him, “Such a personification, accompanied by extremely sensitive reactions, is more valuable than simply listing information given by the child about another person who has lived previously” (Stevenson, 1986, p. 28).

Walter Semkiw and Kevin Ryerson         

Walter Semkiw (2003) is a retired physician who wrote several books, and eventually built a major website focusing on reincarnation, on which he shares all his research: He emphasizes Stevenson’s work with the similarities of facial and physical features and personality, innate talents, and even linguistic writing style that a soul-entity recalls and hopefully improves from lifetime to lifetime. Semkiw uses these three criteria “to establish past-life matches: facial architecture, personality traits such as demeanor or habits, and a membership in a soul cohort. He later added a fourth: confirmation by a being known as Ahtun Re accessed by trance-channel Kevin Ryerson” (Von Ward, 2008, p. 77) whom he works with.

Paul Von Ward and The Soul Genome

            According to Von Ward (2008), “If nature has developed in a cell the capacity to pass into the future the results of its experience, then it must also have evolved the same cumulative capacity in the cell’s human host” (p. 69).

Like Semkiw, Von Ward’s analysis also suggested that physical features, specific memories, cognitive styles, interpersonal traits, emotional profiles, and talents carry forward from one lifetime to another through the psychoplasm. According to Von Ward (2008), “to support the psychoplasm hypothesis, a researcher must reasonably demonstrate that the correspondences in proposed past-life matches cannot be attributed to simple chance or other self-evident causes” (p. 82). In order to verify and document these similarities, Von Ward’s project designed procedures to measure and validate all these areas of evidence and determine if their coincidence in two lifetimes could be attributed to chance or something more solid and real. For Von Ward (2008), reincarnation phenomenon was simple: “if reincarnation is real, it involves your real life” (p. 83).

After reading Von Ward’s book The Soul Genome: Science and Reincarnation just after its release in 2008, I used his scientific protocols based on five scientific factors to assess the evidence I had accumulated in my research and any new data that was required. Von Ward agreed to help me evaluate its validity and reliability after he realized the scope of my research and its meticulous documentation.

The factors Von Ward used to measure the strength of alleged reincarnation cases are the following:

  • Genotype / Phenotype that corresponds to the physical characteristics of the individual.
  • Cognitive Cerebrotypes that represent the mental styles and capacities of the individual.
  • Emotional Egotypes speaks for itself and is about emotions. It “deals with strength and orientation of the basic ego structure” (p. 96).
  • Social Personatype determines how the individual relates to others.
  • Creative and Behavioral Perfomatypes talk about interests, hobbies and behaviors.

            According to Von Ward (2008), “Alone [similarities] do not prove a past-life match, the the sheer volume of them makes the linear reincarnation case more persuasive” (p. 186). This confirmation helped Kiera to integrate even more her past-life and reach another level in herself and in her consciousness.

Edgar Cayce and the Akashic Records    

            The Akashic Records correspond to a celestial ether containing all the memories of human beings. They are accessible to anyone under certain circumstances, but particularly so to a person who has advanced psychic abilities. Edgar Cayce was one such man. Very early in his life, long before he was convinced about the fact of reincarnation, he was able obtain the great majority of his information about past lives by reading the Akashic Records. After many confirmations of the existence of reincarnation, when Cayce was asked what would convince him, he answered “an experience” (Cayce, 2006, p. 23). For him indeed, reincarnation had practical application and showed great continuity between lifetimes (Kirkpatrick, 2000, p. 288).

The experiences of past and present lives that have generated suffering, as well as all the thoughts, emotions and desires, are also contained in the individual’s personal subconscious, where nothing is forgotten. As Cayce scholar, Kevin Todeschi (2013) puts it: “Since each individual is the sum total of all of his or her previous experiences, fragments of past-life memories frequently come to the surface in everyday life” (p. 56).

Matlock and Signs of Reincarnation (SOR)

James Matlock, an anthropologist and reincarnation researcher who also based his work on Stevenson’s, wrote the book Signs of Reincarnation in 2019. He suggests that psi, “a term that embraces both extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK)” (Matlock, 2019, p. 300), allows for the transmission of physical and behavioral traits through the action of the soul or reincarnating mind. These include the persistence after death of personality, emotion, memory, cognitive ability and the exercise of free will (Matlock, 2019, p. 246).

For Matlock, the principal reincarnation signs may be grouped into three classes:

  • autobiographical memories of previous lives, along with related recognition memories and spatial memories;
  • behavioral signs, including emotional memories and procedural memories;
  • physical signs like birthmarks, birth defects, and other congenital abnormalities (p. 303).

The co-occurrence of these reincarnational signs and the coherence of past-and present-life stories are significant and show the strength of a reincarnation case if there is sufficient evidence. Kiera’s case was one of these, as it showed numerous signs of reincarnation as developed by Matlock (2019, p. 303):

  • significant impact of her previous life on her present life,
  • behavioral and physical signs that belonged to her previous life,
  • identification with her previous life and spontaneously talking about it in the first person while trying to avoid it,
  • spontaneous detailed memories,
  • recognition of people and locations
  • phobia of darkness related to the death in her previous life,
  • continuity between the two lives,
  • soul evolution.

However, Matlock has a different perspective on karma than mine, as he is not convinced in his research that there is such a thing as “juridical karma” – the idea that where we are reborn, and what happens to us in a subsequent life, is determined by an external, lawful force that is the product of the moral qualities of our actions and intentions in this and earlier lives. Matlock argues that the only type of karma that has been demonstrated is “processual karma,” which is the carry-over from life-to-life of memory, emotions, behavior dispositions, and other attributes that inform personality.

Nevertheless, if Cayce’s life readings were at all accurate, as I believe they were, there is without question such a thing as juridical karma. I believe that the reason for Matlock’s skepticism about juridical karma is that his reincarnation research deals overwhelmingly with the past life claims of young children, who could not reasonably be expected to even mention karma, let alone be knowledgeable about that concept. It is remarkable enough that some young children would recall their most recent lifetime, but it seems highly illogical that they would also know why they experienced what they did from the point of view of cause and effect.


Cayce, E. (2006). Reincarnation & Karma. VA, Virginia Beach: A.R.E. Press.
Kirkpatrick, S. D. (2000). An American prophet. Rivehead Books.
Matlock, J. G. (2019). Signs of reincarnation: Exploring beliefs, cases, and theory. The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.
Mills A. & Tucker, J. B. (2015). Reincarnation. In Cardena E., Palmer, J. & Marcusson-Clavertz, Parapsychology. A Handbook for the 21st Century. (pp. 314-326). McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers.
Todeschi, K. J. (2011). Edgar Cayce on reincarnation and family karma. A.R.E. Press
Stevenson, I. (1985). 20 cas suggérant le phénomène de reincarnation. J’ai Lu. (translation)
Todeschi, K. J. (2013). Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records. A.R.E. Press.
Von Ward, P. (2008). The soul genome: Science and reincarnation. Fenestra Books.