Ian Stevenson page

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by Deborah, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. Helen Mills

    Helen Mills Senior Registered

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    Ian Stevenson

    Hello!

    My experience happened when I was only five years old. In my opinion, it is unique! I am Canadian now, but I was an American in that life.

    Helen
     
  2. lagrima

    lagrima It wasn't MPD after all!

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    That makes sense Helen!

    Bummer they weren't interested. You should keep everything documented though just in case they have a shift in research. You really never know. Dr. Jim Tucker is heading up Dr. Stevenson's research now.

    Good luck! :thumbsup:
     
  3. Helen Mills

    Helen Mills Senior Registered

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    Ian Stevenson

    Hello Lagrima,

    I'm writing a book about it, therefore, it doesn't matter that they were not interested. I'm sure many good cases have gone by the wayside because investigators didn't become interested in them.

    Helen
     
  4. lagrima

    lagrima It wasn't MPD after all!

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    :thumbsup: I know EXACTLY how you feel!!! I investigated my own case and then wrote a book about it too!

    Way to go!! keep it up and don't let them get you down ;)
     
  5. Dr.K.S.Rawat

    Dr.K.S.Rawat Senior Registered

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    Dr.Stevenson and Hypnosis

    No need to speculate about Dr.Stevenson's views about the use of hypnosis for reincarnation studies:
    :thumbsup:

    Hypnotic Regression to Previous Lives
    A Short Statement by Ian Stevenson, M.D.

    The following remarks have been written in an effort to reply most effectively to the large number of letters and inquiries that I receive from persons who wish to apply to me for hypnotic regression to previous lives, wish me to recommend a hypnotist to them, or wish me to investigate some material that has emerged from such an experience.



    Many persons who attach no importance whatever to their dreams--realizing that most of them are merely images of the dreamer's subconscious mind without correspondence to any other reality--nevertheless believe that whatever emerges during hypnosis can invariably be taken at face value. In fact, the state of a person during hypnosis resembles in many ways--although not in all--that of a person dreaming. The subconscious parts of the mind are released from ordinary inhibitions and they may then present in dramatic form a new "personality." If the subject has been instructed by the hypnotist--explicitly or implicitly--to "go back to another place and time" or given some similar guidance, the new "personality" may appear to be one of another period of history. Such evoked "previous personalities" may be extremely plausible both to the person having the experience and to other persons watching him or her. Experiments by Baker1and by Nicholas Spanos and his colleagues2 have shown how easily different suggestions given by a hypnotist can influence the features of the "previous personality" in conformity with suggestions.

    In fact, however, nearly all such hypnotically evoked "previous personalities" are entirely imaginary just as are the contents of most dreams. They may include some accurate historical details, but these are usually derived from information the subject has acquired normally through reading, radio and television programs, or other sources. The subject may not remember where he obtained the information included, but sometimes this can be brought out in other sessions with hypnosis designed to search for the sources of the information used in making up the "previous personality." Experiments by E. Zolik3 and by R. Kampman and R. Hirvenoja4 have demonstrated this phenomenon.

    A marked emotional experience during the hypnotic regression provides no assurance that memories of a real previous life were recovered. The subjective experience of reliving a previous life may be impressive to the person having the experience, and yet the "previous life" may be a fantasy, like most of our dreams. Also, benefit (even dramatic improvement) in some physical or psychological symptom does not provide evidence that a real previous life has been remembered. Persons with psychosomatic symptoms and psychoneuroses recover following a wide variety of psychotherapeutic measures. There are many general effects of any psychotherapeutic measure. Improvement may be due exclusively to these and have nothing to do with the special technique, whether hypnotic regression, psychoanalysis, or whatever, of the psychotherapist.

    It is worth emphasizing that very young children who remember verified previous lives often have phobias, such as of water, even though they remember the event that seems to have generated the phobia, such as a death from drowning. Thus remembering the cause of a phobia or some other symptom does not necessarily remove it.

    Persons considering hypnotic regression experiments should ask themselves: What benefit would there be for me in coping with my present difficulties if I did remember something that seemed somehow connected with them from a previous life? Would such a memory, even if it were real, remove the difficulties?

    This being a brief statement, it cannot do justice to all the complex aspects of the subject, but I will mention that very rarely something of value may emerge during experiments with hypnotic regression to "previous lives." ......
    The procedure of hypnotic regression to "previous lives" is not without some hazards. Instances have occurred in which the "previous personality" has not "gone away" when instructed to do so and the subject in such cases has been left in an altered state of personality for several days or more before restoration of his normal personality.

    I am not now engaging in experiments with hypnotic regression to "previous lives." I do not recommend hypnotists to persons who wish to have this experience. I do not approve of any hypnotist who makes promises to clients that suggest they will certainly return to a real previous life under his direction. I do not approve of anyone who charges fees for acting as a hypnotist in such experiments.

    I do not undertake verifications of details that may emerge from such experiments except in the extremely rare instances that seem to me to show strong evidence of some paranormal process. ........
    Although opposed to commercial exploitation of unwarranted claims for hypnotic regression, I am in favor of serious research with hypnotic regression.

    ..... The dangers of deception and self-deception are perhaps greater than in experiments with hypnosis, especially when the persons experimenting become convinced that they are being guided by discarnate personalities. ......
     
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  6. lonewolf

    lonewolf Senior Registered

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    While I respect Dr. Stevenson I think he is unnecessarily rigid on this. First, his assumption that the people who place great credence in PL regression do not place value in dreams is wrong. Quite the opposite. Most people who appreciate PL regressions place VERY great credence in dreams. If, in fact, my PL memories emerge from a dream state, it does not in any case prove them right or wrong.

    Second, that Stevenson does not approve of those who ask money to perform PL regression. Is he, then, willing to perform PL regressions for free to anyone who asks? If not, why? Does he think all adult PL regressions useless? If so, why does he express an interest in PL regressions producing xenoglossy?

    That would seem to indicate that he thinks some good CAN come frome PL regressions, but that he only "approves" of those that are empirically proveable--or, more crudely, those episodes he finds useful to his own personal research. Were he to say that he only finds empirically verifiable regressions "useful" to him, I would understand; but in his use of the word "approve" he seems--a little priggishly, if I may say so--to indicate that any not empirically-verifiable regression is improper if not immoral.

    And in any case, I do not agree with the assumption that only empirically verifiable knowledge is valid or useful.

    If Dr. Stevenson disapproves of those who ask fees to perform PL regressions, does he also disapprove of those who ask fees to conduct traditional secular psychotherapy for an hour, or who ask fees to listen for an hour and then prescribe Prozac? Isn't the bottom line: what helps?

    Lonewolf
     
  7. lonewolf

    lonewolf Senior Registered

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    What a perfect example of wanting to have your cake and eat it too--or have it both ways! Dr. Stevenson outright concedes that hypnotic regression of adults may be useful--but then condemns all regressions not conducted scientifically--i.e. under the personal supervision of he or one of his associates. This is a classic case of scientists arrogating all knowledge, and all searches for knowledge, to themselves. Yet some of the greatest human discoveries have been made by amateurs without the scientific seal of approval.

    And how can a researcher know that claims are "unwarranted" until he researches them? Does Dr. Stevenson imply that the commercial exploitation of warranted claims for hypnotic regression is ok?

    Lonewolf
     
  8. Dr.K.S.Rawat

    Dr.K.S.Rawat Senior Registered

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    Be sure he said "Many persons who attach no importance whatever to their dreams"

    Pl.note,he wrote:"Although opposed to commercial exploitation of unwarranted claims for hypnotic regression, I am in favor of serious research with hypnotic regression.
    May be he is stating as a scientist.Is it necessory to put something he stated:"more crudely"(That way, we may condemn anybody).
    I beg to disagree.
    I agree with u on this .There are a lot of such things.:)

    I am much surprised .Kindly give me the reference.
     
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  9. lonewolf

    lonewolf Senior Registered

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    The criticism remains. I cannot imagine anybody who values PL regression attaching "no importance whatever to their dreams."
    And, as I mentioned in the previous post, who is to define what is or is not "serious research with hypnotic regression"? And how can one say whether a claim is or is not "unwarranted" until research is conducted into it? That is rather like me (a historian) saying I am only interested in "serious historical research"--a statement that says nothing whatsoever.

    As for "commercial exploitation," another subjective term, it is equally unclear what Stevenson is trying to say. If a traditional secular psychotherapist is permitted to charge a fee without being accused of exploitation, is a PL regressionist in private practice supposed to do it for free?

    To use another analogy, it's rather like me (a history professor) saying you should only be allowed to write history books if you're not paid for it. Otherwise you are just guilty of "commercial exploitation."

    If what a regressionist does is of value his or her patients, he or she should by all means charge a fee. It's a service. If PL regression was proven to be harmful, or if it was shown to have cultic implications (i.e. people bequesting entire estates to would-be spirit guides) that would be another thing; but in the meantime, those who choose PL regression are adults and can presumably decide how to dispose of their money in a way meaningful to them.

    Academics like me and Dr. Stevenson habitually state things in faux-respectable phraseology to cover up the implications of what we may actually be saying. Sometimes it's necessary to put things a little more bluntly.

    My remark, "under the personal supervision of he or one of his associates" is prefaced by i.e.--in other words. What I am trying to say is that in condemning all regressions not conducted "scientifically," Stevenson is in effect saying that only he and his associates in the scientific community should conduct PL regression research--research that, incidentally, remains inaccessible to most of us.

    Dr. Stevenson has for many years been fixated on gaining academic respectability for research in reincarnation, and one gathers that--with good reason--he sees the large number of cranks, frauds, and pop regressionists that circulate out there as potentially threatening to his life's work. Thus his vigor in disassociating himself from non-academic researchers.

    Yet in this I think he falls into the same trap of academic snobbery that he has spent so many years trying to combat. No doubt he and his center at UVA are constantly besieged by a lot of well-meaning but silly requests. He has every right to ignore them. But I have to say I disapprove of his disapproval of those who conduct PL regressions without sanction from the academic or scientific community.

    Again, it'd be like me saying I disapprove of anyone without a Ph.D. who writes about history. My opinion is that everyone should be active in exploring his or her universe. I'd hate to imagine a world where we left all knowledge-seeking to the academics. That would be a frightening 'Brave New World' indeed!!!!

    Lonewolf
     
  10. EntropyFails

    EntropyFails Registered

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    Lonewolf:

    Dr Stevenson is an old school scientist. To him, you only do what you can PROVE. As he knows very well that wishful thinking can corrupt the mental processes, he rejects hypnosis as a tool for his research. It has to be ruled out of his own research to make it scientifically unassailable. He made the foundation and it HAS to be rock solid.

    Now following from that, if it isn't a scientific form of inquiry, then you shouldn't really charge money for it anywhere. You shouldn't charge money for it because you cannot PROVE it does anything. If you could prove it, then you should do so and thus provide the basis for a scientific past life regression therapy. From that proven study, you can make a reasonable medical procedure that involves past life hypnosis.

    I think perhaps that you are not "getting" Dr Stevenson. He's a medical doctor. These people HATE any type of treatment that does not come with a 10 year study on health benefits and risks. Thus to Dr Stevenson, because this precondition has not been met, no past life hypnosis should be allowed as a form of "therapy" that you pay for.

    Does that make more sense?

    I'm sure that deep down he FEELS that it past life regression may work. But he can not condone a practice of paying for it as no science exists to back it up.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  11. John

    John Registered

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    Ian Stevenson Link

    I'm just new to the forum and have been enjoying going through some of the info available...

    But the Ian Stevenson link at the very start of this thread does not appear to be working...

    Perhaps the page has a new address?

     
  12. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Ian Stevenson passed away

    This evening, Prof. Hans Gerding of the Dutch Parapsychological Institute in Utrecht told me that Dr. Ian Stevenson passed away.

    His departure really is a great loss to humanity, although his huge heritage will continue to benefit all of us for generations to come.

    I'm certain that he will be experiencing a beautiful afterlife and discovering many things he wanted to know during his earthly life. Perhaps he will even tell us about his new insights in a future life or through after-death communication, though in evaluating this we would have to use the same rigorous standards he always championed in his own research.

    Does anyone have more details about his last days in his physical body?

    I personally think Ian Stevenson may be regarded as a Charles Darwin of serious psychical research, if we look at his importance for the study of survival after death, reincarnation, personal evolution, telepathy, psychokinesis, poltergeist, apparitions, Near-Death Experiences, Deathbed Visions, possession, xenoglossy, and the mind in general.

    I personally met dr. Stevenson in 1987 at Darwin College, Cambridge (UK) with my brother Esteban Rivas, and we maintained some serious correspondence with each other for many years.

    I've generally known him as a generous, erudite and very dedicated personality. He may sometimes have been a bit too conservative concerning matters of formal academic status, but in general even this trait seems to have had a positive effect on the reputation of reincarnation as a serious subject.

    On the whole, he was nothing short of a genius and many people will miss him.

    With sad admiration,

    Titus Rivas, Athanasia Foundation
     
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  13. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Titus,

    Thank you for letting us know. Dr. Stevenson was a highly respected man, and his contributions will be sorely missed.


    Ailish
     
  14. Titus Rivas

    Titus Rivas Senior Registered

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    Confirmation from Dr. Carlos Alvarado

    Thanks Ailish.

    I just read message a on a Brasilian Psi List posted by Dr. Carlos Alvarado, who used to be Stevenson's assistant for four years.

    Dr. Alvarado confirms that Ian Stevenson passed away on February 8th at the age of 88. He was living in a care center for the aged (lugar de cuido de ancianos).

    Titus
     
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  15. Carol

    Carol Author

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    Thank you all for letting me know. It will take me some time to digest this news.
    Carol
     
  16. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Thank You for letting us know Titus. I wish Stevenson a bright new beginning - and a wonderful future.
     
  17. SundayAtDusk

    SundayAtDusk Registered

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    Actually, Dr. Stevenson did allow the possibility of past lives being discovered in dreams or under hypnotism in one book he wrote: European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. When I saw that in the book, I almost fell out of my chair! Because I had read how strongly he believed dreams and hypnotism produced nothing but fantasies about past lives.


    I thought the most interesting case in that book was Henriette Roos. Stevenson believed she was possibly Rosario Weiss, daughter of Leocadia Weiss, mistress of painter Francisco Goya.
     
  18. HerDotness

    HerDotness Registered

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    I've not read that book, but wouldn't you agree that it's hardly inconsistent to express the opinion that past lives might be discoverable by means of dreams and hypnosis but that both would be unreliable sources of past life recall for the research that Dr. Stevenson was doing?


    Was this book written before Stevenson's opinion cited by Dr. Rawat here? Perhaps when Stevenson was developing his research protocol and before he determined that spontaneous memories were less likely to be contaminated by present-life information?
     
  19. SundayAtDusk

    SundayAtDusk Registered

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    The book was published in 2003, and I read it in 2005. I don't know what year Dr. Rawat's information came from...and forgive me for not going back and re-reading his interesing posts. I know we discussed the matter of Dr. Stevenson's disregard of dreams and past life regression in this forum before Carol's second book was published...unless we discussed it in a spin-off group. I can remember going to the UVA website and discovering the information, and then posting it.


    Thus, the European book was after Dr. Stevenson's books on the past life memories of children. My impression of the book was that he could not substantiate the stories he was being told, so it was more of an "anything goes" sort of research. There was at least one story in the book I can't believe he even included--something not even your average "layperson" studying reincarnation would have included.


    I was truly surprised he wrote such a book.
     
  20. smac2012

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