Is reincarnation real? Here on some random thoughts to start a discussion. Feel free to disagree. Proving that reincarnation is real is a little like proving that the color red is real. For someone who can see the color for themselves no proof is necessary, but for someone who is blind, or color blind we can only present evidence that there is such a thing. Each person who cannot see the color red for themselves must then decide if they find the evidence convincing. For people who have had spontaneous recall of past life experiences or who have recovered past life memories through some form of regression, these experiences are often proof enough. But for someone who has not had such a personal experience we can only present the evidence and leave it to each person to decide if that evidence is convincing. Perhaps the best evidence is found in the several thousand case histories collected by Dr. Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia Medical School. These cases involve children who have had spontaneous and unprompted recall of a past life. In many of these cases Dr. Stevenson has been able to collect specific items of information from the children and then independently confirm the accuracy of these facts. Those who wish to wade through the original case histories may consult any one of Dr. Stevenson's excellent, but lengthy published works including "Twenty Cases Suggestive of reincarnation", "Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect", "Reincarnation and Biology", and the three volume set "Cases of the Reincarnation Type". Those who would rather have a shorter and more accessible introduction to Dr. Stevenson's work will find it in the excellent overview "Old Souls" by Tom Shroder. Numerous interesting cases of childhood spontaneous recall have also been independently documented by other researchers including Carol Bowman ("Children's Past Lives", "Return From Heaven") and H.N. Banerjee ("Lives Unlimited" and "Americans Who Have Been Reincarnated"). Another important source of reincarnation evidence is the work of such past life regressionists as Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Roger Woolger, and Dr. Raymond Moody, to mention but a few. These researchers have obtained results that are, for the most part, consistent with the cases of spontaneous recall of children. Notable cases in this category include the case of police Capt. Robert Snow, and the legendary, but still important case of Bridey Murphy. A third source is readings given by mediums and psychics. Some well respected psychics with proven reliability have been able to provide a great deal of quality information. Examples of these would include Edgar Cayce and Arthur Ford. Sources from religious traditions include stories of identification of the Dalai Lama and examples of identification of other reincarnated lamas and teachers in Tibetan Buddhism. The book "Reincarnation: The Boy Lama" by Vicki MacKenzie is an example of evidence collected during the search for the reincarnation of a prominent lama. The Tibetan Buddhists take reincarnation for granted but are still very particular about collecting detailed evidence before proclaiming that a certain child is indeed the reincarnation of a previous lama or teacher. This lends a certain amount of credibility to these accounts. And as is the case with all the most reliable sources, everything about the process of reincarnation revealed by these accounts is in close agreement with what is found in the cases of spontaneous childhood recall. While no single piece of evidence is particularly convincing on its own the sheer weight of corroborating evidence from a large number of independent sources strongly suggests that something interesting is taking place; something that warrants further study. In 1995 the skeptical scientist Carl Sagan wrote a book in which he debunked and blasted almost every conceivable new-age and paranormal claim. But in speaking of the very few claims that "deserve serious study" he included "... that young children sometimes report the details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation." [Carl Sagan, "The Demon Haunted World", page 302] Or as Dr. Stevenson has noted, there may not be enough evidence to prove reincarnation, but there is enough evidence to make believing in reincarnation a reasonable thing to do.