Phenomenon of reincarnation still mystifies modern scientists

Clinical death is one of the biggest mysteries that modern science still cannot solve

Some people say they remember their previous lives and can describe what they saw and did when they were having other bodies hundreds or thousands of years ago.

Vladimir Zatovka, head of the reanimation department in the Kaliningrad regional hospital revealed many astonishing facts about life and death when journalists interviewed him several years ago. The experienced doctor believes that clinical death is one of the biggest mysteries that modern science still cannot solve. Indeed, patients who revive after clinical death say they get some mysterious information and learn new things. Journalists were slightly shocked to hear the doctor saying the soul actually exists and lives its individual life.

One of the doctor's patients, Irina Lakoba was in coma for about a month after she seriously suffered in a traffic accident. She recovered from coma and turned out to be quite a different person. Before the accident, the woman worked as an engineer at a large fish company for twenty years. But when she regained consciousness after the coma, the woman said she saw herself being a little girl standing on the bank of some south river and even began speaking some strange language. Experts from the philology department of the Kaliningrad University stated that was one of Swahili dialects. Later, the woman began composing verses in this dialect and even translated them into Russian, English and French, the languages that she had never learnt before the accident.

Shortly before Irina recovered from coma, the doctor talked to her husband. They met in a room two floors above the ward where the patient stayed. But when the woman recovered, she told precisely what both men were talking about during that meeting. What is more, she described things which she could not see and hear when she was in coma. She said she had seen and heard everything because she could walk about the hospital. At that, she said she was watching her body staying in bed and was shocked to see it was old and ugly. She said she was a little healthy girl while walking about the hospital.

This is real reincarnation, the doctor says. Followers of esoteric doctrines, Hinduists and Buddhists never hesitate that there is no death at all; they believe the soul reincarnates endlessly. But people brought up according to the Orthodox traditions and scientific atheism can hardly believe it is so. It was a couple of decades ago that reincarnation was considered a myth, but now it is forming a scientific conception that is winning an increasing number of supporters.

It took American reanimatologist Raymond Moody thirty years within which he wrote several books about the after-life phenomenon before he managed to convince majority of his readers that cardiac arrest and cessation of brain activity do not mean the end. Those patients who revived from the dead told the doctor similar stories about the light they saw at the end of a long tunnel, about dead relatives who came to tell about new life coming and about a better world. Moody and his followers collected thousands of evidence of this sort; all stories told by patients coincide in every particular detail, which means these stories cannot be a forgery.

The conclusions made by Moody give people some hope for immortality; but at the same time they have already won lots of opponents. Famous psychiatrist Stanislav Grof is the most competent critic of Moody's conclusions. He conducted experiments with those patients who revived after clinical death. During the experiment, Stanislav Grof arrived at a conclusion that the tunnel many people see during their clinical death is in fact an impression of a baby going through the long and narrow birth canal. Thus, the bright light they see at the end of the tunnel is in fact an obstetrics ward where babies are delivered. As it turned out, even people who never went through clinical death see the same tunnel when put under hypnosis.

Other opponents to Moody, physician Paul Kurtz, physiologist Jack Kowan and neurobiologist Elizabeth Clark state that the vision of a tunnel is produced with those parts of the dying cerebral cortex that controls vision. This happens because of oxygen deficit in dying cells; as a result, stimulation waves form concentric circles. We can see such circles after we dive and stay under water too long or hang with the head down. The dying consciousness sees the circles as forming a tunnel. Materialist researchers are sure that all the rest are fancies and dreams that people have in an unconscious state.

However, even these experts cannot explain why even patients whose brain no longer functions still see the tunnel, the bright light and dead relatives. Russian neurophysiologist Natalya Bekhtereva wrote about the thought and its origin in her works. She said that human brain is the greatest mystery, and it will take incredibly much time before scientists study it.

The lack of oxygen in tissues and organs is not the reason why people experiencing clinical death see their bodies lifeless on an operating table or in a reanimation ward and hear what doctors or other patients say.
Researcher from Holland Van Lommel studied the phenomenon while working with patients and arrived at a conclusion that dying people see visions at the moment when their central nervous system cuts off. This in its turn proves that consciousness is not a brain function. Doctors verified clinical death of one of Lommel's patients. A tube for mechanical ventilation of lungs was inserted into the patient's larynx. For that, the patient's denture was taken out. In an hour and a half, the man's heart started beating; in a week the patient came to his senses and asked to give him his denture. But doctors could not remember where they put the denture. Then, the patient said he saw where doctors had put the denture, as he was soaring above the body when the doctors were saving his life.

French woman Annel Besier living in Moscow says she can recollect her previous lives. She wrote a book about her previous reincarnations. Annel is sure that it is not necessary to die to experience reincarnation. The author does not remember the exact number of her reincarnations. According to the karma doctrine, each of us has had thousands of reincarnations, and our soul does not always reincarnate into the human body, it may also belong to an animal.

There are many people who remember their previous lives. Muscovite Olga Kuleshova, 37, knows perfectly well that before her birth 37 years ago she was a violinist living in England (she has partially retained the skills although she never learnt to play the violin). Before that, she served in the house of a rich magnate in India. Olga says that 200 years ago she was a concubine of a Turkish sultan and also that in Medieval Italy Michelangelo was her tutor in painting. Indeed, Olga can draw resembling the Michelangelo style and speaks the old Italian language (she says she never learnt the language). May this be true? There is no opportunity  to verify this.

Academician with the Russian Academy of Sciences Vlail Kaznacheyev says the reincarnation phenomenon is undoubted, as it has been given much confirmation. However, none of the hypotheses currently existing as concerning the issue can actually explain the phenomenon. Unfortunately, there is no scientific theory of reincarnation. 

But is not it better to be unaware of what is going to happen after we die? Nothing, immortality or endless reincarnation? Each of us hopes there is no end to life, but we never think that this eternity may be even worse than death. Academician Kaznacheyev is sure that life we are having now and here is the only undoubted wonder.

Natalia Leskova

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Author`s name Olga Savka