Archive for November, 2012

Does your child have past life memories?

Does your child have past life memories?
Posted by Jessica Jewett 5 Comments »

For parents, there is nothing more frightening, in paranormal terms, than a small child speaking of past lives and old families. Second only to children seeing ghosts, this kind of occurrence is incredibly difficult to understand, to cope with, and to overcome. Children who speak of “my family before” or “when I was big before” are often bullied by peers or even adult authority figures who simply don’t understand what’s happening to them.

The main reason why people dismiss past life claims by children is because children have naturally active imaginations. It can be incredibly difficult to discern the difference between an overactive imagination and genuine past life memories. Added to the complication is that a small child will never come out and directly say, “I’m having a past life memory,” or, “I’m the reincarnation of…” because it isn’t within a child’s vocabulary to articulate the difference between “normal” and “paranormal”. Small children simply haven’t yet been taught that the paranormal is, to society, a separate reality or a nonexistent fantasy. To children, their perception of reality is absolute. A memory of a past life can be as natural as a memory of yesterday’s lunch. Children have not yet been tainted by society’s repetitiveness that the paranormal isn’t real or should be met with fear and suspicion. Unfortunately, such ideas typically begin with exasperated parents who have no other way to cope with spontaneous past life memories in their children. If the child doesn’t learn to suppress quick enough, it often leads to punishment, which then leads to the child associating their experiences with doing something wrong.

The key to better communication with a child going through past life memories is understanding their reality. The next step is figuring out whether the child’s experiences are probably real or simply a product of an overactive imagination. Finally, the child must be led to a place of understanding in which they can come to terms with it, release it, and go on living here in the present as a child rather than an adult trapped in a child’s body, as often happens.

Parents and other adult authority figures need to primarily understand that it’s not their place to tell the child they’re either wrong or being dishonest when they allude to things they experienced in other lives. It’s no different than making a child feel wrong for reporting their encounters with ghosts. Whether or not the adult believes what’s happened is irrelevant because it’s a distinct reality to the child. Berating or punishing the child will lead to confusion, anger, detachment, and it will delay the healing process. According to Dr. Jim Tucker, the medical director of the University of Virginia’s Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic, approximately 70% of child past life cases are those of people who died of unnatural causes, i.e. trauma. Therefore, a child going through past life memories is quite likely to recall traumatic details of their previous existences, which should be treated delicately by the authority figures in their present lives. Forcing punishment for speaking about it has the potential to cause psychiatric damage. Many adults who were not supported as children in their experiences grow up to spend significant time taking medications for anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately whether the person having spontaneous memories is a child or an adult, the majority of memories that come to surface first are traumatic. Violence or emotional distress usually manifest in the dream state, causing nightmares that will linger in the afflicted individual for days, weeks, or months afterward. These nightmares are typically so vivid that the child will act out in their sleep by talking out loud or even physically acting out the dream. One of the more prominent examples of a child suffering through repeated past life nightmares was that of James Leininger, a child who endured vivid flashbacks of his past life as James Houston in World War II. Houston was killed while flying over the ocean near Japan, shot down by Japanese soldiers. His nightmares began at such a young age that he could not have been exposed to World War II or Japanese fighter pilots, yet his nightmares were so vivid that he seemed to physically fight for his life in his sleep. At first, his father was rather disbelieving and disapproving of his mother’s theory that it was a past life. The disbelief led Leininger’s father to do research in an effort to prove the boy was imagining everything. Instead, his research led them to prove every fact the boy offered was true from James Houston’s life. Acknowledging what happened and supporting their child in healing his past trauma allowed that part of him to heal and he no longer suffers from the paralyzing flashbacks. You may read about the Leininger reincarnation case in Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot.

In addition to vivid and repeating nightmares and dreams, the child is likely to exhibit signs of phobias connected to the way they died. Recently, there was a television show on Bio called Ghost Inside My Child that profiled reincarnation cases of three children, including James Leininger. Another child, Cade, was born with the thoughts and experiences of a man who was killed by falling out of the World Trade Center on 9/11. He endured such vivid memories that he could hardly function in normal society, including a paralyzing phobia of skyscrapers and an obsession with airplanes. Cade struggled with even getting out of the car in downtown locations, especially when surrounded by skyscrapers. The trauma has been so recent and he’s still so young that he’s struggling to overcome the nightmares and phobias, although his parents reported progress as he grows. Cade is a bit unique because he reincarnated quickly after being killed, making the memories much more vivid to him, as well as an apparent inability to accept the fact that he’s a child again. Overcoming the phobias may be much more difficult that overcoming the past life itself.

There must be a delicate balance in conversing with the child. It’s better not to bring it up unless the child does first because the child will be more likely to pull from imagination to fill in the gaps if they’re not readily available. When the child initiates a comment, ask questions that will not lead the child into false memories, nor indicate that what they’re remembering is abnormal. A parent’s role should, at first, be neutral in case it is an overactive imagination. Such questions will also assist the parent in discerning the difference between reality and fantasy. Begin by asking if the child knows his or her name from before and if he or she remembers any names from their other family. If there are positive responses, write them down, and ask if they remembered where they lived. Write down the responses. Wait a few weeks and then have the same conversation again when the opportunity arises. If the child gives identical answers after a lapsed time, there is probably a measure of reality involved. If the answers change or the child acts oblivious, it was probably some measure of fantasy. When the child is repeatedly offering up the same details over months or even years, a parent must accept the possibility that what the child says is the truth. Ask for details conversationally without making the child feel pressured to respond.

Reincarnation researcher, Nellie Kampmann, offers this advice:

When children have past life memories, that offers a unique window of opportunity to explore the phenomenon. If you aren’t sure that you want to pursue this, keep in mind that as children grow older, their past life memories fade. You may not get another opportunity. Likewise, your child may eventually have an interest in past lives when he or she is older. It would be very frustrating for your child to know that he or she could remember a past life clearly as a child, but no longer has access to the memories when he or she might be interested in them as an adult. As a parent, you don’t necessarily have to do anything with the information you get from your child. At least if you collect the memories now, the information is there if you or your child do want to look more into it in the future.

The best advice I’ve heard is to just discuss it with your child as if the memories were a normal, every day matter. That way, they are less likely to either clam up or go in the opposite direction and start making things up to keep mommy and daddy happy. If you can record your talks, great! Otherwise, write down notes as soon as you can so that you don’t forget anything.

As you receive information, attempt to find evidence of such people or events much like researching genealogy. is a good place to start if you’re lucky enough to have a name and location. Additionally, you may look into local historical societies, archival newspapers, or general Internet searches if the child describes details that might be confirmed with Google or other search engines. The reasons why researching the child’s claims are important are because you will be able to prove or disprove the claims as legitimate, and you will find a way to reassure the child that what they’ve experienced is true. It has been shown in numerous cases from both children and adults that being presented with tangible evidence of the past life has a soothing effect on the unsettled state of their subconscious minds. Quite often, seeing evidence of what happened with articles, pictures, and so forth, begins the healing process, although it is not entirely understood. Perhaps it has to do with giving the afflicted person confidence in themselves and their experiences. Perhaps it has to do with tangible proof for the subconscious that the life in question has truly ended and it’s time to release negative ties and devote full energy to living in the present.

If a parent has the ability to draw conclusions and make connections with the child’s claims, there may be a point when visiting the place where the last life ended is necessary. This has shown to be effective in the final stages of the healing process, as proven in the James Leininger case, and numerous other cases. Leininger’s parents took him to the place where Houston was shot down, where they conducted a memorial service and allowed the child to grieve for the traumatic ending he faced in World War II. Other cases have included a child visiting a former home in the UK, a child who was proven to be an extra in a 1930s Hollywood film and visited his old home, children who were previously killed in the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 visited the memorials for those tragedies, and many other cases. There appears to be a measure of psychological healing when the child is old enough to face the reality that the previous life has ended. When they’re allowed to properly grieve and process, they let go. The nightmares stop and they become more comfortable going through childhood again.

Small children with past lives may sometimes find that their previous family members are still alive. Sometimes connections are made but most of the time, parents protect the children from likely rejection. Deciding to come forward with a child’s past life isn’t easy and a lot of things must be considered. For example, the Leininger case involved a death that happened 60 or more years ago, allowing enough time to pass for James Houston’s family to have gone through the grieving process. Leininger had a relationship as a child with Houston’s sister, who felt the case was authentic. However, Cade’s case from 9/11 was so recent and horrifying that his mother chose to keep the identity of the past life a secret, for fear of interrupting the family’s grieving process. Cade himself appears to not be psychologically strong enough yet to meet the people he left behind just 11 years ago. Parents of children with obvious past life cases must primarily take into account the psychological and emotional ability of their child to undergo facing such tangible proof of their past lives. Secondly, they must take into account whether the previous life was too recent. Thirdly, the parent must realize the child cannot process putting to rest their previous lives until they are at a certain mental maturity. Most parents of children with past lives don’t allow them to revisit the old locations until roughly ages 8, 9, or 10 – or older if possible.

Above all, the process of going through a child’s past life memories should be with the ultimate goal of helping the child release those ties enough to function as happy and thriving individuals here in the present.

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Decorate your home for Christmas as the Victorians did

Decorate your home for Christmas as the Victorians did
Posted by Jessica Jewett 4 Comments »

This blog was originally posted on November 28, 2009, but I decided to repost it for this holiday season.

I sometimes wonder ever year when I tell people about how the people of the nineteenth century celebrated Christmas if they knew that some of their decorations were based in Pagan tradition. For example, any household of that time that could get it would put evergreen garland over their doorways and along their staircase banisters. Evergreens were a symbol of the renewal of life and were thought to bring good luck into the house, and hanging over the doorways was thought to ward off evil spirits in Pagan tradition. Holly was also used in the nineteenth century household for holiday decoration. All greenery would be adorned with berries, ribbon, wax, dough or metal ornaments and dried flowers. Pine cones were also scattered throughout the house.

The vast majority of Victorians could not afford to buy Christmas decorations and there wasn’t that much of a commercialized industry for it like there is today so most families made all of their decorations on their own. In this economic collapse we’re enduring now, I think it would be a better idea for people to take the time to make their own decorations rather than running out to Walmart to buy strings of fake berry garland or mass produced ornaments. The Victorians were about family and the value of putting work into an end result of which they could be proud and feel accomplishment. Doing some adapted crafts that the Victorians did can be a good way to spend time together as a family as well, a concept that has gotten lost in this modern society.

One easy, unique and money-saving decorating trick that the Victorians used was decorating pine cones and making ornaments out of them. You don’t have to buy pine cones. You can take your children out to a park to collect them for this project. I did this as a child and it made me feel good to know things I made were on display alongside the store bought things. You will need a roll of ribbon and glue (probably a hot glue gun for today) and if you want to put a modern twist, you can get glitter or red, green or gold paint. Cut a length of ribbon (I think I used about 12 inches per cone but if you like small bows, use less) and create a series of loops. This is really trial and error until you achieve the number and size of loops that you want. Use the glue to hold together the base of your bow and then glue your bow to the top of your pine cone. If you want to hang your pine cone somewhere, cut another length of ribbon, loop it and glue it into the decorative ribbon. You can also place these pine cones on fireplace mantles or dining tables without the hanging loop. If you would like your cone to glitter, get a glue stick and coat your cone in glue, and then sprinkle glitter over it.

Another Christmas craft that the Victorians did was making dough ornaments. They looked like cookies but they were not meant to be eaten. The recipe is easy as well. Mix 3 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of salt and 1-1/4 cups water. As you mix the ingredients together, take care that the dough should be very stiff. If the dough becomes sticky while you’re kneading it, add flour to it. Coat a rolling pin with a light dusting of flour and roll out the dough as you would if you were making sugar cookies. Then you use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you want for your ornaments. Popular shapes in the nineteenth century were angels, animals and children. You will also need to cut a hole in the top of each ornament so that you can pass ribbon through it later when you want to hang it. Once everything is cut out, bake your ornaments at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Do not start painting (most people today paint with acrylics) until the ornaments are completely cool. Lastly, poke a ribbon through the hole at the top and hang it on your tree or wherever you wish.

Another type of ornament that the Victorians liked to make were called Dresdens. These ornaments were meant to give the appearance of being metal but they were actually cardboard cutouts painted in metallic gold and silver. People don’t seem to make these very much anymore and I can’t find a picture of one but they were wildly popular in the nineteenth century. The easiest way to do it is find stencils or cookie cutters of Christmas shapes — again, the authentic way to go is angels, animals, children, fruit, etc. — and trace the shapes out onto heavy cardboard. Cut the shapes out (make sure you have a hole at the top for hanging ribbon) and use metallic paint to decorate your shapes. When I did this, I painted the whole ornament silver first, let it dry completely, and then I used gold for detail. If you have a bird, for example, the gold detail would be the eyes, feathers and accents as needed to give it a somewhat realistic look.

The early Victorian Christmas trees were not the monstrous floor-to-ceiling decorated within an inch of its life trees that we have today. As I said in the last blog with historic Christmas recipes, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert brought the obscure German tradition into all the rage in the 1840s. By the 1850s, most Americans adopted the tradition as well. An authentic Christmas tree of the 1850s and 1860s would have been small. There would have been a big round table in a visible place in the home and the tree would have been on the table. Instead of Christmas lights (no electricity), they lit their tree with candles on safe branches as to not start any accidental fires. Evergreen garlands were draped around the branches along with strings of popcorn and dried berries. The ornaments were a huge mix ranging from dolls to Dresdens to dough ornaments to dried flowers to real and false fruit to wax ornaments and so on. It was very popular to have little figures of children and jolly round-faced men peeking out from behind branches.

As the Industrial Revolution took hold after the Civil War, mass produced ornaments and decorations became more readily available. Families began abandoning the small trees on tables for the large floor-to-ceiling trees that we still use today. Glass ornaments increased in popularity as the century progressed and tinsel became more popular. Tinsel has actually been around since the 1600s from what my research shows but it was not very common on early American Christmas trees.

I hope you are able to take some of the ideas from our foremothers and forefathers to use in your holiday season this year. These activities not only save money over store bought decorations but they will give your home a very personal, unique look, and keep your children busy as well.

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A history of gingerbread (with recipes)

A history of gingerbread (with recipes)
Posted by Jessica Jewett 2 Comments »

This blog was originally posted on November 30, 2009, but I decided to repost it for this holiday season.

Gingerbread did not always signify the holidays and cookies iced to look like jolly little people. That’s actually a very small part of its history. Ginger was used in the ancient world for medicinal purposes, believed to settle upset stomachs as one example. The ancient Egyptians and the ancient Greeks both made an early form of gingerbread for ceremonial purposes.

It was the 11th century when ginger made its way to Europe. An early recipe had ingredients like ground almonds, stale breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar and ginger. The mixture formed a paste that was pressed into wooden molds. The shapes were used like stories to show the news of the times and molds could be made into the shapes of royal figures, religious symbols and so on. They decorated the cookies with gold paint that could be eaten or with white icing for poorer people.

Queen Elizabeth I brought the gingerbread man to popularity in the 16th century when she presented dignitaries with cookies made in their own images. The recipe evolved as well, replacing breadcrumbs with flour and adding eggs and other sweet things. People began tying ribbon on them and handing them out at fairs. They also exchanged gingerbread cookies as a showing of love for one another. Since there was no refrigeration in those days either, people used the strong scent of gingerbread to hide the nasty odor of meat going bad in homes.

Gingerbread houses originated in Germany when the Brothers Grimm released a book of fairy tales that included Hansel and Gretel. In the story, the children were lured into a house made of gingerbread. As Germans came to America, they brought the tradition of making gingerbread houses with them and it spread throughout the country as well as Britain. In some places, it became a tradition to make a gingerbread house for the Christmas season and then break it open and eat it for the new year.

Here are a few gingerbread recipes.

How to make a gingerbread house.
How to make gingerbread men.

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