Old Souls by Tom Shroder



[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]

[This is an updated cover since it was released. Apparently their subtitles got the author/researchers in trouble which I explain below]

“A riveting firsthand account of one man’s mission to investigate and document some of the most astonishing phenomena of our time—children who speak of past life memory and reincarnation.”



So this was another thrift store find. I want to preface this that I found a bookmark in the book leftover from the person who read it before. The bookmark was a pamphlet for a convention for New Age/Holistic medicine and education. I died laughing.

It’s additionally amusing because the [original] subtitle of the book is/was: ‘The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives’ made me cackle in the middle of the book isle. It should also be noted that said subtitle has since been changed to ‘Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives.’

I also didn’t know when I threw this cart into my basket that this book was apparently first published in 1999. Kinda explains a lot about how outdated the psychology/psychiatry once I really got into the meat of the book.

Speaking of, checkout my copy’s cover:

Hardback even! It just kinda screams the 90’s.


Also, just to be up front: I’m not hating on reincarnation itself. It’s a fascinating subject and I’m always up for reading stories of people remembering supposed past lives. I don’t believe or disbelieve in it. It’d be cool if it was real, though. I’d want to come back as someone’s spoiled and well-taken-care-of lazy housecat, or a colossal alligator left to live out my days being ancient and undisturbed. But – It’s the ‘scientific’ evidence part of the original subtitle of the book that made me want to read the book really to see what they consider their ‘scientific’ research.

Ultimately, the book is about a journalist [the author] who meets with and joins on the research and adventures of Ian Stevenson, an aging psychologist-turned-parapsychologist who was concluding his research on reincarnation and past lives. Stevenson has been doing this for years and years, and was doing followups with previous interview-ee’s asking more information and those who know them/have witnessed their accounts of past lives, primary children.

The duo [and various rotating assistants] in the book visit three places; Beirut, India, and the US.

The author likes to go on rants about the environments. And by rants I mean racist microaggressions [and in some cases, not micro or subtle at all] about every other city outside of the US they went to. He was always exasperated in surprise when someone in another country knew English, and always always made sure to let you know when he was in a slum based on how he thought people were unscrupulous. Sure, this was written in the 90’s but the blatant racism-without-saying-a-slur was pretty bad, and was distracting in a lot of cases. Especially in India where he had to visit some slum/lower caste area and essentially called it the end of the world and would not shut up about the dung-useage there [as fuel, etc]. He went on and on and on and on.

Throughout the book, the lot of them go place to place for their interviews, interviewing different children [some that have grown since Stevenson’s last visit], their family, associates, and other witnesses to their claims of past lives. It’s a lot of back and forth between people and lots of travel in between. The interviews and some pictures were documented. In addition to that there’s a lot of conversation between the author/journalist and various other psychologists/psychiatrists/scientists/Stevenson sort of battling back and forth between if what they were documenting was truly ‘evidence’ or not.

Was this hokey af? In a lot of cases, yes. Check this out:


But at the very least the journalist/author appears to be mostly a skeptic throughout the majority of the book. But of course at the end, as expected, his skepticism starts to waver.

Of course, if you’re going into this book expecting ‘real’ evidence of reincarnation, you’re going to be disappointed. If you want to read about genuinely interesting and seemingly unexplainable coincidences that relate to reincarnation and past lives, you’l probably like this book. Myself? Meh.


I give Old Souls 2/5 Past Lives


“I, who have always felt mortality in my marrow, who has stared inward but never seen a ripple nor heard a whisper of any life but my own, who have seen people near me disappear into death with an awesome and unappealable finality and learned in my flesh, where it counts, that the only thing abiding is an unyielding sense of diminishment.”




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