The Journal of Religion and Psychical Research,
Vol. 28, Number 3, 126-136, July 2005.
(Republished online with permission from the Editor, Dr. Don Morse)
The Life Beyond:
Through the eyes of Children
who Claim to Remember Previous Lives
by Dr. Kirti Swaroop Rawat and Titus Rivas
Kirti Swaroop Rawat, PhD (phil.), MA (sociol.)
INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR REINCARNATION AND SURVIVAL RESEARCHES
69 A/2 Goyal Nagar Indore 452001
Titus Rivas, MA (phil.), MSc (psych.)
6533 RT Nijmegen
Reprint requests to Titus Rivas, email@example.com
THE LIFE BEYOND: Through the eyes of Children who claim to remember previous lives
by Kirti Swaroop Rawat and Titus Rivas
One of the earliest and best-known documented cases of children who claim to recall a past life, that of Shanti Devi (studied by K.S. Rawat), also includes statements about her experiences after death and before her reincarnation. A few more recent cases are discussed, including cases published by Dr. Ian Stevenson and several Dutch cases (studied by Titus Rivas).
The available literature seems to suggest that Near-Death Experiences could in more than one respect be confirmed by memories of an intermission period between two incarnations, and also by prebirth memories in general. The evidence in the field of survival studies appears to be convergent. For this reason, the authors stress the need for further research into possible memories of an afterlife among young children.
Key words: Near-Death Experiences, reincarnation, memories of an intermission period, prebirth, children
There have been various and varied approaches towards understanding life beyond death. These include intuitive or religious insights, logical or philosophical exercises and empirical or scientific studies (Ducasse, 1974; LeShan, 1974; Vivekananda, 1935). Parapsychologists or noetic scientists have tried to assess mediumistic communications, Death-Bed Visions and Near Death Experiences (NDEs) (Gauld, 1983; Barrett, 1926; Osis & Haraldsson, 1977; Moody, 1977a, 1977b; Holck, 1978; Sabom & Kreutziger, 1977a, 1977b; Sabom, 1971, 1982, 1998; Greyson, B. & Stevenson, I., 1980; Noyes, 1972, 1979; Ring, 1980; Lommel et al, 2001; Rivas, 2003b). In the present exploratory paper we attempt to put forward yet another approach, i.e. understanding life between death and reincarnation from the perspective of cases suggestive of reincarnation. Some children claim to have memories of an intermediate state between death and rebirth that appear to resemble Near-Death Experiences and it is our primary aim to draw more scholarly attention to this interesting assertion. We will also point to the existence of prebirth memories without conscious recollection of a previous life on earth.
In the 1930s when the idea of successive lives was not shared by the educated elite, the case of a 9-year-old girl Shanti Devi of Delhi attracted much public attention throughout India and soon its reports travelled far and wide in the entire world (Rawat, 1997). For the first time in history, a committee of fifteen persons, including journalists, was constituted to investigate the veracity of the statements made by the girl, claiming to be a Chouban (member of the Choubey family) of Mathura in her past life. Mathura, a town 145 kilometers from Delhi, never visited by the girl or her parents. Spiritualists and rationalists, scientists and laymen visited Delhi and Mathura either to investigate dispassionately or to support their religious beliefs or to entirely expose what they saw as a hoax. One such critic, Sture Lönnerstrand, came all the way down from Sweden to expose the 'fake' case. After completing his investigations he issued the statement: 'This is the only fully explained and proven case of reincarnation there has ever been.' (Hunt, 1971.)
Shanti Devi was born in a middle class family of Delhi on December 11, 1926. She was just like any other ordinary girl, excepting that till the age of four she did not speak much. From the age of four, when she started speaking, she ceased to be an ordinary girl and her behaviour changed a lot. She started talking about her 'husband' and 'children'. She would repeatedly describe her home and her husband's shop at Mathura. She said she was a Chouban (member of the Choubey family) of Mathura and her name was Lugdi. She would talk of the food and clothing she enjoyed in a former life. Her parents ignored her, but she persisted. Her parents got puzzled but she insisted on a visit to Mathura. For five years her parents tried to distract her mind but to no avail. At last, a sympathetic granduncle came to her aid. He asked her to give him the name and address of her 'husband' at Mathura. A friend, Lala Kishan Chand, wrote a letter to the address given by the girl. Soon a reply came, attesting that the statements of the girl were substantially correct. It was suggested that a relation of Choube Kedar Nath, Pt. (Pundit) Kanji Mal of Delhi might be allowed to interview the girl. An interview was accordingly arranged. Shanti Devi is reported to have correctly recognized Pt. Kanji Mal as the younger cousin of her alleged husband. She gave convincing answers to the questions put to her by Pt. Kanji Mal. 'After this conversation', he wrote, 'I was convinced that the girl was really my own relation, now personating in another body.' On November 13, 1935, Kedar Nath Choubey, along with his third wife (he had one prior to Lugdi) went to Shanti Devi's house in Delhi. Shanti Devi recognized her husband and expressed motherly affection towards her son Nitlal who was now her elder. She burst into tears and sobbed for about an hour. Late at night Kedar Nath Choubey took Shanti Devi in a separate room, and put her some intimate questions. He was satisfied by her answers and moved to tears.
Shanti Devi continued insisting on a visit to Mathura. She added many more details about her house and other events related to her former life. On November 24, 1935, she was taken to Mathura by the committee of fifteen eminent persons appointed on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi to investigate the veracity of the claim made by the girl. She was: 'kept under close observation and all her movements and remarks were carefully noted' by the committee. Shanti Devi is reported to have recognized a number of persons, answered all the queries put to her and spotted out the significant places connected with her past life.
In February 1936, Shri Bal Chand Nahata, a rationalist and staunch disbeliever, interrogated Shanti Devi and some related persons. He published his report in the form of a small booklet in Hindi entitled Punarjanma Ki Parayyalochana. He concludes his brief study by saying: 'Whatever material that has come before us, does not warrant us to conclude that Shanti Devi has 'former life recollections or that this cases proves reincarnation.' (Nahata, undated). Dr. Indra Sen (1938), an eminent philosopher, soon wrote a complete article in response to this book. In this, he wrote, 'It is strange to note that on such small material thus gathered he has confidently written the report and drawn the conclusion and published them in the form of a book.' Dr. Indra Sen had also made a close study of the case. He took Shanti Devi to Mathura and Brindaban and 'tested her memories on new points.' In April 1939 he secured the cooperation of a hypnotist and, 'attempted to get her recollection of her former life in a hypnotic state.' Dr. Sen wrote, 'I am confident that Shanti has certain memories which are not of 'here and now'.'
In July 1939 Mr. Sushil Bose interrogated Shanti Devi and her father in Delhi and Kedarnath Choube at Mathura. He has reported the interviews in complete details, but has not expressed his own opinion or comments about the case. Bose also interrogated Shanti about her experiences between her death in her former life and her reincarnation into the present one (Bose, 1952). We shall be coming to that soon.
In 1961 Dr. Ian Stevenson (1974a, 1974b, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1987) also studied the sources for this case. He writes that 'the accounts available to me indicate that Shanti Devi made at least 24 statements of her memories which matched the verified facts.' One of us, Dr. K.S.Rawat, interviewed Shanti Devi on February 3, 1986, and October 30, 1987. He had recorded his first interview with Shanti Devi on an audiocassette and the second and third meeting was recorded on a videocassette.
Shanti Devi about the Life Beyond
Shanti Devi's case is significant on various counts. But in the present context its importance lies in the fact that Shanti Devi narrated considerable details about the interval between the moment of Lugdi's death and her subsequent rebirth. Scores of articles, monographs and books relate these details, but we shall present them only from the sources we consider authentic. These are:
Mr. B.C Nahata's booklet. The report of the hypnotic test.A monograph by Sushil Bose.
Audio recording of the interview with Shanti Devi. Video recorded interview with Shanti Devi.
Mr. Nahata interrogated Shanti Devi on February 22, 1936. The relevant portions (translated from Hindi) are as follows:
Question: Tell us: what did you experience at the time of death?
Answer: Smoke. Three men wearing yellow clothes. I went with them till the Third plane. To the fourth I went alone.
Q: What did you see there?
A: There are saints (Sadhus) at all the three places.
Q: What did you see on the fourth place?
A: Krishanaji was sitting on a throne. (The suffix 'ji expresses veneration.)
Q: What else was there?
A: In front, there was a saint.
Q: Did he have any beard or long plaits of hair?
A: He had a white beard. There were many saints.
Q: What else were there?
A: Krishana ji had a paper in his hand and was reading from it.
Q: What was he reading?
A: I don't know about other thing, but I know he read out ' House Number 565
(The Number of the house Shanti Devi is residing these days is 565)
Q: What happened then?
A: I returned to a black cell.
Q: Were those three persons with you while returning?
Q: What was there on your way?
A: Staircases of Gold and silver.
Q: Did you remain hungry in the dark cell?
A: No, I didn't feel any hunger or thirst.
A hypnotic test was conducted on April 13 1936. The hypnotist was Mr. Jagdish Mitra. Dr. Indra Sen was present during the sitting. Prof. Begg took notes. The relevant portions from prof. Begg's report are as follows:
Girl: Lugdi is dead. Now Lugdi is getting up from her bed.
Hypnotist: Whether Lugdi is getting up or her soul? The body is already dead.
Girl: Yes, the body is on the bed. Her soul is getting up. Four men wearing yellow underwear are standing. They have thrones also. And there are three saints in blue, black and white clothes. (I must admit that this position of what Lugdi said was not clearly audible to me).
Girl: Now Lugdi has reached God. She had a chit [official document of an agreement] in hand. She is showing the chit to God. Bad people are crying' Hypnotist: What is Lugdi doing now?
Girl: Now Lugdi is coming down stairs of gold and silver now.
Mr. Sushil Bose interrogated Shanti Devi on July 25 and 26 1936. His monograph, entitled: A case of Reincarnation, was published in 1952 and is in English. Mr. Sushil Bose does not mention the language in which the interview was originally taken (presumably it was in Hindi, because Shanti Devi, whose mother tongue was Hindi, could not converse in any other language) nor do we know the manner in which Mr. Bose took notes of the interviews. The relevant portions from his monograph are as follows:
Question: Do you remember how you felt at the time of death?
Answer: Yes, Just before death I felt a profound darkness and after death I saw a dazzling light. Then and there I knew I had come out of my body in a vaporous form and that I was moving upwards'. I saw that four men in saffron robes had come to me' All the four seemed to be in their teens and their appearance and dress were very bright' They put me in a cup and carried me'. It was about nine or ten inches abroad and rectangular in shape'
Q: Did you not ask them any thing about the river?
A: When asked they said that those who aspired for a higher life sincerely, but who had committed fleshly wrong in this life, were dipped in the river before moving any higher. They took me' to the fourth place.
Q: Is there any place to live there at night?
A: No, there are no houses or dwelling places. All is open space. 'Arriving on the fourth place I saw that there are still more saints, brighter in appearance then those on the third plane. And in the midst of them, seated on a huge dazzling throne was lord Krishna [one of most popular Hindu gods]. He was showing each person a record of his activities on earth, good and bad, and accordingly what would be his condition in the future.
Q: What happened then?
A: Then those persons, who had carried me, took me to a place like a staircase where it was very bright. I was seated there.
Q: Is there any thing like darkness or light there?
A: No, nothing like light or darkness. It was all full of light. It was all day and light, very mild, and smoothing and enlivening light.
Q: Did you have a sense of time? Can you say how long you stayed there?
A: No, I can't say how long I remained there. I had no feeling of time.
Q: Did you feel there was any higher plane above the one where you were?
A: Yes, I observed and felt there was a higher place but I can't say thing about it.
I ' in the fourth plane, near the throne of Lord Krishna, I saw one with a long beard.
Q: What finally happened?
A: After remaining on the staircase for a long time I was taken to a dark room, from all sides of which a very bad smell was coming out. I was made to lie down in a clean place there.
Q: Did you feel any pain at the time of death? Did you see any thing at that time?
A: I did not feel any pain. I simply passed into a state of unconsciousness, and at that very moment I saw very brilliant light.
Along with Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Pasricha, Dr. Rawat interrogated Shanti Devi at her residence in Delhi on February 3, 1986. The interview was in English. The relevant portions are as follows:
Shanti Devi: Before my death, I saw dazzling light. '. Very dazzling. Four persons, very handsome boys, with large yellow garments. They came with a square shaped vessel and sort of roomal [handkerchief] or whatever you call it. All of a sudden, light came out from the body that I was and they put this light into that vessel and took me up, up and up'
Then again these four persons came and put me in the vessel. Then they descended me a very bright staircase and then I came in a cell-dark cell.
Dr. Rawat: Who was looking to your action in this life as Lugdi Lord Krishna or Chitragupta? ([In Hindu belief, the recorder of the vices and the virtues of men. Chitragupta is the judge who sends men to heaven or hell.]
Shanti Devi: Chitragupta.
Later, on October 30, 1987, when Dr.Rawat again interviewed Shanti Devi (this time, alone), she mentioned a river and the appearances of the souls present on the fourth plane, in addition to the various details she had given previously. This interview was recorded on a videocassette:
Shanti Devi: They took me up. There was a river. It was quite clean and pure like milk.
About the appearance of the souls she said: 'they were like flames in lamps.'
From the accounts given above, some salient features emerge:
No pain at the time of death.
Experience of profound darkness at the time of death.
Seeing a dazzling light.
Coming out of the (physical) body in vaporous form.
Coming of three or four young persons wearing saffron or yellow robbes.
Put in a square or rectangular vessel.
Feeling of going up and up.
Seeing an extremely beautiful garden on the way up.
Coming across a river.
Passing through three planes, ultimately taken to the fourth.
Absence of an open space on the fourth plane.
Absence of any sense of time at the fourth plane.
Presence of Saints on all the four planes.
Presence of a bright (Godly) entity on the fourth plane.
Reading of a review of the actions performed in earthy on the fourth plane.
Reading of a review of the actions performed in earthy life by this godly entity.
Put on a staircase of silver (and gold), which was very bright, for descending back, by the same persons who took her up.
Coming down to a dark cell
No feeling of hunger or thirst in the black cell.
Although in recent years a new wave of near death experiences has been stimulated by the publication of Dr. Raymond A Moody's books Life After Life and Reflections on Life after Life in 1977, persons in many cultures have related similar experiences over the centuries. Frederick H. Holck (1978) has found numerous examples of experiences similar to NDEs in religion and folklore. He discovered four similarities between the new wave of NDEs and previous reports:
The experience of leaving one's body accompanied by the sense of having a 'spiritual ' body.
A meeting or reunion with departed friends and ancestors.
An experience with a light of dazzling brightness.
Discovering a dividing line or border between both worlds of experience.
In the reports of Shanti Devi's narration we do not find any mention of a 'meeting or reunion with departed friends and ancestors', but we do come across her experience of leaving her body in a vaporous form, and of crossing 'this' world and ascending to the world 'beyond'. The experience of a 'light of dazzling brightness' has been stressed unambiguously. Her experience of 'Darkness' immediately after death may be compared with the experience of a 'dark tunnel' narrated by some subject having a close brush with death. Similarly, the return to the 'dark cell' before birth may signify entering the womb or the mother.
Unfortunately, very little, if any, additional information is found in the 561 cases suggestive of reincarnation in the files of Dr. Rawat, for wider exposure and comparison. Perhaps we need to be more vigilant when investigating cases suggestive of reincarnation.
Cases studied by Dr. Ian Stevenson
Dr. Ian Stevenson has found more recent cases of memories of an intermediate state or intermission period between lives, which include memories of an afterlife. In his Children who remember previous lives (1987) he says about these: 'The recall of intermediate terrestrial events occurs sporadically in the cases of all cultures,' p. 172. And 'Memories of this type are extremely rare in the cases of most cultures but frequently occur among the cases of Birma and Thailand,' p. 286.
About the content of these memories he states: 'The event of which the subject claims later to have knowledge is often the funeral or some features of the burial of the deceased person whose life he remembers,' p. 172. Some children claim that they stayed close to the place where they died and mention trees in which they would have dwelled. Some of them say they observed relatives or friends of the former life during their earthly affairs or followed their future mother to her house. In some of Stevenson's cases, such as that of Veer Singh (Stevenson, 1974b), there is even evidence of some type of communication after death with members of the previous or future family through announcing and departure dreams or apparitions, and even psychokinetic interactions with the physical world reminiscent of certain poltergeist accounts.
Here are a few examples of cases studied by Ian Stevenson that remind us of NDEs:
A Thai boy, Chanai Choomalaiwong (Stevenson, 1997, p. 313), recalled: 'I don't know who shot me, because he shot me from the back. I was not conscious when I died. Afterwards though, I felt my soul leaving the body. I could see myself lying on the ground. My legs were still twitching. My blood was running on the road.'
An Indian girl, Sunita Khandelwal (Stevenson, 1997, p. 484), stated: 'I went up. There was a baba (holy man) with a long beard. They checked my record and said: 'Send her back.' There are some rooms there. I have seen God's house. It's very nice. You do not know everything that is there.' On another occasion Sunita remarked: 'When I fell from a small height, I got a mark, but when I was thrown down from the great height [meaning from God's house] I got no mark.'
Another Indian girl, Santosh Sukla (Stevenson, 1997, p. 556), said that after dying she was taken by four persons to a river and was immersed in it. She cried, and then she was taken to a village where there were many fruit trees and gardens. There was a person there in yellow clothes sitting on a wooden bed. She sat down, against a pillar and remained [for some time]. There were many persons there, and they used to pick the fruit and eat them; but she just watched these persons. Then she was asked if she would eat; she accepted and they gave her some fruit. She remained there for a year and was reborn.
A Turkish boy, Celal Kapan, described events immediately after his death in the previous life, such as the transport of his body in an ambulance and a doctor pronouncing him dead. He also mentioned the washing of his dead body and its funeral. (Stevenson, 1997, p. 1703).
Ma Par, a Burmese girl, claimed to recall a life as a British airman whose plane crashed. She said that she had been buried together with the pilot of the crashed airplane. After her death she thought of her family in England and went to them. However, the 'King of Death' did not permit her to stay there and she returned to the country where she was killed, Burma. She went a second time to England, but was again pulled back to Burma and 'ordered to be reborn' (Stevenson, 1997, 1812).
Stevenson has found relatively few Indian cases with memories of an intermission period, and, as we mentioned above, this has also been the experience of Dr. Rawat. However, in Western countries such as Europe and the United States, cases might be more common (Rivas, 2003a, 2003c).
Peter and Mary Harrison mention several cases in their book Children that time forgot about British Cases of the Reincarnation Type. For instance, Nicola Wheater recalled that she fell asleep and died. After that, she saw God in Heaven. She described him as being very beautiful though she did not recall the clothes he was wearing. She added that he was much nicer than you can see on religious pictures.
Dutch theologian Joanne Klink (1994, 2004) describes similar cases in the Netherlands.
One example concerns an adopted 5-year-old Dutch girl who claims she used to live in France. She told her grandmother: 'I was with the angels in the sky and I looked down upon the earth. I saw you in the garden and have chosen you as my grandmother. I flew to the earth, walked into a house and looked around, ' pp.72-73.
One of us, Titus Rivas, also studied Dutch cases with intermission memories (Rivas, 2000, 2003a, 2003c, 2004). Here are a few examples.
Sietske, a Dutch girl, told her mother crying that she had dreamed that she had sat at the back of a motorcycle and was run over by a truck. She was put in a "bag" in the back of the car, and afterwards she was put in a "box.' Finally she was buried in the "garden.'
Kees (pseudonym), a Dutch boy who was already studied by Dr. Klink (1994, 2004), explained to his mother that when you die, an angel comes to take you to God, who was pure 'goodness', the 'Big Light' and 'humour.' It was very difficult to describe the other world. It did not fit on any slide and could not be drawn with crayons. He added that he had had his own spot near a beautiful blue waterfall, which streamed over and under a flower-bed, and there were wonderful fruits hanging from the trees nearby, which tasted better than all the mars bars and candy of the world taken together. Kees had not felt like reincarnating and resisted the angels who tried to convince him that it would be for his own good. They practically pushed him ' though they did so lovingly - back to earth, as it was time for him to get to work again. The angels told him: 'You know, when you go to earth, you will be accompanied by assistants.' He would be protected after he returned. The 'Big Light' told him: 'To make a good life is your own responsibility.' (Rivas, 1998, 2000, 2003a).
Christina (pseudonym), a Dutch girl, recalled a life that ended in a fire (Rivas, 2000, 2004). A lady in white told her that she had died and took her through the burning house. Christina was shown several possible mothers and asked to pick one of them. She chose a woman with blond hair who was typing at an office. The lady told her that in that case she had to wait a bit longer. The woman's appearance corresponded to that of her mother years before she got pregnant with Christina.
Recently, Western researchers like Sarah Hinze and Elisabeth Hallett and webmasters such as Michael and Toni Maguire have realized that memories of an intermediate state may also occur without conscious recollections of a previous life. Usually, such memories are termed 'Prebirth Experiences' or 'memories of a spiritual pre-existence.' Although some may question the value of popular sources outside the peer-reviewed scholarly literature, we should not overlook their heuristic value.
For instance, Toni Maguire claims that as an infant she recalled 'buildings and fields. I remembered guides and angels. I would lie around and think about what had been arranged for my life and what I had to do. I specifically recalled standing in front of a huge, white book in heaven. The book was very thick with pages and all the pages had gold trim around the edges. The book sat on a white, marble bookstand or maybe I could describe it as a church pulpit. Light shined out of the book and pulpit the same as it did out of everything else I remembered seeing in heaven. The book lay open as I approached and stood directly in front of it. I noticed the pages were blank. I was taken to it by a guide who stood to my left and gave me some directions about how to proceed. "Look into the pages." my guide instructed. I then looked down at the pages and the blank sheets began to display parts of my future life on earth. I watched as if it was a movie being played for me. As another life change was about to occur the page would turn again and begin the next part of my life in movie form on that page. I saw a little accident at my grandparents barn where I took a fall and many other things.' (Spiritual Pre-Existence, www.prebirthexperience.com).
Titus Rivas (2003c) and his colleague Anny Dirven found several Dutch cases of a spiritual pre-existence. In the summer of 2003, they were approached by Mrs. Henny van Sleeuwen from Rosmalen with claimed prebirth memories as a child, which she would still retain as an adult:
'I was in a big white room with a white bed. I was lying in the bed and was very ill. I don't know what was wrong with me. I couldn't move any part of my body except for my eyes. Next to my bed there was a nun watching over me. She wore white clothing and a nun's hood. Like the ones nuns used to wear. Everything was white and bright. On the other side of my bed there was a door. The door opened and a young woman or girl, about 18 years old, looked inside and entered the room for a little while. She was about 1,60 m tall and slim and she had dark blond curly hair, a brown coat with large buttons and a small pair of spectacles. The nun lifted up my head, so that I could look better at the woman, and after doing so, I said: 'Yes, this is the woman I want to have for my mum'.
Suddenly I was waiting somewhere and it took quite a long time before I heard or saw anything. There was some kind of long cylinder in front of me. I was ready to go to a new life, but I had to wait to get permission, probably from God, though I'm not sure. There was an all-embracing, invisible voice that could be felt as some sort of energy. This voice was the 'boss'. It said: 'Are you sure you can deal with it?' 'Yes, I can', and I nodded my head confidently. Once more, the Voice asked me: 'Are you completely certain?' Yes, I said, and nodded again. Nothing happened yet. A few moments later, the Voice said: 'Are you absolutely sure that you can deal with that?' I probably thought about what they showed me of the life I'm having now, though I can't remember what exactly I was shown. Again, I told him: 'Yes, I'm certain, I can handle it'. I suppose that I knew what I had to face in this life, though as a child I had already forgotten.
In this life, when I was about 7 years I told all this to my mother and she said: 'I really had such a coat, camel-coloured with very large buttons and long curly dark blond hair, and a pair of small spectacles, when I was about 18.' So she recognized everything and I normally couldn't have known any of this.'
Henny also told that her life has been very tough, especially because of a handicapped father whose condition has been deteriorating over the years and also because she lost her mother at an early age.
One of the main trumps of survival research is that its data clearly seem to be convergent (Stevenson (1987, 1997). Dr. Joanne Klink (2004) formulates this as follows: 'It is very remarkable, that these messages from children correspond with messages from persons who had Near-Death Experiences, and were clinically dead,' p.30. Along with investigations of deathbed visions, mediumistic communications, and NDEs, the study of cases suggestive of reincarnation and of .prebirth memories in general may also be fruitful in understanding the life beyond. Therefore, we think it will be worthwile to further develop investigations of memories of an afterlife or pre-existence in young children.
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We wish to thank Esteban Rivas, Anny Dirven and Bruce Greyson for their comments on the manuscript of this paper. We also thank Don Morse for its publication.