A gifted Dutch-Jewish girl with an American background, S. of Amsterdam, spontaneously recalled two previous lives and two intermission periods between lives when she was about three years old. Part 2.
II. Intermediate state between the life during the Holocaust and the present incarnation S. seems to have had memories of two earthly incarnations and
also memories of two intermission periods (MIPS) between such a life
and the next incarnation. Concerning the intermediate state between her life during the
Shoah and the present life in which she is known as S., she stated
that (in another world) there were various 'villages' (sic). Of a few
of those villages she mentioned the name. Originally these were five
villages which apparently had a Hebrew name, and one village with a
Yiddish name. These locations were called respectively: Kfar-El,
Ha-Bina, Na'iva, K'vananot Midierot, Yachasim Kvanim, and Adenberg.
Apparently, Kfar-El was the most important village, becaus Ha-Bina and
Na'iva were part of this place. When S. came to Kfar-El, a lot of
other Jews also arrived there. She stated that all of them had been
killed by the 'hunters'. L. identified Kfar-El through her knowledge
of modern Ivrit as 'village of God', although she had never heard this
word in Israel. S. was the first who used this word in her presence.
About Ha-Bina and Na'iva, S. stated that all spiritual beings
came from Ha-Bina. It may seem that spiritual beings came from Na'iva
because of the ('topographical') location of this place. Ha-Bina is
something of a scary place because it is located in another solar
system (sic). There is also a planet that is called Ha-Bina (sic). The
spiritual beings speak a different language, a language nobody on earth
knows. The spiritual beings try to contact us and they can do so by
'focussing' (sic). They keep their hands up and look between their
fingers to see us.
In Hebrew, Yachasim means something like relations or contacts.
Several sources told me kvanim (plural of kavanah) would mean
intention, devotion or goal. According to my own information, kvanim
has a kabbalistic meaning, namely sacred intentions which accompany the
kabbalistic thoughts during the mere fulfillment of precepts or prayer
(Please note that apart from a few words, I personally have no
knowledge of Hebrew and welcome any corrections. My very limited
knowledge is derived from information on websites). However, I have
also found that the usual plural would be kavanot (rather than
k'vananot). Midierot reminds one of the word Medurot or Midurot, which
means bonfires, including bonfires in a religious context.
The word "Na'iva" could not be traced by L., though an
association with the English word 'naive' can hardly be suppressed.
There is also a name Hebrew Nativa which occurs in combination with a
As I soon found out myself that "Ha-Bina" is identical to the
Hebrew word "Binah", one of the manifestations of God according to
Kabbalah, I decided to place a call on a Kabbalah Forum on the Internet
for interpretations of these statements made by S. about an
intermission period. The person who called himself Simon the Yid, responded to this
call writing among other things that according to the Kaballah just as
there are many different towns, villages and countries in this word
there are also many towns, villages and countries in the next world.
Everything we know down here, also exists up there. He also stressed
that Ha Binah means "the understanding", and interestingly enough it
would often refer to the next world. Simon the Yid also connects what
S. says about the "good spiritual beings" and kabbalistic views on
the destiny of the victims of the Holocaust after their death. He told
me that according to Kabbalah if somebody dies destructive angels
appear to torture the soul because of the sins he has committed, but
that there also are exceptions, for example if the person in question
was just, if he showed remorse or if he had done one or more great
things in his life. In such cases he will have angels created (sic)
through his good deeds who will protect him against the destructive
angels. By the way, S.'s memories of words or images that
indicate a link to the Kabbalah naturally should not be confused with
an infallible knowledge (or proof) of Kabbalistic doctrines.
Then, S. also mentioned the place Adenberg which she located in
Warsaw which would mean -if we take Simon the Yid seriously on this
point- in the Warsaw at another side parallel to the earthly Warsaw.
This was a place to write things down about the living. If we apply my
hypothesis about Warsaw as a word for Poland, this might mean that in
the earthly Poland there had been a place called Adenberg. However, until now I have not been able to find this name. It is
well known on the other hand that Eastern European Jewish "shtetl"s
(village communities) normally had both a Slavic and at the same time a
Yiddish name and it is therefore well imaginable that a village which
nowadays only has a Polish name before the Holocaust also used to have
a Yiddish name. For this reason I have tried to find out if there is a
Yiddish word that sounds like Adenberg (or Edenberg, as L. used the
English spelling when she wrote down what S. said about this). I
searched the Internet which led to the following results: A list of Polish-Yiddish surnames included the names "Ajdenberg",
"Eidenberg" and "Ejdenberg". L. herself also sees a symbolical link
with the bible, "Aden" or "Eden" referring to the Garden of Eden,
referred to by the prophet Ezechiel as Mount Eden. But even in that
case the connection to authentic Yiddish (or German) words can hardly
More recent additions Intrigued by the remarkable correspondences between S.'s
statements about another world between her former and present
incarnation, I decided to ask her some additional questions about this
topic. The main additions supplied by S. in 1998 are: - Concerning the word "Adonai" (Lord). S. saw this as just a
word but added that the one who is meant by it sometimes watches over
people. "Some people have seen him. I don't believe I have seen him. He
owns a certain magic." If she dreams about the other world, the dreams are very "real", "as if I'm there."
- S. mentioned yet another Hebrew name of a place, namely "V'anim
Ka'im". This was a very well known royal house, where a lot of people
came to eat. There was a kind of a dining table with about 40 chairs.
The interior of the house looked very big, but the exterior was very
small. Because people came to eat there, you thought that it was a
place to eat. Because people came to eat there through the ages and
probably still do. You did not have to go there, but people who could
not find food went there. They were more or less "taken care of". It
was a very big house with a medieval shape and with a kind of fore and
hind yard, but not really, they were at a place where people discussed
things. Some people thought that the house was haunted, because in the
past people had lived in it and they had died very young. S. thought
that they were buried under the house. That's why they thought the
house was haunted. Until now I have not been able to find any specific
links with Kabbalistic legends or traditions. On the other hand,
sharing a meal is a well-known tradition for christians referring to
the Last Supper, which in turn is directly related to the Jewish
Pesach-Celebration. In the Judeo-Christian tradition (and in other
traditions as well by the way) there is a clear connection between
sharing a meal and participating in spiritual rituals. The hungry could
in this respect be considered as souls craving for spiritual
The hereafter and spirits In 1998, S. had some problems with sleeping in her own bed. She
told L. why: "There are spirits who come to me and who try to take
me with them. They are jealous because I have made it. I think that
they are evil spirits. These spirits get the chance of coming back, but
they may only stay alive until they're born or until they are a few
years old. They have to do this several times."
L. explained her that if these spirits were strong enough, they
would have taken her with them when she was still very young, but
because S. was so strong, they could not do so. L. told S. was
ten times stronger than all those spirits taken together. This solved
the problem for her, and one of their cats, Shaz, slept with her from
that time onwards to protect her. Also, L. would beat the spirits up
(sic) if they would try to hurt S.. She felt better after that and
kept one cat with her to protect her during the night. During the first half of 1998, L. wrote to me that she had the
feeling that the ghosts or spirits bothered her less and less, though
sometimes she did seem to be attacked again. It was as if they had
decided that they were not going to give up and that they would try to
attack her again. About this life S. states: "Kfar El chose us (sic) to choose
the planet where we wanted to go and that is why we are here. With 'us'
I mean the people from Kfar El and maybe even Jewish people."
Discussion Here, S. implicitly presents something of a karma-theory about
"evil spirits". As we have seen, these spirits would get a chance to
come back, but they are only allowed to stay alive until their birth or
until they are a few years old. They had to do this a few times. We can formulate two hypotheses about this statement, assuming
that it is more than just fantasy. Either it concerns a doctrine or
interpretation by S. that can be related to her possible kabbalistic
past or she is referring to a fact. Unfortunately, on the basis of
these data alone we cannot determine which hypothesis applies here. To
be able to do so we need to get a corroboration (or falsification) of
S.'s statements about this point by comparable statements of other
children who remember previous lives.
III. Possible life during the reign of the Spanish Inquisition From the very beginning that L. and I got in touch with each
other, I knew that S. had not only talked about the Holocaust but
also about a life in what she called "Macchu Picchu", in the high and
low pampas (sic). She claimed that she had been choked to death and
that she had been 60 years when she died in 1638. L. told me that the first statement about a previous life made by S. was a statement about this life.
When S. was about two years old she was playing with the cats in
the living room. One of these cats was called Banz. S. went into the
kitchen where L. was standing and she said without any apparent
reason: "Banz used to say Macchu Picchu." As L. looked at her, S.
repeated: "Banz used to say Macchu Picchu". L. thought: "How on
earth can she know anything about Macchu Picchu?". L. states that
there was another occasion on which Macchu Picchu layed an important
role. She had noted hat S. did not want to pull a sweater or t-shirt
over her head and she asked her why. S. told her she had been
strangled in Macchu Picchu and she showed her how, by pressing her
hands and her thumbs on her adam's apple. L. asked her how old she
had been and she answered "60 years". L. asked her if she wanted to
act as if he was a turtle and this is how the problem was solved. About the circumstances of her death S. also told L. that there had been "beams" against the ceiling in Macchu Picchu.
To be honest, at first I paid little attention to these statements
about Macchu Picchu, as I thought that they were probably based on
fantasy. This was motivated also by two major errors that the
statements seemed to contain:
(1) "Macchu Picchu" (or rather the ruin known by that name that was
found at this geographical location) was only discovered in the 20th
century. (2) There are no pampas in Peru, but only in Argentina, or so I thought.
Such considerations made me less interested in these statements
than in S.'s story about experiences during the Shoah. My attitude
was changed however when I thought about a place in the afterlife that
according to S. had been located in "Macchu Picchu", meaning that it
was connected to this earthly place. Just as in the case of Warsaw,
S. had mentioned a name that was connected to a period she had
experienced after her life in "Macchu Picchu". The name in question
sounded as "Rilliyanta", English spelling. There was a woman called
"Rilliyanta dela Salamon", or at least this is what L. had
understood. In that other world Rilliyanta dela Salamon wrote down
things for Jews and Christians, according to S.. This strange name immediately reminded me of a well-known
medieval manual for magicians called in Spanish "Claviculas de
Salomon", which literally means "Little keys of Solomon" and is
-probably erroneously- attributed to the biblical king Solomon. By the
way, the Sephardic Jews used both Salamon and Salomon as (equivalent)
That's why I concentrated on the word Rilliyanta. I concluded that if
there existed a Spanish word that sounded like what L. had written
down as rilliyanta it would have been releyenta or releyente.
Releyenta de la Salomon? After I reconstructed the word that was written down as
"rilliyanta", I realized that if my reconstruction was going to make
any sense, something between "de la" and "Salamon" had been omitted by
S., as "la" is a feminine article and Salomon is a masculine noun in
Spanish. The omitted word would in that case have to be a feminine
noun. This could be something like "clavicula", but this word is
usually used in the plural, so it does not seem probable. It seems more
plausible that it would be something like the Spanish word "sabiduriďŋ˝a",
meaning wisdom. For Jews and Christians, Solomon is the main biblical
representative of wisdom. But what about "releyenta" or "releyente" then? For someone who
knows Spanish like myself the word reminds you of "leyente", which
means reader, derived from the Spanish verb "leer"(to read). Is there a
verb "releer"? Yes there is, and it is a normal verb which can mean "to
reread", "to read again", "to read over" or "to reread aloud". It is
important to realize that "releyente" can be logically derived from
"releer", just like "leyente" from "leer", but the word does not appear
in any of the dictionaries that I have consulted at the department of
Spanish Linguistics and Literature at the University Library of the
Catholic University of Nijmegen. This means that it can be excluded
with a high degree of probability that L., let alone S. herself,
got acquainted with this word through normal means! The main linguistic
authority in the Spanish speaking world, the so called Real Academia
Espańola confirmed that the derivation of releyente from the verb
"releer" is grammatically correct (in July 2002). In March 2005 the
word was used on an Argentinian website in Spanish and also here, i.e. completely independently from S.'s case. In 2012, it was used by a native Spanish speaker (incidentally also from Argentina) on her Facebook page, in a relevant sense.
S. mentions the registration of things for Jews and Christians.
The word "releyenta/e" precisely indicates someone who is (silently or
aloud) rereading things that have been written down. Besides, she
claims that she had been choked to death and this clearly has to be
related to "releyenta/e de la Salomon". If we start from the plausible
hypothesis that it is something to do with "heretical", occult or
mystical practices, we have to see whether there has been a well-known
occult or mystical tradition of a historical or symbolical woman who is
reading something over or rereading something aloud that is connected
to the wisdom of Solomon. I was unaware of any historical woman that
would fulfill these conditions and I have not come across any such
woman in books about the history of occult and esoterical currents. Seen as a symbol, the image of the "releyenta/e de la (sabidurĂa
de) SalomĂģn" turned out to be a lot more meaningful than I had guessed.
The image of a woman reading a book or scroll of wisdom reminded me of
the Highpriestess of the contemporary Tarot, sometimes called the
Popess. This is because the High Priestess is often depicted with a
book or scrole on her lap and within the whole tradition of the Tarot
she symbolized some kind of higher or intuitive wisdom. According to
some sources, this card also corresponds to the concept of the Holy
Spirit, or Shekhina, who is female within Jewish tradition. Within
certain interpretations, the book on her lap is seen as a symbol of
what the theosophists call the "Akasha-cronicles", in which everybody's
actions would be written down, as in a Book of Life. Searching for an even more direct link between "releyenta de la
SalomĂģn" and the image of the Highpriestess I stumbled upon the so
called Rider-Waite version of the Tarot. In this Tarot the
Highpriestess is depicted sitting between two pillars with the Torah on
her lap. On the two pillars we read the names of "Boaz" and "Jachin".
These names are none other than the names of the pillars which
according to tradition stood at the entrance of the temple of Solomon.
They also play a part in the occult movement of Freemasonry (that was
founded only in 1727, but which did have predecessors such as the
Rosicrucians and before them the Templarians) who saw the temple of
Solomon as a symbol of a building of supernatural quality. It was in a
literal or symbolical sense the dream of Western occultists, such as
the Freemasons I had just mentioned, to reconstruct this temple. In the
literal sense there are some extremist Israelis who want to do the same
today, at the expense of the Mosque built on the (possible) remnants of
Furthermore, "Boaz" and "Jachin" are sometimes called "the pillars
of Kabbalah". This can even be interpreted in such a way that the whole
card of the Highpriestess may be seen as a symbol of Kabbalah itself.
Kabbalah is sometimes defined as "the Esoteric Understanding of the
Torah", lying on the lap of the Rider-Waite version of the
Highpriestess. The late Dr. Willem Zuidema, author of a book about the Kabbalah,
called me after I had completed this reconstruction saying that in the
historical temple of Solomon there had been a "forecourt" for women.
The wife of the Highpriest of the temple, was also called
Highpriestess. Thus, the link with some versions of the Tarot had
become very strong indeed. Furthermore, according to Zuidema, the
connection with the temple indicates that S. in this life would have
been related to the tribe of the so called Kohanim, i.e. Jewish
priests. The offspring of this tribe can still be recognized by names
such Cohen, Kahn or Kuhn.
This reconstruction may seem far-fetched to some, and possibly even
"kabbalistic" (in the pejorative sense of this word), but in my view
the correspondences can hardly be ascribed to nothing more than mere
coincidence. How is it possible for an English-speaking girl of about
three to make up a name which apparently shows such a strong connection
to the symbolism of the Highpriestess as found in some versions of the
Tarot? A critic of the case of S. has recently stated that the
specific symbolism displayed in the Rider-Waite Tarot is very recent.
Therefore, it can never have been used during the 17th Century.
However, even if this true (and it is not at all obvious that it is, as
the Tarot may have been influenced by occult symbolism from the
beginning) my reference to the Tarot is not a goal in itself. I just
use it to show that the image of the "Rilliyanta dela Salamon" used by
S. may be connected to traditional symbolism shown in some versions
of the Tarot and inspired by the Kabbalah. If nothing else, that alone
is quite remarkable.
Addition from October 2007 Roman Gruijters MA is an expert on Jewish traditions. He comments on the symbolism of a woman who's re-reading a holy scripture as follows: "Within Jewish tradition, it is common practice to re-read a handwritten Tanach/Thora scrole, meant for worship service in the synagogue. The Torah is so sacred that as soon as one single letter or iota is misplaced, the whole Torah scrole ought to be destroyed and burnt. The synagogue is desacrated whenever such an error is made. [Compare: Matot: The Importance of Re-Reading Torah By Rabbi Richard Hirsh].
Within Jewish mysticism, Sophia represents the female aspect of G'd. It leads back to biblical scriptures, more specifically to Jewish and early Christian wisdom literature, such as Solomon's Wisdom. Apart from a male image of God we also see the figure of Lady Sophia emerge, as a personification of God's wisdom (Hebrew: Chokma, Greek: Sophia). Although Sophia is not pictured as a goddess next to the biblical God JHWH - otherwise she would amount to a challenge to Judeo-Christian monotheism - the influence of surrounding cults of female deities cannot be denied.
This might also explain the use of a feminine form in relation to the re-reading of the Wisdom of Solomon."
Peru? My next step involved localizing the possible strangling of S. in
a Spanish-speaking country. The highlands seem to indicate the Andes
and as in the case of Warsaw it seems that she may have encountered the
name in this (or even her previous) life and used it as a suitable
label for old memories. If we allow such an interpretation, we will
admit it is plausible that it involves a country such as Peru, or at
any rate a country in the Andes. Have there been any executions of Jews
in the Seventeenth Century, presumably by the Spanish Inquisition? I
was led to ask this question by S.'s declaration that Rilliyanta was
writing things down for Jews and Christians and by her reference to
Solomon. After all if she was referring to indigenous people such as
the Incas, why should she have mentioned Jews? By the way, it is known
that the indigenous victims of the persecution of the Catholic
conquistadores have sometimes compared themselves with Jews and vice
versa. Pizarro had the Inca Atahualpa strangled in 1533.
Much to my (partly unpleasant) surprise it turned out that there had
indeed been executions of Jewish convicts in the 17th Century. The same
advisor I had consulted in the case of 'Warsaw', historian Pieter van
Wezel, found out that according to a Jewish encyclopedia in January of
1639 there was a mass execution of 10 Jews through burning. To be more
precise, this concerned a so called auto-da-fe of 23rd January 1639 in
which no less than 63 Jews were condemned, ten of whom to the stake.
One of them was called Manuel Bautista PĂĐrez, known to have been the
richest man in Peru of that period, and after his death the Inquisition
confiscated nothing short of the equivalent of one million US dollars.
Another of the victims was Francisco Maldonado de Silva, a surgeon,
poet and philosopher who before his execution had been incarcerated in
a dungeon for more than 12 years. This type of trials usually aimed at people who were found guilty
of "judaizante" practices, which means at Jews who despite their
outward conversion to Catholicism secretly stuck to their own faith and
sometimes even did their best to propagate it among other people. More specific information about the Inquisition in Lima is
supplied by an article that is quoted by an internet-site from Peru,
having originally appeared in "Revista Signos de Vida, no. 3, March
1997", pages 34 and 35. Through this article we find out that the
Inquisition at Lima was already created by King Philip II in 1569 and
that it became operative in 1570. An enormous area was dominated by the
sphere of influence of this Inquisition, comprising what is now Peru,
Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. About 1500 persons
were convicted in Lima, although most of them were only condemned to
pay a fine or to say prayers, etc. During the centuries the Holy
Inquisition was active at Lima only 32 death penalties were issued,
among which there were 16 cases in which the prisoner was to be burnt
at the stake, and 16 cases of "garrote" or strangling pole, used before
the victim's body would be burnt anyway. It is therefore well
conceivable that if S.'s memories really refer to this period and
setting, she is alluding to the execution of a Jew who was first
strangled after which his or her body was burnt at the stake. According
to Robbins, in several countries the "humane" usage of the garrote in
combination with burning was common (Robbins, 1981, p. 179).
Reconstruction If we add all this up, we get the impression that S. may have
recalled a life during the 17th Century as a Jewish woman or (perhaps
more plausibly) man who was in some way aware of the Kabbalah and who
was executed on behalf of the Holy Inquisition at Lima. Of course this
is a matter of reconstruction, and not of solid proof, but I think such
speculative reconstruction may to a certain extent be defended as long
as we accept that there is already sufficient evidence for the
reincarnation hypothesis for classical Stevensonian solved Cases of the
What about the beams at the ceiling, which S. had described as
something connected to her death? Is she perhaps describing her own
house, or what seems more likely, the building in which she was
convicted or executed? I happen to know that beams are widely used in
Spanish architecture. This was also the case in the period we are
talking about here. There are many public buildings which have wooden
beams at the ceiling, such as the aula of the ancient University of
Possible links between S.'s account about Macchu Picchu and the historical persecution of Jews in Peru 1. Macchu Picchu.
Just like in the case of Warsaw this word may be something she had
encountered either in this life or in a former incarnation and that she
has associated with Peru as a pars pro toto. 2. S. mentions "pampas".
These turned out -against my own expectations- to exist in Peru as
well. Pampa is a quechua word which means 'treeless plain' in all of
South-America. There even are several places in Peru which bear a name
including the word pampa. In the Netherlands 'pampa' is almost
exclusively associated with Argentina (and the gauchos). 3. She was killed in 1638. In January of 1639, one month
after the year 1638 there was a mass execution of Jews. It is well
conceivable that all of the prisoners were arrested in 1638 or before. 4. Releyenta/e de la Salomon. These words (as I have
reconstructed them) and the traditions which clearly seem to be linked
to it can, in my view, safely be regarded as completely unknown to
L.. 5. For Jews and Christians. In those days non-Jewish occult systems had adopted Kabbalistic elements in their doctrines, such as that of the Rosicrucians.
6. She was strangled. This may in principle be linked to the
mass execution of 1639, as strangulation via the garrote was an
official means of execution in half of the death penalties at Lima.
7. Beams against the ceiling. Plausible for Spanish buildings
from the 17th Century.
In 2002 I discovered a picture at the site of the Museum of the
Peruvian Inquisition, of the so called "Sala de Audiencias" which shows
beams at the ceiling.
Despite these remarkable connections, my reconstruction might still be partly or even totally wrong and I am well aware of this.
I certainly would not want to claim that my reconstruction is
infallible. There may be a better interpretation of her remarks, for
example that it refers to a murder rather than an execution or that it
concerns an Amerindian person connected somehow to the culture that
built Macchu Picchu. However, I do believe the reconstruction does
in itself deserve to be taken quite seriously. That is also the reason
why I have limited myself to this possible reconstruction of this part
of S.'s claimed memories in my summary of the case in my Dutch book
on reincarnation research (Rivas, 2000). Unless we want to be
closed-minded 'skeptics', it is in my view not at all 'obvious' that
this interpretation is wrong. All in all, we may safely conclude
that her remarks can in principle certainly be rationally interpreted
as being statements about memories rather than just fantasies.
IV. General discussion The case of S. is not exactly one of the most transparant "Cases of the Reincarnation Type" ever.
Nevertheless, we can firmly exclude fraud in this case. L.
-, S.'s mother, is the main source of data in the
case and it is clear that she has not made them up for the sake of
publicity. S.'s "Book" already existed years before there had been
any kind of scholarly investigation into S.'s memories. If L. had
been looking for publicity she would have actively sought contact with
journalists or researchers and she would not have waited until I
happened to get in touch with her.
An interpretation which at first sight seems to be a lot more
plausible is that L. did not commit any conscious fraud but that she
was "guilty" nonetheless of a type of self-deception. In that case,
S.'s statements would have directly or indirectly derived from L.
herself. She would have misquoted her daughter in many respects or she
would have unconsciously given her information that S. would have
"spontaneously" presented later on. What seems to corroborate this
hypothesis is that both L. and her husband E. have Jewish roots and
both of them also feel related to the victims of the Shoah. L. had
also read about the concept of reincarnation through the works of Edgar
Cayce. Even so, we have more arguments against than in favour of this
second "skeptical" hypothesis. More than anything, it does not explain
the obvious "errors" in S.'s story, especially her mentioning Warsaw
or Macchu Picchu. Why should L., if she would have been looking for
a miracle that would convince herself, also have written down the first
word (Warsaw), whereas as an educated Jewish woman she knew that there
had not been any gas chambers in Warsaw so that S. could not have
been gassed there in her previous life?
Strangely enough it is precisely such an error combined with the
symbolic language used by S. that makes the hypothesis very
implausible for me. If L. wanted to deceive herself (and her
environment), she probably would have made up a much more "earthy",
less symbolical story without any such strange errors in it. Besides,
in her notes about the statements S. made concerning the house she
would have lived in, L. herself writes: '9 stories (apparently
incorrect)'. This constitutes written evidence for the fact that she
was aware of apparent errors in S.'s story. Apart from this, we also have the testimony of Pauli Hofmeester
which shows that S. really did make spontaneous and relevant remarks
about what she experienced as a previous life. Skeptics might wish to
hold that all the incorrect statements were indeed spontaneous remarks
made by S., but that the correct statements (for example the
Kabbalistic names for places in the afterlife) were created by L.
herself. However, Pauli Hofmeester's testimony cannot be reconciled
with this hypothesis. Also, it would require us to believe that L.
was not 'hallucinating' correct statements from her daughter whenever
S. would say something which appeared to be wrong. Apart from the
purely speculative nature of ascribing hallucinations to L. (we have
no evidence for her doing so) this clearly seems to ask too much from
anyone's imagination. Therefore, it seems obvious that S. was indeed talking about what she herself experienced as a previous life, and L. simply appears to have recorded all of her statements, i.e. both the 'incorrect' and 'correct' ones.
A third skeptical hypothesis reads that L. would indeed
conscientiously have written down everything S. had told her, but
that S. herself had unconsciously assimilated information about the
past made available to her, and used that information for the
fabrication of a fantastic story about a period before she had been
born. However, there are certain elements in the story as a whole which
in my view cannot be satisfactorily explained by this so called
'cryptomnesia'- hypothesis, such as: (1) How can a girl of about three, how ever gifted she may be,
associate the Holocaust with hunters of people, if we must assume that
neither of these phenomena were known to her in this life? For
instance, it is very unlikely that her parents would not have taken
precautions to prevent her from seeing graphic images of man hunts
during the Shoah.
(2) S. could not normally know anything about women doing the
laundry at the Oude Schans. If this had been common knowledge all
along, Pauli would never been struck by statements about it.
(3) The same can be said for the strangely adequate Hebrew terms
S. used when referring to the hereafter. Although L. does speak
Ivrit, this can hardly be said of S.. How then can S. be expected
to use such specific words in a relevant manner without having heard
any of them from her parents? Some of the words such as Ha Binah
were even unknown to L. -they were identified through my own
investigations- and their usage seems esoterical, quite far removed
from everyday modern Hebrew. Besides, several of these words are used
in a way which is consistent with Kabbalistic doctrines which were
obviously never taught to S. in this life when she used the words.
(4) We can also safely exclude a normal hypothesis for the
relevant term 'releyenta' or 'releyente' reconstructed by myself, i.e.
as long as we take my reconstruction seriously.
This means, in my view, that we have to look at parapsychological hypotheses for the case of S.:
(1) Telepathy As L. and everybody else within S.'s immediate environment
were unaware of the accuracy of the correctness and relevance of
certain statements of S. we can exclude telepathy as a hypothesis for
the paranormal elements within her statements.
(2) Clairvoyance The first problem with the hypothesis of clairvoyance in this case
is that S. did not just utter a few facts about somebody's life, but
that she also clearly identifies with the life in question. In the case
of "Macchu Picchu", in other words the possible Peruvian life, this was
linked to a fear of choking.
A morbid interest for pathology and genetics can be related to the
more recent possible life during the Holocaust. The same may be said of
her fears of physicians and of men in general. Furthermore, we have no reason to believe that S. possesses any
special paranormal gifts outside her memories of the two lives and the
Finally, it seems very implausible that S. would get impressions
of two arbitrary lives that would not be related to herself or to each
other and that she would even add stories about an intermediate state
between lives which in themselves cannot be explained as mere fantasy.
(3) Reincarnation This is in my opinion the most plausible hypothesis for this case
as a whole. It explains all the paranormal elements in the story,
including those elements that seem related to the intermission period,
and also its behavioural aspects. Also, the case shows the same pattern
as the classic Cases of the Reincarnation Type in young children which
can be found all over the world.
I certainly don't claim that S.'s case amounts to the best
evidence for reincarnation ever found. But I do believe that the
reincarnation hypothesis which is supported by a hard core of solved "paranormal" cases
studied by Ian Stevenson, Erlendur Haraldsson, K.S. Rawat, Jamuna
Prasad, Hernani Guimaraes Andrade and others, is applicable to this
fascinating unsolved Western case. Therefore, I consider the "errors"
and fragmentary elements in S.'s story as distortions of real
memories, rather than as mere fantasies. My interpretation might
obviously have been different if S.'s case were the only case of
possible reincarnation memories or if it had had a clearly deviant
structure. The reader should note that this standpoint of mine does not
depend on my specific interpretation of her statements in a historical
Conclusions about the case of S. The case of S. seems to come down to a gifted girl with
recollections of two real past lives, during the Holocaust and possibly
also during the reign of the Spanish Inquisition. In her possible life
in Peru she seems to have -implicitly or explicitly- been acquainted to
ideas related to the Kabbalah.
In this life she also shows a great sensitivity for symbolism,
that corresponds to her possible Kabbalistic past. At least one of her
poems shows an association with the Tarot, or with occultism in
"And moonlight bathed the ground
And water was filled with
mystery all around",
This is a poem that her mother wrote down when she was only 4,
namely on June 30th 1995. It reminds one of the moon goddess Diana, who
in the Tarot can also be represented by the Highpriestess. Diana was
the "goddess" of many witches and heretics. The moon is a symbol for
the hidden, the occult and indeed for "mystery". On the card of the
Moon of that same Tarot we can also see water.
Pieter van Wezel found an even closer link with the Highpriestess.
The Highpriestess can be a symbol of the Moon as the icon of wisdom and
the female element. She understands things in the dark, whereas the
Magician (first card of the Great Arcanum) stands in the daylight.
According to the well-known Kabbalistic treatise Zohar the full moon is
a symbol of wisdom, Pieter told me. In flamenco, an art form which can be seen as the result of an ancient fusion of Gypsy, Moorish, Christian, as well as Jewish (Sephardic) traditions, there still are mysterious references to the moon. The famous 19th-Century flamenco-singer El Planeta used to
sing a siguiriyas from which he would have derived his nickname:
A la luna le pido,
la del alto sielo,
como le pido que saque a mi pare
de'onde esta preso
I beg the moon
In the high sky
That she frees my father
S. is not the only person with possibly veridical memories of a
life during the reign of the Spanish Inquisition. The in my view best
case presented so far within the literature about reincarnation
regression therapy, studied by Linda Tarazi (1990; 1996), also involved
someone who fell a victim to it. There is another link to the Cathars,
who according to some would also regularly recall their past lives,
although there will probably be a lot of fantasy cases among these
We can try to explain this in two different ways that do not
necessarily exclude each other. S. may remember the life in "Macchu
Picchu" because of its horrible ending. She may also have had a strong
mind, trained in the Kabbalah or the Talmud. This would correspond to
the fact that a number of veridical memories of previous lives refer to
lives of people with a religious orientation.
Important implications of the case of S. This case seems to have some important implications.
(1) It seems to confirm that a subject can remember two past lives.
Another case is that of Swarnlata Mishra, studied by Ian Stevenson
(Stevenson, 1970). (2) It appears to show that there can be thematic relations
between lives, that remind one of the concept of "karma" (Rivas, 1998):
The recollections may refer to two Jewish past lives, and in
S.'s present life she is once more born as a Jewish girl. If we take
her memories seriously and interpret Rilliyanta della Salamon as a
reference to symbolism relevant to Jews, this would mean that S.
might already have incarnated into a Jewish context for at least three
times. This certainly could not be ascribed to mere coincidence.
There is a connection between two lives in Amsterdam. This
geographical aspect has been described before by Stevenson as many of
his cases occur at a relatively small distance from the location where
the previous life ended. However, there is a considerable distance
between the Andes and Amsterdam, which indicates that this geographical
factor does not hold in every case. There is a connection between the life ended in "Warsaw" and experiences of L. herself that seem to refer to the Holocaust.
Finally there appears to be an intellectual link - consisting of
the elements related to the Kaballah - between her possible life in
Peru, her memories of another world after both previous lives, and
(3) It seems to confirm that children can have specific memories
of an intermediate state in a hereafter after death and before a
reincarnation, also known as memories of an intermission period or MIPS
(Rivas, 1998; Harrison & Harrison, 1995). (4) The description of another world contained various concepts
from the Kaballah and mentions several places, among which a place for
"Jewish and Christians", which may confirm a spiritualistic hypothesis
that states that the way we experience the "other side" is strongly
determined by the subject's own images and concepts of it, and that
spirits with a similar "wave-length", i.e. a similar mental or
conceptual background, could meet each other there. (5) L.'s announcing dream about a gir who would be born in a
particular house seems to confirm the possibility that women can dream
about souls that will reincarnate with them even before their
pregnancy. (6) L.'s dream about a kind of a committee seems to
corroborate that souls have a say in the choice of the circumstances of
their next life.
(7) This also seems to show that mothers are not only able to have
"announcing dreams" about their (future) children but apparently also
to dream about the moment on which a soul takes a decision about its
next life. (8) Finally, S.'s giftedness confirms that there is a positive
correlation between psychological development and memories of past
lives in young children (Haraldsson, 1997).
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This article is part of a series of reports called "Papers of Athanasia", 2001, issue 1.
A summary of the case of S. is included in my book Parapsychologisch onderzoek naar reincarnatie en leven na de dood, published in 2000 by Ankh-Hermes at Deventer.
Channel 4 included this case in a documentary about reincarnation produced in 2000: Children's Past Lives by L. Granditer and K. Babington.
OHM (Organisatie voor Hindoe Media) broadcasting station dedicated part of a radio programme to this case.