Birthmarks Related to Past Life Wounds verified by Medical Records


Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) was a Canadian-born psychiatrist who was Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, USA for fifty years. He had a special interest in investigating the paranormal and was internationally known for his scientific research into the phenomenon of reincarnation. In particular, he made substantial efforts in interviewing and investigating children from various countries who could recall their past lives. He was the author of three hundred papers and fourteen books on reincarnation including his 2268-page two-volume book, Reincarnation and Biology: A contribution to the etiology of birthmarks and birth defects. He reported two hundred cases of birthmarks that corresponded to the wounds of the deceased person whose life the child purported to recall.

The four stories below are extracts of his research findings as described in Chapter 6, pp 43-46 of his book, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect, a shorter version of his research findings written for the general reader. Dr. Stevenson is well known for the scientific rigor of his research methodology and the cases captured on his files are recognized internationally as strong evidence for the existence of reincarnation. His successor, Dr. Jim Tucker is currently continuing with his research.

Case of Metin Köybaşi – Neck Pigmentation (Turkey)

Metin Köybaşi was born on 11th June 1963 in the village of Hatun Köy, near Iskenderun, Turkey. Even before his birth, he had been provisionally identified, on the basis of his parents’ dreams as the reincarnate of a relative (Haşim Köybaşi) who had been killed some five months before, during a post-election riot in the village.

At birth, Metin was noticed to have a birthmark on the right side of the front of his neck. It was a small area of increased pigmentation. No one ever told Dr. Stevenson as to what wound this birthmark corresponded. Nor did Dr. Stevenson know until he examined the postmortem report on Haşim Köybaşi. The report showed that the bullet which killed Haşim had entered his neck behind the left ear and almost exited on the right side of the front of the neck. It did not, however, fully penetrate the skin because the skin resistance stopped the bullet before it exited. The pathologist who did the post-mortem examination had made a small incision and extracted the bullet through the incision. The birthmark therefore corresponded to the pathologist’s postmortem wound. As for the bullet’s entry wound, Dr. Stevenson could see nothing distinctly corresponding to that behind Metin’s left ear. Nevertheless, he photographed the area and on the developed photograph, found a round area of increased pigmentation. He believed that this corresponded to the bulletentry wound and that he missed because of insufficient lighting when he examined Metin earlier.

Like many other children of such cases, Metin showed powerful attitudes of vengeance toward the man who had shot Haşim. He once tried to take his father’s gun and shoot this person, but was fortunately restrained. He later became more pacific.

Case of Tali Sowaid – Cheek Pigmentation (Lebanon)

Tali Sowaid was born in August 1965 in the tiny village of Btebyat in the mountains of Beirut, Lebanon. He had circular birthmarks of increased pigmentation on each cheek. 

Soon after Tali began to speak, he started talking about the life of a man who had lived in the village of Btechney, which is about 4 kilometers from Btebyat at the top of its valley. He described how the man had been having a cup of coffee before leaving for work when a man came up to him and shot him.

What Tali was describing corresponded exactly to the murder of a man called Said Abul-Hsin, who lived at Btechney. The assailant was a mentally unstable person who had mistaken Said for another man against whom he had a grudge. He came up to Said stealthily and shot him at close range. The bullet entered one side of Said’s face and exited at the other, traversing the tongue on the way. Said was taken to a hospital in Beirut and given emergency surgical treatment. As his tongue was dangerously swollen, it was necessary to make a hole surgically in his windpipe (tracheostomy) in order to allow him to breathe as a life-saving measure. Unfortunately Said fell out of bed; his tracheostomy tube became obstructed and he died. This incident of falling out of bed before dying was figured in Tali’s memories.

Dr. Stevenson was able to study the hospital record in this case. It showed that the birthmark on Tali’s left cheek, which was the smaller of the two, corresponded to the bullet entry wound in Said’s left cheek. Also, the larger birthmark on Tali’s right cheek corresponded to the exit wound on Said’s right cheek.

Tali’s family owned their modest house, but his father was poor. In contrast, Said had been prosperous, and his elegant house contrasted markedly with the humble dwelling of Tali’s family. Tali sometimes made invidious comparisons about the differences in the economic statuses of the two families. He identified strongly with Said and asked his family to call him “Said.” Of interest, Tali showed a difficulty in articulating properly and had special trouble in pronouncing certain “s” sounds, which require elevating the tongue. Dr. Stevenson interpreted this functional defect as a possible residue of the damage to Said’s tongue when the bullet passed through it.

Case of Alan Gamble – Birthmark on Palm and Wrist (Canada)

Alan Gamble, a Tsimshian, was born in Hartley Bay, British Columbia, Canada, on 5th February 1945. On the basis of a dream and two birthmarks, he was identified as the reincarnate of Walter Wilson, a near relative, who had died several years before Alan’s birth. 

Walter Wilson accompanied a friend, who owned a seine boat, when he went fishing off the coast of British Columbia. They were cruising near the shore when Walter noticed a mink running along near the water and decided to have a shot at it. The seine boat was towing a skiff, and Walter’s shotgun was in the skiff with the barrel pointing toward the bow. He picked it up by the muzzle, but it slipped; the butt hit a board, and the gun discharged. The shots entered Walter’s left hand, where he had just grasped the gun, and exited at the wrist. He bled profusely. His friend applied a crude tourniquet and turned the boat toward Prince Rupert, the closest town with a hospital. He was not, however, trained in first aid, and Prince Rupert was 10 hours away. The friend did not know to release the tourniquet intermittently, and when they finally arrived at Prince Rupert, Walter was unconscious with incipient gangrene of the arm. Antibiotics were not available then and there. In the hospital, doctors amputated Walter’s hand and part of his forearm, but despite this, Walter died in the hospital on 18th February 1942.

Walter’s friend, the owner of the seine boat, was grief-stricken over Walter’s death. He was greatly moved when Alan, as he began to speak, talked about Walter’s accidental death in a way that fully exonerated him. On one occasion, when Alan was still a young child, he reacted fearfully when he saw a shotgun shell. He did not, however, develop a phobia of guns, and in adulthood he hunted with a gun.

Alan’s two birthmarks were on his left hand and wrist. The smaller one (barely visible) was on the palm of the hand, and it corresponded to the entry-gunshot wound on Walter. The larger birthmark, which was much more prominent, was on the back of the wrist, and it corresponded to the exit-gunshot wound on Walter.

Case of Sunita Singh – Port-Wine Stain Chest and Arm (India)

Sunita Singh was born in the Mainpuri District of Uttar Pradesh, India, in August 1967. At birth she was found to have an extremely large birthmark of the port-wine stain type. It extended over her upper right chest and much of her right arm. In addition, she had three birthmarks on the lower part of her right neck and right upper chest. 

Sunita’s family did not understand her birthmarks until she was a few years old when she began to talk about a previous lifetime. Her grandmother happened to take her on a social visit to a neighboring village, where Sunita noticed a man and said: “He is my son.” She gave the man’s name as Ranvir. In addition, one of the women in this village seemed to frighten and terrify her. After this incident, Sunita described details of how she had lived in this particular village in a previous life. She even said she had been murdered there by her daughter-in-law.

Sunita’s statements referred to the life of a woman called Ram Dulari, who had lived with her son and daughter-in-law in the village where Sunita had become frightened. Ram’s son Ranvir, was often away and the daughter-in-law had affairs with other men during his absence. Ram Dulari came to know of it and openly expressed her disapproval. In revenge, the daughter-in-law hired professional killers, who broke into the house at night (simulated a burglary) and killed Ram Dulari with a sword. Although the police made no arrests after Ram Dulari’s murder, information and conjectures about it diffused into the surrounding villages, including Sunita’s. Sunita’s father thus knew everything that Sunita stated about the previous life. Her mother, however, came from another village and said that she knew nothing about Ram Dulari’s murder until Sunita began speaking about it. No one could imagine about Ram Dulari’s murder until Sunita began speaking about it. No one could imagine that Sunita’s parents would have encouraged her to identify with Ram Dulari.

Sunita showed a marked fear of Ram Dulari’s daughter-in-law when she happened to see her. It was the sight of this woman that had terrified her when she first went to Ram Dulari’s village. On another occasion of seeing this woman, Sunita, cowering with fear, told her grandmother: “She will kill me again.”

The postmortem report that Dr. Stevenson obtained showed a satisfactory correspondence between the sword wounds on Ram Dulari’s neck and chest and Sunita’s birthmarks. Ram Dulari’s body was not washed before it was cremated and Dr. Stevenson believed the port-wine stain birthmarks on Sunita’s chest and arm corresponded to the blood left on Ram Dulair’s body when it was cremated.


The cause of most birthmarks and birth defects are unknown. However, Dr. Stevenson’s research has shown that about 35% of children who remembered their past lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers. The birthmarks were usually areas of hairless, puckered skin; some were areas of little or no pigmentation; others were areas of increased pigmentation. The birth defects were nearly always of rare types. Dr. Stevenson used the criteria that if both the birthmark and wound were within an area of 10 square centimetres at the same anatomical location, then their correspondence was judged as satisfactory. Also, in his research he found little evidence to show that parents and other informants imposed a false identity on the child in order to explain the child’s birthmark or birth defect.

Further Reading

Ian Stevenson. Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Praeger Publishers, 1997.