This post is about twins with past life memories. There are some interesting things to say about them. One thing is that in all cases we know about where the previous identities of both twins are known, the previous persons had known each other. Another is that monozygotic or identical twins may differ physically and behaviorally from each other but consistent with the people whose lives they recall.
Ian Stevenson studied 36 pairs of twins, one or both of whom recalled previous lives. With 26 of these pairs, he determined the previous identities for both twins, and of these cases there was a familial relationship between the previous persons in 19 cases and they had been friends or acquaintances in the other 7.
The familial and acquaintance relationships were of various types. Gillian and Jennifer Pollock recalled the lives of their elder sisters (not twins), who had been killed at the same time. Ramoo and Rajoo Sharma recalled having been twins before in another family, in another village. A pair of girls recalled the lives of their grandparents, so one had changed sex. A pair of boys included one twin who had been a wealthy woman farmer and the other a man who had sold her grain. Both twins changed sex, from male to female, in another case, of friends who had been homosexual lovers.
The twins in these cases typically behave as their previous persons did, even when they are monozygotic (single-egg, identical) twins. They also behave toward each other as the previous persons did, and this is sometimes very striking. Gillian acted towards Jennifer as an older sister would, and Jennifer was correspondingly dependent on Gillian. Jennifer, whose previous person had been only 5 years old when she was killed, also held pencils in her fist to write, as her deceased sister had done, whereas Gillian wrote normally.
Monozygotic twins may also be physically different, in line with their previous persons. These differences between monozygotic twins are very important, because they suggest something beyond genetics and environment are influencing them. Stevenson devoted a chapter to twins in Reincarnation and Biology for that reason, and he also discusses twins at length in Children Who Remember Previous Lives.
I want to leave the topic of similarities and differences, though, and take up something else very interesting and important in the twin cases, and that is the implication that the twins had gotten together after death and decided to reborn together. It is hard to see how else to interpret the fact that in all cases where both previous persons are identified, they knew each other. These cases provide the only evidence I know of that suggests that we may meet each other and make decisions together about where we are reborn.
There is a case in which the previous persons may not have known each other, the case of Alexandrina Samona. Alexandrina was identified as the return of her elder sister and she told her mother in a mediumistic séance that she had met someone in the discarnate state and would be bringing her with her as a twin. However, she did not identify her, Alexandrina did not talk about this after she was born, and her twin said nothing about remembering a previous life, so we do not know who she was before, or whether or not they had been acquainted previously.
Stevenson did not learn of any cases in which two previous persons decided before they died that they would be reborn together, and I do not know of one described by anyone else. However, Stevenson mentions a case in which a girl said that she met a village friend in the discarnate state, and they had decided to be reborn together. This is similar to Alexandrina Samona, except that one of the twins recalled acting during the intermission and the twins’ mother had an announcing dream in which the same intention was mentioned.
Besides suggesting that we can meet and recognize each other and make plans together in the discarnate state before rebirth these cases suggest that the decision to become twins is something intentional. The previous persons do not need to have died at the same time or even near the same time. Gillian and Jennifer recalled the lives of sisters who had been killed together, but this is unusual. More commonly the two previous persons died days or longer apart from each other, sometimes in different places, yet managed to find each other.
At the same time, people who die together are not always reborn together. Stevenson has Turkish cases of a man and his wife who were killed at their home on the same night, together with their two children, but reincarnated independently. In this case, the reincarnation of the husband would have liked to have gotten to know the reincarnation of his wife again, but she was not interested, and that attitude on her part may have been a factor here.
Also, although all our cases suggest that the twinning was intentional, in tribal societies like the Tlingit, it is said to be the result of two spirits fighting over one body. I know of no of no reported cases of this happening, though.
Above all, the twin cases show the importance of psychological factors in reincarnation. As we see in other cases, there is no evidence of a force greater than ourselves that determines where we are reborn—or with whom. And they suggest that maybe we can make other sorts of pacts with each other, for instance to be reborn near to each other so that we can more easily encounter each other again. However, I know of no cases of this sort. The twin cases are the only ones that describe meeting spirits and coordinating rebirth. If there are such things as group reincarnations planned in advance, they have so far eluded us, and I think it is more likely that the same psychic links that make it possible for us to find each other in death make it possible for us to find each other in life.
There is something else of theoretical importance that I want to mention before I close, and that behavioral and physical differences between monozygotic twins sometimes show up where neither twin recalls a past life. The classic example like this is the “original” Siamese (conjoined) twins, Chang and Eng, who were very different. What this implies very clearly is that there can be reincarnation without past life memory, so it would be hazardous to assume that people who do not have past life memories have not lived before. For all we know, we have all had previous lives, whether we remember them or not.
This post appeared previously in my Signs of Reincarnation Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/965923533422836/permalink/1220370054644848/