The enigma of what happens to us after death is perhaps life's greatest mystery. After all, even as we push out to explore every corner of our globe and even the cosmos itself, this is an area which we are largely in the dark about, our knowledge of the realms beyond the veil of death just as murky as it has always been. One prominent theory on what becomes of us is that what we call a soul is recycled back into the world of the living in a new guise, in a process called reincarnation. Such cases are numerous, but among these are some that are even more curious than most. One question that seems to be rarely discussed is that of what if someone who died violently and had their life prematurely taken from them could return to find their killer? Here we will take a look into some cases in which the wronged victims of murder have managed to come back into the fold of life, to finger and even confront their killers from another life.
In 1958, a Turkish man by the name of Selim Fesli was working his field near his village of Hatun Köy, but failed to return home that day. His worried family went out to search for him and found him lying on the ground out in his field writhing in pain and with shotgun wounds riddling his body, one of them apparently having blown half of his ear off, the pellets lodged in his head. He was dying, but managed to indicate that his attacker had been someone from his village, although he was unable to say a name. Fesli would be brought to a hospital and die from his injuries six days later without being able to concisely state the identity of who had murdered him. Police launched an investigation and found a village man named Isa Dirbekli, who under questioning admitted that he had accidentally shot Fesli while out hunting but had left the scene in fear that the man’s sons would enact revenge against him. The court would find it all to have been an unfortunate accident, despite the fact that the victim had been shot a total of six times, and Dirbekli would be sentenced to just 2 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. This would seem to have been the end of the whole thing, but things were about to get very bizarre, indeed.
Fesli’s father never did buy that it was a simple accident, but never had any hard evidence to prove his theory that his son had been murdered in cold blood. At the same time, a woman in the neighboring village of Sarkonak was late in her pregnancy with a son she planned to name Semih. Before the birth, she allegedly had a vividly life-like dream in which a man with a face covered in blood entered her room, with the stranger calling himself Selim Fesli, the same one who had been murdered and who she had never met or even heard of before. Fesli told her in this bizarre dream that he had been killed and shot in the right ear, and that he meant to return to the land of the living. The woman had no idea what any of this meant, and was confused, only later finding out about the murder when she told her husband about the dream.
Fast forward to the birth of the child, Semih, who was strangely born with a deformed right ear. Even weirder was when as a toddler the child began to hate being called Semih, and insisted on being called Selim Fesli. How could this be? As the boy grew, he seemed to have memories of the murdered man, and began telling his mother that it had been no accident, that he had been murdered in his past life and that he could prove it. When he was just 4 years old he allegedly ran away from home to find his way to Hatun Köy, and actually found the house of Selim Fesli from his purported past life memory, telling Selim’s widow who he was and that he had returned. When he proceeded to tell her about memories and private matters that only her dead husband could know, as well as calling his daughter and sons by their correct names, she became convince that the boy was telling the truth. He then bid them farewell and returned to his own home in his present life.
Semih’s parents were apparently incensed by what he had done, forbidding him from going to Hatun Köy again, but the boy would frequently sneak out to return to his past family, much to his father’s chagrin. His past family always treated him as if he was the long-lost Selim, and even neighbors were convinced he had returned from the dead in the body of this young boy. As these visits went on, Semih told them that his death had been no accident, and that he had been murdered by Isa Dirbekli over a dispute. According to him, Isa had been angry about Selim’s donkey wandering into his vineyard, an argument had ensued, and Isa had grabbed his shotgun to shoot him as he took a nap. He also expressed his intention to take revenge against his past life murderer.
Semih tracked down Isa, who was now out of prison and selling bottles of Schnapps as a travelling salesman, and the boy would pelt him with rocks and call him a murderer, proclaiming that as soon as he was old enough he was going to exact his deserved revenge. Isa, who had by this time heard the rumors that this young boy was the angry reincarnation of Selim, became very afraid, yet when asked about Semih’s claims he stuck by his story that it had all been a hunting accident, denying everything. After all, who was really going to seriously believe the boy’s stories? Semih would grow, and when he was 18 years old he went about his plot to kill Isa, but finally had his mind changed when a close friend explained that if he were to do so it would enact a cycle by which Isa would be reborn to get revenge on him and begin a cycle that could last over the course of generations, possibly for eternity. This seems to have dulled Semih’s flaming desire for revenge, finally allowing him to forgive the past and live his new life.
The case of Selim Fesli was first chronicled by a Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was a leading researcher for the University of Virginia School of Medicine on the topic of reincarnation, and would later be covered as a case study by Trutz Hardo, one of Germany’s leading regression therapists, in his 2005 book Children Who Have Lived Before: Reincarnation Today. The case is interesting in that it combines vivid memories of a past life remembered by a young child of places he had never been to and people he had never met, as well as a physical remnant of the past life death in the form of the deformed ear. Stevenson believed that those who are reincarnated often display physical signs such as birthmarks that mirror how they died in their past life, which he documented over a range of cases and which Hardo also studied.
Another case demonstrating this was a case originally investigated by Israeli physician and past-life researcher Eli Lasch, and which Hardo covered in the same book, this time revolving around a 3-year-old boy from Golan Heights, near Syria. Born into the Druse ethnic group, he came into the world with a long, red birthmark upon his forehead, and as soon as he was old enough to talk he one day matter-of-factly stated that the mark was from when he had been killed by an axe blow to the head. He told his parents where he had once lived, describing it in great detail, and they were actually able to find it. Locals claimed that the man who the boy claimed to be had vanished 4 years previously, without any trace of what had become of him. For his part, the boy told them that he had not simply disappeared, but had in fact been murdered, and that he could actually point out who had done it.
After giving the name of the alleged killer, he was confronted but denied it all, even as his face lost all color and he became noticeably frightened. Seeing as merely questioning the killer was doing no good, the boy then told authorities that he would do one better and bring them to where his body had been unceremoniously buried in the wilderness. He then purportedly took them to an isolated spot, where they unearthed the remains of the murdered man, which bore a gruesome axe wound which corresponded exactly to the spot of the boy’s strange long birthmark. The boy even led them to where the murder weapon had been discarded, and this was enough to compel the killer to admit to the crime, a reincarnated victim actually managing to solve his killing in a past life. Considering that Hardo never gives any specific names and dates, this story is highly anecdotal, but very intriguing nevertheless.
Another case comes to us from December of 1983, when a boy by the name of Titu Singh was born near Agra, India. As soon as he was able to talk, he insisted that his name was Suresh Verma, and that he had two children of his own and a wife named Uma. He would constantly describe his neighborhood from his past life, explaining that his family ran a radio shop and begging his parents to take him there. More spookily, he claimed that he had been shot and killed by two men in his previous iteration, and would explain in great detail what had happened to him. According to Titu, one night he had gone to his home in his car, and as he was waiting for his wife to open the gate two men had come rushing out of the gloom to shoot him in the head, with one of them a local business man he named as Sedick Johaadien.
It was all pretty bonkers, and although his parents didn’t really buy it, Titu’s older brother did his own investigation and found that there really was a radio store that had been owned by a Suresh Verma. The brother asked the shop about Suresh Verma, after which they explained how he had been shot and killed some years before, just as Titu had described. The brother told them that his younger brother was claiming to be the reincarnated Suresh, and they advised he visit the widow Uma. The widow was entranced by the story, as the murder of her husband had never been solved, so she insisted on meeting the boy herself. Titu’s older brother then offered to take her and her children to see him and it would get stranger still.
Upon arriving at the home, Titu was overjoyed, hugging them and talking to them as if he had known them for years. He knew all sorts of details of their life, which baffled and startled his past family. It was all enough that they were convinced that Titu was telling the truth, as were his own parents, and so they arranged to take him to his old home. As a test, they requested that Titu show the way to the radio shop, a test he passed with flying colors, despite having never been to Agra before, at least in this life. To make it all the more bizarre, when Titu’s head was examined by a Professor Chatdah from the University of Delhi, it was found that he had a dent on the right side of his head, as well as a star-shaped scar on the other side of the head, exactly how a bullet might enter and exit the skull. When Titu told police the name of his supposed murderer, he apparently was so stunned that he confessed and was imprisoned.
What are we to make of such astounding cases? Is there any truth to them, or can they be explained away through mundane reasons? Did these souls really recycle back to earth to confront their killers in a past life? It is certainly intriguing to think about, that one might come back to solve their own death, and it further serves to stoke the discussion on what truly happens to us after we die, if anything. We may never have the answers we seek, but stories such as these serve to keep us guessing and thinking, and hint at possible mysteries of the unknown beyond our imagination.