Christian Haupt’s obsession with baseball started while still in diapers. Imitating the moves he saw during his sister’s T-ball games, Christian’s interest in the sport only continued to grow until he refused to wear anything besides his baseball uniform. Every day he begged his family to pitch, catch and run bases with him. By the time Christian was only three years old, his obsession with the sport was voracious and his parents observed that Christian had unusual talent for a child his age. Videos uploaded to YouTube depicting his pitching, complete with the leg kick of the professionals, and the sure swing of his batting, the little southpaw caught the attention of Adam Sandler and won a role in his movie, “That’s my Boy”. Just after his fourth birthday, Christian earned the right to be the youngest person to ever throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger’s stadium.
If that had been the end of the story, it would have still become another amazing example of child prodigy; the mysterious mix of talent and obsession with a sport, art, or academic ability that some children just seem to be born with. Scientists cannot currently explain how children with extraordinary abilities acquire them at such as young age, but believe that it is a mix of exposure, opportunity and the lucky composition of biology that predisposes a child to such talent.
Some of these prodigies, including Christian Haupt, also come with memories of a past life in which these talents were developed into adulthood. Fresh off a statistics class, I know that these may be associative without being causative, though it is hard to ignore the evidence.
Cathy Byrd’s story was just published into a book (and soon, a movie) called ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much: An Astounding True Story of a Young Boy’s Past life Memories” in which Cathy relates her enlightening and sometimes tumultuous experience with her son’s obsession with baseball. The startling declarations Christian made about his past life memories led Cathy to suspect that her son was describing the life of famous American baseball player, Lou Gehrig, who tragically died from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) when he was just 38.
When Christian was old enough to talk, he insisted that he was once a “Tall baseball player”. Cathy and her husband who are of the Christian faith didn’t want to believe in rebirth, but Cathy couldn’t ignore that her son seemed to know things that he shouldn’t, despite the family’s general lack of interest and exposure to the sport. For example, he knew that baseball players used to travel by trains and stay in hotels. Christian could identify former teammates and friends of Gehrig. He mentioned that when ‘he’ was small, his house had ‘real fire in the lights’, and most disconcerting for Cathy, the little boy became really upset when he saw a giant portrait of Babe Ruth in a baseball stadium. He hinted that ‘he’ didn’t get along with Babe Ruth. Although Gehrig and Ruth were close friends from a young age, it isn’t common knowledge that smiling team portraits later in their careers belied deep grievances stemming from Ruth’s relationship with Gehrig’s mother and later, Gehrig’s wife. Only Cathy’s dogged determination uncovered what her son seemingly already knew through numerous statements about their falling out.
The book delved deeply into Cathy’s desire to uncover the truth of the statements that Christian made, and it even led to her own discovery through past-life regression that she may have been Christina Gehrig in her former incarnation. Cathy didn’t pursue past-life regression until after she began researching the life of Lou Gehrig, therefore it is possible that her research about the Gehrig family tainted her regression. In the book, Cathy notes that she knew nothing about Christina Gehrig’s life prior to her regression work, though it is hard to substantiate that claim. I was also initially skeptical to buy this book due to the celebrity involved. In my opinion, claiming to the be reincarnation of a famous person is akin to returning from a past-life regression believing that you were Cleopatra, Napoleon and Jesus. My skepticism softened when I learned that Dr. Jim Tucker, an expert in children’s past lives and the protégé of the famed reincarnation researcher Dr. Ian Stevenson had become involved in the case, even flying to California to interview Christian.
There will be many who believe that Cathy Byrd has taken advantage of her son’s obvious talent by spinning a fictitious claim for the purpose of a book deal and movie. To address this claim, one must ask themselves why this suburban mom and real estate agent would put herself and her family through the rabidity of skeptical derision and expected ridicule when it is clear that Christian will excel by his own merits. Whether Cathy’s admission will help or hurt Christian in the future remains to be seen.
In the end, I would encourage my readers to judge the book for themselves. You can see Christian’s athletic ability through the many videos on YouTube on Cathy’s channel. Below is one that shows Christian at the age where he recalled memories of his alleged former life as Gehrig:
Another famous case involves a child who believed he was the reincarnation of golfing legend Bobby Jones (born in 1903). Similar to Christian, Hunter (not his real name) began obsessing about golf as a toddler. Like Christian’s family, Hunter’s family had no interest in golf so there was no explanation for their son’s incessant desire to play with toy golf clubs, watch golf on television, even design golf courses in his room with blankets. Seeing a picture of Jones, Hunter declared that had been Bobby Jones “when he was big”. Hunter insisted that he be called Bobby. He called a picture of Bobby Jones’s house “home’ and stated the ‘Augusta’ was his favorite course in the world. Hunter identified a fellow golfer and friend of Bobby Jones, Harry Garden. Hunter’s golf swing was eerily similar to the late Bobby Jones, with several golf experts telling the bewildered parents that their son had natural talent for a game neither of them had ever played or watched.
Both Christian and Hunter are now past the age of reason (around 6 or 7) and their memories of their past lives have faded. Yet, their talent remains. Christian is playing on a highly successful and competitive traveling baseball league, and Hunter has gone on to win 41 out of 50 junior championship games, including 21 in a row.
In his book, Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of children Who Remember Past Lives, Dr. Jim Tucker discusses the case of golf prodigy Hunter and other cases of past-life memories in children that are accompanied by an associated talent or skill. According to Tucker, only in nine percent of cases do children display unusual talents such as Christian’s and Hunter’s. And yet, demonstrable talents which match the claims of the reincarnated personality strengthens the entire phenomenon.
“Some people have wondered if the talents that prodigies show come from previous lives. We certainly have little understanding about where they do come from. How does a Mozart come along, composing by age five and performing exhibitions by age six? In his case, his father was a music teacher, but there have presumably been countless music teacher parents who tried to groom their children but didn’t produce Mozarts.”
–Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children who Remember Past Lives by Dr. Jim Tucker
Few children remember past lives in a coherent way where a parent can follow up on claims and prove a case. Of those children, only 9% have an associated skill or aptitude that matches the previous personality. Our sample size is admittedly small for studying any sort of supposed association. Observing the phenomenon and speculating on what this means for us spiritually, however, can be food for thought.
As we ponder the idea of past lives, it is useful to consider that our understanding of linear time may not be consistent at all levels of reality. Most high-level teachers from the spirit world, like Seth or Elias, insist that time is an illusion and we are technically living our lives simultaneously. What we interpret as happening in the past is simply due to the linearity of our rational mind. There seems to be some sort of divine purpose in this as the point of living consecutive lives is to progress and learn from our experiences. This requires a forward progression, even if Seth does say that the present can affect both the future and the past. While little Christian is benefiting from the talent of Lou Gehrig, Lou Gehrig may be benefiting from Christian’s hard work and practice in the future. It may be that more lives dedicated to a particular skill enhances all of them; regardless of where they are in our chronological time.
Although we are impressed by the spectacle of prodigy in children, I cannot believe that it is only talents of a prodigal nature that hint at the interweaving of talent and accomplishment between lives. Thinking on my own life, I often wonder if my natural inclination for music was first kindled in a previous life. My musical talent was far from prodigal, surely, though it was undeniably present from a young age. When later I decided to pursue a hobby for field botany, I realized that I had a natural intuition for which plants were poisonous simply by looking at them. With no reasonable explanation, I could only wonder if I was recalling some distant skill living off the land centuries ago. Other hobbies, interests and ambitions that haven’t come as naturally to me may become the great intuitive talent of my next lifetime, or the lifetime after that, provided I maintain the discipline to practice.
On a spiritual level, it makes sense that we should continue pursuing those earthly pursuits that we’ve had a passion for. If we naturally gravitate toward art, music, philosophy, craftwork, languages, athletics, mathematics or the many other products of human genius, why limit ourselves to a single lifetime in pursuit of mastery? If love is truly the reason for our existence and the prescription for spiritual wellness, as most near-death experiencers say, why limit this definition to human love and not include love for accomplishment, experience and the joy of sharing the fruits of our labor with others?
Children like Hunter and Christian serve to remind us that our lives are a just a singular chapter in an unending novel. How we choose to express ourselves can have an impact not only on the life we are living now, but may impact lives that we perceive to be in our past and in our future. Their experiences should remind us that no time pursuing our passions is wasted, for they not only bring joy to our lives, but our example inspires others to express their own unique creativity. Together we weave the great tapestry of creative consciousness. Although it will never truly be finished, we all have a responsibility to make it more interesting, dynamic and colorful.