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The Reincarnation Case of James Huston, Jr. | James Leininger
From the inside cover of “Soul Survivor:”
“This book reveals stunning drawings from James Leininger illustrating his unshakeable memories, photos that portray the eerie resemblance between the young and the adult James Huston, and the forward from world-renowned past lives expert Carol Bowman.
In SOUL SURVIVOR, readers will come to know and believe in the special child who harbors the soul of a man who died in 1945.”
James Leininger’s story has come to light through four years of research conducted by his parents, Bruce and Andrea. For Bruce, this involved a great personal struggle, for the proposition that his son was the reincarnation of James Huston, Jr., conflicted with his very strong Christian beliefs. Indeed, one of the most fascinating aspects of the Leininger’s story is to witness the conversion of Bruce from a conservative, evangelical Christian, to a Christian who has accepted reincarnation as a reality.
Place your cursor on facial image comparisons to enlarge and your arrow keys to scroll up and down on the image.
Another Military Pilot Reincarnation Case with Societal Implications
As a small boy, James Leininger remembered a past lifetime as an American fighter pilot who died in combat in World War II. This case has similarities to the case of Robert, a German Bomber Pilot | Carl Edon, as in the Edon reincarnation case, a small boy in England remembered being a German bomber pilot who died on a bombing run in Britain. In both cases, small children had innate knowledge of World War II aircraft and it was their Christian, skeptical fathers who served as the primary researchers.
The Robert-Nazi Pilot | Carl Edon reincarnation case is instructive in that it shows that a soul can change nationality and ethnic affiliation from one incarnation to another. Robert, a German air force pilot who died in England, reincarnated as a British citizen. This case, as well as other reincarnation cases, demonstrates that one can change nationality, ethnic affiliation, as well as religion, from one lifetime to another. This observation illustrates how in the end, war is senseless and self defeating from a karmic point of view. Another related case, in that it demonstrates a change in religion, as well as prominent nightmares, involves David Llewelyn.
James Leininger's Nightmares of an Airplane on Fire
James Leininger was born on April 10, 1998 to Bruce and Andrea while they were living in the San Francisco Bay area. When Bruce was offered a job has a human resource director for an oil industry company, the family soon moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, where James would grow up.
After turning two years of age, James started to experience vivid nightmares that would make him scream out from his sleep. On May 1, 2000, when James was just over 2 years of age, Andrea heard her son’s voice pierce the night’s calm:
“Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can’t get out!” Andrea ran to his bedroom and saw James struggling. “He was lying there on his back, kicking and clawing on the covers, like he was trying to kick his way out of a coffin." (1)
The same nightmare kept recurring four to five times a week. After another nightmare, Andrea noted:
“He was lying there on his back, kicking and clawing on the covers, like he was trapped in a plane.” James was crying out: “Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can’t get out!” (2)
When Andrea asked who the little man in the plane was, James replied: “Me” When Bruce asked James who shot his plane down, James stated, “The Japanese.” (3).
When he was asked how he knew that it was the Japanese who shot down his plane, James replied: “The big red sun.” (4)
Bruce and Andrea were impressed and puzzled with James’s knowledge regarding Japanese World War II aircraft, as they knew he did not learn this information though normal means. As a result, when the nightmares occurred, they would ask James more detailed questions about his dreams. When his parents asked for the names of other people in the nightmares, James stated that he had friend who was also a pilot, whose name was “Jack Larsen.” (5)
In time, Bruce and Andrea would learn that James Huston, James’s past life persona, did know a Jack Larsen. Eventually, little James would met this man, Jack Larson, who he knew in a past incarnation.
James's Obsession with Airplanes and Knowledge of WW II Aircraft
In addition to having nightmares about an airplane crash, his parents noted that James had an obsession with airplanes, particularly WW II aircraft with propellers. His parents also noticed that he would crash his toy planes into the coffee table, knocking off the propellers.
In his car seat, James would put on imaginary headphones and facemask, as if he was preparing to fly a plane. James even created a simulated cockpit in one of the family’s closets.
He also continued to demonstrate unusual knowledge about airplanes. For example, when Andrea gave James a toy plane with what looked like a bomb under it, James looked at it and said:
“That’s not a bomb, Mommy, that’s a dwop tank.” (6)
James was referring to a fuel tank that is attached to the underside of a plane, which is ejected and dropped off when the fuel is spent. His parents reflected:
How did this two year old know what a drop tank was? He did not learn this from television programs the family watched or books that they read.
How did he know about the Japanese and their emblem of the rising sun, the big red sun?
It was Andrea’s mother, Bobbi, who first hypothesized that James’s nightmares could stem from a past lifetime. Bobbi told Bruce and Andrea about Carol Bowman, author of “Children’s Past Lives,” whom the Leiningers contacted. Carol has been involved in researching children who remember past lives since 1980. Carol gave valuable advice to Bruce and Andrea on how to handle little James’s nightmares. Carol related that it was important to listen to James in a supportive way and to keep reassuring him that he was safe now.
Over time, little James revealed that the man in his nightmares was also named James, that he flew a plane called a Corsair, that the plane he flew took off from a boat and that the boat’s name was the “Natoma.” He knew that the Corsair would veer to the left on takeoff and that the Corsair had a tendency to blow tires out upon landing. (7)
As shown in the image to the right, the Corsair had a distinctive gull wing, to reduce the height of landing gear. Place your cursor over the Corsair image to see a side view.
In addition, James knew that US fliers gave Japanese bombers girl names and Japanese fighters boy names. For example, James said that Japanese fighters were called Zekes and bombers were called Bettys. (8)
When the family was watching a History Channel program on World War II in which Corsairs were shooting down Japanese planes, the narrator said that the downed Japanese planes were Zeros. Little James corrected that narrator in saying that the Japanese planes were not Zeros, but Tonys. Bruce and Andrea didn’t know what a Tony was. James explained that the Tony was a fighter that was smaller than a Zero. (9)
Bruce learned that James was correct regarding the Tony. In the coming months, Bruce would also find out that James, in a past lifetime, had himself shot down a Tony.
When his parents took him to the Lone Star Flight Museum, they were surprised to see little James walking around a Corsair, conducting a flight check, like a pilot normally does before boarding his aircraft. (10)
Andrea mused that her son was not even potty trained, yet he knew details of World War II and aircraft of that era. She was open to the possibility that James was experiencing memories of a past lifetime.
Bruce Leininger Reluctantly Uncovers Evidence of a Past Lifetime for Little James
While Andrea was comfortable with the idea of reincarnation, Bruce was extremely reluctant to consider that James’s memories could derive from a past incarnation, as it conflicted with his deep Christian beliefs. Still, he started to research statements made by little James. Bruce, for example, found that there was indeed a World War II aircraft carrier named the Natoma Bay, which operated in the Pacific and is pictured to the right. Place your cursor on the image for an enlarged view.
Bruce obtained a book on aircraft carriers engaged in the Pacific. When Bruce and James leafed through it and they came to a section on the Battle of Iwo Jima, James told his father that it was there, at the Battle of Iwo Jima, that his plane was shot down and crashed.
Bruce then learned that the Natoma Bay had indeed supported the Marine’s invasion of Iwo Jima. How could James know this, Bruce wondered, of a ship called the Natoma and that the Natoma participated in the battle of Iwo Jima?
Was it possible that it was here, as part of the Battle of Iwo Jima, that James in a past lifetime had the experience of being unable to get out of a cockpit, where he used his legs to try to kick his way out, as his burning aircraft dove down to the sea? (11)
Little James would draw pictures of battle scenes, which featured propeller planes and bombs exploding. He would sign his pictures, “James 3.” These pictures are reproduced in Soul Survivor. He gave his GI Joe dolls unusual names, including Billy, Leon and Walter, names that his parents never mentioned, names that none of their friends had. How did he choose these names, Bruce and Andrea wondered? (12)
When Bruce asked why he called his dolls these names, James answered, “Because that is who met me when I got to heaven.” (13)
Though Bruce was reluctant to accept that his son’s memories derived from a past lifetime, James’s fund of knowledge of WW II aircraft made him research this possibility in earnest. He searched through military records and archives. Bruce learned that the Natoma Bay crew held reunions. He decided to attend one of these gatherings and Bruce traveled to his first Natoma Bay reunion, held in San Diego on September 11, 2002, one year after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
At the reunion, Bruce learned that 18 aircraft carrier pilots from the Natoma Bay had died during service in the Pacific. One of them was named James Huston, Jr. Recall that little James said that his name was also James when, in his nightmares, he was trapped in a burning airplane cockpit. He even he signed his battle pictures, James 3, which could refer to the third James is a series, that is, James Sr., James Jr. and little James 3. Bruce also learned that James Huston was the only pilot to die in the invasion of battle of Iwo Jima. Huston died on March 3, 1945. (14)
Who Greeted James Huston in Heaven
Bruce also found that Billy, Leon and Walter were the names of three Natoma Bay Navy aviators who had died before James Huston, Jr. Their full names were Billie Peeler, Leon Connor and Walter Devlin. (15)
Recall that James called his GI Joe dolls Billie, Leon and Walter, and that he said that they were waiting for him when he went to heaven. Bruce and Andrea learned that the hair color of each doll matched the hair color of the deceased aviator. Billie Peeler had dark hair, as did James’s Billie doll. Leon Connor had blonde hair, as did the Leon doll and Walter Devlin had reddish hair, as did James’s Walter doll. (16)
Bruce Finds Jack Larson and other Surviving Pilots from the Natoma Bay
Bruce also learned that Jack Larsen was indeed another pilot on the Natoma Bay. Larsen was still alive and living in Arkansas. Bruce visited him there. James’s memory of having a friend named Jack Larsen was also thus verified. (17)
Bruce eventually found pilots who witnessed James Huston’s plane go down. Jack Durham, John Provost and Bob Skelton saw that an antiaircraft shell knocked the propeller off of Huston’s plane. This explained why little James would knock propellers off his toy planes. They also validated that Huston’s plane caught fire and that Huston went down with his plane. (18)
Bruce found one discrepancy in James's version of events in that when Huston crashed and died, he was flying a FM 2 Wildcat, not a Corsair. Bruce later learned from another pilot, Bob Greenwald, that Huston had participated in a program in which Corsairs were tested for aircraft carrier landings. As such, little James was correct in stating he had flown a Corsair. Greenwald also confirmed that Corsairs would veer to the left on takeoff and blow tires on landings, just as little James had said. (19)
In his quest to understand his son’s nightmares, Bruce came to personally know surviving veterans who had served on the Natoma Bay. He also learned about those who did not survive. In the process of validating his son’s memories, Bruce came to greatly admire the Natoma Bay veterans who so bravely and unselfishly served their country. He understood the sacrifices they had made.
Bruce put his feelings into action by creating a memorial to commemorate those who had died on the Natoma Bay. This memorial was inaugurated at the Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg, Texas. Many Natoma Bay veterans attended this inauguration. Enlarge the image of the memorial by placing your cursor on it, then using your arrow keys to scroll up and down. On the enlarged image, you can make out the name of James Huston, Jr. in the column above the name Abraham Lincoln.
One of the people who James saw at the Nimitz museum was Bob Greenwald, who he recognized on sight and who he named correctly. When Bruce asked James how he knew that this man was Bob Greenwald, James said he had `recognized his voice. At the ceremony, little James also was reunited with his old friend, Jack Larson. Recall that soon after James started to have his nightmares, he told Bruce that a friend he had on the Natoma was named Jack Larson. On an endearing note, at the memorial ceremony, little James wore a miniature pilot's flight suit. (20)
between James Leininger and James Huston
Significantly, the veterans at the Natoma Bay memorial inauguration, who knew James Huston, Jr., commented on how little James Leininger looked just like the deceased James Huston, Jr. As such, this represents another case which demonstrates that physical appearance can remain consistent from one incarnation to another.
On a poignant note, his parents observed that James seemed dismayed at the memorial inauguration. When they asked James why, he replied that he was sad because everyone looked so old. Little James remembered how his shipmates looked as young men, not senior citizens. (21)
A Reunion with Anne Barron, James Huston’s Surviving Sister
Andrea Leininger was able to use census and other records to find the family of James Huston, Jr. She learned a surviving sister, Anne Huston Barron, was living in Los Gatos, California. Anne was 84 years old when Andrea contacted her. (22)
Andrea set up a phone call between Anne and little James. In this conversation, James knew many personal details of James Huston’s life, which Anne confirmed as accurate. Examples include:
James told Anne that he called her Annie. Anne confirmed that only James Huston called her Annie
James told Anne that they had a sister named Ruth, which was correct
James said Ruth was four years older than Anne and that Anne was four years older than James, which was correct
James reported that their father was alcoholic and smashed things when drunk, and that he had to go into rehab for alcoholism. Anne corroborated this.
James said that Ruth, who was a society columnist for a local paper, was “mortified” when their mother took a job as a maid for a wealthy family that Ruth was writing about. Anne confirmed this account.
James said that he and Anne, as children, had matching portraits done by the same artist, which were gifts from their mother, whose name was Daryl. Anne confirmed these statements. (23)
Even a resolute skeptic would have to admit that such specific memories cannot be coincidental. Given the facts of the case, Anne has accepted James Leininger as the reincarnation of her brother, James Huston, Jr., and she sent him her brother’s remaining artifacts. When James opened the box sent by Anne, he sniffed a model Corsair which was inside and said that it smelled like an aircraft carrier. Bruce noted a diesel oil smell emanating from the box. (24)
James Huston also had an Early Fascination with Aircraft- A Clue to a Prior Incarnation?
Of interest, Anne related that James loved flying and that even as a young boy, James Huston made balsa wood models of airplanes. When he was old enough, James Huston went flying in biplanes. In other words, just as James Leininger had a fascination with planes as a child, so did James Huston. This raises the question of whether Huston | Leininger had a prior incarnation that involved aviation. (25)
James Leininger has James Huston's Talent for Singing
In a personal communication, Bruce Leininger has observed that his son James is a gifted singer, who is performing in a musical at his school. Bruce notes that neither he nor his wife can sing at all, but that James Huston had a beautiful singing voice. As such, it appears that a gift for singing has been carried over from one incarnation to another.
Gratitude to the Leininger Family: The IISIS Reincarnation Research Award
We owe a great deal to James, Andrea and Bruce Leininger for researching this case and making it public. James himself has become an advocate for reincarnation, as he should be, given the strength of his reincarnation case.
This case has attracted a great deal of attention, as ABC Primetime in the United States ran a segment on the Leininger case in April 2004 and a Japanese television show took the Leiningers out to the spot where James Huston died. Little James threw out a wreath from the ship onto the water where James Huston’s plan dove into the sea, to commemorate his own past life persona.
For their efforts, we bestow Andrea, Bruce and James Leininger, as well as their past lives counselor, Carol Bowman, IISIS Reincarnation Research Awards.
Let us close this section with a quote from Soul Survivor:
“The story, Bruce is convinced, is a gift to those who need some tangible proof that there is something beyond death, that life has meaning…It revived his convictions and faith." (26)
Little James Picks his Parents at the Pink Hotel
In addition to providing strong evidence of reincarnation, there are several incidents relating to James’s story which provide evidence of the existence of spirit beings.
One of the most dramatic involves statements made by James in which he said that he picked Bruce and Andrea as parents, while the soul of little James was still in the spirit world.
James had told Bruce that he saw Bruce and Andrea when they were vacationing at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu. Little James called it the “big pink hotel” in Hawaii, which the Royal Hawaiian is.
In fact, Bruce and Andrea were at the Royal Hawaiian 5 weeks before Andrea become pregnant with James. Bruce and Andrea never told James about their Hawaiian vacation. As such, little James knew about their stay at the Royal Hawaiian by paranormal means. I would suggest that the soul of James Leininger was indeed able to observe his future parents from the spirit world and that the souls of Andrea, Bruce and James all agreed to, that is planned, to create the family that they did. (27)
Anniversary phenomenon can also be seen as the interaction of the soul with the physical world. The premise is that when an individual incarnates on Earth, the soul continues to have its own existence in the spiritual world. The soul projects extensions of itself into its incarnations, holographic projections into the physical plane.
When anniversary phenomena occur, we can see this as the soul transmitting the anniversary information to its own incarnation. Alternately, a spirit guide that works with the individual may also orchestrate anniversary phenomena.
Initially, the individual may not even understand the meaning of the event when it occurs. As an example, in the case of John Gordon | Jeff Keene, Jeff experienced severe jaw pain on an anniversary date of Gordon incurring gunshot wounds to the jaw. Jeff was taken to the emergency room of a hospital, as he was concerned that he was having a heart attack. Only years later did Jeff become aware that the jaw pain could be interpreted as an anniversary event from his lifetime as John B. Gordon. Jeff found that Gordon was shot in the jaw when he was 30 years old, while Jeff experienced the severe jaw pain on his thirtieth birthday.
In the Huston | Leininger case, Bruce and Andrea noted in Soul Survivor that James’s nightmares of dying in a plane crash had resolved for several months. They had hoped that the phase of James’s life in which he had these nightmares had ended. Yet on March 3, 2003, James had another plane crash nightmare. James Huston had died in the battle of Iwo Jima on that same day, March 3, 1945.
If this is accepted as an anniversary event, then the soul of James Huston | James Leininger had communicated awareness to little James of the significance of March 3 while he slept. Note that this anniversary event occurred before Bruce, through research, determined the date of James Huston’s death. (28)
Another possible synchronistic event or events involves Bruce, who twice traveled by airplane on September 11 to do research on his son's reincarnation case. Bruce made note of these eerie coincidences in Soul Survivor.
Though traveling twice on September 11 may just be a coincidence, there may be meaning in this date, as evidence of reincarnation may help prevent future September 11 type attacks. Reincarnation research shows that one can change religion, nationality and ethnic affiliation from one incarnation to another. This realization can help create a more peaceful world.
Another event that provides evidence of communication by spirit beings involves Anne Huston Barron, the sister of James Huston. Anne related to Andrea that on the day that James Huston was killed, on March 3, 1945, she was cleaning her house in California when she felt the presence of her brother James. Anne even started talking to him. She remembered the incident distinctly. Anne learned several days later that her brother had died at that moment in the Pacific. As such, the spirit of James Huston appears to have been in contact with his sister, Anne, at the time of his death. (29)
Similarly, on March 3,1945, a family friend of the Huston’s, Lydia Eastman, had a dream in which James came to her and said, “I just want to say goodbye.” Lydia later learned that James Huston had died on that day. Again, it appears that the soul of James Huston was in contact with Lydia Eastman on the day of Huston’s death. (30)
Another account involves Jack Durham, who served with James Huston as a pilot. Durham’s plane had been shot down during World War II and when this occurred, he lost his teeth and dislocated his shoulder. Relatives of Jack Durham informed the Leiningers that on the day that Durham was injured, thousands of miles away, his relatives heard Jack cry out. As such, it appears that the spirit of Durham was communicating with his loved ones. (31)
This very compelling reincarnation case, if accepted, demonstrates the following features:
Physical Resemblance: When James Huston's shipmates met James Leininger at the Natoma Bay memorial inauguration, they commented on how little James looked so much like James Huston. The image of James Leininger at age 12, featured to the right, demonstrates the similarilty in facial features. As such, this is another case which shows that facial features can remain similar from lifetime to lifetime.
Innate Knowledge or Talent: As a young boy, James Leininger had an impressive fund of knowledge regarding WW II aircraft, which appears to derive from his past lifetime as a fighter pilot. Little James has also expressed a desire to be a fighter pilot in his contemporary incarnation. If he does pursue this wish, it is likely that he will demonstrate natural talent for being a pilot.
In addition, James has demonstrated a natural talent for singing, as did James Huston. In contrast, James's parents do not have a gift for singing.
Involvement of Spirit Beings: James told Bruce and Andrea that he picked them as parents when they were at the pink hotel in Hawaii. Indeed, Bruce and Andrea were at the Royal Hawaiian hotel five weeks before Andrea became pregnant with James. As such, it appears that James was observing Bruce and Andrea from the spirit world, prior to his birth.
Another example of spirit beings involves Anne Huston Barron, the sister of James Huston, who stated that she felt the presence of her brother on the very day that he died. Similar episodes occurred regarding Lydia Eastman and Jack Durham. As discussed above, anniversary phenomenon can also be seen as occurring through spirit being intervention.
James's observation of his parents at the Royal Hawaiian is reminiscent of the reincarnation case of Prashant Solomon, who saw his parents from above in a New Delhi marketplace prior to his birth.
The James Huston, Jr. | James Leininger case is one of the most compelling reincarnation cases in existence. Evidence of spirit beings is also provided in this rich case. We thank the Leininger family for doing this very important reincarnation research and making it public, even when it conflicted with the tenets of their religion. You are heroes in the search to understand the mechanism and meaning of human existence. As noted before, for your efforts, we are pleased to give you an IISIS Award.
A video regarding the James Huston, Jr. James Leininger reincarnation case is found on the Amazon page for Soul Survivor.