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Heinrich Richter
Apr 07, '13

The uncanny case of Carl Eden

Jan 15 2002 Mike Blackburn

For years before he was brutally murdered Carl Edon tried to convince his family that he was reincarnated. Today his astonished parents believe they have been given extraordinary photographic evidence.

Young Middlesbrough dad Carl had spoken since he was just three years old of vivid flashbacks to a former life as a Nazi airman killed when his plane was shot down in 1942.

Now startling new photos, unearthed after dogged detective work by a local historian, reveal a chilling resemblance between Carl and a German airman, Heinrich Richter, buried in a Thornaby cemetery.

Richter, a turret gunner, perished when his Dornier bomber crashed onto a South Bank railway during a raid exactly 60 years ago today... January 15, 1942.

The wreckage of the Dornier, damaged by anti-aircraft fire before hitting a barrage balloon, was discovered in 1997 buried off Tilbury Road - only a few hundred yards from the spot where Carl was stabbed to death two years earlier.

When the bomber was dug up with Richter's remains inside, Carl's parents, Jim and Val, shuddered as they recalled their son's eerie tales of reincarnation.

But only now - as the Gazette reveals for the first time what the airman looked like - are the Coulby Newham couple looking at their son's claims in a new light.

"It's got to be him," said a stunned Val, when shown a photo of the German in full uniform shortly before the crash over Teesside.

"The resemblance across the eyes and the nose is uncanny.

"Maybe this is the final piece of the jigsaw," she said.

The striking picture was obtained after Guisborough historian and author Bill Norman tracked down Richter's relatives in Germany for a new book.

An uncanny likeness between the two young men and the fact that they share the same scene of death more than 50 years apart are just two of the strange coincidences which have spooked Carl's parents.

During the excavation of the German bomber it was discovered that Richter's leg, still inside a flying boot, had been severed in the wreckage, explained Val.

"Carl used to say he lost his right leg in the crash," she said. "And he had a birth mark at the top of that leg."

On the day her rail worker son was murdered - by Gary Vinter, later jailed for life - he had been to Skinningrove to collect train carriages.

"The day the Dornier crashed it had bombed Skinningrove first and flew on to Middlesbrough following the railway line," said Val.

Carl and Richter had made the same journey the day they died.

"There are just too many strange coincidences, and I think if Carl was here he'd be saying 'Do you believe me now'?"

One of the country's leading researchers into psychic phenomena admitted he was amazed at the details surrounding the two deaths.

"We research a lot of reincarnation cases, but not many as remarkable as this one sounds," said David Christie-Murray, member of the Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1882 and now based in London.

"It seems to me to be a fascinating case, and one I'm sure the SPR would certainly be interested in investigating if the family wanted to."

Carl's experiences are already detailed in a book called The Children That Time Forgot by Peter and Mary Harrison, and on a US TV show. They've also been well documented in British and German newspapers, including the Gazette when Carl was just nine years old.

But his parents said he suffered taunts at school as a result of his 'past life' claims.

"When that started happening Carl didn't like talking about it any more," said his mum.

"But he always believed it."

His dad told the Gazette he was cynical at first. "I was sick of Carl going on about it," he said. "But I probably believe more in reincarnation now."

The Dornier's three other crew were buried in Thornaby after the crash in 1942, but Richter was not laid to rest alongside his colleagues until the plane was 'rediscovered' 55 years later by water board workers.

Val and Jim joined nearly 300 mourners at a moving funeral service for the fourth German airman.

Standing at Richter's grave afterwards felt "eerie", said Jim. "It was like we were re-burying Carl again. Maybe now this will be the end of it."

Richter, who won the Iron Cross medal twice and had been wounded in action, was 24 when he was shot down and killed. Carl was just 22 when he was murdered, leaving behind heartbroken fiancee Michelle, and their two young daughters Carla and Sophie.


A Christian Father Investigates his Son's Past Life Memories of Being a Nazi Pilot

Carl Edon was born on December 29, 1972 in Middlesbrough, England to James and Valerie Edon. The Edons belonged to the Church of England and as such, they were Christians who did not believe in reincarnation. Initially, they were baffled by statements made by Carl regarding his being a German bomber pilot. Eventually, his father, James Edon, a bus driver by profession, became the first investigator of this reincarnation case.

Similarities to James Leininger Reincarnation Case

In many ways, this story is similar to the reincarnation case of James Huston, Jr. | James Leininger, who as a child remembered a past lifetime as a United States fighter pilot who died in combat in the Pacific, during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Just as James Edon became an investigator of his son’s past life memories, Bruce Leininger, the father of James Leininger, became the investigator of his son’s past life memories. Bruce was a devout Christian, who had difficulty in considering reincarnation as an explanation for his son's memories, though he did become a believer in the end.

Carl Edon's Knowledge of Nazi Symbols & German Aircraft was Not Learned by Normal Means

James Edon vouched that their family did not have many books in their home and they had none on World War II. Like in the Leininger case, Carl’s parents maintained that Carl had not learned details of World War II from books or television programs.

James Edon noted that when Carl would give details about German air force planes, James Edon himself would have to check out books at the municipal library to confirm that Carl’s statements were correct.

An article on this case was published in the British magazine, Women’s Own, on August 7, 1982. A German reporter interviewed the family and published an article on this reincarnation case in the Berlin newspaper, Morgenpost, on July 17, 1983.

Ian Stevenson, MD, worked with a colleague in England, Dr. Nicholas McClean-Rice, who went to interview the Edon family in January 1984, when Carl was 11 years old. On June 13, 1993, Ian Stevenson himself traveled to Middlesbrough and had a lengthy meeting with the family, at a time when Carl was 20 years of age.

Carl Says he Crashed an Airplane, Strikes a Nazi Salute & Draws Swastikas and a German Eagle

In 1974, when Carl was almost 2 years of age and just as he had began to speak, he began to say, “I crashed a plane through a window.” (1) He said this frequently and as he grew older, he added details. When he was initially speaking of this past lifetime, he would spontaneously make a Nazi salute, with the right arm raised and straight.

Carl told his parents that he was on a bombing mission over England when he crashed. When he learned to draw, which occurred when he was 2-3 years old, he started to draw swastikas, badges and insignias. Carl would draw airplanes and put swastikas on them.

He drew an eagle, which his parents described as the “German eagle.” Carl told his parents that his name was Robert when he flew the bomber and that his father’s name was Fritz. His parents noted that from 1974 to 1976, Carl spoke abundantly about flying his German plane.

Carl Draws an Aircraft Cockpit and Explains Gauges

At the age of 6, Carl drew a panel of an airplane cockpit and he described the purposes of the different gauges. He said that in the cockpit, there was a red foot pedal, which was used to release bombs.

Carl Flew a Messerschmitt to Bomb England

Carl told his parents that when he crashed through the window, he was flying a bomber called a Messerschmitt. An image of a Messerschmitt bomber is provided below and to the right. He said his plane had a number, which was 101 or 104—his parents could not remember the exact number.

Carl's knowledge of details of German planes is again very reminiscent of James Huston, Jr. | James Leininger reincarnation case, as little James Leininger had innate knowledge of American and Japanese aircraft from World War II, knowledge that he did not learn by normal means.

When the Edon family was watching a documentary on the Holocaust, Carl said that his air force base was near a concentration camp that was featured on the program. His parents thought the concentration camp Carl referred to was Auschwitz, but they couldn’t remember for sure.

Robert Lost a Leg in his Crash and Carl has a Corresponding Birthmark

Carl said that he was on a bombing run when he crashed and that he had lost his right leg in the crash. Ian Stevenson had great interest in cases in which a person who suffered a traumatic wound in a past lifetime would reincarnate with a birthmark or scar at the location of the past life wound. In this case, Stevenson noted that Carl had a very large, protruding birthmark on the right groin, and he speculated whether his may have been related to Robert losing his right leg in the crash.

Carl Does the Goose Step, Stands at Attention & Wants to Move to Germany

As noted, as soon as Carl started talking about his past lifetime in which he crashed through a window, he would strike a Nazi salute, with his right arm raised and straight.

When walking, he would do the Nazi goose step, a march with knees held straight. When he did the goose step at school, his British schoolmates teased him terribly and they called him a Nazi. This teasing led to Carl ceasing to talk about his past lifetime when he was 10 or 11.

When standing, he would maintain and erect posture and he would have his hands by his side, like a little soldier. He was compulsively tidy and neat, which Ian Stevenson saw as a German trait.

Carl told his parents that he wanted to go to and live in Germany. Whereas his parents preferred tea, a British custom, Carl preferred coffee, a German custom. He also had a fondness for sausages, which are very popular in Germany. When at school a play was being rehearsed that had a German character, Carl insisted that he be cast as the German.

Carl’s German Appearance

Whereas all his family members had brown hair, Carl was very blonde. Carl had blue eyes, like his mother, though most of his family members who had brown eyes. Carl had the appearance of what Hitler esteemed as traits of a superior, Aryan race.

Validation of Carl’s Memories and His Death

Unfortunately, Carl’s description of a German pilot named Robert crashing through a window in England could not be confirmed by historical records. This is in contrast to the James Huston, Jr. | James Leininger reincarnation case, which was historically validated through the meticulous research of Bruce Leininger.

Tragically, Carl died in 1995 at the age of 22, a victim of murder.

Key Points & Principles of Reincarnation

This reincarnation case, if accepted, demonstrates the following features:

Change in Nationality and Ethnic Affiliation: In his past lifetime, Robert was a German air force bomber pilot, while Carl was born into a British family. This case shows that one can reincarnate into the land of one’s own enemy from a prior incarnation.

Consider whether a German pilot would go to war with England if that pilot knew that in a subsequent incarnation, this very pilot would reincarnate as an English citizen?

This is reminiscent of the reincarnation case of John B. Gordon / Jeff Keene, in which an American Civil War Confederate officer reincarnated as a Connecticut Union Yankee. Jeff has noted that in his contemporary lifetime, he has ancestors that fought the Confederates. Jeff has even mused that his Northern relatives may even have fought against him, as John B. Gordon, in his past lifetime.

The Anne Frank | Barbro Karlen case also very poignantly shows how illogical war really is, as Anne Frank was persecuted as a German Jew and died in a concentration camp, while in her contemporary lifetime, Barbro was born into a Christian family in Sweden.

Physical Appearance: Ian Stevenson, MD, noted that Carl had typical German, Aryan physical features, such as very blonde hair and blue eyes, in contrast to most of his immediate family members.

Similarly, Stevenson noted that in several cases that he researched in Burma, now called Myanmar, several Burmese children remembered past lifetimes as British or American air force pilots who were killed in Burma, a Japanese conquest during World War II.

Whereas Burmese children typically have dark hair, eyes and skin, these children who remembered Caucasian past lifetimes had blonde hair. These cases suggest that though race and ethnic affiliation can change from one incarnation to another, physical features from a past lifetime, such as hair color, can be retained. Retention of such features may be facilitated by the soul's energy template, which is discussed under Principles of Reincarnation.

As this case could not be historically validated, it is unknown whether there existed a resemblance in facial features.

A Note on Neo-Nazism and Reincarnation

The reincarnation case of Robert | Carl Edon can provide insight on the Neo-Nazi movement. Just as Carl was attracted to Germany and things German, those drawn to Neo-Nazism may have also had past lives in Nazi Germany. Though this may provide insight on why people may be attracted to Neo-Nazism, reincarnation research also reveals the flaw in the logic of Neo-Nazis.

That flaw is that souls can change religion, race, nationality and ethnic affiliation from one incarnation to another. In the case of Carl Edon, we noted that nationality changed; a German pilot reincarnated in the country that was once the enemy, England.

Similarly, a Neo-Nazi can reincarnate as a Jew, a dark skinned African or in any other race or ethnic group that the Neo-Nazi is prejudiced against. Not only is this possible, but from a karmic point of view, it is quite likely. 

Note to Readers Regarding Reincarnation Cases researched by Ian Stevenson, MD, at the University of Virginia, on the IISIS web site:

Ian Stevenson cases are presented on the IISIS web site in story form for clarity. For those interested in the multiple witnesses interviewed for each case and their corresponding testimony, please refer to the original reports written by Dr. Ian Stevenson.

Apr 07, '13
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