Ian Stevenson biography

Ian Stevenson


1918 – 2007


Who was Ian Stevenson?

Ian Pretyman Stevenson was a Canadian psychiatrist. He worked for the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 50 years, as chair of the department of psychiatry from 1957 to 1967, Carlson Professor of Psychiatry from 1967 to 2001, and Research Professor of Psychiatry from 2002 until his death.

As founder and director of the university's Division of Perceptual Studies, which investigates the paranormal, Stevenson became known internationally for his research into reincarnation, the idea that emotions, memories, and even physical injuries in the form of birthmarks, can be transferred from one life to another. He traveled extensively over a period of 40 years, investigating 3,000 cases of children around the world who claimed to remember past lives. His position was that certain phobias, philias, unusual abilities and illnesses could not be explained by heredity or the environment. He believed that personality transfer provided a third type of explanation, although he was never able to suggest what kind of physical process might be involved.

Stevenson helped to found the Society for Scientific Exploration in 1982, and was the author of around 300 papers and 14 books on reincarnation, including Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation and European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. His major work was the 2,268-page, two-volume Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects. This reported 200 cases of birthmarks that, he believed, corresponded with a wound on the deceased person whose life the child purported to recall. He wrote a shorter version of the same research for the general reader, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.


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"Ian Stevenson." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 19 Apr. 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/ian_stevenson>.

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Oct 31, 1918
  • Caucasian race
  • Canada
  • McGill University
  • University of St Andrews
Lived in
  • Charlottesville
Feb 8, 2007

on July 23, 2013

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