Ryan Hammons seems like your typical 10-year-old boy, but there's something that sets him apart from most other kids -- he remembers having a past life as a powerful Hollywood agent. Yes, children have vivid imaginations. However, Ryan's recollections are so uncannily detailed and precise that he has many people looking at reincarnation as more of a probability than the myth they'd been made to believe.
Ryan's mother, Cyndi, told the Today show that when he was four, Ryan would experience lucid and haunting nightmares, and it wasn't until one year later, just before bed, that he finally confided in her and shared his secret -- he used to be a Hollywood actor, and had reincarnated.
"He said mom, I have something I need to tell you... I used to be somebody else."
"I grew up in a Baptist church, that's not something we grew up to believe in."
She said his stories were so detailed -- even remembering the street he lived on had the word "rock" in it -- that she secretly started doing some research into Hollywood during the studio era as a means of finding some clarity for her son's strange "memories."
"His stories were so detailed and they were so extensive, that it just wasn't like a child could have made it up."
The photo was a publicity shot from Mae West's 1932 film, Night After Night.
Upon seeing the picture, Ryan declared, "That's me," and pointed to a man who was an extra in the film with no spoken lines. This man was later identified as Marty Martyn, a former movie extra who became a high-powered Hollywood agent that died in 1964.
Now, there was a real person attached to Ryan's memories, which included talks about two sisters and his love of an orange soda called "True-ade."
Cyndi then enlisted the help of Dr. Jim Tucker, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, who has spent over ten years studying the cases of children with memories of their past lives. These children are usually between the ages of 2 and 6 years old.
According to the child psychiatrist, Ryan's story is one of the most incredible cases he's come across, as Ryan was able to provide remarkable detail about his past life as Marty Martyn. In fact, Tucker confirmed 55 details that Ryan had provided, which ended up perfectly matching Marty's life.
"If you look at a picture of a guy with no lines in a movie, and then tell me about his life, I don't think many of us would have come up with Marty Martyn's life... Yet Ryan provided many details that really did fit with his life."
Tucker, whose book, Return To Life, provides details on some of the cases he has studied over the years, states that "These cases demand an explanation." Adding, "We can't just write them off or explain them away as just some sort of normal cultural thing."
With cases of over 2,500 children with past life memories, Tucker came across an interesting pattern. Seventy percent of the children said they had a violent or unexpected death in their previous lives, with males accounting for 73 per cent of those deaths. This, Tucker indicates, mirrors the statistics of the general population with regards to deaths from unnatural causes.
"There'd be no way to orchestrate that statistic with over 2,000 cases," he observed.
Looking at Ryan's case, the psychiatrist found that almost no information was available on the internet about Marty's life, and it was after combing through old records, enlisting the help of a film archivist, and eventually tracking down Martyn's daughter that the details Ryan provided were able to be confirmed.
As Ryan had said, Martyn was not just a movie extra, but he also danced on Broadway, traveled to Paris, and worked at an agency where new names were created for clients.
Also, that street name that Ryan couldn't fully remember except the word "rock," turned out to be 825 North Roxbury Dr. in Beverly Hills, where Marty lived.
Ryan was even able to provide information that Martyn's own daughter was not privy to. While she grew up thinking that her father only had one sister, it was later confirmed that Marty actually had two sisters, just as Ryan had said.
Other details that the preschooler had provided, which were later confirmed to be accurate, were the number of children Marty had, how many times he was married, and his correct age when he died.
Of all the claims, Marty's age at his time of death stood out to Tucker because despite Ryan saying he died at 61, Martyn's death certificate noted he died at age 59.
According to Tucker, "He [Ryan] said he didn't see why God would let you get to be 61 and then make you come back as a baby."
Following up on the discrepancy, Tucker later found after digging through census records that Marty was actually born in 1903, not 1905, which confirmed Ryan's statement to be the one that was correct, and not Martyn's official death certificate.
Today, 10-year-old Ryan finds the memories of his past life fading. And though he says he's thankful for his unique experience, now, he simply wants to be a regular kid.
To read more about children talking about their past lives, click here.
[Image: NBC/Jake Whitman/Today]