Reincarnation in popular culture
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Reincarnation seems to have captured the imagination of many and the idea receives regular mentions in feature films, popular books, and popular music. Transmigration, although not directly referred to as such, has been used frequently to the point of cliché in the sense of people "switching bodies," in which the identities of two or more characters transmigrate to each other's bodies. This concept has been used many times in various films, particularly in Indian cinema and television, with American examples including Vice Versa, Freaky Friday and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Metempsychosis is the title of a work by the metaphysical poet John Donne, written in 1601. The poem, also known as the Infinitati Sacrum, consists of two parts, the "Epistle" and "The Progress of the Soule". In the first line of the latter part, Donne writes that he "sing[s] of the progresse of a deathlesse soule".
During the classical period of German literature metempsychosis attracted much attention: Goethe played with the idea, and it was taken up more seriously by Lessing, who borrowed it from Charles Bonnet, and by Herder.
Reincarnation is a key plot device in Edgar Allan Poe's 1832 short story Metzengerstein, in his "Morella" (1835) and "The Oval Portrait" (1842). Mark Twain mentions this concept in "A Word of Explanation" at the beginning of his "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." He comes across a "curious stranger" at Warwick Castle in England who shows him ancient armor that supposedly once belonged to the knights of the Round Table. He interrupts his musings by saying: "You know about transmigration of souls; do you know about transposition of epochs -- and bodies?" He later claims to have killed one of the knights himself ... with a bullet!
The bestselling suspense reincarnation series of M. J. Rose inspired the FOX TV series Past Life Chuck Palahniuk's book Diary centers around an artist whose reincarnated soul is repeatedly used in order to keep the residents of an island rich. American author Suzanne Weyn's 2008 romance novel, Reincarnation, follows two lovers who keep searching for one another as they progress through the centuries. The Power of Five series by Anthony Horowitz involves children from 8000 B.C. returning as ordinary 21st century children.
In the fiction novel "Donations to Clarity" by Noah Baird, the town sheriff is Elvis Presley incarnate.
Books on reincarnation
The belief in past lives and the use of perceptions and knowledge of these to help with one's current life is central to the New Age movement.[unreliable source?] Individuals within this movement who have spoken about reincarnation include Jane Roberts and Walter Semkiw, M.D.  Many books have made reference to reincarnation. These include several books by Vicki Mackenzie and Carol Bowman.
Vicki Mackenzie's primary interest is to make Buddhist philosophy accessible to the general public. Her books on Buddhism and Reincarnation include: Reincarnation: The Boy Lama, Reborn in the West, Cave in the Snow, and Why Buddhism?
Carol Bowman is an author, and the maintainer of a web site dealing with Children's Past Lives, also the title of one of her books. In her books and on her web site, she writes about cases of children who seem to recall past lives.
Other notable books and authors are:
- Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss
- The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa
- Falcon by Ada F Kay (A.J. Stewart)
- "Origin of the Soul and the Purpose of Reincarnation", "Born Again" and "Return of the Revolutionaries" by Walter Semkiw, M.D.
Film and TV
- The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
- Patton (film) (1970)
- The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)
- Audrey Rose (1977)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- Chances Are (1989)
- Dead Again (1991)
- Switch (1991)
- Defending Your Life (1991)
- Bram Stokers Dracula (1992)
- Sailor Moon (1992)
- Please Save My Earth (1993)
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
- Little Buddha (1993)
- Fluke (1995)
- What Dreams May Come (1998)
- Jack Frost (1998)
- Yesterday's Children (2000)
- InuYasha (2000)
- The Mummy Returns (2001)
- Shaman King (2001)
- Birth (2004)
- The Eye 2 (2004)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)
- Avatar: The Legend of Korra (2012)
- Mr Ya Miss (2005)
- Reincarnation (2005)
- The Fountain (2006)
- Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006)
- Love Story 2050 (2008)
- Cloud Atlas (2012)
Reincarnation is a common theme in contemporary Indian popular culture, particularly in Hindi cinema which has dealt with reincarnation since long before the theme appeared in Hollywood films. Reincarnation has appeared as a main theme in numerous Indian films.
- Mahal (1949)
- Madhumati (1958)
- Mooga Manasulu (1963)
- Nenjam Marappathillai (1963)
- Milan (1967)
- Neel Kamal (1968)
- Mehbooba (1976)
- Karz (1980)
- Kudrat (1981)
- Enakkul Oruvan (1984)
- Bees Saal Baad (1988)
- Yuga Purusha (1989)
- Suryavanshi (1992)
- Prem Shakti (1994)
- Karan Arjun (1995)
- Kundun (1997)
- Hamesha (1997)
- Ab Ke Baras (2002)
- Valley of Flowers (2006)
- Om Shanti Om (2007)
- Karzzzz (2008)
- Love Story 2050 (2008)
- Magadheera (2009)
- Dangerous Ishhq (2012)
Popular songs or albums which refer to reincarnation include:
- Reincarnation by Broken Poets
- Reincarnation of a Love Bird by Paul Motian
- The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg by Iron Maiden
- The Reincarnation Song by Roy Zimmerman
- Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation by Santana
- The Reincarnation of Luna by My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
- Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon
- Highwayman by The Highwaymen
- Tommy and "Glow Girl" by The Who
- "Galileo" by The Indigo Girls
- Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater
- Champagne Supernova by Oasis
- Jillian by Within Temptation, itself a recapturing of the central story of the Deverry cycle
- Reincarnation by Deine Lakaien
- Snowed in at Wheeler Street by Kate Bush feat. Elton John
- El Paso City by Marty Robbins
- Next Lifetime by Erykah Badu
- Re-Mix-In-A-Carnation by Wendy and Lisa
- Where Or When by Rodgers and Hart
- "Cosmic Dancer" by T-Rex
- Collins, Siobhán (2005) "Bodily Formations and Reading Strategies in John Donne's Metempsychosis" Critical Studies 26: pp. 191—208, page 191
- full text of Metempsychosis or Infinitati Sacrum from Luminarium Editions
- Bonaparte, Marie (1949) The life and works of Edgar Allan Poe: a psycho-analytic interpretation Imago, London, page 273, OCLC 1398764
- Roderick, Phillip L. (2006) The Fall of the House of Poe: And Other Essays iUniverse, New York, page 22, ISBN 0-595-39567-8
- Quinn, Patrick F. (1971) The French face of Edgar Poe (2nd edition) Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois, page 272, ISBN 0-8093-0500-3
- "List of occurrences of Metempsychosis in Ulysses". Doc.ic.ac.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Cf. Joyce, Ulysses, §8 Lestrygonians
- Reincarnation and NDE Research (WebCite archive)
- "Institute for the Integration of Science, Intuition and Spirit "Iisis.net" website".
- "Mind and its potential speakers". Terrapinn.com. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Chris Hill. "Wisdom Books". Wisdom Books. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- IMDb Keyword: Reincarnation
- Doniger, Wendy (2005). "Chapter 6: Reincarnation". The woman who pretended to be who she was: myths of self-imitation. Oxford University Press. pp. 112–136 [128–31 & 133–5]. ISBN 0-19-516016-9.
- Messages from Michael: Discussions hosted by a core group member
- Children's Past Lives Research Center
- The Reincarnation Forum
- Children's Past Lives