His mother, Andrea, was the first to say that he was remembering a past life that he lived.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 18, 2022. It has since been updated.
James Leininger loved planes since he was two years old until one evening in 2002, he had a nightmare that changed many things for him. He experienced a plane crash in his sleep where he was shot down by a plane with a red sun on it, precisely, a Japanese plane. When Leininger began to have dreams and memories of being Lieutenant James McCready Huston, his family was sure that he has reincarnated. Huston was a World War II fighter pilot from Pennsylvania. He had been killed in Iwo Jima, Japan, more than 50 years before Leininger was born, as reported by Mirror.
Episode 28 - Reincarnation - The Case of James Leininger— My True Crime Obsession Podcast (@MyTrueCrimePod) June 23, 2020
In the early 2000's a young boy shook the beliefs of many when he began to recall details of a plane crash and a WWII raid that had taken place 50 years prior. Do you believe in reincarnation? pic.twitter.com/RMG7KbwtRj
His mother, Andrea, was the first to say that he was remembering a past life that he lived. At first, she was apprehensive but then she realized that the boy was only watching kids' shows and they had never watched or spoken about World War II or about the military to him. She said that he would shout out loudly in his sleep, "Aeroplane crash, on fire, can’t get out, help." While doing this, he would kick and point at the ceiling. She began to believe it was true when at the age of 3, he goes over a plane as if he is doing a preflight check. And once, she got him a toy plane. She said that there is a bomb on its underside and he corrected her that it was a drop tank.
Child James Leininger's nightmares as a WWII pilot in a an Iwo Jima plane crash, identifying friend Jack and sister Ann is a recorded factual phenomenon. Empirical data on spirits living after death. pic.twitter.com/sr6A7Q6JqW— Roger de los Santos (@Elysan2os) May 17, 2022
In another instance, Leininger told his parents that he had flown a plane called the Corsair from a boat known as the Natoma during World War II. According to his parents, he had no knowledge of planes. Bruce said, "It was like, holy mackerel." "You could have poured my brains out of my ears. I just couldn't believe it."
After the boy spoke about the plane, his father, Bruce started to do some research to find out if there had been a small carrier called the Natoma Bay and it was true. The carrier was part of the Battle of Iwo Jima and its pilot was Lieutenant Huston. He, unfortunately, died after it was hit in the engine by a Japanese aircraft on March 3, 1945.
The James Leininger Reincarnation Case, in which as a Child James Remembered his Past Life as a WWII Fighter Pilot, dramatically shows how Facial Features can Remain the Same from One Lifetime to Another— Walter Semkiw, MD (@waltersemkiw) March 9, 2020
To learn more, please go to:https://t.co/UdMKf3o1HF pic.twitter.com/5SawSQ8cgD
Leininger's nightmares became worse, happening 3 or 4 times a week. His grandmother suggested meeting a counselor and therapist Carol Bowman who believes in reincarnation. With the help of Bowman, he was able to articulate his past. Once Bruce finished his research on Lieutenant Huston, he and Andrea wrote a letter to the fighter pilot's sister, Anne Barron, about Leininger and she actually believed that he was the reincarnation of her brother.
Barron told ABC News, "The child was so convincing in coming up with all the things that there is no way in the world he could know." However, Professor Paul Kurtz of the State University of New York at Buffalo heads an organization that investigates claims of the paranormal. He thinks that the parents are "self-deceived." "They're fascinated by the mysterious and they built up a fairy tale," he said.
There are so many details that little James Leininger held in his memories. / I just learned that James at age 12, wants to be a pilot as well. He wants to be the third James Leininger to fly the skies. (2 pic.twitter.com/NGQXxYuaox— Connie N Ahlberg (@cjnapoet) September 7, 2022
As Leininger is getting older, the memories are fading away but still among his prized possessions are two haunting presents that were sent to him by Barron: a bust of George Washington and a model of a Corsair aircraft. When his parents were asked if any of this has changed their feeling towards their son, "It doesn't change how we think. I don't look at him and say, 'That's not my boy.' That's my boy."