CINCINNATI, OH - Do you believe in past lives? An Ohio boy's family says they didn't until the child started sharing specific details. He spoke about living another life, in a different city, as a woman who suffered a horrific death.
Parents will tell you that kids say and do the darnedest things. Erika Ruehlman's 2-year-old son Luke seemed obsessed with safety at their suburban Cincinatti home. Then, there was that other fixation.
"I specifically asked him, 'Why did you name the ladybug Pam?' He said I just think it`s a nice name. said Erika Ruehlman. "I didn`t think anything of it other than it was strange to me because we didn`t know any Pams."
Soon everything was Pam from toys to drawings with increasingly peculiar comments.
"He'd say when I was a girl I had black hair or he'd say I used have earrings like that when I was a girl." said Erika Ruehlman.
The stay-at-home mom wondered where he was getting these ideas. Luke`s answer changed their lives forever.
"I was like, 'Who is Pam?' That's when he turned to me and said, 'Well I was.' I said, 'what do you mean you were?' He was like, 'Well I used to be, but I died and I went up to heaven and I saw God and eventually God pushed me back down. When I woke up I was a baby and you named me Luke.'" said Erika Ruehlman.
Now, she was really confused. Erika says she and Luke's dad weren't religious and never discussed God or heaven in front of the toddler. Let alone life and death.
"She called me and said something weird is going on. said grandmother Lisa Trump.
Erika's mom, Lisa Trump remembered a book she`d read in the 70`s by the late Dr. Ian Stevenson who clinically studied past life claims.
"We started to realize perhaps we did have something there." said Lisa Trump.
But, with a terrifying twist. "So, I decided to go ahead and ask him further. 'Do you remember how you died?' He looked right at me and said, 'Yea it was fire.' And at that point he made like a motion like his hand he was jumping off a building." said Erika Ruehlman.
A tall building in a big city where Luke said, he walked a lot and took the train.
"Are you sure it was Chicago?" asked Erika Ruehlman. "Yes, I remember it was Chicago, it was Chicago."
"The child who has no clue where Chicago even is." said Lisa Trump.
She plugged the information into the internet. Erika Ruehlman says, "And that`s when I came across the Paxton hotel"
The Paxton Hotel, a residential building in a predominantly African American Chicago neighborhood.
"Luke what color was Pam`s skin." asked Erika Ruehlman. "He looked up at me like duh - black."
In march 1993 a massive fire raced through the property, trapping most residents in the upper floors. 19 died, including a woman in her 30's named Pamela Robinson.
"Pam had jumped out of a window to her death." said Erika Ruehlman. "I was really weirded out by this point"
It was about to get stranger. While working with the documentary show: "Ghost Inside My Child" on the Lifetime Movie Network.
Luke's parents decided to put the 5-year-old to the test.
"I had found a picture of Pam we had put it on a piece of paper with a lot of fake pictures." said Erika Ruehlman "I didn`t think he`d pick the right one."
But, then with the camera`s rolling."He goes, 'Well, I don`t recognize anybody. But, I remember when this one was taken. He pointed to the correct one." said Erika Ruehlman.
"It took me a couple days to wrap my head around it. I couldn`t sleep. I thought about it constantly" said Lisa Trump.
Shocked is an understatement, Erika says the family really grappled with the revelation and then began wondering about Pam's relatives. We reached out to Pam's daughter but she didn`t respond to our requests. However, she did speak with Erika. She says they discovered even more similarities.
"I know Pam was a big Stevie wonder fan. Luke really likes that music." said Erika Ruehlman.
Just as Erika was becoming connected to Pam`s memory, Luke let her go.
"It was like he got it out. He was finished and had nothing more to say about it." said Erika Ruehlman.
But, the family continues to share their journey with anyone who will listen. Not, seeking fame or fortune.
"We didn`t receive any money for the show." said Lisa Trump.
But, because they believe Luke`s message needs to be told.
"It`s a positive one. It is one of unification it is one of love." said Erika Ruehlman.
"I think it tells us we shouldn`t define the soul by race or gender." said Lisa Trump.
By: Suzanne Stratford