Ohio family convinced son lived another life as a woman
He spoke about living another life, in a different city as a woman who suffered a horrific death.
FOX 8 reports: Quirky and cute, says Erika Ruehlman, that her two-year-old son Luke seemed obsessed with safety in and around their suburban Cincinatti home.
"[Luke was] very cautious about crossing the street, anything that might be hot, or dangerous or high ..." Erika said.
Then there was another fixation with a plush ladybug he had.
Erika explained, "I think I specifically asked him, 'Why did you name the ladybug Pam?' And he said, 'I just think it's a nice name.'"
Soon, everything was Pam -- with increasingly peculiar comments.
"He used to say, 'When I was a girl, I had black hair,' or he'd say, 'I used to have earrings like that when I was a girl.'"
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 looked at me and said, 'Well, I was ...'"
"I was like, 'What do you mean you were?' He was like, 'Well, I used to be, but I died and I went up to heaven, I saw God, and eventually God pushed me back down. And when I woke up, I was a baby and you named me Luke.'"
Now Erika was really confused.
"She called me and said something weird is going on," Erika's mom, Lisa Trump, said.
Lisa remembered a book she'd read in the '70s by the late Dr. Ian Stevenson, who clinically studied past life claims. "We started to realize perhaps we did actually have something there."
Then came a terrifying twist: When Erika asked Luke if he remembered how he died, he told her it was from a fire.
"And at that point, he made like a motion with his hand, like he was jumping off of a building," Erika explained.
The tall building was in a big city where Luke said he walked a lot and took the train -- and Luke was sure the city was Chicago.
Erika plugged the information into the Internet. "And that's when I came across the Paxton Hotel," she said. The Paxton Hotel -- a residential building in a predominantly African American Chicago neighborhood.
"I just asked him, I was very casual about it, 'Luke, what color was Pam's skin?' And he just looked right up at me like, 'Duh, black.'"
In March 1993, a massive fire raced through the property, trapping most residents in the upper floors. Nineteen died, including a woman in her 30s named Pamela Robinson.
"Pam had jumped out of a window to her death," Erika said. "I was really weirded out by this point."
The situation was about to get stranger. While working with the documentary show, "Ghost Inside My Child" on the Lifetime Movie network, Erika and Luke's dad decided to put the now five-year-old to the test.
"I had found a picture of Pam, and we had put it on a sheet of paper with a bunch of fake pictures," Erika explained. "I didn't really think he was going to pick the right one."
Then with the cameras rolling, Luke pointed to the correct photo.
"It took me a couple days to wrap my head around it," Lisa, Luke's grandmother, said. "I couldn't sleep, I thought about it constantly."
Erika says the family really grappled with the revelation and then began wondering about Pam's relatives. FOX 8 reached out to Pam's daughter, but she didn't respond to their requests. However, she did speak with Erika, and Erika says that they discovered even more similarities.
"I know Pam was a big Stevie Wonder fan, and Luke really likes that era of music."
Just as Erika was becoming connected to Pam's memory, though, Luke let her go -- 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," Lisa said. They tell the story 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," Erika said.
Lisa continued, "I think it tells us we shouldn't define the soul by race or gender. Out of the mouths of babes."
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