James Leininger

World War II Pilot Reincarnated

twins From the age of 18 months little James Leininger was obsessed with airplanes, especially World War II airplanes. After a while he also began to have nightmares about being shot down and unable to escape his burning cockpit.

Every now and then the boy James would give his confused parents more details. He said that he used to fly a “Corsair” from the deck of a boat called “Natoma”, that he had known a guy on the boat named “Jack Larson”, and that his own name had been, as now, James. He also said that he had been shot down “by the Japanese” over the sea.

James Leininger (L) and James Huston (R)
James Leininger (L) and James Huston (R)
His down-to-Earth Christian parents, Bruce and Andrea, were absolute non-believers in reincarnation. In fact, James’ father began to do some research into the Second World War just to prove to himself that none of this could be true. However, Bruce was bemused to find that there had been a US Navy carrier called the Natoma Bay which was involved in the battle for Iwo Jima.

Moreover, Bruce found that one of the carrier’s pilots had indeed been called James. And this Lt. James M. Huston had been shot down by the Japanese on the 3rd of March, 1945, his flaming fighter plane hurtling into the Pacific.

James Leininger (R) and James Huston (L)
There was one apparent anomaly. Little James always insisted he had flown a Corsair, the Navy’s premier fighter, but Lt. Huston had been shot down in an FM-2 Wildcat plane. Bruce ordered Huston’s military service records and found out that before joining the VC-81 squadron aboard the Natoma Bay, Huston had been part of VF-301, an elite squadron of pilots put together to figure out how to fly the Corsair from aircraft carriers. Once he completed his service with that squadron, Lt. Huston was moved to VC-81 on Natoma Bay. This was only about 4 months before he was killed.

And remember that young James L. spoke of a crew member named “Jack Larson”? Well there was indeed a crew member of that name. And this Jack Larson is still alive today. He remembers the moment when his buddy James died: he had been in formation next to Huston when the latter was shot down.

Further Information

The incredible story of the Leininger family has been written up in the book Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot. The book was co-written by a professional writer, Ken Gross. Interestingly, Ken Gross is a dyed-in-the-wool non-believer, but he admits that the story he has told remains inexplicable to him. He has written of his experience on this project in the article Confessions of a Skeptic

"As I say, I don’t believe in reincarnation. I hardly believe in carnation. I am a secular, rationalist skeptic. But I have no reasonable explanation for James Leininger/Huston." ~ Ken Gross

Ghost Inside My Child


A young boy who remembers falling to his death on 9/11; a daughter haunted by recollections of dying in the Oklahoma City Bombing; a toddler terrified by nightmares of a gruesome end in World War II.

Spooky: Little James would describe a Corsair plane in his nightmares. His father found out that pilot James Huston had flown the same plane in the war.