This is kinda eerie, can any Pittsburgh Dopers offer a follow-up?

It seems like a legit source, and while it at first makes me think “urban legend”, it appears to have more than the ususal friend-of-a-friend element of a UL. Has anyone else heard about this? I’m new to Snopes so not sure if I searched correctly or well enough, I couldn’t find anything. Though it’s kind of hard to prove or disprove, I guess.

Any opinions, related sources?

Don’t know anything about it, but if you want a definate legit source, try

That’s just freaky.

For what it’s worth, the Connellsville Daily Courier is an actual small-town newspaper.

I have no facts here to give, but note that the Courier link says:

The ABC news link not only does not mention the trip to the Flight Museum, but says:

The kid’s interest could have been sparked from the museum visit, and at any rate, toddlers often become fascinated by planes. And although the Leiningers deny any previous interest in aviation, the fact that Bruce took the baby to a flight museum suggests otherwise.

His grandmother has a preexisting interest in reincarnation. The parents, by assuring him that his nightmares really did happen, to a different person of course, plant the seed of the dead WWII vet in James’s mind. The more the issue is discussed, the more James ‘remembers.’

The family begins to research the war in the Pacific. Maybe they find close enough approximate matches to James’s imaginative preschool ramblings–something that sounds like Natoma Bay, someone that sounds like Jack Larson. They send this info back to James, who ‘remembers’ more.

Or, maybe James really does know the terms Natoma and Jack Larson. The father of James Huston, James’s supposed earlier self, “started several newspapers and published 13 books,” according to a relative quoted. Could Huston, Sr. have written articles and books about the career and death of his only son? And could some of his stories have made their way into WWII documentaries, old Reader’s Digests, and even the WWII display baby James saw at the flight museum?

Or we could be completely cynical and conclude that this is a grab for publicity:

As much as I would love to believe in a paranormal occurance, this could all be a ploy to drum up interest for the father’s book.

:dubious: :dubious: :dubious: :dubious: :dubious:


Here’s my take on this~~

The poor kid sees news footage of 9/11–all too common these days.
He gets nightmares–how many millions of children throughout the globe suffer every single night because of 9/11? No one can say. :frowning:

The family, who are familiar with the idea of reincarnation, hear the nightmares, & instead of soothing the child, expose him to more airplane-oriented material, to “re-awaken his memories”.

Thus traumatised, the child’s nightmares begin to mutate.

There were tens of thousands of WW2 pilots. Given sufficiently vague nightmares, the dreams can be twisted to fit several of them.

This reinforces the trauma, & shapes it according to the expectations of the parents. A self-perpetuating cycle.

The real question is: Is this emotional abuse of the child?

Ah, I knew I’ve seen this somewhere before. James Randi’s commentary of May 14 includes a letter from a skeptic responding to a Primetime epsiode that featured the story (see Who_me?'s link).

BTW, the article linked in the OP misspells Cavanaugh. And it’s not mentioned at all on the Primetime website.

You forgot the most important bit. Taking the kid to a “therapist” who believes “the dead can be reborn”

Anyone remember the McMartin satanic ritual abuse fiasco? :mad:

I looked at the museum on-line and none of their WW II fighter aircraft have drop tanks on them. At least not on their on-line photos.
Of course all the information is coming from one source, the parents.
If they have suggested to the kid that he is reincarnated and that he did crash and burn in a previous life, well, that’s pretty creppy.

Please clarify your remark.

I can’t tell if you are angry at me, at them, at the therapist, at the injustice of McMartin, or at the Hollywood Squares. :confused:

Sorry, I’m pissed at the therapist. It’s really easy to coach kids to believe anything at all, and when a “therpist” deliberately teaches them to believe in stuff that patently never happened, the kids end up really, really screwed up.

Again, sorry, but this kind of thing (bogus therapists/skanky aprents) upsets me.

It’s in the Artifacts section: B-25 Drop Tank.

The skeptic who wrote the letter to James Randi is grasping at straws to try to debunk the story. The droptanks on the Cavanaugh website are the conformal droptanks from a Spitfire - they look nothing like the vaguely bomb-shaped droptanks used on other aircraft, and it would be pretty unusual for a little kid to identify droptanks on a toy aircraft based on the uniquely shaped tanks used on the Spit. Additionally, I’ve been to the Cavanaugh museum twice and, being an aviation nut myself, completely missed the droptanks in the collection both times. Apparently they are something that wouldn’t be noticed… :rolleyes:

As for Sugaree’s idea that the kid learned the names of the pilot and the carrier from the exhibits, I can tell you that no personal stories of pilots are included in the museum displays, other than the occasional mention of a notable pilot whose aircraft markings are re-created on the museum’s display piece (Maj. Gen. Charlie Bond’s “Flying Tigers” P-40 being the only one of these I can think of). Additionally, the museum doesn’t have a “WWII Exhibit” per se - aircraft of all eras are interspersed among each other in three large hangars plus the areas in-between. The Corsair is (or recently was - planes get rearranged when they pull one or more out to fly them) in the same hangar as other aircraft from WWII, plus examples from the Korean and Veitnam wars.

All of the WWII aircraft are displayed “Clean” - that is, no bombs or droptanks installed. The Spitfire droptanks might be on the hangar floor under the Spit, or they might be elsewhere - I’m not sure, and it’s rather irrelevant to the kid’s story anyway, since they’re fairly unique as drop tanks go.

So…this doesn’t mean I believe this little boy is the reincarnation of a lost WWII hero…it just means that the convenient explanations don’t quite fit and the letter-writing skeptic is doing what the parents are accused of - making things fit the version of events he wants to be true. :wally

I don’t think that’s the type of tank they are talking about.
Here is a picture of some P-51 Mustangs with drop tanks. You can see where someone my mistake them for a bomb. The two drop tanks at the web site are not attached to their planes and the B-25 version is not something that would hang outside the aircraft and look like a bomb. (I don’t think it hung outside the aircraft, but then again I never knew bombers had drop tanks) The Spitfire drop tank at that website does not look like a bomb.

Sorry, that falls under the same category as the Spitfire tank - it’s a droptank meant to be installed inside the bomb-bay of a medium bomber. No physical resemblance to a bomb or to the tanks that would be represented under the wings or belly of a toy fighter. And it’s another artefact that wasn’t on obvious display at the museum, because I neither saw it there or on the Cavanaugh website when I found the Spitfire tanks. If you want to see what drop tanks usually look like, find the Museum’s F-86 Sabre - it has a pair mounted under the wings.

Besides, what little kid’s gonna be fixated on a refrigerator-sized hunk of rusty metal when there’s a shiny B-25 sitting there? I’m sorry, but this is even less likely than the Spitfire droptanks being to blame.

Oddly enough, neither of the items lbelled “drop tanks” on Cavanaugh’s artifacts page are actually drop tanks. They are both auxilliary fuel tanks, but not droppable ones. The “B-25 drop tank” would be installed in the bomb bay to increase range at the cost of payload. The “Spitfire drop tank” is clearly open at the top – it is probably a belly tank that would have faired into the lower fuselage. Here a pic of what is more-commonly recognized as a drop tank on the wing of a Douglas AD-1 Skyraider (complete with a feline passenger).

The museum does have a Corsair, the type of plane the tyke is “remembering” flying.

And after I go through looking up all the links, I find that every point has already been made. :shrug: Oh, well, my drop tank has a kittie, at least.

Hey, I’m not going to defend what the guy said; I just remembered hearing about this story somewhere else and managed to find the reference at, and when I was checking the spelling of Cavenaugh, I thought I might as well find the picture of the drop tank.

And then, ya know, I figgered I’d misspell Cavanaugh, just for fun. :smack:

I think we should just put the little kid in a decent flight sim, one that comes complete with rudder pedals and see if he can manager a carrier landing.