Barbro Karlén shocked her parents when she told them she was the reincarnation of Anne Frank. But as she grew older, they realized there was no denying the truth that was staring them in the eyes...
In every corner of her home country of Sweden, people know Barbro Karlén as the author of one of the country's most popular books. But few people realize her intriguing story goes back to her childhood...
Ever since Barbro was young, she had visions of a life other than the one she currently lived. Almost as though it were a distant memory - too far to reach, yet too real to ignore. She recalled being drowned in fear as harsh memories of a ruthless past would wash over her in her sleep.
"My Name Is Anne"
Barbro was only two years old when she began showing signs of behavior that was as strange as her dreams. At around this age, she told her mother and father something that completely shocked them. According to the toddler, her name wasn't Barbro - it was Anne.
But Barbro's parents didn't take her as seriously as she may have hoped - especially seeing as she was still only two. They dismissed her claims as a fantasy and continued to call her "Barbro." The toddler continued to live in two different worlds, unable to understand why her parents wouldn't use her real name.
Her 'Real Family'
A feeling then came over Barbro that made her realize what was happening. Her parents wouldn't acknowledge her real name because they weren't her real parents. In the young girl's mind, it was the only explanation - and her intuition told her she was right.
She eventually began asking more and more questions about her real parents. Although Barbro's mother and father insisted they were, in fact, her real parents, the toddler was convinced otherwise. And as hard as this was for the Karléns to hear, it was equally as frustrating for Barbro.
Barbro's parents became quite concerned when they saw her beliefs were only growing with time. It didn't help that her knowledge of a past life was etched into her subconscious, popping up in her dreams almost every night. They could no longer ignore what they once dismissed as childish fantasies...
So, Barbro's parents took her to see a psychiatrist. They thought if a professional listened to her stories, they could finally understand what to do about the situation. But when Barbro visited the psychiatrist with her parents, she kept quiet and refrained from telling her stories.
Just a Phase?
A few years had passed, and Barbro had come to the realization that nobody would ever believe what she had to say about her past life. She was afraid that the psychiatrist would have her taken away from her parents, so she didn't say anything about her dreams or her hidden reality.
So, the psychiatrist had nothing to say to Barbro's parents except that she was a normal little girl. He told the Karléns not to worry about her - she seemed like a happy child with a big imagination. She would soon grow out of this "phase," he assured the couple. But that's not what happened...
The Story Unravels
The little girl grew up, seeming like a normal child going to school and learning new things like reading and writing. But what her parents hadn't realized was how introverted Barbro had become. The persistent feeling that she was an entirely different person never went away, and she had no one to talk to about it.
If anything, the feeling only grew stronger. With no one to confide in, Barbro began using a new tool she'd acquired as an outlet for her overwhelming thoughts and emotions. She was so happy she'd learned how to write and soon realized she could find an understanding friend in her journal.
Memories of a Past Life
She wrote about her dreams and the memories of a past life she knew deep down she once lived. The boundaries between her two worlds blurred as her pen wove her two realities into one, and she soon began insisting her real father was going to come take her home.
Her other world became even more concrete when it was on paper, she thought. She secretly wrote down one memory after another, pouring her heart out into her journal. But every time she finished writing one entry, she would throw the pages away so that no one else could read them.
Facing the Facts
Not long after Barbro turned eleven, she began to think about reincarnation - where people's spirits come from and where they move on to. And as she wondered, everything that crossed her mind went right into her journal, which she continued to write in every day.
One day, a visit from a friend of the family brought a sudden change to Barbro's life. He discovered some of the work Barbro had finished and asked the girl's parents if they approved of him showing it to a publisher. Soon enough, it turned into Barbro's very first book, called Människan på jorden (Man on Earth).
The Life-Changing Lesson
But despite all the success coming her way, the young girl continued to go to school as usual. The psychiatrist she visited with her parents hadn't diagnosed her with anything, so her parents decided to let her live her normal life, hoping she'd forget about her identity as "Anne."
But one day, the school's history teacher introduced someone to the class who made sure "Anne" would never leave Barbro's mind. The class had begun its first history lessons about the Holocaust... and one of the important figures they learned about was Anne Frank.
Anne Frank's Diary
Anne Frank's famous diary had been published in 1947 - but it was only when Barbro got into middle school that it became popular. It told stories and memories of the life of a young girl who lived a horrifying reality. But it all seemed a little too familiar to Barbro, who sat in class, paying close attention to her teacher.
Barbro and her classmates began to learn about the life of Anne Frank. They were all horrified by the stories being told by the teacher. And while Barbro, like her classmates, was shocked to hear of the atrocities Anne had been through, she was also surprised at the similarities between the historical figure and herself.
The Eerie Connection
Barbro soon got a hold of Anne Frank's diary, and as she read through it, she learned how much Anne had wanted to become a writer. It was something Barbro could relate to completely. Not only that, but the young girls also both liked to go out and had similar facial features.
But what was perhaps the most mind-boggling fact about Anne Frank was that Barbro's fears seemed to be closely related to the historical figure's life experiences. For example, she couldn't stand to see men wearing uniforms, taking showers, or getting their hair cut. It was a bizarre connection...
Two Young Writers
Having devoted much of her time to writing ever since she was a young child, she was completely fascinated by both the contents and the style of Anne Frank's diary. She believed that if Anne were still alive, she would have been a published writer as well.
Barbro's family observed the young girl's interest in Anne Frank's life closely. By then, her story had become known across the world, and Barbro thought it unwise to continue telling people her name was Anne. Since she hadn't been diagnosed, Barbro's family didn't worry too much and kept learning about the life of Anne Frank.
The Anne Frank House
In fact, the family decided to visit the Anne Frank House - the hiding place of the Frank family during the Holocaust - which had been turned into a museum. Otto Frank, Anne's father, and his family were forced to go into hiding during World War II - and they hid in the attic of the building where Otto's business was.
They were able to hide safely in the attic for about two years before they were discovered and arrested. Otto Frank was the only survivor of the Holocaust in his entire family, and it was he who inherited and published his daughter Anne's diary after her death.
Visiting the Site
Now that the hiding place had been turned into a museum and Anne's story was becoming well-known across the world, many visitors were showing up to see the site. The Karléns had been on vacation in Amsterdam when they decided to visit it, given how popular Anne Frank's story was becoming.
So they set out the next day, planning on spending a few hours at the house. But Amsterdam's streets are notorious for being challenging for non-locals to navigate, so Barbro's father stopped a few strangers on the street to ask for directions. But it turns out he really didn't need to...
She Knew the Way
The family ended up finding their way without having to look at the map a few locals drew for the Karléns - and it was all thanks to Barbro. Although her mother and father had never taken her to see the house before, she told her family she knew exactly how to get there.
When she saw her dad grab the phone and call for a cab to take them to the house, Barbro said, "We don't need a taxi, it's not far to walk from here." Stunned, her parents just stared at her in response. Their daughter seemed very certain in what she was saying, so they followed her without objecting.
An Astonishing Arrival
She then led the way, walking through Amsterdam's backstreets and alleys with ease, as though she'd spent her entire life in the big European city. Somehow, Barbro knew exactly when to turn and which direction to go, eventually telling her parents, "We'll soon be there - it's just round the next corner."
As she'd expected, Barbro arrived with her parents at the Anne Frank House after only ten minutes of walking through the streets. Barbro's parents soon found themselves approaching a dark-colored building and stood there, speechless, staring at one another. But Barbro was the opposite of surprised: She knew what she was doing.
Something Wasn't Right
She stood near the front of the steps leading up to the house and stared at the building. But something wasn't right. "That's strange," Barbro told her parents as the three of them stood in front of the building. "It didn't look like this before," she said, adding, "they have changed the steps outside."
Her parents didn't know what to say. But now, they could no longer deny there might be some truth to what their daughter had been telling them all along. After all, she had somehow figured out the way from their hotel to the Anne Frank House using only her intuition...
So it only made sense for them to follow their daughter, who led the way into the house. But as soon as she entered the house, a horrible feeling came over Barbro. The atmosphere inside was eerily familiar - too similar, she thought, to the terrible dreams she had...
She felt her chest tighten as she looked around, and it didn't take her long to recognize the emotion that took control of her mind: fear. Suddenly, the biggest horrors that popped up in her dreams were all around her - in the walls, the stairs, and the very air she breathed. Her chest tightened even more...
An Inescapable Feeling
It was a horrible, seemingly inescapable feeling - her nightmares had come to life. Terrified, she reached for her mother, who grabbed Barbro's hand and held it in her own, only to find it was cold as ice. She looked at her daughter's face, and her eyes widened with surprise.
The look of confidence Barbro had held as she led the way to the Anne Frank House was nowhere to be found - instead, it was replaced by a blank, ghostlike expression. Her mother was convinced that Barbro was ill and wanted to take her daughter outside. But Barbro refused to leave...
The Pictures on the Wall
She needed to see the rest of the house. Barbro had to make sure everything was still in the same place it had been in her previous life when she lived through the horrors of the Holocaust as Anne Frank. So she and her family ventured further into the house...
Barbro spotted Anne Frank's pictures still hanging on the wall and exclaimed, "Look, the pictures are still there!" But the worried look on her parents' faces told her something was very wrong. And indeed, they were right: there were no pictures on the wall.
Connecting the Dots
"The pictures were there, I know they were," Barbro pleaded desperately in response to her mother, who had asked her what she was referring to. Barbro's mother was confused, but she knew her daughter wasn't lying - something else had to be going on...
And she needed to get to the bottom of it. So the concerned mother walked over to one of the men working at the museum, and asked him about the pictures on the wall. She felt goosebumps take over her arms and legs as the man confirmed her daughter's claims.
The Moment of Truth
He explained that the pictures had been on the wall, but had been taken down because a few of them were stolen by visitors after the house became a museum. He told Barbro's mother that officials were forced to remove them to ensure they all remained safe.
The man's words brought on an overwhelming mixture of feelings for Barbro's mother: shock and confusion combined with relief. On the one hand, she couldn't believe what she was hearing - could reincarnation actually be real? On the other hand, she could now take a deep breath: Her daughter wasn't "delusional."
"You're Not Alone Anymore"
Realizing her daughter had been telling the truth all along, Barbro's mother walked over and hugged the shaken ten-year-old. She reassured her that she understood everything Barbro had been trying to tell them all these years and that everything was going to be okay.
"You are not alone anymore," she told her daughter. But Barbro needed a few moments to breathe after the experience of reliving the traumatic events that happened to Anne Frank. She decided to wait outside until her parents had finished exploring the house themselves.
Someone Was Watching
Her mother had finally heard her, and she was grateful for that. But she knew her father wouldn't be as easy to convince. He would dismiss everything Barbro was saying because he was a devout Christian, and it would go against everything he believed in.
And so Barbro kept to herself for these few moments, processing what had happened to her inside the Anne Frank House. But it wasn't long before she realized she wasn't alone. Someone was standing near the front door to the house, watching Barbro closely.
The young girl quickly turned and found herself looking at a man in a green uniform towering over her. It could have been for a fraction of a second or several long years. But a horrible feeling washed over her, and she ran away as fast as she could.
As she ran, she cried and ended up falling over the steps in front of the house. Barbro got up quickly and turned around to see if the man in the uniform had followed her. But as she squinted, trying desperately to see through her tears, she realized there had never been a man there in the first place...
A Look Back
It was a total and undeniable flashback - to the horrifying reality lived by Anne Frank during the Holocaust. A young German Jewish girl was faced with the horrors of war when she was just a couple of years older than Barbro was now. So Anne and her family went into hiding...
The year was 1940 when the Germans invaded the Netherlands and began to persecute Jewish families - and Anne's was one of them. Her captivity began on July 6, 1942 - less than a month after her thirteenth birthday, when she was given an autograph book that she decided to use as a diary.
The Life of Anne Frank
Much like Barbro, Anne found that writing was a way to stay sane through everything that was happening in her life. So her diary became her outlet, and she wrote thought after thought, and feeling after feeling - every day until her tragic death in 1945.
For Anne, writing in her diary was the door to some kind of freedom and provided her with a feeling of relief amid the horrors of the persecution. But little did she know, it would go on to be published and would become one of the world's most famous books in the years following her death.
Memories Left Behind
In fact, Anne Frank's diary became the second best-seller book after the Bible. But unfortunately, she never got to see the success that followed what started out as a means to find comfort in the midst of disaster. She died, along with her mother and sister. And Otto Frank was the only family member who survived...
A few years after the war, Frank returned to Amsterdam and met with a woman named Miep Gies, who was one of the kind people who helped the family hide from the Germans. She was also the person who found Anne Frank's diary in the attic of their former house.
The Diary Of A Young Girl
Otto Frank decided to publish the precious memories his daughter had left behind. He knew it would help reveal the true story of how the Jewish people suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. But when he made this important decision, he had no idea how successful or famous it would become.
Anne Frank's diary was first published on June 25th, 1947, and was titled Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl. It was a window inside the heart and mind of a horrified young girl - too young for the tragic fate she was ultimately faced with. And it eventually ended up in the lap of Barbro Karlén...
"No Other Explanation"
But that's not where this story ends. The young girl eventually met with Anne Frank's last living relative: a man named Buddy Elias. Although he didn't believe in reincarnation, he ended up responding with "yes" when asked by newspapers whether Barbro was the reincarnation of Anne Frank.
"Unless Barbro's mother or father got their hands on a copy of Anne Frank's Diary and read the whole book to her before the age of two years old, there cannot be another explanation," he explained, as Exemplore reports. Two girls, two diaries, two realities, one spirit - we'll leave it to our readers to tell us what they think.