The book: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much: An Astounding True Story of a Young Boy’s Past-Life Memories”
The author: Cathy Byrd
The vital statistics: Hay House USA, 256 pages, $19.99, released March 21
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website
The pitch: There’s Christian Haupt, now an 8-year-old Simi Pony League pitcher and shortstop living in Thousand Oaks, pictured on the cover when he was 4 and threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game.
That must seem like a lifetime ago.
Joe McDonnell, writing for Fox Sports’ website at the time, described that 2012 moment in a piece that’s included in the book on pages 88-89:
“With the perfect motion — at least for a prodigy — he threw the ball harder, straighter and longer than most of the men, women or children chosen to throw out the ceremonial first pitch over the course of a season at Chavez Ravine.”
Inside are photos of Christian with Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda, Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez. More photos when he got a role in the 2012 Adam Sandler movie “That’s My Boy,” and in front of a camera for a feature story on him that appeared in the Fox MLB All-Star pregame show in 2014.
Christian’s obsessive love of the game, and his ability to play, isn’t in question.
How it came to be that his mom ended up doing this first-hand account of what else has been happening in their lives — listening to her son talk about experiences that seem to link him to the life of Yankees Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig, as well as her to Gehrig’s mother, Christina — is what fills the pages of this out-of-body experience that, if read cover to cover, has a lot of plausibility even for those on the far end of the skepticism scale.
“ ‘Michael, I think Christian really was Lou Gehrig,’” Cathy Byrd tells her husband, as she writes on page 51. But then quickly adds:
“As soon as the words fell out of my mouth, I wanted to take them back. It wasn’t until I heard my words out loud that I realized how irrational I sounded.”
A few pages later: “For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to believe in. I felt as if I was holding on for dear life to a wildly swinging pendulum. My Christian faith dictated that I disregard the reincarnation explanation, and my my gut was telling me it was somehow feasible. … I was petrified to talk to my church pastor about it.”
A few pages later, she realizes: “I became less concerned about being criticized by others and more committed to searching for the truth.”
Jack Canfield, the creator of “Chicken Soup for The Soul” series, endorses it by writing the forward. Dr. Eben Alexander, the neurosurgeon who wrote about his own transnational experiences in the best-seller “Proof of Heaven” and “The Map of Heaven,” comes in as well to do the introduction.
There’s also mention that the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, the self-help author and philosopher who helped Byrd in the book-writing process after she attended a workshop of his in Malibu, was in her corner up until his death in 2015.
The three give Byrd verification and affirmation that what she has put out there has foundation, context and validity in many circles.
Because Byrd took a writing class from Dyer and was able to easier convey the story in print, it flows well. But even as self-indulgent as this book may seen to some, Byrd has only her own experiences to express here, including her recruitment of neurobehavioral and psychiatric doctors to see if what’s happening was somewhat believable.
In the second half of the book, more of her process of regressive therapy to channel Gehrig’s mother and then verify some of the things as plausible facts that she wouldn’t have otherwise known about definitely give the reader something to think about.
The fact that Byrd, who has experience in sports marketing, has a very slick website dedicated to herself, her business and this book, and found a publisher that specializes in mind, body, spirit and transformational experiences, may send up something of a red flag. Is this all just too slick to be real? Are we being duped?
Healthy skepticism is fine. Byrd admits to having that as well. But an open mind is what will make this work for anyone with a predisposition about if an afterlife even exists, which is not very easy to digest for those in the Western Civilization and with Christianity backgrounds.
More to know:
== Our column “It’s Out of the Question” on Byrd and the book at this link
== The story about the movie rights deal for the book.
== More takes on the story, from straightforward to snarky, in the UK’s Daily Mail, AOL.news, Deadspin.com, and Inside Edition.