If there isn’t a normal way to explain this, maybe there is some other less-than-normal explanation. Perhaps Sukla learned about Mana and her family through extrasensory perception.
Research has clearly shown that there is such a thing as ESP. In rigidly controlled experiments, the late Dr. J. B. Rhine and other parapsychologists have shown persuasive evidence for telepathy (the ability to read another person’s thoughts) and clairvoyance (the ability to perceive objects and events without using your senses). And experiments have shown that both telepathy and clairvoyance can work over long distances.
But although ESP may seem hard to believe, to use it to explain a case like Sukla’s you’d have to believe in super-ESP. Not only would this five-year-old girl have to have incredible psychic powers, but she would have to use them to zero in on a specific family in an unfamiliar city and learn intimate details of their lives. She’d also have to be selective about what her psychic radar picked out, so that she’d “remember,” for example, the location of her father-in-law’s house but be unaware that the entrance had changed, since that took place after Mana’s death.
And then, for purposes yet unknown, Sukla would have to mold what she’d learned into a drama in which she immersed herself in the role of the departed Mana.
Most dramatic in Sukla’s case were her strong maternal emotions towards Minu. From babyhood Sukla had played at cradling Minu in her arms, and after she learned to talk she spoke of her longing to be with Minu. Sukla’s meeting with Minu had all the appearances of a tearful reunion between mother and daughter.
Once Mana’s cousin tested Sukla by falsely telling her that Minu, away in Rathtala, was ill with a high fever. Sukla began to weep, and it took a long time for her family to reassure her that Minu was actually well.
Minu was twelve and Sukla only five. And Minu had grown taller, so Sukla said, “I am small.” “But within this limitation,” Dr. Stevenson says, “Sukla exactly acted the role of a mother towards a beloved daughter.”
And after taking other possibilities into account, Dr. Stevenson cautiously submits that perhaps we can understand this case most suitably by accepting that Sukla was Minu’s mother, just as she thought herself to be.