Some early church fathers did incorporate reincarnation into their doctrines. Valentinus and Basilides of Alexandria believed wholeheartedly in reincarnation. Origen of Alexandria (A.D. 185-254) who lived after Balentinus and Basilides was conflicted about the doctrine, but overall his writings infer that reincarnation takes place. These early church fathers lived in Alexandria (on the Mediterranean coastline of Egypt), spoke Greek and were heavily influenced by Plato’s writings. Plato, who lived 400 years before the birth of Christ wrote extensively on reincarnation. His writings were extremely popular in medieval academic discourse, and the belief in reincarnation by the early church fathers probably grew out of their study of Platonic philosophy.
The early Christian church was divided into many sects, all of which were vying for supremacy. Each had its own version of written Christian scriptures (called “gospels”). Reincarnation was an element in many of these gospels, and they were widely used before they fell out of use after the Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in AD 312.
Still, some of the early Christian gospels continued to circulate and reincarnation remained a popular “underground” belief among Christians for several centuries. This belief, however, was entirely purged from the official Christian canon at the Second Council of Constantinople in A.D. 553 because it was believed to contradict the doctrine of corporeal resurrection and undermined the need for Christ’s redemptive sacrifices. The gospels which disagreed with the official doctrines were hunted down and burned. The Christian scribes who were responsible for copying texts were forbidden to copy heretical literature so any that survived the initial book burning simply deteriorated and were eventually almost entirely lost to history.
One can argue that this was simply a doctrinal decision and does not reflect on the reality of reincarnation, however real evidence for reincarnation after the council of 553 and during the long evolution of Western culture thereafter remains scanty at best.
The fact that widespread belief in reincarnation essentially died throughout Western civilization after 553 A.D. suggests that without a structured organization and scriptural references to keep the doctrine alive, the evidence for reincarnation was too flimsy to make an impression on the general population.
On the other hand, belief in ghosts and communication with the dead through mediums and various sages has flourished over the centuries quite nicely without ANY help from church authorities or scriptures. This is just as true today as it has ever been. A 2013 Harris poll found that 42 percent of Americans and 52 percent of Britons say they believe in ghosts. As of 2021, the statistics have remained largely stable. The evidence for ghosts and spiritual phenomena is ubiquitous, and communication with the dead has been a universal factor in every generation since man first stood upright and developed the capacity to observe and reason. That’s why “ghosts” remain a reasonable alternative explanation for evidence pertaining to reincarnation.