Telesomatic experiences

"A mother was writing a letter to her daughter when her right hand began burning intensely and she dropped the pen. Less than an hour later she got a phone call telling her that her daughter’s right hand was severely burned by acid in a laboratory accident.

A family living on a farm in upstate New York began their day’s work, but all returned to the house later in the morning after experiencing a strange feeling. All eight family members felt an intense foreboding, each without being aware the others felt the same. That day, in Michigan, a son in the family died in an accident.

A woman felt a pain in her chest and said her sister had been hurt. The woman later found out that her sister was in a fatal car accident at the same time; her chest had been crushed by the steering wheel.

These stories go well beyond empathy. They are about feeling the pain of a loved one at a distance, without the conscious knowledge that that person is suffering. “Even when it happens between a mother and child, it likely goes beyond the stock phrase ‘a mother’s intuition,’” said Michael Jawer, a researcher interested in the mind-body connection who co-authored the book “The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense” with Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD.

The first two stories were recounted in Dr. Larry Dossey’s books “Healing Beyond the Body” and “Reinventing Medicine” respectively. The third was told by the late Dr. Ian Stevenson, former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and quoted by Jawer.

Dr. Dossey calls these experiences telesomatic events. The word telesomatic comes from Greek words for “the distant body.” He wrote in “Healing the Mind” that such events are usually positive. A woman who feels a suffocating sensation, for example, and senses that her child is drowning may run out to the swimming pool in time to save the child. Sometimes, however, they can be damaging. For example, a soldier had his legs blown off and a loved one’s legs became paralyzed for no apparent reason..."===

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