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Dr J C Barker - The brain damaged girl who predicted her own death



Type of Spiritual Experience


Spastic was a recognised medical term at one time for children and adults who were in some way brain damaged.

A description of the experience

Dr J C Barker  MD, MRCP, DPM – Scared to Death – An examination of fear, its cause and effects

A congenital spastic, she was simple and uneducated but quite a pleasant personality. She lived happily in a home for disabled people.

One day she announced out of the blue that she had dreamed she was going to die. She said she wouldn't be around within the fortnight. She didn't seem to take this seriously and neither did the staff of the home, but within three days she suddenly and for no apparent reason vomited a large quantity of blood. She was transferred to the local hospital and given transfusions, but she continued to bleed.

It was decided that a laparotomy would be necessary. Her condition was excellent. The need for an operation was explained to her and she agreed to its performance, but she was emphatic in her assertion that she would not survive.

No one took her contention seriously. Everyone just reassured her that she would be all right.

So she had the operation, and she died.

During the operation she was found to have a small, acute bleeding gastric ulcer, which was dealt with. The operation was not difficult or prolonged and her cardiovascular condition gave no cause for concern whatsoever.

All was going well until the surgeon started sewing her up, when she developed sudden cardiac arrest. Open chest cardiac massage was immediately instituted, which did maintain a circulation. Stimulants were given intravenously.

A defibrillator, and the doctor who used it, came from a neighbouring hospital.  Considerable efforts were made to re-start her heart, but without success. At the post-mortem nothing was found that would have accounted for her death.

The operation had successfully secured her haemorrhage.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Brain damage
Dreaming and lucid dreaming