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Osty, Dr Eugene - Supernormal faculties in Man – Presentiments of death at the beginning of sickness



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Supernormal faculties in Man- Dr Eugene Osty

I soon learned that some patients feel approaching death without there being any clinical indication of the gravity of their case.

When I find myself in presence of the resigned attitude that I know so well, the eyes fixed on a certainty, hearing words that no suggestion can alter-however slight the ailment may seem-I begin my diagnosis afresh and look out for the symptoms that may reveal some serious organic weakening.

Since I became aware of this I have verified this presentiment of death at the beginning of sickness, and witnessed the inexorable progress of lesion often enough to make me certain that precognition of organic developments is possible.

 It may be thought that in such cases coenesthesia carries to the brain such clear information of the morbid state of the organs that it passes into the state of conscious thought in the form of an anxiety such as to compel conviction of approaching death.

That would be a phenomenon analogous to internal autoscopy, less precise because not in hypnosis, but abnormal because it passes the limits of non-perception of actuality.

I regret that I have not kept statistics of the cases I have observed, and I wish to call the attention of medical readers to the value of such psycho-physiological records.

The following is an instance of this class of phenomena:

 Miss C. M-, aged about thirty, a teacher in a girls' school, went for the Easter holidays (1911) to her family in the Puy-de-Dome. She arrived in good health, but felt rather tired in the days preceding her return to duty. On parting with her people deep sadness came over her; she embraced her parents with unusual warmth, and said, "I feel we shall not see each other again."

They were much astonished at these words, and Miss C- also could not understand how this depression had come to her. She reached the school on April 24th, somewhat tired, and told her friends about her farewells, blaming herself for having foolishly saddened her parents.

On the 2nd of May I was called to see her. General pain in the back and heaviness of the head made teaching difficult. I had to insist on her keeping in bed.

During the succeeding days there appeared typhoid symptoms of a light type-temperature 38-39 C., pulse 80, no functional disturbance, barely observable tightness of the abdomen, no diarrhoea, general state quite satisfactory. The illness took a form from which the patient nearly always recovers.

I had never seen a typhoid case which gave less anxiety. The girl only felt a vague lassitude.

Nevertheless she had the conviction of approaching death. The suggestive power of the presentiment remained strong and was reinforced by the continuance of the disease. To my optimistic words she answered gently but immovably, "Doctor, I shall not recover."

One of her fellow' teachers explained this persistence by telling me of her parting with her family. As-may be imagined, I thenceforward gave most particular attention and caution to the treatment, though the organism as a whole seemed hardly permeated by the infection.

During the afternoon of May 11th, without any previous warning, without any imprudence by the patient or in the nursing, Miss C- had a sudden intestinal haemorrhage, so serious that, coming at an urgent call, I found the patient pulseless and her heart beating its last.

The bed was inundated with blood, dropping through the mattress and making a pool on the floor. None remained in the body. Her parents, who had thought it needless to come from so far at the beginning of what seemed a slight illness, were stupefied at the rapid and precise fulfilment of this, the only presentiment that their daughter had ever had.

An apparently slight illness and a complication of unusual severity had connected the presentiment with the fact, and justified the words, " I feel we shall not see each other again."

The source of the experience

Osty, Dr Eugene

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