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Schwarz, Jack - Beyond Biofeedback by Drs Elmer and Alyce Green – Jack held the burning end of a cigarette against the inside of his left forearm three times, and gave no indication of pain



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Beyond Biofeedback – Drs Elmer and Alyce Green

Returning to our work in the laboratory with Jack, we had a chance to observe that one of the four wounds had disappeared in twenty-four hours; the other three were not visible after seventy-two hours. A demonstration that was more impressive as an indication of pain control took place on another day. Jack said that he could anesthetize any part of his body at will, so I asked him to anesthetize his arm and demonstrate pain control while we had him wired up to a variety of physiological indicators that might be expected to show a pain response.

Jack held the burning end of a cigarette against the inside of his left forearm three times, and neither his overt behavior nor his physiological records gave any indication of pain. During the burning periods there was a slight increase in heart rate of about three beats per minute above the average of the preceding ten minutes.

On the third occasion the burning end of the cigarette was dislodged. It lay like a live coal on Jack's arm for about twenty-five seconds, and when he tried to blow it off, it glowed red hot and stuck to his skin. He had to flick it off with his finger.

No blisters formed in this demonstration, but the top layer of skin was definitely burned. The burn marks were obvious the next day. Jack said that he did not know how his skin was going to react to the thermal insult, though he was certain that he would have no trouble with the pain. When we were taking the wires off, he said that although he had anesthetized only his left forearm, the anesthesia was spreading to his right hand. He could feel a tingling and a small amount of numbness.

The source of the experience

Schwarz, Jack

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps



Extreme pain