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Experienced August 1951 by a Philadelphia woman as reported to the Rhine Institute

"In 1951 my mother was gravely ill of cancer," writes a woman from Philadelphia. "Her death was expected at any time. On a certain morning in August, I had just finished my breakfast coffee when I had an unbearable pain in my chest in the heart region. I had never had any pain or trouble of that kind in the past, but I was sure I was dying of a heart attack.

"I massaged my chest, trying to lessen the pain, and worrying that my two young children would be frightened if I died. After several agonizing minutes the pain receded, and in maybe fifteen minutes it was completely gone.

"A little later the phone rang. My sister asked me to get a taxi and come at once to my mother's home about twenty minutes' drive away. I thought it meant that my mother was dying, and rushed out almost at once. But when I got to my mother's home my sister told me my father had just died of a heart attack, and they were trying to keep it from my mother.

"On retracing, I found that the pain I had had in my chest coincided very closely with the time my father had his attack. And even the conditions were the same. We were both finishing our cups of coffee and had the chest pains at the same moment by the clock. I had had no idea my father was not perfectly well."


Rhine's notes emphasize how fragmentary ESP can be, how many opportunities there are to misinterpret. In this case, the experience of a heart attack from inside is vivid and unmistakably ominous--but the vicarious victim assumes it's about her mother. Even an identification this intense, filtered through our expectations, can be mistaken!

I included this account not just for its blend of ESP and "oops!", but also because extrasensory messages received through pain (not sight or hearing) seem rare, and it's nice to hear of someone else who's had them. You see, I occasionally get baffling pains that I sense are linked with my sisters, and I've learned to call them and find out what's wrong. One of them is always sick or injured in the way I felt. But I do sometimes call the wrong sister! Quite like the woman above.

Clairvoyance is a commonly understood word; clairaudience is rare, but clear enough. But what do we call this? Teledolorance? Espempathy? Clairagony?

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 60. Account untitled and author's name witheld; I added 'Clairagony' and 'A Philadelphia Woman' to aid searching and indexing.

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