10 January, 2023

S.B. one of my colleagues was a fighter, survivor of colon cancer. In February 2022 he told me that something bad is going to happen to him at the end of this year, may be recurrent or metastatic cancer. He remained well till November when he was admitted in hospital with abdominal pain. When he left home, he told his family that he will never comeback. He was investigated in hospital for his abdominal pain. Everyone assured him that it is not recurrent cancer. But next day his condition deteriorated and he was diagnosed to have necrotizing pancreatitis. He succumbed to a non cancerous but fatal condition. A day before his hospital admission, he met all HOD’s, colleagues and subordinates seeking support for his family. Why did he do that? He had the premonition or the extrasensory perception. Probably he could foresee what is going to happen!

Extrasensory perception or ESP, also called sixth sense, is a claimed paranormal ability pertaining to reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses, but sensed with the mind. The term was adopted by Duke University psychologist J.B. Rhine to denote precognition or retro cognition.

Precognition (premonition) means obtaining of information about the future that could not have been gained through normal means. Second sight is a form of extrasensory perception, whereby a person perceives information, in the form of a vision, about future events before they happen (precognition), or about things or events at remote locations (remote viewing). There is no ordinary evidence that second sight exists. Second sight and ESP are classified as pseudoscience.

The scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain ESP and the lack of positive experimental results; it considers ESP to be pseudoscience.

Nearly everyone has at one time or another received what seemed to have been a glimpse into the world of ESP: Dreaming of a friend from whom one has not heard for months, then receiving a letter from that person in the next morning’s mail; hearing a telephone ring and being so certain of the identity of the caller that one calls him or her by name, the instant one lifts up the receiver. These incidents are so common that they receive little more than half-joking comment; nearly everyone has some degree of ESP.

I have faint memories of my childhood. My grandfather was a hemiplegic (stroke) for more than 10 years. One day he told my mother not to go to school as he was not feeling well. But my mom insisted that she has to go to school for atleast 2 hours. My grand pa himself slept on the floor and told my father to light a Dia (Candle) and said” good bye”. He had precognition about the forthcoming event. These are not uncommon. Phenomena surrounding the subjects of dying and death are intriguing. Although premonition of death (POD) is recognized phenomenon, specific case reports on older patients expressing POD shortly before its occurrence are not uncommon. Several theories of premonition have been proposed. The chance-coincidence hypothesis refers to the fact that highly unlikely events do happen occasionally by mere chance but these apparently amazing associations are not substantiated when analyzed by statistical method. The death wish or psychobolie concept is another theory of premonition, but a patient who had a POD might not necessarily wish for death. Premonitions have been regarded as an evolutionary development that might provide functional forewarnings of disasters. Carers should take a patients’s POD seriously. Opportunities should be offered tactfully to such persons to explore and resolve any social, psychological, and spiritual concerns.

It is interesting to note that many PSI activities are experienced while the person is either asleep or in the sleeplike states of trance or hypnosis. This may indicate that each individual, in his or her subconscious, has the faculties necessary to focus on the consciously unperceived world of ESP.

Extrasensory perception – ESP or Premonition, although part of Pseudoscience does exist. ESP is when you can perceive things that are not immediately available in space or time, when you can perceive something on the other side of the world, or in different room, or something that hasn’t happened yet.

Dr. A.K. Dewan

Director – Surgical Oncology

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