be well, be love.
transplants, cellular memory, and reincarnation
larry dossey, md (executive editor)
i carry your heart with me…
…and whatever is done
by only me is your doing….
“i carry your heart with me”
in 1995, sonny graham, a 69-year-old resident of vidalia, georgia, and former director of the heritage golf tournament at sea pines, was suffering from congestive heart failure. he received a heart transplant from 33-year-old terry cottle of charleston, south carolina, who had killed himself. graham did well following surgery and began to write letters of gratitude to the donor's family. in 1997 he met his donor's widow, fell in love, and married her. in april 2008, 12 years following his transplant, graham died the same way his donor did—from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. he was found dead in a utility building in his backyard from a single shotgun wound to the throat. the georgia bureau of investigation found no evidence of foul play.2, 3
following graham's suicide, the blogosphere lit up with chatter. some wags cruelly observed that, since both the donor and recipient had married the same woman, she must have driven them both to suicide. the fact that she was a compassionate, caring hospice worker didn't seem to matter.
most commentators, however, offered the popular “cellular memory” hypothesis—the speculation that memories, habits, interests, and tastes may be stored not only in the brain, but in all the cells of the human body. an extension of this idea is that these traits may be transferable from one person to another via organ transplantation. according to this reasoning, cottle's donor heart was a vehicle for transferring his suicidal depression to graham. if true, graham got not only a living heart, but a death sentence as well.
the authors found parallels between donors and recipients “in food, music, art, sexual, recreational, and career preferences, as well as specific instances of perceptions of names and sensory experiences related to the donors (eg, one donor was killed by a gunshot wound to the face; the recipient had dreams of seeing hot flashes of light in his face).” they found from two to five posttransplant parallels between donors and recipients per case. they concluded, “the effects of the immunosuppressive drugs, stress of the surgery, and statistical coincidence are likely insufficient to explain the findings. the plausibility of cellular memory, possibly systemic memory, is suggested.”
[to read the rest of the article, please see the link above]