Profiles - Who Are The Sensitives?

image/Woman meditating

Numerous persons who have responded to the Environmental Sensitivity Survey (PDF, 10pp, 240KB) report not only allergies or some other form of environmental sensitivity but also paranormal perceptions. Indeed, their original anecdotes prompted this more systematic survey investigation, the results of which are discussed in The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion. Could it be that such perceptions stem from the same underlying neurobiology as environmental sensitivity?

One woman, for example, wrote that her son (no age given) has "hypersensitivities… [his] hearing is so sensitive he can hear small animals walking from inside the house and can hear trains a far distance that no one else can unless they turn off all noises and listen very carefully." She continued:

He also has experiences seeing shadows of people that no one else does. When little, he experienced seeing what he described as 'critters' when he was sick, which scared him. As a toddler, he was supersensitive…I was thinking that he might just have been sensitive enough to see something that the ordinary person couldn't -- since his other senses are so acute."

Here are sketches of four exemplary individuals. Their names have been changed, of course, to provide anonymity:

  • Sally is 62 years old, divorced with three grown children. She has had allergies most of her life, as have others in her family. She considers herself to be sensitive to electricity and contends that computers and other electronic equipment do inexplicable things in her presence. Sally reports occasionally hearing voices, seeing lights, and having tactile experiences with no apparent source. These perceptions have occurred throughout her life to a greater or lesser extent, one such period being when she was experiencing dissatisfaction in her marriage.
  • Edward is an M.D. in his mid-fifties, married with children. He is athletic and health-conscious, having lived the past decade with chemical sensitivity, a condition for which he was once hospitalized. Now he limits his exposure to cleansers, solvents, paints, pesticides, even air fresheners and colognes -- and runs a clinic for others with such sensitivities. Sometimes, Edward notices that computer screens and lights seem to flicker when he his near. He says that, occasionally, he feels a 'presence' or sees an apparition. Interestingly, some of his patients volunteer similar experiences.
  • Betty is in her early sixties, also an M.D. who is married with children. Earlier in her life, she suffered from headaches that were so severe she underwent surgery to try and alleviate them. Teflon implants and, later, titanium implants were used. These implants led to further chronic pain as well as chemical sensitivity. Betty has learned to live with this sensitivity, and believes that she can see and feel energy emanating from other people. She suspects she has always had this ability, and now considers herself a healer -- both vocationally and personally.
  • Hank is 50 years old, a small businessman with one child. He has lived with depression for many years as well as a sleep disorder. When he was five, he was hit by a car and suffered a head trauma. From that time on, he claims, he has been aware that he can sense other people’s emotion. Hank did not realize this was not ‘normal’ until he met someone he considers telepathic, who helped him to hone the ability. Today, Hank has a circle of such friends – many of whom, he notes, seem to have problems with wristwatches, computers, and other appliances malfunctioning in their presence.

These individuals – and many others presenting similar accounts – generally come across in person as friendly, unselfconscious, and seemingly well adjusted…anything but out of the ordinary. They are, however, genuinely puzzled at their anomalous experiences.

The commonalities in their accounts (accidents and traumas, complicated medical history, intense emotional attunement, perceived sensitivity to chemicals or electricity, and paranormal perceptions) warrant further scrutiny. This website, and the accompanying book The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion, attempt to do just that.

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