Editor’s Introduction

This anonymous scientist is Irish and has a Ph.D. in chemistry has a research position at a major university. She has taught both there and abroad and received many grants to support her work.

This experience occurred in 1993 while she was sitting in front of her fire at home.

Premonition of Death?

In 1982 I started collaborating with a colleague in another department, a well-respected and popular researcher and we published our first paper in that year. One afternoon in early February in 1983 I was chatting with Pat* in his office about research and life in general. He told me he was flying to a meeting abroad the next morning.

That evening at about 9 pm I was sitting at home in front of my fire about to read a book when I had a very strong image of Pat dying of a heart attack. I found this very disturbing but tried to put it out of my mind. However, the following day on my return from lunch a colleague informed me that Pat had had a heart attack on the flight to Paris that morning and had died. He was 53.

Of course I was terribly upset but couldn’t tell anyone – either colleagues or his family. What was also distressing was that some people misinterpreted my obvious upset by assuming that my relationship with Pat, who was married, was something more than professional (I was single and in my late 30s at that time).

And maybe it was! But not the way that people assumed…

Contributor’s Comments on the Experience

Pat’s death, coupled with the difficulties I encountered in collaborating with his scientific heir, made me question the wisdom of putting all my energy into doing research and pursuing an academic career. In the past few years I have started to explore my spiritual side and can enter alter states of consciousness quite easily. I’m happier than I have ever been, but do not want to abandon my academic life and scientific work. Just keep things balanced!

Qs from TASTE Editor:

Two things are implied, but, if true, clear statements to that effect would help.

One that you had no reason to believe Pat had a heart condition, two that this was a unique kind of experience for you, that you (seldom?)(never?) have had anything like it, as opposed to the counter-hypothesis that such worries occupy you much of the time.

” I had no idea that “Pat” had a heart condition. He was a very healthy, full of life, good-looking, golf-playing man.”

“I never had an experience like that before. In the past couple of years, however, I have become more “spiritual”, and not the academic workalholic I had been!”