The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

Cellular Memory Phenomenon Explained: Consciousness Beyond the Brain


Hat tip to Don Salmon for bringing this to my attention.

It is amazing to me what happens when you start looking for consciousness.  The information comes cascading in.  This time it’s cellular memory phenomenon.  You may remember an article I did a while ago titled:  Consciousness At the Cellular Level: The Experiments of Cleve Backster.  Another relevant post I did was:  Consciousness is Part of Reality, Not a Trick of Evolution

Backster demonstrated that consciousness occurs at the cellular level.  And while it was fascinating and it demonstrates the far reach of consciousness, it wasn’t until I ran across cellular memory phenomenon that a picture developed of how much this affects us, which is apparently a lot.

Cellular Memory Phenomenon is a term doctors coined for the personality changes that people undergo after organ transplants.  Here are some stories:

Cheryl Johnson received a kidney.

Cheryl Johnson, 37, says she has changed completely since receiving the organ in May. She believes that she must have picked up her new characteristics from the donor, a 59-year-old man who died from an aneurysm.

Now, not only has her personality changed, the single mother also claims that her tastes in literature have taken a dramatic turn. Whereas she only used to read low-brow novels, Dostoevsky has become her author of choice since the transplant.

Miss Johnson, from Penwortham, in Preston, Lancs, said: “You pick up your characteristics from your donor. My son said when I first had the transplant, I went stroppy and snappy – that wasn’t me.

“I have always loved books but I’ve started to read classics like Jane Austen and Dostoevsky. I found myself reading Persuasion.”

An annoymous post on a message board:

I had my transplant oct 2005… long story short it worked out, eventually. My problem is that I WAS an honor roll student in all my life until after this surgery. Then (9-11th grade) I dissappointed my family over and over again by failing in school, being mean… or lazy…. and its not me. I seem to be more controlling, and argumentative. but thats not the real problem at all.

I used to be the annoying (sometimes funny) kid from 1st grade -8th, but now I don’t even talk in school. The part that concerns me is that I dont care that im not talking, I dont want to talk to anyone because people make me sick. they are just overall useless, I could go on for days about it, but thats not the point. It worries me that Ive lost faith in humanity and myself.

I also cant enjoy all the things I used to do, for example I cant play Halo 3 because I shake and can never truly improve at the game.

Claire Sylvia from this article:

Claire Sylvia who received a heart and lung transplant in the 1970’s from an eighteen year old male donor who had been in a motorcycle accident. None of this information was known to Sylvia, who upon waking up claimed she had a new and intense craving for beer, chicken nuggets, and green peppers, all food she didn’t enjoy prior to the surgery. A change in food preferences is probably the most noted in heart transplant patients. Sylvia wrote a book about her experiences after learning the identity of her donor called A Change of Heart.

And one more from People magazine:

Bill Wohl was a hard-driving self-described type A executive until cardiac disease nearly killed him in 2000. A heart transplant at the University of Arizona medical center saved his life—and transformed it in ways he could never have imagined. Weeks after his operation, Wohl, now 58, heard a song on the radio by the British vocalist Sade. “I just started crying and rocking,” he recalls. Odd, since before the surgery, Wohl hadn’t heard of Sade and was not the type to mist up over a torch song. Later he contacted the family of organ donor Michael Brady, the 36-year-old Hollywood stuntman whose heart he had received, and made an intriguing discovery. Sade was one of Brady’s favorite singers. “It was,” says Wohl, “really, really freaky.”
There are actually quite a few examples out there, some of them quite spectacular, such as a woman whose blood type changed after a liver transplant.  In fact, there are so many examples that as a phenomena it is surprising that it receives so little attention.
There are of course, biological theories, such as the presence of neuropeptides,  But no one knows if they store memories and how they could store such specific ones.  Skeptics, of course, can always be counted on to come up with the most absurd theories and they don’t disappoint on this front:  they speculate that the patient unconsciously hears doctors and nurses talking about the donor while under anesthesia and the patient somehow is suggestible and has a personality change.  (I wasn’t aware that the donor organs arrived with a complete personality profile of the donor which doctors and nurses then discussed over the operation.  Has this magical suggestibility ever occurred under any other circumstances? What an idiotic theory.)
The Backster experiments demonstrate what is going on here. By putting very sensitive probes on small groups of cells, Backster was able to demonstrate that the cells reacted to the emotions of their owner, who was in another room.  This demonstrates that the cells had awareness of their own, independent of the rest of the body.  This is consciousness and if random cells demonstrate it then we can conclude that consciousness resides in every cell of the body and certainly in the organs.  Therefore, an organ transplant is also a consciousness transplant.  The recipient is literally receiving the personality of the donor.  Now, if you accept the Holographic Universe model, then the entire personality of the donor will be contained in each cell and therefore in the organ as a group.
Because people vary tremendously in the make up of their personalities, there are necessarily going to be great variations in how much of a donors personality they take on.  It is altogether likely that donor rejection has something to do with how easily people can change and accept the personality changes.  Someone who fights changes is going to have a more difficult time accepting a new organ because they will fight the personality changes that occur.
The person receiving the organ has their own personality, so they aren’t likely to transform completely; more likely, the recipient will take on a few attributes while discarding others.  I suppose it’s a bit like being married; we cannot help but take on some attributes of our spouses, but we don’t become them.
So what we have here is an experiment in cell consciousness that has been confirmed by field reports of cellular memory in transplant recipients.  In turn, the reports of cellular memory are being explained by the experiment.  Would knowing this make any different in lives of organ recipients?  Perhaps if the knowledge were used in the healing process.
Another question to be asked is what does this mean for the rest of us?  What part does the rest of our body play in our thoughts and actions?  Clearly, who we are is not completely within the brain, but also within the body.  It is another mystery of consciousness that will have to wait for another day.
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23 comments on “Cellular Memory Phenomenon Explained: Consciousness Beyond the Brain

  1. Gemma Louise Burton
    December 4, 2015

    I was watching ‘The Eye’ with Jessica Alba in it recently and I didn’t realize that it was a real topic. This just makes the film so much more scarier.

  2. Mary Kavanagh
    September 19, 2015

    First let me explain how I stumbled on the Cellular Memory Phenomenon. I’m reading a book, “Haunted from Within”, by Ian C P Irvine, about a reporter who receives a double kidney transplant from a man who turns out to be a serial killer. The donor recipient gets flashbacks about the murders and burial of the bodies and starts investigating.
    My question is: in the case of living donor transplants, kidney and liver and bone marrow usually, have there been any studies on whether this cellular memory phenomenon takes place. This might be an interesting topic for discussion, investigation.

    • Anonymous
      November 3, 2015

      Yes I agree that investigation on this subject is wanted.
      Bob preston.

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  4. Lola
    March 4, 2014

    can cellular memories be removed?

  5. Patti
    September 11, 2013

    How does this relate to ancestral cellular memory?

  6. melissa
    April 3, 2013

    This is an article that interested me on the subject of cellular memory phenomena. It’s about a man who received a heart transplant from a suicide victim. He later married his donor’s widow and also committed suicide.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-557864/Man-given-heart-suicide-victim-marries-donors-widow-kills-exactly-way.html

  7. robnnewportnews@yahoo.com
    December 5, 2011

    I am pretty sure there is something to this. Before my second kidney transplant at age 35 I absolutely could not stand coffee. The first cup I ever drank (and I didn’t finish it) was my last…that is until I had my second kidney transplant and immediately started craving the stuff. Now I I am completely addicted to coffee.

    • craigweiler
      December 7, 2011

      That’s really interesting. Real life is so much more fascinating than the official version.

  8. Anonymous
    July 27, 2011

    I do not believe that one single organ transplant can override all the other organs, including skin. At least a personality cannot be affected to the degrees stated above. Thanks.

    • craigweiler
      July 27, 2011

      Thanks for your opinion. I think that you’re making a reasonable argument based on reasonable logic. It does indeed seem quite strange that one organ could have such a dramatic effect on a person. Personally, I have long since given up pursuing reasonable arguments when dealing with consciousness. It doesn’t seem to be helpful.

    • MindBody
      March 18, 2017

      While the cellular memory phenomenon around transplants does seem to be a real phenomenon, it clearly does not occur in all cases of transplants. So- maybe these are situations where the rest of the recipients’ organs do dominate. Clearly this is a subject for open minded inquiry rather than a set belief. I wonder how well this has been investigated- as we now have significant “respectable medical research” around Near Death Experiences thanks to Dr Sam Parnia, and many others.

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  10. Mari Caplan
    March 17, 2011

    This makes perfect sense. ( To me anyway) The next step in understanding is that our cells, and our memories are just energetic vibrations that create fields of energy. (Our cells being the denser form of energy.) When viewed from this perspective its easier to understand how consciousness in the form of cells can become sick and diseased within the body. Which then also explains how some people are able to change cellular disease by focusing on new images (memories) which create new consciousness (energy) within the body so that it vibrates in a clearer state.

  11. Don Salmon
    March 17, 2011

    Hi Craig:

    Those are great stories. If you or anyone want to see some more, search for “Paul Pearsall”; he has a book called “The Heart’s Code” which has a number of very interesting ones. I remember one about a man whose taste in music, if I remember correctly, was pretty much heavy metal, developing a passion for classical music after receiving a heart transplant; turned out he received a heart from a 10 year old black boy who was studying classical violin. lots of other interesting ones. As for the skeptics’ arguments, the problem is very similar to the way that Democrats try to respond to Republicans. I think that Jon Stewart has done some very funny bits on this, and George Lakoff has written some brilliant columns on this. The Democrats always argue within the Republican frame. Like with the health care bill – remember when it was being called the “job-killing bill” by the Republicans? Some Democrat objected to the word “killing” and accepted it when the word was changed to “job-destroying”!!!! (at least that’s how i remember it; it was something along those lines). Same problem with materialists. They come up with some impossible material explanation, and we try to counter it while accepting a basically material frame. Nothing in the psychic world is going to make sense (IMHO) unless you start with Consciousness (and I don’t mean idealist philosophy; look at Christian mysticism, Sufism, Vajrayana, Vedanta, etc – or Alan Wallace’s take on Buddhist theism and underlying commonalities with other spiritual traditions to get a good start). The beautiful thing about this is that all the things that science is stuck on – like what is matter, what is energy (Richard Feynmann humbly admitted that we have absolutely no idea what “energy” is), how life started, where mind came from, how and why the so called “laws of nature arose and how they persist, the relationship of mind and brain – all go from being mysterious to being the most obvious and natural way for things to be.

    Anyway thanks for some great stories. Always enjoy reading your posts.

    • craigweiler
      March 17, 2011

      Thanks as always for your thoughtful reply. I know what you’re saying about having an argument with a basically material framework. I’ve been working on getting around that. I have some experience because of being a foreign exchange student years ago, dealing with values attitudes, ideas and beliefs.

      • Emma
        March 18, 2011

        So this is totally unrelated to your post, but do you have any tips on picking where to go for studying abroad?

        • craigweiler
          March 18, 2011

          Thanks for your question. It depends on what you want to achieve. I went to Germany and it was perfect for me, but everyone is different. I’m actually surprised at the question because most people seem to know where they want to go as an almost unconscious choice. Follow your heart. That’s all I can say.

  12. Monica
    March 16, 2011

    …Uh, whaaa?

    For that level of cellular consciousness, either the usual definition would have to be wrong, or the organ itself would have to be conscious.

    An alternate theory is that everyone has low-level psi. So, when part of another person is put inside of them, they unconsciously link to that person and take on their traits.

    The question can be solved pretty easily–has any psychic had an organ transplant, and if so, what happened? But it could easily be both. After all, focuses do exist–go to any surface deposit of quartz and find that one out for yourself! 🙂 (No, seriously, go, it rocks. :p)

    • craigweiler
      March 17, 2011

      Hi Monica,
      I believe that the usual definition is wrong. Consciousness is a tricky bugger to figure out and we can’t go on the assumption that it can be divided into pieces, or that dividing it creates individual pieces.

      I also think finding a psychic transplant recipient would be quite difficult. We tend to be very body aware and not likely to draw that level of sickness to ourselves.

      And I do rocks, but not much quartz. I don’t seem to be drawn to it.

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