Human Exceptionalism

Not the Twilight Zone

Now this is a very sad story that would seem to be science fiction, but isn’t. Sonny Graham received the heart of a suicide victim named Terry Cottle. Afterwards, he seems to have assimilated something of the dead man’s essence into his being. From the story:

The operation was a success and soon after, Mr Graham, 69, contacted the organ donor agency, saying he wanted to thank Mr Cottle’s family. He began writing to Mr Cottle’s widow, Cheryl, 39, and they soon fell in love and were married in 2004, moving to the US state of Georgia.

After the wedding, Mrs Graham said: “It helped me so much. Meeting Sonny made it easier for me, knowing something so good came from something so bad.” In a newspaper article published in 2006, Mr Graham said he felt an instant and unusual attachment when he met his donor’s widow. “I felt like I had known her for years,” Mr Graham said. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I just stared.”

But now, 12 years after the operation, Mrs Graham’s life has been rocked by another tragedy. Mr Graham killed himself with a shotgun, in circumstances similar to those which claimed Mr Cottle’s life. His friends said he had shown no signs of being depressed and were at a loss to explain his sudden death.

And get this:

According to scientists, there are more than 70 documented cases of transplant patients taking on some of the personality traits of the organ donors.

Some people–and not just those on late night flying saucer talk radio–say that our whole bodies reflect and constitute who we are, not just the brain. This, it seems to me, gives a bit of credence to that theory.

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