Mysterious gifts from beyond

Dr. Tony Cicoria became an accomplished classical pianist after being struck by lightning.

Lightning strikes, bumps on the head, or benign tumors have all been the causes of people becoming suddenly savant in music or art.

In writing about mysterious events, I have written about bizarre forces of nature that had unexpected and uncanny consequences.   There were storms, earthquakes, floods, lightning, blizzards that accomplished enigmatic feats.  I have also written about human beings and animals that were born with amazing gifts—gifts that seemed impossible or miraculous to have.

Now I shall tell you about a combo—yes, a combo.  It has come to my attention that in some rare instances, forces of nature have actually caused human beings to receive an unbelievable gift from beyond.  If I were a scriptwriter, there might be instances in which I could write of certain people that went One Step Beyond, indeed—all because of an unstoppable force of nature.

One such instance was the case of Tony (Anthony) Cicoria.  In 1994, Tony was a 42-year old orthopedic surgeon in upstate New York when he received his astounding gifts.  He was a healthy and very fit specimen that had once played college football. 

One afternoon he found himself with his family at an outdoor pavilion.  He noticed a few clouds on the horizon, but they were not the kind to be troubling to him.  He decided to make a phone call to his mother on the spur of the moment.  In the days before cell phones, a payphone was the logical place to do this. 

He located one nearby and as his mother said goodbye to him on the phone and hung up, he remembers a brilliant flash of light.  It came right out of the phone and soon he realized he was on the ground.  His position on the ground was accomplished after a short flight of his body forward, then a short flight backward. 

He then realized he was looking down on his own body from above.  I am dead.  He saw people gathering around his limp body and an off-duty nurse stepping forward to administer CPR.  His spirit seemed to soar inside a peaceful bluish light.  He wanted to stay there, then, pow!  He was back in his earthly existence. 

For the first time since the event, he felt pain—the pain of burns and trauma to his body.  Police began arriving on the scene and were determined to call an ambulance.  Cicoria refused.  He just wanted to go home with his family and did.

Within a few days, Tony had consulted a cardiologist and neurologist about long term effects.  He was fatigued and having some minor memory problems.  An EEG and MRI could detect no real problems to his internal health.  Somewhat satisfied, Tony went back to work as a surgeon.  His life was returning to absolute normal when something very odd happened.

Tony Cicoria had an overwhelming desire to play and study piano music.  The feelings were uncontrollably intense.  Although he had had a few piano lessons as a boy, he had lost interest in music, except for listening to rock and roll.  At this same time, a baby sitter was storing her upright piano at the Cicoria home. 

Tony was drawn to seek it out and play it.  His awkward fingers soon began feeling very comfortable over the keyboard.  He began to study newfound favorite classical composers and ordered sheet music for their compositions.  He began teaching himself to play, drawing upon his rudimentary knowledge. 

He was more and more comfortable playing when he became overcome with musical hallucinations. He was compelled by a powerful presence to begin writing his own compositions.  He had never written music, but the ability to do so came over him.  He often got up in the middle of the night to jot down the melodies that seemed to be coming to him automatically.

Tony became so good at performing and writing complex compositions that he has given recitals and appeared in theaters to astounded audiences.  His obsession with music has continued through a divorce and a bad motorcycle accident.  His story was featured in the Oliver Sacks book, Musicophilia.

Although this condition is extremely rare there have been other cases of acquired savant syndrome.  Lightning strikes, bumps on the head, or benign tumors have all been the causes of people becoming suddenly savant in music, painting or other areas.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Curious Indeed, a collection of true stories about the bizarre and unexplained. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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