Ghost Limbs: Got Any?

Any ghost haunting you? I recently found out I have one!

Okay, not really a ghost from the paranormal world, but rather a very real one lurking all throughout my daily life, my cell phone. It greets me in the morning and tucks me in at night. It’s like a shadow that follows me everywhere: to my job, to school, to church, to the theater, geez even to the bathroom!

cell phones 2.jpg

I lived in denial telling myself that I wasn’t attached to my cell phone; but today, I spent most of the day without it – Oh the HORROR! You know that feeling like something is missing? When we reach into our purses like three or four times, grope our butts like ten times and even watch our lonely hands have an anxiety attack a few times longing for that small rectangular, bright screen. No worries, I survived! BARELY.

cell phones

It’s hard to realize that material things can be so engraved in our lives that not having them feels as if part of our being is missing. My cell phone has morphed into an extra limb, a limb that helps me stay connected, and it is painful not having it. It’s as painful as a ghost limb. Some may say that’s a far stretch, but I don’t think it is.

Nowadays, a lot of us are addicted to our cell phones and think of it as an extremity. Not having it hinders our day to day activities. That’s crazy, but it’s modern day reality. Well today, my brain did not register that my cell phone was at home, and it hurt with disappointment every time I reached out into thin air.

cell phones 3

What’s a Ghost limb? A ghost limb is when  the brain does not register that an amputated limb is no longer part of our bodies.

When it comes to pain caused by ghost limbs, a mirror is the cure (TED: 3 Clues to understanding your brain). The doctor has the patient reflect her existing arm in a mirror and has her look towards the side of the amputated arm. This gives the brain a visual of the missing arm being present.  Then, he asks the patient to open her ghost hand and unflex the muscle relieving the pain. In my case, communicating through other methods cured the pain of my missing limb. For example, logging into Facebook on my desktop or listening to a podcast on the radio. It’s magical what the brain can do!

mirror limb

During lunch, I spent my time listening to a podcast on decapitation and whether the victims of decapitation suffer after the head has been detached from the body (Stuff You Should Know: Do you stay conscious after being decapitated). Missing limbs again! Coincidence? I think not. The topic of the podcast was not my choice as I was sitting in my friend’s car, but either way I found the subject fascinating and related it back to the ghost limbs from the TED talk and to my missing cell phone. I guess my subconscious could not stop thinking about my missing limb.

The podcast talked about how a scientist was given the chance to experiment on a rapist, serial killer sentenced to death. The criminal was killed by decapitation and when the head was detached from the body, the doctor called out his name and the eyes opened giving his facial expression a different appearance. The doctor was able to call out his name four times getting the head to respond. This experiment had also been practiced on lab rats previously. Yikes! The findings were that after decapitation, the bodiless head stays conscious for about 4 seconds.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So, I took this opportunity as a learning experience. It’s phenomenal how the neuron network systems continue to operate even for a few seconds after decapitation and the head is no longer physically connected to the body. In a very microscopic level, I felt this way all day like I was functioning, but not connected since I did not have my cell phone. This shouldn’t be the case so it led me to self exploration. In result, I am looking forward to taking a camping trip or a get away of some sort to disconnect physically and emotionally from my ghost limb along with the rest of technology. Maybe in this journey I will get a glimpse of what happens after those four seconds of agony, and the soul is finally set free.


As you can tell, I love TED talks! If you feel addicted to your cell phone, feel like you could spend less time on it or are just bored, watch TED: How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

Do you have any ghost haunting you?

Thanks for reading,

Gabby Salazar


  1. Hi 🙂 I just came across your blog! (hope you don’t mind) Great post! 🙂 can not wait to read more of your content, Check out my blog (I am new!) if your interested 😀 again, such a good post and TED talks is amazing he he! x

    Liked by 1 person

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