Glad We Could Learn You Something

I'm glad that yesterday's post seemed to strike a colorful cord with a lot of you. Thanks for the enormous amount of direct emails about your reactions and thoughts on the subject.I promise we'll email back everyone within a reasonable amount of time.

We remember one of Peter's friends sharing that when Peter said he touched a person, he'd see color representations for different people. So, to him, one person was a red and another a purple. Could you imagine what a rainbow was before him when he played on stage and worked with so many people.

Apparently it's all a part of Synesthesia ... read on:

Posted on FB by Mary Wolfe on Sista's & Brotha's wall

How someone with synesthesia might perceive certain letters and numbers.

In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise). Yet another recently identified type, visual motion sound synesthesia, involves hearing sounds in response to visual motion and flicker. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been reported, but only a fraction have been evaluated by scientific research. Even within one type, synesthetic perceptions vary in intensity and people vary in awareness of their synesthetic perceptions.

While cross-sensory metaphors (e.g., "loud shirt," "bitter wind" or "prickly laugh") are sometimes described as "synesthetic", true neurological synesthesia is involuntary. It is estimated that synesthesia could possibly be as prevalent as 1 in 23 persons across its range of variants. Synesthesia runs strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained. Synesthesia is also sometimes reported by individuals under the influence of psychedelic drugs, after a stroke, during a temporal lobe epilepsy seizure, or as a result of blindness or deafness. Synesthesia that arises from such non-genetic events is referred to as "adventitious synesthesia" to distinguish it from the more common congenital forms of synesthesia. Adventitious synesthesia involving drugs or stroke (but not blindness or deafness) apparently only involves sensory linkings such as sound vision or touch hearing; there are few, if any, reported cases involving culture-based, learned sets such as graphemes, lexemes, days of the week, or months of the year.

Definitional criteria
Although sometimes spoken of as a "neurological condition," synesthesia most often does not interfere with normal daily functioning.  Early cases included individuals whose synesthesia was frankly projected outside the body (e.g., on a "screen" in front of one's face). Later research showed that such stark externalization occurs in a minority of synesthetes. Refining this concept, one can differentiate between "localizers" and "non-localizers" to distinguish those synesthetes whose perceptions have a definite sense of spatial quality.

It was once assumed that synesthetic experiences were entirely different from synesthete to synesthete, but recent research has shown that there are underlying similarities that can be observed when large numbers of synesthetes are examined together. Nonetheless, there are a great number of types of synesthesia, and within each type, individuals can report differing triggers for their sensations, and differing intensities of experiences. This variety means that defining synesthesia in an individual is difficult, and the majority of synesthetes are completely unaware that their experiences have a name. However, despite the differences between individuals, there are a few common elements that define a true synesthetic experience.

... More tomorrow on the various types of synesthesia ... I'm sure some of you will fit into this category. If only 1 in 23 people are synesthetics, just think of how extraordinary those people are ... hopefully now, if you didn't realize it before, you now know that you are in an elite class of interesting people.

Self proclaimed Synesthetics have been:

Tori Amos
Leonard Bernstein
Sir Robert Cailliau
Duke Ellington
David Hockney
Billy Joel
Marilyn Monroe
Vladimir Nabokov
Eddie Van Halen
Stevie Wonder


  1. wow.. that is so interesting.it'd be kind of like a rainbow of people. did it ever get too overwhelming to him at all or was he used to it? cause I know after awhile it would have gotten to me a bit. wonder if he saw his cats that way too...if they had a color when he touched them.so special and unique he was and still so very,very loved,adored and missed so very much. so wish on a zillion stars that he was still here with us.
    ya know I kind of felt there was something about Peter that was extra special.I could..(this might sound weird)...sense it so to speak.sometimes I can sense things about certain people...like a vibe they give or something.its weird.my mom told me that the women on her side had a sixth sense about certain things or people. I dont know maybe were all just weird that way..lol.
    I can imagine that at times it might have become a bit overwhelming to you all over there too. wonder if they have anything about this on you tube? I'll have to check later on that.
    ya know they say if you see a person with a color or colors around them that its their auras. has me wondering what mine would be. thanks for sharing this ...it has opened my mind to something different..a bit of some brain exercise on learning about something thats interesting and unique.
    did Peter ever do any art of what he saw when seeing the world through his eyes? that would be some interesting art to see if he did.
    did he ever see himself as a color? if so what was it? I think seeing colors in music would be beautiful to see while listening.
    anyways...thanks for sharing this interesting subject...looking forward to the next ones.
    ya all take care over there.stay safe too.
    forever peace and blessings.

  2. I agree with Brenda...Well said. This is very interesting and very special as well. Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. When touching people did Peter ever talk about what the different colours represented? I know this is all very scientific but to me it also sounds very intuitive (psychic) its like sensing aura's or colour vibrations that people and objects have. I have found most people who are very creative and have bipolar are gifted in some way.
    Changing the subject I saw Motley Crue last night and wanted to give them all a big hug for helping Type O Negative early in their career. They were so good and Nikki spat fake blood on us...and yes we loved it.

  4. Yeah I've experienced the drug induced kind. My friend got me to drop acid with him, told me that it would make hear colors and see sounds and being the DUMBASS that I was I did. I was seeing and feeling all kinds of weird, turns out my friend was messing with me which isn't smart to do to somebody on their first trip. I saw my friend's face start melting and that was when I freaked out and jumped out the window, ended up breaking my leg and fracturing my wrist! I never touched acid again...wish that had been the case for everything else but thankfully those days are behind me now. Don't know if that classifies as an synesthetic experience or not, nothing creative came from it that's for sure! Looking forward to next post on this, thanks again. (-)

  5. Wow, Thank you for the past two posts. How amazing and frustrating (at times) for him and you. Definately can see how that would have helped him create his music! Very informative. I have heard of this phenomenon but you have certainly broadened my understanding. Both my son and I can see auras to a point. It happens more when someone has an extreme mood. I always attributed it to us just reading and responding to their body language. I will have to take the test with him and see. The brain is certainly a limitless frontier! Peace.

  6. Hi guys--

    This is interesting; I'll definitely have to read up on this. (I'm hoping Amazon has some decent books on Synesthesia.) I thought it might be the person's aura he was seeing as well, but I'm guessing that's not the case. Each chakra has a different color associated with it also, but you can't see those. I think too I need to go back and re-read what you posted Darcie, because I'm also wondering if the notes/letters he saw briefly showed themselves in color (and then reverted to 'normal,') or if the color was constant. (I hope that thought came across clearly.) I'm also wondering (obviously pointless) what color I would've been to him? And if two synesthetes touch the same person do they each see that person in the same color? Just some questions that I guess I'll have to try to find the answers to. (I also did not know Peter was left-handed. I always assume someone is right-handed
    unless/until I find out otherwise.) It's no wonder the brain was a subject of interest for him. Thanks for sharing this, Darcie.
    Love & Gratitude--Patty P

  7. Hmmmm wonder if I had a color... probably some hideous shade of yellow. HAHA

  8. Every day that I learn something even more fascinating about Peter I can't help but to feel blessed. Thank you. Syn

  9. that is what i was going to ask gayle...could pete read aura's...he was genius, the things he did with numbers was amazing in the blog the other day...what a VERY interesting man...he would have had me lost in all of that mumbo talk...lol...but just to listen to him...i could just shake my head and say "uh huh", "no kidding", "wow", "really". lmfao.

    what was pete's most favorite color??

  10. Gotta admit that acid and psilocybn mushrooms both consistently induced this effect during experimental years. I miss hallucinogens from time to time. Experiences with them were positive.

    One can only imagine how overwhelming it would be to experience synesthsia regarding color assignment to people in a large crowded place. That's a lot for anyone's mind to take in!

  11. BTW- Thanks Mare for that photo. It was taken from a very good angle and shows the shape of Pete's face very well, expecially his strong jawline.

  12. Thank you Darcie for providing so much information on this subject and how Pete has seen his environment. Truly amazing – seeing a colorful rainbow when standing on stage & seeing colors when touching people. Another very special fact about Pete – this special man – it’s hard to imagine how he has handled this ‚special gift‘ because I can imagine if you don’t know it better one could also think: ‚OMG – I am slightly going mad!‘ Otherwise if it’s part of your life and you never knew it another way it is quite usual – as stated yesterday really I have never questioned why colors appear in my mind in relation to days, digits etc. But it also gives me another explanation why Pete‘s music touched so many of us in truly amazing ways . Regarding seeing people in different colors I was also thinking about the auras of people. I have not experienced this until now but I have experienced that my first feeling -when getting to know people – was most of the time the correct one (either good or bad). Brenda – maybe that’s not so weird as one could think because I see it simply as an exchange of energy - guess you know the emotion of feeling very connected to someone even if you know this person only for a short time but you may feel more close than to persons you know already for a long time. The opposite is having a not clear defined but somehow strange (bad, cold) feeling with other persons. Since I see myself as an open minded individual I was sometimes thinking: ‚Hey don’t judge from the first impression – give it a chance‘ – I did give a chance but most of the time (even after some years) it turned out that my first feeling was just the correct one which is disappointing somehow but also I learned that I should have more trust in my feelings. Patty - the subject of chakras is an interesting point too - I have read a book about it almost 20 years ago so I can’t remember the colors that were related to the different chakras but I think now I will look it up again. I have to come back once more to the blog from 09/21/11 with Pat relating colors to days - in my case Tuesday is always is related to the color green ;-) I don’t know why but it was always this way since I can remember (childhood) so I think I can exclude the experience based on hallucinogenic substances. I am well aware that many people would think about this subject as phenomens that appear to weird (confused) people but I know that it in life it is not always just black/white – and I think that this subject goes to the category of various shades of grey ;-) & I am really glad that I have learned about Synesthesia now (so to speak it’s medical/logicial proved and not just the product of a confused mind). Truly amazing the list of other people that are self proclaimed Synesthetics - very interesting that Tori Amos (I really like her music a lot) , Duke Ellington (like his music too) and Stevie Wonder are in this list.
    Much love & respect & thx for this blog and all your contributions

  13. .. and again forgot to add: Mary - love the pic.

  14. I took the test and apparently I AM a synesthetic, and that "screen" thing is very true for me. When I picture the color of a word, a picture of the word colored appears in front of me (e.g. "experience" written in orange with a bit of brown and yellow in the middle). As far as I know no one else in my family has it, though I remember my Art teacher in junior high had the exact same type of synesthesia as I do.

    Stella A. A.