Some psychologists, most famously Carl Jung, have theorised that we’re born with the memories and experiences of our ancestors imprinted on our DNA. We’re not necessarily unlocking them, but it’s possible that our most basic survival instincts might stem from some long ago trauma experienced by a dead relative. It’s a theory that’s also subscribed to by television psychics, though, so you can see where things get tricky.
While you might not be able to remember the specific horrors experienced by a great grandfather in a WWI trench, or the weary footsteps taken by ancestors as they migrated from Africa to Europe, it’s not an uncommon thing to feel in touch with those whose genetic material you share. We define ourselves by things like race and family history, and sometimes those experiences of the distant past feel very present.