I'm an empath natural born, started training to hone the talent into a skill when I was very young in martial arts class. I discussed it with my sensei, he told me that it was a very powerful warrior skill, and after the usual q&a, "how do I feel now" "what's he feeling" blah blah. he told me not only is it a rare gift but mostly he had to train his mind for years to reach the point I was born at. so yes it's real not only that, but with proper training and time anyone can learn. it is valuable skill to learn. makes life easier makes you hard to deceive.
and queue the customary "that's impossible" seems the norm for this site