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While John Michell has a brief break from this page,another living legend will be taking his place. Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and the author of The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Hutchinson, £17.99). His website is Jonathan Cainer

Archive for Thursday 1st April 2004 - Unexplained Powers: A psychic parrot by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake image Of all the animals I have investigated, some of the most psychic are parrots. Most remarkable of all is Nkisi, who lives with his owner Aimee Morgana in New York. This African Grey now has a vocabulary of 950 words and speaks in sentences. And, no, despite today's date, this is not an April Fool's spoof: Nkisi is probably the most accomplished language-using animal in the world. Aimee & Nkisi image

Aimee first got in touch with me because she noticed that Nkisi seemed to be reading her mind. For example, one day she was in another room looking at a picture of a purple car. She told me "He said at that instant, "Oh, wow, look at the pretty purple.'"

Nkisi even responds to some of Aimee's dreams. She said: "I was dreaming I was working with the audio tape-deck. Nkisi, sleeping by my head, said out loud, 'You gotta push the button,' as I was doing exactly that in my dream. His speech woke me up."

This was off the end of the scale of anything I had heard before. I went to visit Aimee and Nkisi as soon as I could, and was impressed by the closeness of their bond and Nkisi's amazing command of English. We did a test there and then in which Aimee looked at a picture in a separate room. She was gazing at a card with an image of a girl. After a few seconds, Nkisi said, "That's a girl."

We subsequently set up a series of controlled experiments in which Aimee looked at pictures that she took out of sealed envelopes in one room, while Nkisi was in another room on a different floor, with all the doors closed. Both of them were filmed continuously. Sure enough, in many of the trials Nkisi actually said what she was looking at. For instance, when the picture was of a man on the phone, Nkisi said, "What'cha doing on the phone?" I describe these experiments in detail my book The Sense of Being Stared At. People often say of their pets, 'If only they could talk'. Here is an animal that can, and we have much to learn from it.

Rupert Sheldrake would like to hear from readers with parrots -or, indeed, any other birds - that seem to read their minds. Email Rupert Sheldrake's researcher, with subject heading: Rupert Sheldrake.

Rupert Sheldrake

John Michell would love to hear about your experience of any unusual or unexplained phenomena.
If you have a favourite mystery subject - from spontaneous human combustion to ancient Celtic ritual sites, write to John, suggesting a theme. And if you have any answers or theories about the mysteries John will be highlighting, he would particularly like to hear from you.

Email mystery@cainer.comwith subject heading: John Michell
Please note, we regret that due to time restrictions personal replies may not be available.

John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you:

The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena
John Michell and Bob Rickard - A fascinating collection. Look up anything from urban legends to recorded unexplained phenomena - to the existance of ghosts. All presented in an organised, easy to follow manner, in related categories. A complete index and accompanying pictures with each entry. Excellent reference - excellent read.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Was the most famous poet and writer of all time a fraud and a plagiarist? Was Shakespeare the "upstart crow" described by Greene as strutting in borrowed feathers, or Jonson's "Poet-Ape" who patched plays together from others' work? John Michell's witty investigation of the theories and claims reads like a series of detective stories. By the end of the book even the most faithful disciples of the Bard will find themselves asking, "Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

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