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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 Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (Arrow, £7.99). His website is: Jonathan Cainer

Archive for Thursday 18th December 2003 - Unexplained Powers - Bonds between mothers and babies by Rupert Sheldrake

Christmas is centred on the sacred child and the sacred mother. Jesus and Mary are on hundreds of millions of Christmas cards. The bonds between mother and baby are some of the strongest in human experience.

Many mothers feel connected to their children even when they are miles away. In particular, some mothers who are breastfeeding have found their bodies tell them when their baby needs them. Their breasts react by releasing milk, the so-called let-down reflex. Carole told me: “When my youngest son was a baby, I had the experience of my milk letting down when I was away from him. This was accompanied by knowing that he needed me. When I would phone home, the babysitter would always confirm that he had just woken.” Carole fed her baby on demand, and this was not a matter of routine.

Pam, in Blackburn, Lancashire, says: “I know when my baby cries when we are apart. The very second I think she may be crying I leak. When I get home she has usually been crying at the time I have leaked. My husband says that my boobs are like aerials.”

I have carried out a study with nine nursing mothers who kept a record of the times at which their milk let down when they were away from their babies. The babysitters also kept notes. On many occasions the mothers’ milk did indeed start flowing when their babies needed them, way beyond chance.

Some mothers find that they wake in the night just before their baby starts crying, even in another room, and even at non-routine times.

The ability of mothers to react to their babies’ needs at a distance is obviously of survival value for babies.

We understand very little about these intimate connections. Christmas helps us remember their importance.

I would like to hear from readers about telepathy between children and parents. Email Rupert Sheldrake 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 with 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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