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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 12th February 2004 - Telephone Telepathy by Rupert Sheldrake

When the telephone rings in the house of a noted professor at the University of California at Berkeley, his wife knows when her husband is on the other end of the line because their silver tabby cat, Whiskins, rushes to the telephone and paws at the receiver. "Many times he succeeds in taking it off the hook and makes appreciative miaows that are clearly audible to my husband at the other end", she says. "If someone else telephones, Whiskins takes no notice." The cat responds even when he telephones home from field trips in Africa or South America. Many people know when a particular person is ringing before they pick up the receiver.

Janet, in Budleigh Salterton, says that with her two daughters, "I start thinking about them just before the phone rings. It happens too with friends. I'm always saying 'I was just thinking about you' when I answer the phone to them". Through extensive surveys, my colleagues and I have found that telephone telepathy is the commonest kind of psychic experience in the modern world.

We have done hundreds of experiments to see if telepathy is really involved, rather than mere coincidence. For these tests, subjects themselves nominate four callers, usually close friends or family members. In each trial, they receive a call from one of these people at a prearranged time. The caller is picked at random by the experimenter by throwing a dice. The participant has to say who the caller is before picking up the phone. If people were just guessing, they would be right about one time in four, or 25 per cent of the time.

We have so far conducted more than 800 trials, and the average success rate is 42 per cent, very significantly above the chance level of 25 per cent, with astronomical odds against chance coincidence.

We have found that these effects do not fall off with distance. Some of our subjects were from Australia or New Zealand, and they could identify who was calling just as well as with people back home as with friends only a few miles away.

Rupert Sheldrake would like to hear about people who sense when someone is about to call on the phone. Email Rupert Sheldrake's researcher, with subject heading: Rupert Sheldrake.
Rupert's website:

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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