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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 1st January 2004 - Unexplained Powers - Silent Calls by Rupert Sheldrake

The sensitivity of cats to their owners' intentions can be a nuisance. Many disappear when their owners are planning to take them to the vet, even when they do their best to give no sign or clue, as I discussed in this column in November.

Dozens of readers have confirmed that their cats do this, and some also vanish before other activities they dislike. Ruth, in Clapham, London, says, "My tabby avoids me if I decide to do his ears. The thought and intention seems to be enough. No matter how hard I try not to give out signals, his behaviour immediately becomes hostile and evasive."

Veronica's blue Persian cat is similarly perceptive. "I am almost afraid of thinking when I have to make her take a bath. She hates them."

Animals can also sense positive intentions, and some know when they are about to get a special treat. One of Madeline's cats is particularly good at this. "He can sense the moment I think of going into the kitchen and, regardless of how far away he is, he races there in an effort to beat me to it."

Several dogs, too, read their owner's minds when they turn to food. Frank, in Telford, has noticed that his German Shepherd, Maxi, has become increasingly sensitive with age. "I only have to think 'sausages' or 'chocolate' or 'biscuits' and he appears. He can be in the garden with the door closed and he knows." Several people can summon their animal silently. For instance, Constance says, "If I want my cat to come to me when she is out of sight, I just have to think it and she appears. I've used this many times and it works every time."

This ability is useful when the cat needs to be called in from outdoors. Pauline, in Port Talbot, does this regularly: "When he is not around, I only have to think 'Come on home, Leo', and within minutes he will appear, depending on how far away he is." Likewise some dogs respond to mental calls, even when out on walks.

I would like to hear from readers about about animals that seem to respond telepathically to silent calls. 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 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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