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John Michell Mysteries


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 15th January 2004 - Green fingers by Rupert Sheldrake

We say "green fingers", the Americans and Germans "green thumbs", the Brazilians "golden fingers" and the Spanish "a hand for plants".

What do these phrases mean? No one seems to know and I am trying to find out. There is no doubt that some people are much better with plants than others. Some people say that they have a negative effect. One woman told me, "I only have to look at a plant and it withers!" Are green fingers just a matter of people liking plants, knowing how to look after them, and remembering to water them? Is the explanation purely practical? Or is there something more mysterious?

Some people believe they have a personal relationship with their plants and even talk to them. Prince Charles famously admitted he liked to talk to his plants. Of course, many people talk to pet animals like cats and dogs. But talking to plants seems more eccentric, and most people are shy about it. Similarly, people who hug trees usually prefer to do so when no one is looking. Nevertheless, most of us have some sort of relationship with plants, even if we never think about it. The UK houseplant and cut flower industry has an annual turnover of 1.5 billion pounds. We are a nation of gardeners, and hundreds of thousands of people have allotments.

In the 1960s, an American CIA official, Cleve Backster, discovered that when he wired up plants to a lie detector, he could measure electrical changes in them that seemed to be related to his thoughts, especially if he was planning to burn a leaf with a match. He even found that the plants seemed to react to his intention to come home when he was miles away. The plants seemed to be "reading his mind". When he realized this, he stopped doing experiments that involved harming the plants.

I have no idea how reliable Backster's observations are, but if they can be repeated independently, they would be revolutionary. They would show that our thoughts and intentions can affect plants in ways that are at present unexplained. Perhaps they would help shed light on the nature of green fingers.

I would like to hear from readers about experiences of green fingers. 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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