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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 11th March 2004 - Email Telepathy by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake image Last month I wrote about telephone telepathy. I am grateful to dozens of readers who have written to me about their experiences of thinking of someone for no apparent reason who then phoned.

Telepathy continues to evolve. The latest form involves e-mails. Shefaly, in London, says: "A friend of mine is now spooked that every time he starts to write to me, he receives an e-mail from me just then." Christine, in Guildford, reports: "I think of a friend in Australia and receive an e-mail that must have been written at about the time I was thinking of him."

Sometimes the e-mails are not ones that people particularly want to receive. A leading publisher told me that several times when she was clearing out her files and throwing away material from a would-be author, she received an e-mail from that person, whom she had not heard from for months.

As with telephone telepathy, sometimes this could just be a matter of coincidence, or of unconscious expectations. The only way to find out scientifically is to do special experiments. In our research tests, we ask the subjects to name four people who they think they might respond to, usually close friends or family members. For each trial we pick one of the four people at random by the throw of a die, and e-mail them to say they have been chosen. Then they send an e-mail at a prearranged time, say at 10am, to the subject. A minute before, at 9.59am the subject sends us an e-mail with their guess as to who is about to email them.

This guess is either right or wrong, and by chance people would be right about one time in four, or about 25 per cent of the time. So far, in 800 trials, the average success rate is 42 per cent, very significantly above the chance level, showing that telepathy does indeed seem to be at work. Would you like to take part in our e-mail telepathy test? If so, visit It will involve two, three or four other people, and take less than 20 minutes. Please try it out.

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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