August 28, 2012

Telephone Telepathy.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

Written by Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of  Science Set Free (September 2012)

The commonest of all kinds of story about apparent telepathy concern telephone calls. Hundreds of people have told me that they thought of someone for no apparent reason, and then that person rang in a way that seemed uncanny. Or they knew who was calling when the phone rang before they looked at a caller ID display or answered. I followed up these stories with a series of surveys in Europe and in North and South America. On average, 92 percent of the respondents said they had thought of someone as the telephone rang, or just before, in a way that seemed telepathic.

When I talked to friends and colleagues about this phenomenon, most agreed it seems to happen. Some people simply accepted that it was telepathic or intuitive; others tried to explain it “normally”. Almost everyone came up with one or both of these two arguments. First, they said, you think about other people frequently; then sometimes, by chance, somebody rings while you are thinking about them; you imagine it is telepathy, but you forget the thousands of time you were wrong. The second argument was that when you know someone well, your familiarity with his routines and activities enables you to know when he is likely to ring, even though this knowledge may be unconscious.

I searched the scientific literature to find out if these standard arguments were supported by any data or observations. I could find no research whatever on the subject. The standard skeptical arguments were evidence-free speculations. In science it is not enough to put forward a hypothesis: it needs to be tested.

I designed a simple procedure to test both the chance-coincidence theory and the unconscious-knowledge theory experimentally. I recruited subjects who said they quite frequently knew who was calling before answering the phone. I asked them for the names and telephone numbers of four people they knew well, friends or family members. The subjects were then filmed continuously throughout the period of the experiment alone in a room with a landline telephone, without a caller ID system. If there was a computer in the room, it was switched off, and the subjects had no mobile phone. My research assistant or I selected one of the four callers at random by the throw of a die. We rang up the selected person and asked him to phone the subject in the next couple of minutes. He did so. The subject’s phone rang, and before answering it she had to say to the camera who, out of the four possible callers, she felt was on the line. She could not have known by knowledge of the caller’s habits and daily routines, because in this experiment, the callers rang at times randomly selected by the experimenter.

By guessing at random, subjects would have been right about one time in four, or 25 percent. In fact, the average hit rate was 45 percent, very significantly above the chance level. None of the subjects was right every time, but they were right much more than they should have been if the chance coincidence theory were true. This above-chance effect has been replicated independently in telephone telepathy tests at the Universities of Freiburg, Germany and Amsterdam, Holland.

In some of our tests, there were two familiar callers and two unfamiliar callers who the subjects had never met, but whose names they knew. The hit rate with unfamiliar callers was near the chance level; with the familiar callers it was 52 percent, about twice the chance level. This experiment supported the idea that telepathy occurs more between people who are bonded to each other than between strangers.

For some of our experiments we recruited young Australians and New Zealanders living in London. Some of their callers were back home, thousands of miles away, literally at the other side of the world, and the others were new acquaintances in England. In these tests, the hit rates were higher with their nearest and dearest far away than with people in Britain they had met only recently, showing that emotional closeness is more important than physical proximity.

Other researchers have also found that telepathy does not seem to be distance-dependent. At first sight this seems surprising, because most physical influences, like gravitation and light, fall off with distance. But the physical phenomenon most analogous to telepathy is quantum entanglement, also known as quantum nonlocality, which does not fall off with distance. When two quantum particles have been part of the same system and move apart, they remain interconnected or entangled in such a way that a change in one is associated with an immediate change in the other. Albert Einstein famously described this effect as “spooky action at a distance”.

Telepathy has continued to evolve along with modern technologies. Many people say they have the experience of thinking of someone who then emails them, or sends them a text message. Experiments with emails and test messages using similar methods to the telephone tests have also given positive, highly significant results. As in telephone tests, the effect occurred more with familiar people and it did not fall off with distance. The same was true of automated telepathy tests on the internet. I discuss this research in my new book Science Set Free.

An automated telephone telepathy test that runs on cell phones is now up and running. Try it yourself! You need two people you know well to take part with you, and you register online here:

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and 10 books, including Science Set Free (September 2012). He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, Principal Plant Physiologist at ICRISAT (the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) in Hyderabad, India, and from 2005-2010 the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge University. His web site is

Write Your Comment

  1. try to know

    i want to learn telepathy,from where i can books in hindi

  2. MaxPar

    Have you ever heard of someone knowing which songs would play on the radio without the DJs previewing? I used to predict up to 3 songs in a row at times. It mainly happened when I worked in a kitchen years ago. This was one of those stations that had only one or two announcer breaks an hour, and they`d normally recap their playlist afterwards. It still happens, but with the repetitive nature of today`s radio and nonstop chatter of DJs, I can never tell if I overheard them announcing or if it is just coincidence of a song they have played ten times already.

  3. roundeyefathead

    Rupert says; "But the physical phenomenon most analogous to telepathy is quantum entanglement, ".... but doesn`t clarify whether he thinks it is related, or not? Maybe he does clarify or expand, within the book? With any analogies, I suppose it can be said that; why does something have to be like something that it is not like. We use analogies with children, and adults who cannot grasp something - delivering to them instead, something which they can understand. With Ruperts piece, he may see a correlation, or a likeness, or something else that is not dissimilar. "The World is as you see it", as Deepak says.

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