Try this easy experiment

The greatest psychic of the last century was believed by many to be Edgar Cayce, who dictated medical cures for thousands he had never met.Biologist Rupert Sheldrake claims 90 per cent of Britons have felt someone’s gaze on them at some time. This subtle sense could be the most widespread psychic ability of all.

The phenomenon has scarcely been investigated but, on his website, the former Research Fellow of Clare College in Cambridge is inviting schools to try his experiment.

Pupils pair up for 20 trials, crammed into a quarter of an hour, with one child blindfolded and the other either staring or not staring. Some youngsters consistently score above 90 per cent.

The norm is for children to be just 50 per cent correct when their partner is not looking. That equates to guessing by chance. But when the partner is looking, the average hit-rate soars. Most youngsters can tell with their eyes shut when they are being watched.

Another of Sheldrake’s fascinations, which he invites web visitors to help him explore, is the uncanny ability of pets to know when their owner is coming home. He has built up a database of 18,000 scientific trials plus 2,000 reports from animal lovers in Britain and the US, and says: “The odds against this effect being due to chance are currently 1037 to 1. In other words, this effect is phenomenally significant.”

Sheldrake has developed a theory of ‘morphic resonance’ a kind of species-wide telepathy, to explain his observations. It’s the sort of idiosyncratic, almost eccentric notion which 19th century Spiritualists used to spin, and has probably harmed Sheldrake’s standing among his scientific peers.

Sceptics are glad to seize on the weird morphic ideas, since Sheldrake’s body of evidence is overwhelming. It could be the strongest proof of psychic powers ever amassed.

A similar parascientific effect, so far not covered by Sheldrake, is telepathy between parents and children. In 1971 the US psychiatrist Dr Berthold Eric Schwarz published an account of 500 psychic interactions between him and his two children, Lisa and Eric. The girl, for instance, once asked about her grandfather when Schwarz was silently thinking of him. I’d love to hear from any readers who recall remarkable telepathic incidents with their own children – e-mail me.


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