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Vienna | 29.2.2008 | 19:07 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

 
 
Animal telepathy
  Do they know what we are thinking? Reality Check's Steve Crilley on what we are learning about animals displaying amazing talents.
 
 
 
An inspiration
  Growing up as a kid watching Star Trek every Monday night on the BBC was sheer pleasure. Mr Spock was my favourite character mainly because he possessed a particular talent I wished I had - telepathy! The ability to read other peoples' (or in the Star Trek world) other creatures' thoughts. As far I recall, Spock's ability in the field of telepathy was pretty limited because he had to stick his fingers in the ears of a subject in order to get an accurate readout. But I'd settle for that. I tried practicing on my brother but to no avail. He still wouldn't let on where the parents had hidden the Christmas presents.
 
 
 
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  Gene Roddenberry's creations tended to be rooted in an element of science and telepathy was a recurring theme. Some scientists will infer that telepathy is a talent that we are all born with but we lose the ability to hone these talents primarily because the human race leans on other ways to communicate - through speaking and touch. Maybe we have become too clever for our own good.
 
 
 
Dogs & Cats
  Scientists have also been taking a closer look at animals and whether or not they indeed show telepathic skills. We've all read stories of dogs that undertake long and arduous journeys to find their owners - even when there is no obvious way they could know where to go. Also cats who save owner's lives by keeping them warm or alerting neighbours when their owners are ill. And the link to all of this is an unusual ability to sense something outside of the norms of sound or memory.
 
 
 
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Rupert Sheldrake
  Step up to the podium Rupert Sheldrake.

He's a biologist who's been studying the phenomenon of animal telepathy. He told us that he's been conducting formal experiments along the lines of observing dogs waiting at home for their owners. The owners return home at random times and on each occasion in unfamiliar vehicles. A short while beforehand, the dogs seemed to know that the owner was coming and would move towards the door and wait there. Rupert Sheldrake told us that it's not out of the normal senses that the dog is responding - such as sounds or movement. What's also quite spooky is that at the point that the person decided to come home ie. picking up a phone at work and ringing for a taxi, that's when the dog at home made its move towards the door!

And before we start to think it's just dogs, a very common thing happens on the morning of trying to take the cat to the vet. It hides - it is nowhere to be seen! Are we sending out signals or "poor old cat" waves to kitty unbeknown to us. And then our feline friends are sampling that and deciding it's not for them today?

Mr Spock himself once said "True telepaths can be most formidable" and based on recent studies maybe we don't have to go searching the galaxies far and wide for one.
 
 
 
Reality Check Podcast
  This Reality Check on Animal Telepathy is available as a podcast. To subscribe, copy link below into your podcast player:



Links für [iTunes] und [xml]
 
 
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