Rupert Sheldrake & Experimenting With Telepathy

From the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 68, 168-172 (2004)



by Rupert Sheldrake, Hugo Godwin and Simon Rockell

Apparent telepathy in connection with telephone calls is common. Many people say that they have known who was calling when the phone started ringing, or that they have thought of someone for no apparent reason, and that person called soon afterwards. Is this just a matter of coincidence? Sheldrake & Smart have developed a simple experimental procedure for testing whether people really can tell who is calling, under conditions in which they could not know by any “normal” means.

A participant receives a call at a prearranged time from one of four potential callers. He or she knows who these callers are. The experimenter chooses the caller at random by throwing a die, and then tells the caller that he or she has been chosen to call at a given time in the near future. When the telephone rings the participant has to say who is calling before picking up the receiver. These tests are, of course, carried out using telephones without caller identification systems.

By chance, if telepathy played no part, the success rate would be about 1 in 4, or 25%. In fact in a total of more than 850 trials involving a 65 participants, the average success rate was 42%, which is statistically significant.

This experiment was carried out in an attempt to replicate the telephone telepathy phenomenon for a television show called “Are You Telepathic?” made by 20/20 Productions and broadcast in the UK on Channel Five Television on June 19, 2003. The participant and her four callers were sisters, who had for years worked together in a girl band, the Nolan Sisters, popular in the UK in the 1980s.

In most of the previous trials, the callers were in different locations from each other and were not filmed. But in one previous experiment, all four callers were in the same location, and the callers as well as the participant were filmed continuously. In that test, carried out in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the participant was 1.5 km away from the four callers. She guessed correctly in 8 out of 17 trials (47%).

For more information, or to read the entire article, go to: pdf/Nolan.pdf>

Rupert Sheldrake’s new book

The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry

coming September 4th, 2012

by Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world’s most innovative biologists and writers, is best known for his theory of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.He worked in developmental biology at Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Clare College. He was then Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in Hyderabad, India. From 2005 to 2010 he was Director of the Perrott-Warrick project. , funded from Trinity College, Cambridge.