Can You Wake Animals By Staring At Them? by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert SheldrakePosted with the kind permission of Rupert Sheldrake from his website.

Many people have found that they can sometimes detect when someone is staring at them from behind, and turn round. Conversely, many people have found they can make others turn around by staring at them. Experiments have shown that this ability to detect stares really exists, and that most people have it. I discuss this research in detail in my most recent book. The sense of being stared at, and other aspects of the extended mind.

Animals also seem to respond to stares. The evolutionary origins of this response might lie in predator/prey relations. If a prey animal can feel when a hidden predator is looking at it, then it might stand a better chance of escaping. Sleeping animals are particularly vulnerable, and it may be that they too can feel when they are being stared at. Some pet owners have told me that they can wake their sleeping dog or cat by looking at it, and some people who keep chickens as pets have found that they can wake a roosting bird by staring. I am currently trying to find out more about the sensitivity of sleeping animals to being stared at. I would be very grateful to hear from any readers of experiences they may have had in waking animals by looks. This need not necessarily involve a deliberate attempt to wake the animal by staring at it hard. Maybe more passive looks also have an effect. I would be grateful to hear from anyone with observations on this subject by email at

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home — And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals By Rupert Sheldrake

All biographical information is cited from

by Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 75 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow, before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, where he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells. From 1968 to 1969, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants.