A skeptical mind is always healthy, but many people may be too quick to dismiss paranormal or esoteric concepts. One concept that is often in the news is the idea of telepathy.
Telepathy is the ability to gain information or knowledge beyond normal sensory perception, such as your eyes or ears.
Instead, this information permeates into your mind by direct communication with another mind. Say two people are telepathic, both individuals could communicate with each other directly through their minds without saying a word. However, most of the studies conclude that most cases of telepathy are more associated with communicated emotions.
So, if a telepathic man feels sadness, he or she might be experiencing another person’s sadness. Another form of telepathy is often thought to be a form of temporal communication, or feeling and seeing events in the future. Although they cannot see the far future, they can often tell how a person will feel or what may happen to them in a relatively short amount of time.
Although this concept of telepathy is often found on television or in science fiction media, there is a whole branch of psychology devoted to understanding the science behind telepathy.
Known as parapsychology, these psychologists study if telepathy actually does exist within the human population or if it is just a plot in science fiction books. However, research over the last half century has shown there are instances where telepathy is provable and has been witnessed by people.
One of the most lauded scientific studies done within the last quarter center was the research of J.B. Rhine of Duke University. The founder of the Journal of Parapsychology and the parapsychology lab at Duke, Rhine conducted one of the first major parapsychology studies. In the experiment, the subject Hubert Pearce was placed over 100 yards away from the experiment assistant J.G. Pratt. Pratt would hold up Zener cards, cards with shapes on them, facing away from Pearce, who was sitting in the campus library.
Over the span of one year from 1933 to 1934, Pearce statistically was able to to guess what shape was behind the Zener cards 558 times out of 1850, a statistical miracle. Rhine deduced that people have some level of telepathy, calling it extra sensory perception or ESP, which is where a person can see with their mind an object or idea. (1)
A central aspect to most research is the connection of emotions between people. For example, most people would say that their connection to their children or parents or very close friends often creates a bond where they can "feel" what the other person is going through or generally thinking. Some of the latest scientific theories actually allow for such a possibility to exist within physics.
According to Nick Herbert, a PhD from Stanford University, if quantum physics is a realistic explanation for the universe, then telepathy is possible.
This is because atoms exist as their own form consciousness, according to Herbert, and atoms would be able to cross through space and time freely, not within confined matter or energy. Hence, emotions can be felt through space and time that can give a person some measurement of an idea from anyone living or dead. (2)
Annual conferences are often held to detail case studies that psychologists study and present to parapsychology experts. In 2000, a conference held by The Journal of Science and Psychoanalysis, presented several case studies by professor Quirino Zangrilli, an Italian professor on psychoanalysis. One case involved a man who came to the psychological center complaining that he was extremely distraught from pain and anxiety during his sleep. He even complained of a strange fear of a car catching on fire and some feeling of danger associated with his father. Weeks later, his father was almost killed in a terrible car accident where the car almost caught on fire.
Another case study involved two brothers, where one lived very far away in Italy while the other lived close to their ailing grandmother. The grandmother is unfortunately ill and is about to succumb to death. The brother closet to her drives to see her and when he enters, she mistakes her for the other brother in her confused state. When she is told it is her other grandson, she passes away. The brother noted that she died right at 11:30 PM, since the church bells near the hospital rang.
The next morning, the other brother who lived far away calls the younger brother to ask if anything happened to the grandmother. Before the brother could answer, the brother from far away said he awoke last night at around 11:30 PM to a feeling of someone knocking at the door saying it was his grandmother, which he dismissed since it was so late and she lived far away.
These examples, according to professor Zangrilli, are examples of how telepathy works through the unconscious of dreams and dream-like states to give individuals a portal toward the universe unbounded by space or time. (3)
One other example from the scientific literature is the legendary ganzfeld experiment. Ganzfeld is a German word that means "entire field". A typical ganzfeld experiment requires that the subject is put within a sensory deprivation isolation chamber. These chambers minimize and stop all external stimuli from being sense; no one can see, hear, smell, feel, or taste anything in these chambers. A person outside the chamber is given audio-visual images, such as movies, pictures, or music. Then, the person outside the chamber tries their best to transmit what they are experiencing to the person inside the chamber.
By transmit, the sender is concentrating completely on what things he or she saw or heard and are trying to displace the thoughts into the other person’s mind. After a few minutes of being in the chamber, the person is taken out. They are then shown images, movies, or sound and asked if they saw or experienced those sights and sounds. Overall, most of the experiment subjects were able to guess 35 percent of the time, a remarkable statistic overall and possible evidence of telepathy existing. (4)
No one is saying one cannot be skeptical of these findings or try to counter them. But, the sheer fact these studies were done scientifically and have hypothesis and experiments shows the legitimacy behind parapsychology and telepathy.
Often people joke about going to call one of those telephone psychics thinking they do not predict events or emotions accurately. However, with a large body of literature showing there is more to the human mind than just our lonely thoughts in our minds, you should not doubt some claims of psychic abilities or telepathy. So, the next time someone wants you to consult a person claiming to be a psychic, such as on the telephone, you may want to consider it more critically than brush it off as mere nonsense.
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