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Telepathy Caught on Camera?

by Guy Lyon Playfair


On January 10th 2003, 8-year-old Richard Powles sat in a soundproof room in a London television studio in front of a table on which there was a cardboard box and a plastic bucket filled with ice-cold water. On command, he rolled up his sleeve and plunged his arm into the near-freezing water, giving a gasp as he did so. In another studio well out of sight or earshot, his identical twin brother Damien was wired up to a four-channel polygraph (lie-detector) which, under the expert supervision of polygrapher Jeremy Barrett, was monitoring his respiration, abdominal muscles, pulse and galvanic skin response (sweat on the hands).

Neither he nor Barrett had any idea what was going on in the other room, although both knew they were taking part in a telepathy experiment to be shown later that day on Channel 4's Richard and Judy chat show. All Damien had to do was sit quietly and "tune in" to his brother, while Barrett's job was to watch the four pens as they woibbled along the paper chart and look out for something that shouldn't be there.

He soon found it. At the exact moment of Richard's sharp intake of breath caused by the freezing water, there was a sudden blip on the line monitoring Damien's respiration rate. It was as though he too had gasped - which he hadn't. The effect was so obvious that Barrett pointed to it with his thumb to indicate that he knew something had happened to Richard.

In another experiment, Richard was asked to open a cardboard box, which he did, hoping to find something nice - preferably eatable - in it. Instead, a huge rubber snake shot out of it at him, giving him a fright. This, too, was instantly picked up by his twin as the pulse line on the chart clearly indicated.

Was this visible proof of telepathy? Although this was not a rigidly controlled scientific experiment, it looked very much like it.

It was not the first time that an ostensibly telepathic signal had been recorded at the moment it was received. In 1997, the same polygraph expert supevised an experiment held in front of a live audience for a programme in Carlton TV's Paranormal World of Paul McKenna series shown on 24th June. The subjects on this occasion were two very lively teenagers, Elaine and Evelyn Dove.

Elaine sat in the studio in front of a large pyramid put together by the special effects wizards, while Evelyn and Jeremy Barrett were in a separate room. When Elaine was nicely relaxed after some skilful light hypnosis from Paul McKenna, the pyramid exploded in a burst of sparks, flashes and coloured smoke, giving her a considerable shock. This showed up on Evelyn's polygraph as a huge deflection - one pen running off the top of the paper, causing Barrett to comment over the intercom that "Evelyn certainly picked up something from somewhere."

"There certainly was something coming," he added, "and it looks to me like shock or surprise". Interestingly, neither Evelyn Dove nor Richard Powles had any conscious awareness of the shocks their twins were being given although they were both unmistakably aware of them unconsciously.

Although the evidence for telepathy has been coming in regularly since the founding in 1882 of the Society for Psychical Research -overall probability of chance in all of the published controlled experiments being of the order of one in billions - many remain unconvinced. Some refuse to admit even the possibility of telepathy, while more reasonable sceptics prefer to suspend judgment until there is not only unmistakable evidence for it and a theory explaining how it works. We may now have both.

We have had the statistical evidence for some time, and we now have the visible evidence, produced by an easily repeatable experiment. As for the theory, this too has been around for nearly a hundred years though many are still unaware of it. It's called quantum theory, and while nobody seems to understand it, there is general agreement in the scientific community that it works and can be put to practical use.

One feature of it is "nonlocality", whereby two particles - such as photons - that form a simultaneously generated or "entangled" pair act as if they remain in contact even when separated. Science writers often compare such particles to identical twins, who begin their lives literally entangled.

"Non-local behaviour has been proved to occur by real experiments," writes John Gribbin in his book Schrodinger's Kittens (1995). It is as if the two quantum entities "remain tangled up with one another for ever, so that when one is prodded the other twitches, instantaneously, no matter how far apart they are."

Another scientist-author, Danah Zohar, actually uses a hypothetical pair of identical twins in her book The Quantum Self (1990) to illustrate the principle of nonlocality in action. In her imaginary experiment, a man is pushed downstairs in London and breaks a leg, while his twin thousands of miles away also falls and breaks a leg although nobody has pushed him.

This is just what they actually do. I have collected several examples of twins who did break limbs at exactly the same time, some of them hundreds of miles apart. Non-local behaviour has been proved to occur by not only real experiments, as Gribbin noted, but also by real people - specifically identical twins.

It was also, I believe, proved to occur by both the Powles and Dove twins. This was not a controlled scientific experiment, to be sure, but it should at the very least be considered a very promising pilot experiment, of a kind anybody who can get hold of a polygraph operator and a pair of twins can easily repeat. It won't take long and it needn't cost much.

It won't work every time. The twins need to answer yes to four questions:
1 Are you absolutely identical?
2 Do you still feel a close bond with your twin? (Not all of them do).
3 Are you an extravert and not an introvert? (This is easily calculated in a standard psychological test).
4 Do you think you have already experienced telepathy with your twin?

There are three especially telepathy-prone groups - mothers and newborn babies, dogs and their owners, and identical twins. Of these, it is the twins who pick up the signal at full strength most often, provided that they are in the right states of mind and they send out the right kind of message.

To find out more, read the book of which Rupert Sheldrake, author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home (1999) has said "For many years I have been looking in vain for authoritative research on this intriguing subject. At last I have found it in this book."

The book, which in Colin Wilson's opinion "will obviously become a classic of psychical research" is
Twin Telepathy - The Psychic Connection by Guy Lyon Playfair, and is available to order here at £8.99.

Although the idea of a special connection between identical twins is part of our folklore, remarkably little research has been carried out in this field. In 'Twin Telepathy: The Psychic Connection', Guy Lyon Playfair has produced an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that there is indeed a special connection between twins.

Much astonishing evidence is published here for the first time, including the following startling stories:

• A three day old baby alerts his mother to his brothers life-threatening crisis just in time.

• A four-year-old girl buens her hand on an iron; simultaneously, her sister suddenly develops a blister of the same size in exactly the same place.

• A man staggers and slumps into a chair clutching his chest at the exact moment that his twin brother - 30 miles away - is shot dead.

Yet this is not simply a collection of case histories. Playfair also makes a bold attempt to provide a new way of looking at the mystery of telepathy. Indeed, as he explains in clear, nontechnical language, scientists may already have come close to solving the mystery of the twin connection - and telepathy in general - without realizing it. As Stanley Krippner, a past president of the Parapsychological Association and one of today's leading authorities on all aspects of psychical research puts it:

"Twin Telepathy reads like an intriguing detective story. Those who read this book may never view twins or the cosmos, in the same way again."

Further Reading:
Schrodingers Kittens by John Gribbin
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home by Rupert Sheldrake
The Quantum Self by Danah Zohar

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