Term coined by British psychical researcher F. W. H. Myers
in 1882, as a result of his joint investigation with Edmund
Gurney, Henry Sidgwick, and William F. Barrett into the possibilities
of thought-transference. It was applied to the researchers’
concept of ‘‘a coincidence between two persons’
thoughts which requires a causal explanation,’’ and it was defined
as ‘‘transmission of thought independently of the recognized
channels of sense.’’
Though the researchers never implied such a connotation,
the public assumed that telepathy was an agency of communication
between mind and mind, that it was a mysterious link between
conscious and subconscious minds, and that it could be
used to select intelligence by which incidents from the memories
of persons present and familiar or distant and unknown.
The public concept of telepathy became a rival of the spirit
hypothesis. This misconception spread so widely that many
people considered telepathy to be distinct from thought transference,
advancing the following argument
‘‘In telepathy the transmitter is often unaware that he acts
as an agent and the receiver does not consciously prepare himself
for the reception. Telepathy cannot be made a subject of
experiments, while thought-transference can. Thoughttransference
is a rudimentary faculty. Telepathy is a welldeveloped
mode of supernormal perception and is usually
brought into play by the influence of very strong emotions.’’
The need for differentiation was acknowledged by the old
school of telepathists, too, when they spoke of spontaneous telepathy
as distinct from experimental telepathy. Frank Podmore—a
hardened skeptic—in his The Newer Spiritualism
(1910) suggests that ‘‘Whilst the attempt to correlate the two
kinds of phenomena is perhaps legitimate, we can hardly be
justified in making the spontaneous phenomena the basis of a
theory of telepathy.’’
Myers argued that telepathy as a faculty must certainly exist
in the universe if the universe contains any disembodied intelligences
at all. Prayer could be telepathic communion with
higher beings, and the basis of sympathy and antipathy may be
telepathy. Monitions of approach appear to be telepathic messages.
The knowledge of victory or disaster in war that so inexplicably
occurred among ancient Greeks may have been telepathically
Origins of Modern Telepathic Theories
The theory of thought transference is not a new one. Like
the theory of gravitation, it is a daughter of astrology, but while
gravitation is universally accepted by science, telepathy remains
a questionable hypothesis for many. However, it is clear
how both sprang from astrology, and one may trace the connection
between them.
The wise men of ancient times taught that the stars radiated
an invisible influence that held them together in their course
and that affected men and events on our planet, receiving in
turn some subtle emanation from the earth and its inhabitants.
From this idea it was but a step to assume that a radiant influence,
whether magnetic or otherwise, passed from one human
being to another. The doctrine of astral influence was shared
by Paracelsus and his alchemistic successors until the epoch of
Sir Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the law of gravitation
brought the age of simplistic astrology to a close.
The possible analogy between the mysterious force binding
worlds together and the subtle influence joining mind with
mind is obvious. The two are vastly different, however, in that
while gravitation may be readily demonstrated and never fails
to give definite results, experiments in telepathy cannot be depended
upon to succeed uniformly even under the most favorable
conditions. Nevertheless, the experiments that have been
conducted from time to time have more than justified the public
interest in telepathy.
In 1882 the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), London,
came into being, numbering among its members some of the
most distinguished men of the era. Its goal was to elucidate the
so-called supernatural phenomena that were exciting so much
popular interest and curiosity. Foremost among these was the
phenomenon of thought transference.
Viewing their subjects in a purely scientific light, trained in
handling of evidence, and resolved to pursue truth with open
and unbiased minds, members of the SPR did much to bring
a purer and more dignified atmosphere to the study of psychic
phenomena. They recognized the untrustworthiness of human
nature in general, and the prevalence of fraud, even where
nothing was to be gained but the gratification of a perverted
vanity. Their experiments were conducted under the most
rigid conditions, with every precaution taken against conscious
or unconscious deception.
Among the most valuable evidence obtained from experimental
thought transference was that gleaned by Professor
Henry Sidgwick and his wife Eleanor Sidgwick from their experiments
at Brighton in 1889 to 1891. In this series the percipients—clerks
and shop assistants—were hypnotized. Sometimes
they were asked to visualize, on a blank card, an image
or picture chosen by the agent. At other times, the agent would
choose one of a bundle of cards numbered from 10 to 90, and
the percipient was required to state the number on the chosen
card, which was done correctly in a surprising number of cases.
Curiously enough, the results varied in proportion as the
agent and percipient were near or far apart, and were affected
by the intervention of a door or even a curtain between the two.
This was ascribed to a lack of confidence on the part of the percipient,
however, or to such physical causes as fatigue or boredom,
rather than to the limited scope of the telepathic principle.
On the whole it seems probable that chance alone did not
account for the number of correct replies given by the hypnotized
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, criticism was leveled
at these experiments by F. C. C. Hansen and A. Lehmann,
of Copenhagen, who believed that the phenomenon known as
‘‘involuntary whispering,’’ combined with hyperesthesia on the
part of the percipient, would suffice to produce the results obtained
by the Sidgwicks (see Journal of the Society for Psychical
Research, vol. 9, p. 113).
This suggested explanation has some merit. If hypnotism
causes such a refinement of the senses, may not some elements
of hyperesthesia linger in the subconscious of the normal individual
If dreams contain such unusual examples of deduction,
may not the mind in waking moments follow a process of reasoning
imperceptible to the higher consciousness
It seems that the ‘‘other self,’’ which is never quite as much
in the background as we imagine, sees and hears a thousand
things of which we are unconscious and that come to the surface
in dreams. There is no reason to suppose that it might not
see and hear things too slight to be perceived in a grosser
sphere of consciousness, and thus account for some cases of
thought transference. On the other hand, there is evidence of
telepathy acting at a distance where subconscious whispering
and hyperesthesia are obviously out of the question.
Unusual Kinds of Telepathy
An example of audibly received telepathy is recorded in an
early issue of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
(vol. 1, p. 6) ‘‘On September 9, 1848, at the siege of
Mooltan, Major-General R______, C. B., then adjutant of his
regiment, was severely wounded, and thought himself to be
dying, and requested that his ring be taken off and sent to his
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Telepathy
wife. At the same time she was in Ferozepore (150 miles distant),
lying on her bed between sleeping and waking, and distinctly
saw her husband being carried off the field, and heard
his voice saying ‘Take this ring off my finger and send it to my
wife.’ ’’ The facts of the case were verified and all the names
were obtained by the SPR.
The journalist and pioneer Spiritualist William T. Stead
often received automatic writing from the living. Thinking of
a lady with whom he was in such communication more than
once, his hand wrote
‘‘I am very sorry to tell you that I have had a very painful experience
of which I am almost ashamed to speak. I left Haslemere
at 227 P.M. in a second-class carriage, in which there
were two ladies and one gentleman. When the train stopped at
Godalming, the ladies got out, and I was left alone with the
man. After the train started he left his seat and came close to
me. I was alarmed, and repelled him. He refused to go away
and tried to kiss me. I was furious. We had a struggle. I seized
his umbrella and struck him, but it broke, and I was beginning
to fear that he would master me, when the train began to slow
up before arriving at Guildford Station. He got frightened, let
go of me, and before the train reached the platform he jumped
out and ran away. I was very much upset. But I have the umbrella.’’
Stead sent his secretary to the lady with a note that he was
very sorry to hear what had happened and added, ‘‘Be sure and
bring the man’s umbrella on Wednesday.’’ She wrote in reply
‘‘I am very sorry you know anything about it. I had made up my
mind to tell nobody. I will bring the broken umbrella, but it was
my umbrella, not his.’’ The lady’s decision not to tell of the
painful evidence suggests that a telepathic message may not
only be unconscious, but may directly counteract the desire of
the conscious mind.
In many instances of cross-correspondence, where two or
more people receive part of a message that only becomes clear
when the parts are placed together, telepathy between the receivers
would furnish an alternative to the spirit hypothesis.
The working of telepathy is apparently demonstrated in certain
cases of suggestion. Hypnotization has been claimed to be
effected at a distance. Myers called it telepathic hypnotism.
The Wave Theory
In his presidential address to the British Association for the
Advancement of Science in September 1898, Sir William
Crookes said
‘‘If telepathy takes place we have two physical facts—the
physical change in the brain of A, the suggester, and the analogous
change in the brain of B, the recipient of the suggestion.
Between these two physical events there must exist a train of
physical causes. . . . [and] with every fresh advance in knowledge
it is shown that ether vibrations have powers and attributes
abundantly equal to any demand— even to the transmission
of thought.’’
He believed that these ether waves were of small amplitude
and greater frequency than x-rays and continually passed between
human brains, arousing an image in the second brain
that is similar to the image in the first.
Damaging to this theory is the fact that the intensity of
waves—any waves—diminishes with distance and that the telepathic
image may not only be very vivid despite the remoteness
of the agent, but that the picture is often modified or symbolical.
A dying man may appear to the percipient in a normal state
of health. As Myers noted ‘‘Mr. L. dies of heart disease when
in the act of lying down undressed in bed. At or about the same
time Mr. N. J. S. sees Mr. L. standing beside him with a cheerful
air, dressed for walking and with a cane in his hand. One does
not see how a system of undulations could have transmuted the
physical facts in this way.’’
In cases of collective reception, an added difficulty is presented.
Why should only a few people in a room be sensitive to
the waves and other strangers outside the room not at all receptive
Why should a crystal gazer get a telepathic message at the
time of his own choosing, when he happens to look into the
crystal How can the pictures in the crystal sometimes be seen
by others if they are only produced in his brain through telepathy
In his book The Survival of Man (1909), Sir Oliver Lodge asserts
that the experimental evidence was not sufficient to substantiate
the nonphysical nature of thought transference. He
had no doubt of its reality, and as early as 1903 he stated in an
interview to the Pall Mall Magazine ‘‘What we can take before
the Royal Society, and what we can challenge the judgment of
the world upon, is Telepathy.’’
Hereward Carrington suggested that telepathic manifestations
may take place through a superconscious mind, that there
may be a ‘‘mentiferous ether,’’ as some writers have suggested,
that carries telepathic waves, and that there is a species of spiritual
gravitation uniting life throughout the universe, as physical
gravity binds together all matter.
In the 1920s the Italian researcher Prof. F. Cazzamali of the
University of Milan conducted experiments that appeared to
show that the human brain emits short waves of high frequency
under the stress of emotion. In an insulated all-metal room, he
carried out a number of experiments inducing, by means of
suggestion, an emotional crisis in his subjects. Delicate receivers
placed in the room registered cerebral radiation in the form
of waves, which were also recorded on photographic plates.
The reports were published in the Revue Métapsychique, but
were severely criticized. The wave theory of telepathy remains
unproven, and psychical researchers have now largely discarded
it, although a few modern Soviet investigators suggested an
electromagnetic theory of telepathy.
Animals and Telepathy
There is some evidence indicating that telepathy is not restricted
to humans. Among the better cases of telepathy from
animal to man is one furnished by the novelist H. Rider Haggard
in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (October
1904). Mrs. Haggard heard her husband groaning and
emitting inarticulate sounds like the moaning of a wounded animal
during the night of July 7, 1904. She woke him and her
husband told her his dream. It consisted of two distinct parts
In the first, the novelist only remembered having experienced
a sense of grievous oppression, as though he were in
danger of suffocation. Between the moment when he heard his
wife’s voice and that in which he regained full consciousness,
the dream became much more vivid. He states ‘‘I saw good old
Bob [his dog] lying on his side among brushwood by water. My
own personality seemed to me to be arising in some mysterious
manner from the body of the dog, who lifted up his head at an
unnatural angle against my face. Bob was trying to speak to me,
and not being able to make himself understood by sounds,
transmitted to my mind in an undefined fashion the knowledge
that he was dying.’’
Bob was found dead four days later, floating in the river, his
skull crushed in, and his legs broken. He had been struck by
a train on a bridge and thrown into the water. His bloodstained
collar was found on the bridge the morning after the dream.
William J. Long, in his book How Animals Talk (1922), produces
many examples of a telepathic faculty in animals. He
notes that if a mother wolf cannot head off a runaway cub because
there is too much distance between them, she simply
stops quiet, lifts her head high, and looks steadily at the running
cub. He will suddenly waver, halt, whirl, and speed back
to the pack. The famous case of the Elberfeld horses also suggests
that telepathy may operate between animals and humans,
and Edmund Selous, in his book Thought Transference—or
What—in Birds (1931), records many observations on the subject
from bird life.
Telepathy Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Telepathy vs. Survival
Obviously the role of telepathy is of some importance to any
understanding of the paranormal, but those who tried to find
in it an all-inclusive solution to paranormal manifestations
faced great difficulties. If a telepathic message is followed by
motor movements—for instance, the announcement of a death
in automatic writing—the question is, Who executes the movements—the
subconscious self or the agent who sends the message
Similar uncertainty applies if the reception of a telepathic
message is accompanied by telekinetic movements.
Frank Podmore, the author of Apparitions and Thought Transference
(1894)—which deals with the accumulated evidence for
telepathy—became the great exponent of the theory that all
apparitions could be explained as ‘‘telepathic hallucinations.’’
F. W. H. Myers, on the other hand, was among the first to argue
that telepathy was an insufficient explanation for apparitions.
Being forced to concede that collective perception of phantasmal
appearances called for something objective, he worked out
a theory of ‘‘psychical invasion’’—the creation of a ‘‘phantasmogenetic’’
center in the percipients’ surroundings.
The theory was midway between telepathic and spirit explanations,
and it accounted for many freakish phantasmal manifestations
for which no satisfactory solution had yet been offered.
Early in the twentieth century, the problem of whether to
admit telepathy could occur in both the living and the dead
plagued researchers. Apparitions of the dying border between
telepathy with the living and telepathy from the dead. A similar
phenomenon that lacks all the conditions for evidence of telepathy
is visions of the dead appearing to the dying.
The strain on the telepathic theory grew with instances that
made the acquisition of certain knowledge by telepathic process
wildly improbable but were easily understood on the basis
of the survival theory. The question was not only how certain
information could have been acquired, but also why it was associated
with definite personalities or disclosed in a personified
In the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (vol.
35, 1926), S. G. Soal tells how, in a séance with Blanche Cooper,
a voice came through, claiming to be his deceased brother.
As proof of identity the voice told him that a year before in a
playhut at home he had buried a lead disk which he would
probably find if he dug there. Soal was satisfied that none of his
brother’s surviving acquaintances knew of the incident, and
dug and found the disk.
Nevertheless, he argued that this might have been a case of
telepathic transmission in his brother’s earthly life, the knowledge
having remained latent in his own subconscious mind. If
yet another person had figured in the telepathic chain it would
have been an example of the so-called three-way telepathy first
advanced by Andrew Lang in his discussion of the case of the
medium Leonora Piper (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
Research, vol. 15, pp. 48–51).
Hugh J. Browne’s book The Holy Truth (1876) contains the
story of his two sons, who drowned. One, in a communication
through the medium George Spriggs, told the detailed story
of their fatal pleasure cruise and added that his brother’s arm
had been torn off by a great shark. This information could not
have been telepathically conveyed by anyone living, except by
the shark, yet it was found to be true. The shark was caught two
days later, and a man testified to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that
he cut the shark open and found an arm, part of a waistcoat,
and a watch, which were identified as belonging to the dead
youth. The watch had stopped at the exact hour at which the
brothers were engulfed by the sea.
There are many cases on record in which missing wills and
other lost property were found through alleged spirit intervention.
F. Bligh Bond’s in The Gate of Remembrance (1920) records
an incident in which an entire chapel was found. The
Glastonbury Abbey was in ruins; every trace of the Edgar Chapel
was lost, and very little was known about its location and precise
dimensions. Nevertheless, in automatic writing a series of
communications came through, giving detailed information.
When excavations were undertaken in 1908, a year after the
communications were received, the chapel was found. (For a
critical view of this case see G. W. Lambert’s ‘‘The Quest of
Glastonbury’’ in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research,
June 1966).
The personal element puts insurmountable obstacles in the
way of telepathic explanation in the following case recorded by
the psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano in notes on the July
14, 1928, sitting at Millesimo Castle, Italy. An unknown voice,
in Genoese dialect, addressed sitter Gino Gibelli, saying, ‘‘I am
Stefano’s father. You must tell my son that I insist on his giving
the message to Maria with which I entrusted him. He has not
carried out my request in the slightest degree.’’ Signor Gibelli
explained that he had been in Genoa a month before. In a séance
there the father had communicated with the son and
charged him with a message to his mother. Very probably the
young man had not dared to carry out this request. Gibelli stated
that he had completely forgotten the incident, that it had
nothing to do with him personally and did not interest him in
the slightest degree. He was not thinking of Stefano’s father,
whom he did not know in life, and was unaware that the request
that the father had made to his son had not been carried out.
Some aspects of spirit communication strongly suggest that
telepathy was not the means by which the medium gained
knowledge. Telepathy makes no allowance for false or confused
information, and it does not explain the communicator’s loss
of the concept of time, nor the individual style of the different
spirit controls (i.e., the biblical manner of ‘‘Imperator,’’ or
‘‘George Pelham’s’’ impatience as he spoke through Leonora
Piper). In spirit communications, names are often spelled inaccurately,
giving, for instance, ‘‘Margaret’’ instead of ‘‘Maggie.’’
Telepathy cannot reveal coming events, and it cannot explain
how the spirits of children, if recently dead, ask for their toys
and act childishly, yet behave years later as adults although no
such memory of them is retained in any living mind.
If a medium operated by means of telepathy, he would have
to be omniscient. There is no need for the supposition of omniscience
if a telepathic message may originate as well from the
dead as from the living. Once this admission is made one can
well understand the futility of the ‘‘brain wave’’ theory. A discarnate
spirit has no physical brain. The message must come
from the spirit and not from the percipient. If it may come
from the spirit as an agent, it may be received by the medium’s
spirit and transmitted to his brain.
The insufficiency of the telepathic explanation has also been
demonstrated by hundreds of strange cross correspondences
and newspaper and book tests.
Many post-mortem letters have been preserved by the Society
for Psychical Research and will not be opened until after a
communication revealing their contents comes through a medium
after the writer’s death. It is unlikely that this evidence
will ever be conclusive, since in one instance the content of the
letter was revealed, apparently through telepathy, by the medium
while the writer was still living. The telepathist may always
argue that the contents of the letter were subconsciously transferred
into another brain while the writer was preparing it.
As proof of survival, cross correspondences are far more
conclusive, since the partial messages coming through several
mediums are by themselves nonsensical and can only be explained
away by the supposition of a conspiracy between several
subconscious minds.
The Arguments of James H. Hyslop
Telepathy became a rival of the spirit theory because, according
to James H. Hyslop, early twentieth-century head of
the American Society for Psychical Research, of the word
transmission in the original definition of telepathy. He preferred
to define telepathy as ‘‘a coincidence excluding normal perception,
between the thoughts of two minds.’’ It was the word transEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Telepathy
mission, Hyslop said, that gave telepathy the implication that
‘‘it is a process exclusively between living people and not permitting
the intervention of the dead, if the discarnate exist and
can act on the living.’’
Hyslop’s definition permits the employment of the term to
describe the action of discarnate as well as incarnate minds. Hyslop
further concluded, ‘‘We are not entitled to assume the
larger meaning of telepathy to be a fact because we are not sure
of its limitations. Here is where we have been negligent of the
maxims of scientific methods and the legitimate formation of
‘‘Mediumistic phenomena,’’ he writes in his book Contact
with the Other World (1919), ‘‘too often suggest the action of spirits,
to be cited as direct evidence for telepathy. The possibility
of spirits and the fact that an incident is appropriate to illustrate
the personal identity of a deceased person forbids using
it as positive evidence for telepathy. One can only insist that
one theory is as good as the other to account for the facts.’’
About selective telepathy, he argues
‘‘No evidence has been adduced. . . . and I do not see how
it would be possible to adduce such evidence. Every extension
of the term beyond coincidences between the mental states of
two persons is wholly without warrant. The introduction of the
assumption that this coincidence is due to a direct transmission
from one living mind to another has never been justified, and
as there is no known process whatever associated with the coincidences
we are permitted to use the term only in a descriptive,
not in an explanatory sense.
‘‘There is no scientific evidence for any of the following conceptions
of it (1) Telepathy as a process of selecting from the
contents of the subconscious of any person in the presence of
the percipient; (2) Telepathy as a process of selecting from the
contents of the mind of some distant person by the percipient
and constructing these acquired facts into a complete simulation
of a given personality; (3) Telepathy as a process of selecting
memories from any living people to impersonate the dead;
(4) Telepathy as implying the transmission of the thoughts of
all living people to all others individually, with the selection of
the necessary facts for impersonation from the present sitter;
(5) Telepathy as involving a direct process between agent and
percipient; (6) Telepathy as explanatory in any sense whatever,
implying any known cause.
‘‘The failures in experiments to read the present active
states of the agent and the inability to verify any thoughts outside
those states, in the opinion of science is so finite that its
very existence is doubted, while the extended hypothesis requires
us to believe in its infinity without evidence.
‘‘As a name for facts, with suspended judgment regarding
explanation, it is tolerable, but there can be no doubt that spirits
explain certain facts, while telepathy explains nothing. At
least as a hypothesis, therefore, the spiritistic theory has the
priority and the burden of proof rests upon the telepathic theory.’’
Dr. Richard Hodgson similarly concluded in his second report
on the Piper phenomena ‘‘Having tried the hypothesis of
telepathy from the living for several years, and the spirit hypothesis
also for several years, I have no hesitation in affirming
with the most absolute assurance that the spirit hypothesis is
justified by its fruits, and the other hypothesis is not.’’
Telepathy—The Result of Spirit Agency
Hyslop was not averse to the possibility that spirits might
furnish the explanation of telepathy between the living. He
stated that Myers saw this implication at the very outset of his
investigations into telepathy. Hyslop said that only part of the
story was told in the report on the experiments of Miss Miles
and Miss Ramsden in long-distance telepathy (Proceedings of
the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 21, pp. 60–93). Miles
was an all-round psychic, and in her correspondence with Hyslop
she disclosed that she could always tell when her telepathy
was successful by the raps that she heard. She said she concentrated
on the object Ramsden was to perceive until she heard
raps. Raps are not telepathic phenomena, however, and carry
an entirely different connotation.
Further, Hyslop stated that in communications through the
medium Mrs. Willis M. Cleveland (also known as Mrs. Smead),
the deceased Frank Podmore purported to say that telepathy
was actually messages carried by spirits and that they could perform
it instantly. Had Smead known Podmore, such a misstatement
could not have occurred—Podmore always pressed the
theory of telepathy between the living to the exclusion of spirits.
The purported spirit of F. W. H. Myers also made a strange
allusion through the medium Minnie Meserve Soule (‘‘Mrs.
Chenoweth’’), saying telepathy ‘‘all depended on the carrier.’’
When Hyslop asked for an explanation, the answer was ‘‘Telepathy
was always a message carried by the spirits.’’
A more interesting and elaborate statement reportedly
came from the spirit of Margaret Verrall
‘‘I said yesterday that I would write more about the telepathic
theory as I now understand it. I am not sure of the passage
of thought through space as I was once, and I had begun to
question the method by which thought was transferred to
brains before I came here, but you will recall that I had some
striking instances of what seemed telepathy tapping a reservoir
of thought direct, and the necessity for an intervening spirit
was uncalled for; but there were other instances when the message
was transposed or translated and the interposition of another
mind was unquestionably true. I tried many experiments
and I think you must know about them. I will say that I found
more people involved in my work than I had known and there
seemed more reason to believe that I was operated upon than
that I operated, in other words, the automatic writing was less
mine than I had supposed.’’
The dividing line between clairvoyance and telepathy is
vague. The telepathic message may take the form of visual or
auditory sensation. If the content indicates future events, clairvoyance
should be suspected. Past events may be both telepathic
communications and the result of a reading by psychometry.
A constructive and evidential resumé of experiments in telepathy
is given by Walter Franklin Prince in an appendix to
the sixteenth Bulletin of the Boston Society for Psychical Research,
published under the title ‘‘The Sinclair Experiments
Demonstrating Telepathy’’ (1932).
Parapsychology and Telepathy
From the 1920s on, psychical researchers in both Great Britain
and the United States investigated telepathy through intensive
laboratory experiments. Card guessing was a favored testing
tool, but it was not until the 1930s, after J. B. Rhine
popularized the Zener Cards, a pack of five simple symbols
(star, cross, circle, rectangle, and wavy lines), that statistical
evaluation of experiments was simplified.
Using the Zener cards, experimenters attempted to obtain
significant quantitative tests under laboratory conditions. In
the experiments by C. W. Olliver with playing cards over some
twenty thousand trials, a distinction was made between telepathy
(between agent and percipient) and clairvoyance (perception
without an agent).
In the modern period of parapsychological research, many
aspects of telepathy have been investigated, including such
questions as expectation, emotional incentives, and dream telepathy,
in addition to the completion of many quantitative and
qualitative experiments. So far researchers have not summarized
their findings in a way that will definitely establish telepathy
as a scientific fact, repeatable on demand. There is reasonable
evidence that some telepathy has occurred under
laboratory conditions, however.
Certain basic problems remain, such as the disparity in telepathic
faculty between different percipients, and the problem
of assessing spontaneous telepathy. In the former Soviet Union
there was considerable interest in telepathy because of its possiTelepathy
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
ble practical applications, and experimenters gave special attention
to methods of intensifying visualization on the part of
the agent sending impressions to a percipient. In the United
States researchers like Andrija Puharich have experimented
with high-speed strobe lights on the closed eyes of subjects in
order to heighten telepathic impressions.
Braddon, Russell. The Piddingtons. London Werner Laurie,
Carington, Whately. Telepathy An Outline of Its Facts, Theory
and Implications. London Methuen, 1945. Reprint, New York
Gordon Press, 1972.
Ehrenwald, Jan. New Dimensions of Deep Analysis; A Study of
Telepathy in Interpersonal Relationships. New York Grune &
Stratton, 1954. Reprint, New York Arno Press, 1975.
Gurney, Edmund, F. W. H. Myers, and Frank Podmore.
Phantasms of the Living 2 vols. London Trubner, 1886. Reprint,
Gainesville, Fla. Scholars’ Facsimiles, 1970. Abr. ed., New
Hyde Park, N.Y. University Books, 1962.
Hardy, Aleister, R. Harvie, and Arthur Koestler. The Challenge
of Chance Experiments and Speculations. London Hutchinson,
1973. Reprint, New York Random House, 1974. Reprint,
New York Vintage Books, 1975.
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