Telephone Telepathy?

The ability of people to guess who is calling on the telephone has recently been tested experimentally in more than 850 trials. The results were positive and hugely significant statistically. Participants had four potential callers in distant locations. At the beginning of each trial, remote from the participant, the experimenter randomly selected one of the callers by the throw of a die, and asked the chosen caller to ring the participant. When the phone rang, the participant guessed who the caller was before picking up the receiver.

By chance, about 25% of the guesses would have been correct. In fact, on average 42% were correct. The present experiment was an attempt to replicate previous tests, and was filmed for television. The participant and her callers were all sisters, formerly members of the Nolan Sisters band, popular in Britain in the 1980s. We conducted 12 trials in which the participant and her callers were 1 km apart. Six out of 12 guesses (50%) were correct. The results were significant at the p=0.05 level.

We are grateful to 20/20 Productions and to Channel Five Television for making this experiment possible, to the Nolan sisters for their participation, and to the Lifebridge Foundation, New York and The Bial Foundation, Portugal, for financial support for Rupert Sheldrake. You can read the full paper here.

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