Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
The date: Sometime in August 1923. Bobbie, a large dog, two years old, mostly collie, but said to be part English sheep dog, began his incredible journey.
His family, the Braziers, were restaurant owners who were vacationing in a small Indiana town, far from their Silverton, Oregon home. They became separated. The family had to return home, leaving Bobbie in Indiana.
So, Bobbie traveled, alone, westward to reunite with his family. At first, he was trying to find his bearings, wandering in circles, as people do when they are lost, traveling miles, but only about a couple of hundred of them in the right direction. In late fall, he began to find the journey toward home.
He trekked through Illinois and Iowa. Sometimes, he caught his own dinner. Other times, people fed him and gave him shelter for a night or longer.
Hoboes shared their food with him. During Thanksgiving, a family took him in for several weeks. Then, it was time for him to move on.
He lost a lot of weight during his journey. He swam across rivers, including the Missouri, filled with ice. He crossed the Rocky Mountains.
Finally, in February, he reached home and entered the family restaurant. He went to the second floor living quarters where Frank Brazier was sleeping, jumped on the bed and licked Frank’s face. This ended the 3,000 mile six month long journey.
The president of the Oregon Humane Society authenticated this amazing feat. The route was reconstructed and people who saw or took care of Bobbie were interviewed.
Bobbie did not follow Frank’s east/west route and appeared to have traveled thousands of miles over land he had never been in, land he had not seen, smelled or, in any way was familiar, yet, he found his way home.
Dr.s Joseph Rhine and Sara Feather of Duke University described five categories of widely observed psychic behavior in animals:
1. reaction to impending danger to itself or its master
2. reaction to the death of its master at a distance
3. anticipation of a master’s return
5. trailing. (Finding its owner over unfamiliar terrain and sometimes to a previously unknown location.)
Of these, trailing was the most compelling. Here are some stories that were verified. When cases are evaluated for psi-trailing, there are four major criteria that are used:
1) The reliability of the witnesses.
2) Positive identification of the animal, such as a deformity, scar or name tag.
3) How credible and consistent the details are.
4) Adequate corroborative evidence, such as other witnesses.
Over several years, they found 54 cases of cats, dogs and birds that met these criteria. If we think about it, we have to ask, what are the odds of a cat traveling 500 miles over unfamiliar terrain and finding its owner? Well, just for the heck of it, let’s divide the choices by mile, so that every mile traveled represents three chances that fail and one that succeeds. A 1 in 4 chance. Maybe the cat is lucky and corrects every so often so that the chances are 1 in 2 every mile for going the right direction. What are the odds? By the 25th mile that cat’s chance of finding its home is .000003% We can safely rule out chance as an explanation.
Animals appear to know when disaster is about to strike as well.
According to Rupert Sheldrake,
In this article:
any animals escaped the great Asian tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. Elephants in Sri Lanka and Sumatra moved to high ground before the giant waves struck; they did they same in Thailand, trumpeting before they did so. According to a villager in Bang Koey, Thailand, a herd of buffalo were grazing by the beach when they “suddenly lifted their heads and looked out to sea, ears standing upright.” They turned and stampeded up the hill, followed by bewildered villagers, whose live were thereby saved. At Ao Sane beach, near Phuket, dogs ran up to the hill tops, and at Galle in Sri Lanka, dog owners were puzzled by the fact that their animals refused to go for their usual morning walk on the beach. In Cuddalore District in South India, buffaloes, goats and dogs escaped, and so did a nesting colony of flamingos that flew to higher ground. In the Andaman Islands “stone age” tribal groups moved away from the coast before the disaster, alerted by the behaviour of animals.
This bolsters my previous argument for Psi as an evolutionary survival skill.
Also documented by Rupert Sheldrake is a dog named Jaytee: What made this dog unique was the remarkable ability it had to know when its owner was coming home:
n more than 200 trials with a dog called Jaytee, it was found that on 80 percent of the occasions when his owner went out, the dog anticipated her return by going to wait for her at a window (Sheldrake and Smart 1998; 2000). Jaytee usually began to wait just before the time she set off, to come home. Her journeys lasted more than ten minutes and were from places more than nine km away. He still anticipated her returns when no one at home knew when she would be coming, and when she travelled in unfamiliar vehicles such as taxis (Sheldrake and Smart 1998). He also anticipated her returns when he was left on his own (Sheldrake and Smart 2000).
Note: Before commenting on this study, skeptics might want to read this. (This is not the first time I’ve come across this sort of thing.)
In one study, it was found that a parrot had telepathy.
What does all this mean? First, as long as the study is properly prepared, the only variable is the animal which can be assumed to be free from self delusion, fraud and other human traits. We can also safely assume that if we are indeed finding Psi in animals, humans must have it too.
If we’re finding psychic ability in animals, we can assume that they possess consciousness. It also raises the question, where does this stop? Do trees have psi ability? It also further strengthens the idea that consciousness is universal and not limited to a particular species of anything. I find myself taking a leap here. What if consciousness is simply a universal constant, present in everything?
Where does it stop?