Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals|
by Rupert Sheldrake (Author)
It's rare for a book's title to say so clearly what the book is about. In the
case of Rupert Sheldrake's latest work, the controversial content is right on
the front cover. Pet owners will see it and smile in recognition; skeptical
scientists will shake their heads and mutter about "maverick scholars." We all
know of cases of dogs (and cats) who know when their owners are coming home, who
go to wait at the door or window 10 minutes or more before their human arrives.
Conditioned by the tight rigor of contemporary scientific thinking, we either
look for rational explanations or we file the phenomenon away in our minds as
"unexplained" and are careful not to talk about it with our scientist friends.
Sheldrake has shown in the past that he is not afraid to be labeled a rebel,
thanks to his theory of morphic resonance, which suggests the following:
Natural systems, or morphic units, at all levels of complexity are animated,
organized, and coordinated by morphic fields, which contain an inherent
memory. Natural systems inherit this collective memory from all previous
things of their kind by a process called morphic resonance, with the result
that patterns of development and behavior become increasingly habitual through repetition.
Sheldrake believes that the "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between
flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be
explained this theory. Sheldrake is less persuaded by anecdotes that suggest
animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to
disallow the possibility.
He accepts that the case histories he details so thoroughly in this book are
anecdotal, but that makes them no less real; and as a scientist himself he sets
up experimental conditions for studying this previously ignored phenomenon that
show beyond any doubt that the phenomenon exists. He castigates traditional
scientists for their refusal to countenance anything that doesn't fit in with
their existing paradigms (or prejudices) and challenges them to come up with
some more "acceptable" explanation--but none is forthcoming.
This fascinating book is a first attempt at a scientific investigation into a
puzzling but quite common occurrence. One hopes that other scientists will
follow Sheldrake's brave lead. --David V. Barrett --This text refers to an out
of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
While there have been many books on pets' psychic powers and on animals'
seemingly paranormal abilities, English biologist Sheldrake's distinctive
contribution is to set forth a theory that begins to make sense of this baffling
realm. Sheldrake's bold and influential hypothesis of morphic fields (first
developed in his 1988 book The Presence of the Past) asserts that members of a
group are linked by self-organizing regions of influenceAfields that have a
history, evolve, contain a collective memory, and shape the development of
organisms, crystals and new ideas, as well as patterns of behavior, adaptation
and learning. Applying this hypothesis to the animal kingdom, he maintains that
cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals can communicate telepathically
with people (or with other animals) with whom they have emotional bondsAand that
morphic fields act as a channel for this ESP. Sheldrake surveyed or interviewed
more than 1000 pet owners, dog trainers, veterinarians, zookeepers, blind people
with guide dogs, horse trainers and riders and pet-shop proprietors. His study
is filled with marvelous stories of missing pets finding their way home over
unfamiliar terrain; of cats and dogs responding emotionally, sometimes at a
great distance, to the suffering or death of their owners; of animals'
precognitive warnings of earthquakes, impending epileptic seizures, bombing
attacks and other imminent dangers; of cats, dogs and parrots responding to the
ring of the telephone whenever a particular person calls. Skeptics may scoff,
yet the cumulative weight of evidence Sheldrake assembles is impressive, and an
appendix outlines simple research projects animal lovers can conduct to test
whether their pets have psychic powers. This pioneering study throws a
floodlight on an area largely ignored by institutional science. Illustrations.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (September 2000)