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; sceptical 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 rigour 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 to our scientist friends. Sheldrake, famous for his theory of morphic resonance, has shown in the past that he is not afraid to be labelled a maverick. 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, which 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.
The "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be explained by Sheldrake's theory of morphic fields. Sheldrake is less happy about anecdotes that suggest animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to disallow the possibility.
This fascinating book is a first attempt at a scientific investigation into a puzzling but quite common occurance. 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.
"Delightful . . . this book will turn our understanding of animals inside out" (Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep
"Wonderful . . . splendid and thought-provoking" (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs