When Julie Beischel met Mark Boccuzzi at a conference and agreed to participate in an experiment on telepathy, she didn't immediately tell him about the powerful connections she'd felt to him; after all, they were strangers.
Now married, however, Beischel and Boccuzzi credit telepathy for helping them meet and fall in love.
"It was like nothing I had ever encountered," Beischel said.
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The data from the experiment backed up her perception, however, and the couple eventually asked Dean Radin, senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) that conducted the summer study program, to marry them. Now, they are co-writing a book, Psychic Intimacy: A Handbook for Couples, that will highlight practical applications of telepathy for couples. In fact, they've suggested that Radin turn the experiment into a dating service.
The field of parapsychology can be tricky for scientists to navigate. At best, they're known as a fringe group; at worst, they're lumped together with astrologers and fortune tellers. NIH funding is hard to come by. People were often surprised that Beischel, a "hard-core" scientist with a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology, wrote a book about mediums.
But Beischel, Radin and many others are confident in their ability to answer most skeptics' question affirmatively: Is telepathy real?
Radin tells the story of Hans Berger, the German who recorded the first human electroencephalogram (EEG) in 1924, who fell while riding a horse and was almost run over by a team of horses racing down the road inches from his head. His sister, many miles away, sensed the danger and insisted that her father send a telegram to find out what was wrong. She had never sent a telegram before, and the experience left Burger so curious that he switched from studying math and astronomy to medicine hoping to discover the source of that psychic energy.
About 100 years later, the explanation is still largely a mystery, but about 200 published experiments reveal mental connections that are "way beyond chance," Radin said. Not knowing how it works, though, is uncomfortable for many scientists.
"Looking at the experiments and the data, it's very clear something is going on," Radin said. "There is doubt because we don't have a good explanation for it yet."
Still, even his most skeptical friends have shifted their thinking; while they may not believe it's real, they no longer feel as strongly that it's not, Radin said.