Prickly feeling makes sense
By ANIL DAWARin London
July 2, 2004
IF you have ever felt that someone is watching you, sending prickles up your neck, it might not have been just your imagination.
Scientists have found evidence to suggest we do have a sixth sense and can tell when we are being watched, even through CCTV.
This shows humans could have paranormal powers, say researchers at Germany's Freiberg University.
Dr Stefan Schmidt and his team carried out two experiments a thousand times and believe they have finally proved the reality of the sixth sense.
The first, called "remote staring", consisted of a volunteer in a sealed room watching a second volunteer in another room via CCTV.
The second volunteer was hooked up to electrodes which recorded the "prickle" or electrical activity of the skin. This was compared when the volunteer was or was not being watched.
In the second experiment, called "direct mental interaction", the first volunteer concentrated on making the second feel uncomfortable or relaxed from within the sealed cell.
The German team used a complex statistical scale to grade the studies according to reliability and paranormal effect recorded.
In other experiments, the starer tried to make the other feel either uncomfortable or relaxed. Again, the electronic monitor proved repeatedly that it could be done.
In the British Journal of Psychology
, Dr Schmidt noted that the data was ambiguous but found that "for both data sets there is a small but significant effect".
While the findings will please believers in the paranormal, they are not enough to convince the sceptics.
Psychology professor Richard Wiseman, of Hertfordshire University, said: "The number of times you turn around and find someone not looking at you far outnumber the times when you do but you only remember the times you turned round to see someone looking."
Back in the 1960s Czech psychologist Milan Ryzl did a series of experiments with two supposedly telepathic people who were many kilometres apart.
The "sender" was asked to try to make the "receiver" feel uncomfortable by imagining that he had been buried alive, and succeeded in inducing a crippling attack of asthma.
Mr Ryzl was inspired by a colleague, Stepan Figar, who had proved that when one person concentrates on another, it can actually cause a measurable rise in blood pressure.