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Observations placeholder

Messing, Wolf - An explanation by Messing of how he was able to perform telepathy



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Psychic Discoveries behind the iron Curtain – Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder

"Think only of what you want me to do," Messing advised a volunteer at a demonstration before a group of medical people.  Without touching a concentrating doctor, Messing began to walk slowly up and down the aisles, orienting himself like a human radar system. He paused before row P, then focused on his target, a man in seat 4. Messing went up to him, reached into the man’s pocket, and took out scissors and a sponge. He held them up for the audience to see.

"I don't think I'd better cut the sponge," he said. He took a piece of chalk and sketched the outlines of an animal on the sponge. "It's a dog!" he announced.

The jury checked his telepathic assignment. The medical man had wanted Messing to find his friend and cut a dog out of the sponge in his pocket. Messing picked up the thought, but decided to spare the doctor his sponge.

"People's thoughts come to me as pictures," Messing, now in his seventies, explains. "I usually see visual images of a specific action or place." He constantly emphasizes there is nothing supernatural, nothing mysterious about the ability to read thoughts.

Telepathy, he insists, is simply a matter of harnessing natural laws.

"I first put myself into a certain state of relaxation in which I experience a gathering of feeling and strength. Then it's easy to achieve telepathy. I can pick up just about any thought. If I touch the sender, it helps me sort out the thought being sent from the general 'noise.' But contact isn't a necessity for me."

Some scientists who saw Messing's showstoppers became convinced he must be getting the message through ideomotor movements - slight, unconscious muscle movements, facial expressions, changes in breathing-that can tip off a trained observer. If Messing holds the wrist of the sender, as he occasionally does, unconscious tightening of the musculature could signal which way to walk or when to stop, the scientists hypothesized.

"When I'm blindfolded," Messing counters, "telepathy is even easier for me. If I don't see the sender, I'm able to concentrate totally on perceiving his thought."

According to Messing's autobiography in Science and Religion, the ideomotor theory got associated with him when the philosophy department of the Soviet Academy of Sciences was pressed to explain him in terms of the materialistic Communist philosophy. It was the most immobilizing era of the old regime's freeze on thought and life. They had to explain him away safely, and so the Academy came up with the "ideomotor theory."

"What a pity that this explanation henceforth was printed on the program accompanying my performances," says Messing. "It was due to the cult of personality [i.e., Stalinism]."

The fact that Science and Religion published Messing's refutation shows that times have changed. Ideomotor movements can't explain the feats Messing supposedly did for Stalin, or telepathy when he's rooms away from the sender.

"The ideomotor theory doesn't explain how I receive abstract ideas either. I find complex, original thoughts easier to get, perhaps because they're more interesting," says Messing.

How clearly the thought comes through depends, Messing says, on the ability of the sender to concentrate. If a crowd of conflicting thoughts stream through the sender's mind, the thought-reader's impression will blur-just as the picture used to blur when someone moved in an old-fashioned time photograph. "Curiously," says Messing, "the thoughts of the deaf and dumb are the easiest to get, possibly because they think much more visually than the rest of us."

The source of the experience

Messing, Wolf

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Deafness and tinnitus