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The Sense of Being Stared At

And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds

Published by Park Street Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

Explores Rupert Sheldrake’s more than 25 years of research into telepathy, staring and intention, precognition, and animal premonitions

• Shows that unexplained human abilities--such as the sense of being stared at and phone telepathy--are not paranormal but normal, part of our biological nature

• Draws on more than 5,000 case histories, 4,000 questionnaire responses, and the results of experiments carried out with more than 20,000 people

• Reveals that our minds and intentions extend beyond our brains into the world around us and even into the future

Nearly everyone has experienced the feeling of being watched or had their stare result in a glance in their direction. The phenomenon has been cited throughout history in nearly every culture, along with other commonplace “paranormal” occurrences such as premonitions and telepathy.

In this newly updated edition, Sheldrake shares his more than 25 years of research into telepathy, the power of staring, remote viewing, precognition, and animal premonitions. Drawing on more than 5,000 case histories, 4,000 questionnaire responses, and the results of experiments on staring, thought transference, phone telepathy, and other phenomena carried out with more than 20,000 people as well as reports and data from dozens of independent research teams, Sheldrake shows that these unexplained human abilities--such as the sense of being stared at--are not paranormal but normal, part of our biological nature. He reveals that telepathy depends on social bonds and traces its evolution from the connections between members of animal groups such as flocks, schools, and packs. Sheldrake shows that our minds and intentions extend beyond our brains into our surroundings with invisible connections that link us to each other, to the world around us, and even to the future.


Unexplained Abilities and Extended Minds


Of all the terms used to describe such phenomena as telepathy, sixth sense seems to me a better starting point than any of the others. This has a more positive meaning than “ESP” or “the paranormal” in that it implies a kind of sensory system over and above the known senses, but a sense just the same. As a sense, it is rooted in time and place; it is biological, not supernatural. It extends beyond the body, though how it works is still unknown.

An even better term is seventh sense. Biologists working on the electrical and magnetic senses of animals have already claimed the sixth sense. Some species of eels, for example, generate electrical fields around themselves through which they sense objects in their environment, even in the dark (electromagnetic senses). Sharks and rays detect, with astonishing sensitivity, the body electricity of potential prey. Various species of migratory fish and birds have a magnetic sense, a biological compass that enables them to respond to Earth’s magnetic field.

There are also a variety of other senses that could lay claim to being a sixth sense, including the heat-sensing organs of rattlesnakes and related species, which enable them to focus heat and track down prey by a kind of thermographic technique. Web-weaving spiders have a vibrational sense through which they can detect what is happening in their webs and even communicate with one another through a kind of vibratory telegraph.

The term seventh sense expresses the idea that telepathy, the sense of being stared at, and premonitions seem to be in a different category both from the five normal senses and also from so-called sixth senses based on known physical principles.

The first and most fundamental kind of evidence for the seventh sense is personal experience. And there are many such experiences. Most people have sometimes felt that they were being stared at from behind, or thought about someone who then telephoned. Yet all these billions of personal experiences of seemingly unexplained phenomena are conventionally dismissed within institutional science as “anecdotal.”

What does this actually mean? The word anecdote comes from the Greek roots an = “not” and ekdotos = “published,” meaning “not published.” Thus an anecdote is an unpublished story.

Courts of law take anecdotal evidence seriously, and people are often convicted or acquitted, thanks to it. Some fields of research--for example, medicine--rely heavily on anecdotes, but when the stories are published they literally cease to be anecdotes; they are promoted to the rank of case histories. Such case histories form the essential foundation of experience on which further research can be built. To brush aside what people have actually experienced is not to be scientific, but unscientific. Science is founded on the empirical method, that is to say, on experience and observation. Experiences and observations are the starting point for science, and it is unscientific to disregard or exclude them.

Isaac Newton’s insights about gravitation started from observations of such everyday phenomena as apples falling to earth and the recognition of a relationship between the moon and the tides. Almost all of Charles Darwin’s evidence for natural selection came from the achievements of plant and animal breeders, and he drew heavily on the experience of practical people. My favorite book of Darwin’s is The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, first published in 1868. It is full of information he collected from naturalists, explorers, colonial administrators, missionaries, and others with whom he corresponded, all over the world. He studied publications like Poultry Chronicle and The Gooseberry Grower’s Register. He grew fifty-four varieties of gooseberry himself. He was interested in the observations of cat and rabbit fanciers, horse and dog breeders, beekeepers, farmers, fruit growers, gardeners, and other people experienced with animals and plants. He joined two of the London pigeon clubs, kept all the breeds he could obtain, and visited leading fanciers to see their birds.

In a similar way, people’s personal experiences form the essential starting point for research on the reach and powers of the mind. The founders of psychic research in the 1880s started by carrying out largescale surveys of people’s seemingly psychic experiences as well as investigating whether they could be explained in conventional scientific terms. They pioneered the use of statistics in order to examine whether coincidence could provide a plausible explanation for the experiences they were studying. They also developed “blind” experimental techniques, and psychic research was one of the first fields of scientific inquiry where such techniques were routinely used.

But despite an impressive accumulation of evidence, psychic research has never been widely accepted within institutional science. It has been kept on the margins as a result of the dominance of the materialist philosophy, according to which all mental activity is nothing but brain activity, confined to the inside of the head. This philosophy creates powerful taboos against anything that does not fit in with its assumptions. From a materialist point of view, psychic phenomena are “paranormal,” and hence outside the limits of science. As a result they have largely been ignored within universities and scientific institutions. In spite of the dedicated work of the small band of psychic researchers and parapsychologists, this field of investigation is still the Cinderella of the sciences.

About The Author

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist, a former research fellow of the Royal Society at Cambridge, a current fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences near San Francisco, and an academic director and visiting professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University and was a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, where he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells. He is the author of more than eighty scientific papers and ten books, including Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home; Morphic Resonance; The Presence of the Past; Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness; The Rebirth of Nature; and Seven Experiences That Could Change the World. In 2019, Rupert Sheldrake was cited as one of the "100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in the World" according to Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Park Street Press (June 22, 2013)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620550977

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Raves and Reviews

“Rupert Sheldrake’s The Sense of Being Stared At will change forever your concept of the nature of consciousness, not just in humans but in other creatures as well. It expands the reach of perception beyond the physical senses and beyond the constraints of space and time. What emerges is a new vision of human potential based not in fantasy but in cutting-edge science. This will prove to be one of the most important books of the 21st century.”

– Larry Dossey, M.D., winner of the 2013 Visionary Award and author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mi

“Rupert Sheldrake has always questioned assumptions and dogmas in science. In this book he explores dormant potentials in all of us. He offers experimental proof of their existence--opening the window to a new science of consciousness.”

– Deepak Chopra, M.D., founder of the Chopra Center for Well-Being and coauthor of Super Brain

“Sheldrake has given us a solid body of evidence that our minds extend beyond our brains and ‘our intentions stretch out into the world around us, and also extend into the future.’ We eagerly await the next installment in this scientist’s fascinating studies.”

– Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice, July 2013

The Sense of Being Stared At And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds belongs in new age, science and spirituality collections alike, and provides an updated edition sharing the author’s 25+ years of research into telepathy, the power of staring, remote viewing and precognition...From the social roots of telepathy to how our minds extend beyond our bodies, this is a fascinating survey highly recommended for a wide range of collections.”

– California Book Watch, September 2013

“Dr. Rupert Sheldrake continues to chart a new course in our understanding of the non-local mind that connects all of us....The application of this understanding has the potential to heal our world.”

– Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of How to Know God and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

“Important, thought-provoking, and exciting. Sheldrake’s combination of good science with an open mind and his willingness to dig deeply where others fear to tread makes for a fascinating, un-put-downable read.”

– Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods and Supernatural

“Sheldrake’s genius lies in his taking well-attested anecdotal phenomena like telepathy, the sense of being stared at, and anticipating alarm calls and putting them to the scientific test. In doing so his work not only extends--indeed stretches--the mind, it also extends science in a new and creative direction.”

– David Lorimer, program director for the Scientific and Medical Network and author of The Spirit of S

“Sheldrake offers another round of profound case studies as a bridge to documenting such rarely considered but common human phenomena as ‘telephone telepathy,’ lifesaving premonitions, and the phenomenon that gives this utterly compelling and gratifying book its title: the power of the gaze . . .”

– Booklist

“Sheldrake’s trademark juxtaposition of fantastic subject matter with practical scientific discipline is highly entertaining and should prove irresistible to inquiring minds.”

– School Library Journal

“Author Rupert Sheldrake brings forth exhaustive and comprehensive new research into various phenomena. These phenomena are often considered paranormal, but the author explains how they are really normal, and part of our innate biology. Sheldrake postulates that there are evolutionary advantages of being consciously aware of one’s surroundings and other beings, without auditory or visual cues. He asserts that research reveals that our minds extend into the world around us, and even into the future, and thus consciousness is not housed strictly within our brains. Much of the research was so highly statistically significant that skeptics would have a hard time refuting the evidence. This book seems to leave no stone unturned in its comprehensive overview of so many topics. It’s a fascinating read, and with a good index, the reader can zoom in on any subject desired.”

– Alice Berntson, New Connexion, March 2014

“Dr. Sheldrake offers his theory of morphic resonance as an explanation for telepathy, precognition, remote viewing and other innate psychic abilities. As living organisms, he contends, we comprise multiple fields that are linked to our collective memory. An extraordinary book which hails our seventh sense.”

– Nexus Reviews, October 2013

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