A Telepath and a Skeptic
Ⓒ Masahiko Tone 2013
Chris: Harry, what’s wrong? Why are you staring at me that way? Is there something on my face?
Harry: No, I just felt you were about to say, “Are you hungry? How about having some tacos?”
Chris: Wow, are you a mind reader or something? I am hungry for tacos now.
Harry: I’m a telepath, you know. Sometimes my ability to read people's minds scares me.
Chris: You don’t need telepathy to know what I'm thinking. It’s about lunchtime now and you know how much I love tacos. You may not realize it, but I don’t believe in telepathy, psychokinesis, or anything like that. Those things are nothing but an unscientific bunch of bullshit.
Harry: Just because modern science can’t explain a phenomenon, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t follow that it’s something spiritual either. I’m not sure about psychokinesis, but telepathy is definitely real. Do you know that some scientists are attempting to explain it as a result of quantum entanglement?
Chris: I don’t know much about quantum physics, but I know for a fact that telepathy is fake. So-called mind reading has nothing to do with supernatural or paranormal powers. Mind readers just have highly-developed powers of observation.
Harry: But sometimes I can receive messages from someone far away. Do you remember Fred, who lived on Hove Street? I hadn’t seen or heard from him in ages. Last Sunday his image suddenly popped up in my mind. Soon after that, I got a call from him! Things like that happen to me all the time.
Chris: Well, I think it's just a coincidence. A coincidence that's very easy to explain. First of all, it isn't surprising that you thought of Fred. After all, he used to be one of your best friends. You had probably thought of him many times before but immediately forgot about it. Last Sunday you thought of him, which isn't unusual, and then he happened to call you, so you remembered that you'd just been thinking of him. People only notice things that seem surprising to them. Fortunetellers depend on that. They make several predictions, and you only notice the one that proves right. You ignore all the wrong ones.
Harry: All right, There is no point arguing on and on like this. Seeing is believing. Why don’t we do a simple experiment?
Chris: What kind of experiment? You know there’s no way you can trick me into believing anything. I’m a born skeptic.
Harry: I know that. OK, first I’ll think of a scene from a famous film. I’ll try to visualize it as clearly as possible and send the image to you, and you try to receive it. Now close your eyes, try to concentrate and describe what you see.
Chris: It’ll be a waste of time, but all right, if you insist, let’s do it. Hey, what are you writing?
Harry: It’s just in case you don’t believe me when I tell you what I was trying to transmit to you. OK, keep your eyes shut. I’m sending it to you now.
Chris: Mmm..., sorry, I don’t see anything at all.
Harry: Come on, Chris, be patient. Keep concentrating.
Chris: I am, but I still don't see anything. Wait! I think I hear a melody or something. I think it’s ... it sounds like... the theme to Star Wars.
Harry: Wow, that’s amazing! To tell you the truth, I tried to visualize a scene from Star Wars at first, but it was too hard, so I played the theme in my head instead. Look, (showing the piece of paper he wrote on) here's the proof.
Chris: Quite an impressive trick. Now tell me how you did it.
Harry: Oh, Chris, you really are hopeless!
* * *
Thanks a lot for reading my story.
This is not entirely fiction. It is based on what really happened to me, especially the last part. I'm a staunch atheist and skeptic. I'm a big fan of Richard Dawkins and T J Kirk, too. Still, I have to admit that the part about sending a melody by telepathy is true to what I experienced a long time ago, except that it was not the theme to Star Wars that I tried to send to my partner, but the theme to Astro Boy.