In the 1920s, a circus clown and a scientist conducted a series of psychic experiments on telepathy. The results were intriguing.
Vladimir Durov was Russia’s most famous animal trainer. He was also a popular circus clown who claimed he could communicate with dogs via “mental suggestion.”
Durov said he discovered the rare gift by accident. As a young boy, he broke into an abandoned house and came face-to-face with a dangerous dog. The animal rushed at him like a bull out of a gate. Durov caught the canine’s eye and mentally compelled the hound to stop. The dog retreated, and Durov left the house safe and sound.
Skeptics point out that it might have been Durov’s body language which stopped the dog in its tracks. They do not believe it was necessarily an open and shut case of telepathy. Durov and his supporters begged to differ.
One such supporter was scientist Bernard Kazhinskiy. The former electrical engineer believed living creatures could broadcast information like a radio. Kazhinskiy decided to test his pet theories on Durov and his dogs. In 1922, he arrived at Durov’s labs with a small team of researchers. Over the next two years, the duo would conduct thousands of experiments together.
Durov would begin the process by staring into his dog’s eyes. He would focus all his mental powers on painting a picture of the exact task he wanted the dog to perform. He would then order the dog to make the mental image a reality.
Prior to the order, Durov would also stroke the sides of the dog’s head. He believed such a movement could induce a trance-like state in the dog. It denied the dog of its will, and the dog became part of Durov’s own internal ‘ego’.
During the experiments, Durov would successfully order dogs to retrieve specific books from another room.
Kazhinskiy also built a Faraday cage. Such a device blocks the transmission of electrical signals. Sure enough, when Durov was in the cage with the door closed, he was unable to mentally communicate with his dogs. But with the door open the dogs “carried out every order with precision.”
The innocent curiosity of Kazhinskiy’s experiments would later be hijacked by the Cold War. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union carefully studied Kazhinskiy’s results. The two superpowers wanted to harness telepathic power for military means. They hoped it would give them an edge in their battle of wills. Yet none of their attempts proved as successful as what Durov could do with his dogs.
Perhaps the circus clown had unique powers. Or maybe he just knew how to speak the language of dogs.
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