Arctic explorer tries to be a mind reader

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The Independent US

An Arctic explorer is testing human powers of telepathy by using extra sensory perception to communicate with his base in Britain while walking to the North Pole.

David Mill has just set off from Canada in an attempt to walk 420 miles to the pole in 55 days against the flow of ice. Mr Mill hopes to break the record time for a solo expedition.

Researchers into paranormal experiences believe that his isolation might make him more open to telepathic messages and so have designed a special scientific experiment.

Each day, at a prearranged time, Mr Mill, 32, who studied psychology at London University, has promised to concentrate and record any images that he thinks are being transmitted to him.

At the same time, a researcher will beam telepathically to him an image of perhaps a cat or a violin, selected at random moments earlier by a computer. Mr Mill will then transmit the image he thinks he has experienced back to the research team by radio.

The final stage will involve Dr Caroline Watt, a research fellow at Edinburgh University's parapsychology unit, who will be given Mr Mill's image and asked to choose which of four images it most resembles.

"I will not know which image is the one that was sent telepathically," said Dr Watt. "So simply chance would suggest that I would match David's version with the original 25 per cent of the time. Our experiment aims to find out if there is a match more often than that."

Dr Watt said the experiment aims to repeat one in the 1930s by the Arctic explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. He described in his book "Thoughts Through Space" how he seemed to be able to communicate with two distant friends while travelling through the ice wastes.

Mr Mill's experiment is more rigorous since Sir Hubert's trial relied only on diaries and a search for similarities later on.

Asked if she believed telepathic communication was possible, Dr Watt said: "I'm not yet convinced. Experimental evidence is suggestive of ESP and it should be taken seriously, but we do not yet have an answer."