In Search Of S03E15 Animal ESP

A blonde guy is patting his dog. Nimoy talks about the connection between people and their pets. Only recently, we're told, have people started to wonder if this connection is psychic. Animal ESP!

A Siamese Fighting Fish, In Search Of S03e15 Animal ESP
The newest member of the X-Men: Siamese Fighting Fish

Footage of a dog in the wilderness. We're told that the animal became separated from his family when they moved, and is trying to get back to them. We see the dog running across fields, crossing roads, climbing mountains and swimming rivers. It's like half the kids' movies I watched when I was five, only compressed into a minute. It is beautiful to behold.

Oh, and it's proof that dogs are telepathic, or something. Sorry, the central argument of this episode is so silly, I can't even be bothered to make fun of it. Basically, the dog is supposed to be 'psi trailing' – homing via extra-sensory perception.

Nimoy pets a white dog and basically reiterates the premise. Does he mind meld with the dog also? One can only hope. Nimoy's a good actor, but even he can't quite hide the look of 'what have they got me doing now?' on his face.

Cut to a distinguished looking guy walking a dog. It's Dr JB Rhine! Nimoy describes him as 'America's dean of parapsychology', which is pretty true. Rhine says it's too early to tell if animals have ESP but there's a lot of evidence for the idea. Glad we took the time to speak to him.

Now looking at Dr Hans Esser, director of the ?? research institute in New York (audio a little rough here, didn't catch the name). Esser carried out experiments to see if dogs are psychic. The experiment is explained in great detail, and it involves putting dogs and their master in different soundproofed room and showing the human pictures that are meant to evoke an emotional reaction. Does this affect the dog's heartrate?

Seriously, don't these people ever watch horror movies?

Anyway, after a lot of setup, we're told that a correlation was found 'in a few cases'. In psychical research, that's a big win. Dr Esser talks in hippyish terms about everyone hanging together, but I'm pretty sure he's dreaming of an army of mind-controlled dogs.

The sequence goes on forever.

Now we're talking about out of body experiences. For some reason. We're talking to a woman who claims to be able to have out of body experiences at will. Will this have an effect on her kitten?

Will it? WILL IT?

Yet another long sequence of watching strange experiments, this time under the umbrella of the Psychical Research Foundation of Durham North Carolina. Because why not? The woman goes into her trance under this neat looking granny-blanket. The kitten is placed on a grid. Apparently, during the out of body experience, the kitten was okay with being on a grid. At other times, I guess it was less pleased about the whole grid situation.

We're looking now at tank of tropical fish while Leonard Nimoy wonders if fish have psychokinetic powers. Is this show trolling us? At yet another bullshit foundation, a guy in a beard conducts an experiment to see if a Siamese fighting fish can affect the random appearance of a mirror.

The ability of the beardy guy to describe his findings with a straight face is extraordinary. He's also looking into getting other beardy guys into influencing the behaviour of gerbils from a distance.

Nimoy mentions that it is possible that psychical researchers are subconsciously influencing the experiments they're carrying out. Oddly, this is the least stupid thing said in this episode. If psychic powers were real, then basically it would not possible to completely control an experiment, calling all experimental research (psychical and otherwise) into question. Basically, if psychic research does prove anything then by its own premises that proof is debatable. In addition: my head hurts.

Moving now to the surgery of a vet in Cincinnati. He's shown operating on a dog, and then explaining the operation to the dog's owners. Apparently, he also does animal acupuncture. Does he need a different chart for each species? I can only assume so. He's also enlisted the aid of an animal psychic to help tell him what is going on inside his patients' minds.

The vet talks about how he tested this psychic by seeing if she could get information from a horse regarding an injury he'd already diagnosed. The next segment, showing this woman receiving psychic visions from the horse is… it's special, is what it is. Anyway, the vet was impressed. He thinks that possibly everyone might have this ability.

The animal psychic goes to the zoo and talks about her animal psychic powers. We also see her running some sort of seminar about forming a psychic bond with your pet. She says the images you see might seem imaginary, but to keep reminding yourself that they're not.

She's really kind  of uninteresting, but the episode is a little thin so they just let her keep going as she starts on the Bible quotes.

Nimoy then gives a really nice monologue about how nice pets are. That's nice. He then says that the more we investigate animal ESP, so maybe one day well find that it's real.

So… thin, dull episode. The best part of it was the guy who thinks that Siamese fighting have super powers.

Quotes

Fish guy: "The fish seemed to influence the random generator… the most simple explanation of that is that the fish is somehow influencing the generator."

Summing Up

Telekinetic Fish: 6/10, Astral Kittens: 5/10, Horse Palmists: 6/10, Clairvoyant Voles: 5/10, Mindmelding with Humpback Whales; 7/10. Overall: 30/50. Pass.

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