Recently I’ve been fascinated by the idea of telepathy. Wait, don’t go anywhere, hear me out.

I’m in line at the grocery store, and the person before me pays with a credit card. As they sign their receipt, I’m staring at their hand. I imagine a purple beam of light shooting down from their head as that signature appears on the slip of paper in front of them. Their name, those two, maybe three words, it just flows out of their head through their hand and onto the paper. Information, poof, it’s there.

People learn and retransmit using “language.” And there are hundreds of languages. People transmitting information through the motions of their hands through the air. Can you see the purple beam of light as two signers send their thoughts through the air? With a telescope, they can do it even miles apart. With other technology, they can amplify the communication so that everyone in the world can “hear” it.

But language isn’t required for telepathy. A grunt will do. A soft touch. A kiss can mean so much. Love. Death. A punch can mean fewer things, but some of them more subtle than a kiss. Although if we’re touching is it still telepathy, or is it something else? An air-kiss is perhaps still telepathy, stunted and clumsy.

Handwriting is the most beautiful form of telepathy, I think. Information just flows out of people, onto paper, walls, roads, and a million things. And so MUCH of it. Words beyond numbers, a never-ending torrent of combinations of tiny symbols adding up to something that actually means something to somebody else. The pen goes down, it strokes, it lifts, it descends, it strokes some more and thoughts are transcribed, transformed from the ether of consciousness to physical presence in the world, where they can CHANGE things.

What I’m writing right now are my thoughts transferred to you through my hands and keyboard and computer and so many convoluted machinations! Less elegant than pen and paper, but faster and vastly more easily transmitted. How far we had to go to get here!

Infinitely complex, like sunlight on the atoms of the air as you drive down the highway, heat waves and photons chasing each other, some of them blocked by the rear wheels of the car in front of you, creating complex shadows on the surface of the highway as you follow-the-leader at 70 mph on your way to work on a strangely warm Winter morning. The atoms of the concrete beneath your wheels heated ever so slightly by the sunbeam shining from the east as the world spins, cooled as they pass into the shadow beneath the wheel, then back into the sunlight, and under YOUR car to cool again for a fractional moment, and each heat wave, each photon involved in only one instant of the chain of events.

An image injected imprecisely into your head through your eyes, instigated by my fingertips.

Some information is harder to transfer. Images and ideas are so often communicated in a way that almost guarantees misunderstanding. And some people are better than others at both broadcasting their thoughts and interpreting what they receive. And some excel at acting upon their interpretations, while others can filter what they receive and broadcast it again with their own agenda attached. This thought smells like Charles Kuralt.

Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts transferred even after DEATH to students the world over, some of his thoughts absorbed, others captured and discarded after processing, denied purchase in the chemical-powered electrical storage facility of a human brain either bored, philosophically at odds, stubborn, apathetic, or a hundred other conditions that might have the same effect.

Increible! THINK that in a spanish accent. Incrayeeblay!

Next time you see somebody with a pen in hand, think about telepathy. Think really hard, and see if they look up and wonder why it feels like they’re being watched.

As they sign their name they may not be communicating with you, but they are communicating. Maybe they’re only talking to themselves. Mrs. Stacey Hubbard. Mrs. Stacey Hubbard. Mrs. Stacey Hubbard. How does it look? Is she convinced yet?

If you look over her shoulder you’re eavesdropping. If you can’t see the words, you’re excluded, but if you can see the form of a signature, you’re not necessarily excluded. No one can read signatures anyway, although you know what is being written. Perhaps you know the signer made a purchase, or consigned their soul to the devil, but you don’t know his or her name. If the Devil can’t read your signature do you still have to pay up? I think probably.

A signature is like a sad song– it says so much. You bought something. You have a name. If you’re wearing a cast on your arm and your signature is crappy and awkward, it tells what hand you prefer. If you’re a handwriting expert it tells your mood. If you’re a spy, perhaps the name you sign sends a message to your handler, the seemingly bored cashier at Kroger. If you’re a forger, you are actually lying through telepathy!

Which happens all the time of course. You don’t have to be honest in your thoughts, everybody knows that, but I don’t think we usually think about it as anything other than lying to ourselves, something we’re all experts at. In reality, all lies as spoken first within our own brains. Often refined and polished in there before shooting from our foreheads, riding a purple beam of light to their recipient, with supporting beams of light angling up into the stream from our tongues, pieces of paper, a television, forming a vast web, a network of invisible STUFF that enables our modern telepathy. Never so simple as science fiction, but enabling the same result.

I am a purple sea monster with thirteen heads and a long tri-forked tongue that sticks out of the many-fanged maw centered on my torso just above an alabaster navel.

Recently I’ve been fascinated by the idea of telepathy.



  1. Did you see those clips of Mindball, or whatever it’s called? It’s not exactly telepathy, but close enough to still be geek out-worthy.

  2. I did NOT see those clips. I’m going to resist looking it up, ’cause I don’t need anything else in my life to geek out over. So much geeking out to do, so little time.

    Oh and it turns out I stole this idea from Stephen King’s “On Writing” but forgot where I got it from.

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