5 APRIL 1957, Page 18


SIR,—I would like to correct a remark made by Mary McLean in your issue of March 2 regarding homing pigeons returning to base by means of telepathic communication with the mate they were taken from. This is not true, as I have myself on occasion sent both of a pair away to a race at the same time and both have homed successfully. Also, young pigeons, before they reach sexual maturity, can home success- fully.

The idea, which she does not accept, regarding animals homing to places by telepathic means is in point of fact possible. It is this suggestion in a some- what modified form that is the basis of the ESP hypothesis regarding the homing instinct.

There is no proof of this hypothesis and it is difficult to know how it could be proved, but one instance I know lends it some colour. A loft was dismantled at Denham and moved some twenty miles away, and the bird returned to the old loft and not its new one. It may be coincidence, and there may be other reasons, but nevertheless it is an interesting occurrence.—Yours faithfully, C. A. E. OSMAN

'The Racing Pigeon,' 19 Doughty Street, WC!