Telepathy, the direct transmission of thoughts from one person to another, is a fun psychic skill to practice. Erin and I have enjoyed spontaneous telepathic episodes for more than a decade. It’s not something we can consistently do with conscious effort yet, but the more we practice it, the more often it seems to arise naturally, and the more accurate we become.

I recently witnessed an amusing example of telepathy between my wife and a couple new friends, but I’ve rarely been able to do it with anyone but her. Obviously you have to discount the effect of us naturally thinking more alike simply because we’ve been together for 12+ years. And we can certainly read each other’s body language well enough to have a good chance of guessing the other person’s general thoughts.

After years of practice, our telepathic connection has become so strong that we’ve had to adjust certain things we do to account for it. For example, suppose we’re playing a trivia game. If one of us reads the question, we won’t even look at the answer until the other person has made their guess. Otherwise we’re vulnerable to a brain pick. If I have no clue what the answer is, but if I know Erin peeked at the answer after reading the question, then I’ll try to telepathically pick the answer out of her brain. She and I can both do this accurately enough to affect the outcome of the game.

When we play Trivial Pursuit, it becomes more like Telepathic Pursuit. If we know the answer to the question, then the game plays normally. But if we don’t know the answer, then we have a second chance of trying to pick it out of the other person’s brain. If I read Erin a question that I already know the answer to, but she’s totally clueless, then I’ll quickly think of a wrong answer and focus on that. When Erin tries to pick my brain, she’ll often pull the wrong answer that I’m thinking about, even if it’s something that can’t possibly be correct. But if I’m too slow, or if I can’t stay focused on the wrong answer well enough, she has a greater chance of pulling the right answer out of my thoughts. So we actually have to use a counter-telepathy strategy while playing to keep throwing each other off.

When we play games like this, we take great pride in being able to perform a successful brain pick. Sometimes Erin will say, “Thank you for thinking that so loudly.”

Erin receives telepathic information clairaudiently, meaning that she’ll hear specific words from an inner voice in her mind. I pick it up claircognizantly, so I don’t hear anything — I just instantly know.

As another example I may be out running errands and have the thought to bring home take-out food from a certain restaurant, even though we haven’t eaten there in months. I may not even be hungry. But when I arrive home with the food, Erin will say, “Oh good… you heard me.” This sort of thing happens quite often with us.

Lately we’ve started experimenting with forming a more conscious link. We’d love to be able to send accurate messages to each other more deliberately instead of only spontaneously, even though it’s pretty frequent already.

One approach we tried that I feel has promise was to create a common mental place that we could both visit in our imaginations. In this case it was a garden with a bench. I mentally visit the garden and leave an imaginary object on the bench. Then Erin visits the garden in her imagination and looks at what’s on the bench.

The first time we tried this, I left a wooden arrow with a triangular arrowhead on the bench. Erin checked the bench a minute later and said she could make out an elongated object with two bulbous ends. She said it seemed sort of like a baton, but one of the ends was sharp. I thought that was fairly close, so I’m hoping that with further practice we can increase our accuracy.

Our telepathic connection seems to work best when we don’t try to force it. When we know it works, it works. We’ll pull complete sentences out of each other’s minds — word for word exact. But when we think it might work, it doesn’t work. It seems to be driven more by our subconscious beliefs than by conscious effort. The more we try to force it, the worse we do.