The Thoughtful Animal

Most dog owners think that their dogs can tell what they’re thinking. Or at least, in some sense, they will insist that their pet pooches can sense their emotions, and respond accordingly.

Indeed, a man by the name of Karl Krall (say that three times fast) thought that there exist some sort of psychic connections between man and animal. And he thought he could prove it.

dog telepathy.jpg

In this telepathy experiment between human and dog Karl Krall (on the right) tried to detect the thinking radiation he assumed to flow between the two. Krall was a rich dealer in diamonds who had founded his very own institute for paraphysical research in Munich. He had also taken care of the famous horse Clever Hans (who performed arithmetic in Berlin in 1904) after his owner Wilhelm van Osten had died. He thought Hans used telepathy and started an elaborate research program but he was wrong: the horse could read the right answers in small unintentional signals given by humans.


Of course, several questions emerge from this: what are those scientists (Krall on the far right) looking through? Do they think they can see through those upside-down soup pots? How did they convince the dog to just chill there with the giant overturned soup pot overhead? And why does the gentleman beneath the giant inverted soup pot appear to be wearing a kittel?


  1. #1 hornblower
    February 7, 2011

    Can’t help but wonder if in 100 years someone will look back at our experiments and say WTF?

    Dr. Patricia McConnell explores the emotional relationships between dogs & humans in her books: The Other End of the Leash, For the Love of a Dog, & Tales of Two Species. Indeed, dogs are very good at reading our bodies for clues to our emotions. It is quite amazing. She also delves into the topic of what emotions dogs have. Great reads.

  2. #2 John
    February 7, 2011

    Um…maybe he is marrying the dog.

  3. #3 scidog
    February 8, 2011

    looks like one of those brain transfers from Dr Who,and you don’t need any psychic dog just talks to me.

  4. #4 Phillip IV
    February 8, 2011

    And why does the gentleman beneath the giant inverted soup pot appear to be wearing a kittel?

    It’s probably just a lab coat – funnily, that would still make it a “Kittel” in German, since the German language adopted the Yiddish word (for once not the other way round) to refer to frocks, lab coats and any kind of protective overcoat worn indoors.

    No idea, though, what Krall and his assistant are looking at – my best guess is that these are some kind of early oscilloscopes or something, since the caption refers to “high frequency inductors”. Klingelfuß was a Swiss maker of X-ray equipment, so Krall must indeed have been pretty loaded to afford that kind of equipment for his private research.

  5. #5
    February 8, 2011

    my dogs are extremely good at reading my body language, but they’re not necessarily great at interpreting what they read there. their own canine personalities seem to color their understanding of me; one of them, being more nervous and skittish in general, is much more apt to misunderstand any little accidental slip of mine as me scolding or threatening her.

    they both spot every move i make, accidental or not. they just don’t both understand what they see in the same way.

  6. #6 The Former Dr. Goldman
    February 8, 2011

    I am owned by two dogs. One parses my every movement for hints as to whether I am about to eat something that I should be sharing. He also tells me when he wants to go out.
    The other dog, a small, bossy terrier, is very good at manipulating me into the perfect position for her own comfort. If I am not conveniently positioned, she will tap me with her paw over and over until I move. I don’t believe they are telepathic but they are very smart. My life is better for their presence.

  7. #7 BarkingBodhi
    February 13, 2011

    I’ll bet that he had a grant for that.

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