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A telepath is an individual possessing the capability to use their minds for communication of messages or thoughts directly from their mind to another via telepathy. Generally, the thoughts are received and processed by the brain in a manner similar to ordinary sensory input, so in essence a telepath "speaks" and "hears" perceptually. However, the ordinary vocal and auditory mechanisms are not employed. Throughout the world, telepaths have endured discrimination due them possessing telepathic abilities. Despite these factors, the telepath community continues to make strides in the modern world, simultaneously achieving in academia, science, politics, and business.
Genetics and Demographics
Telepathy is like intelligence, in that there is no single gene for it, but rather, is scattered throughout the genetic material; the combination determines telepathic strength. Only 1 out of 1,000 people have telepathic abilities whatsoever, and it's even more rare to find someone really powerful.
The standard "Telepath Classification Scale" is used to rate all telepaths. The scale is made up of 12 levels, from A to L. Class A telepaths are the strongest telepaths, Class L are the least powerful telepaths. The higher the rating, the rarer it is. About 60% of the telepath population are Class E-L. Only about 6% of the world's telepaths are Class A telepaths. No level of training can increase a telepath's rating, training can only help a telepath become more competent in the classification they were born with.
The age of telepathic awakening varies from person to person; typically, it occurs during puberty, but may occur earlier. A few rare people carry latent talents into adulthoods, though those whose abilities awaken late in life are rarely powerful -- even a Class E is unusual among those who awaken past adolescence. The awakening may be gradual, or it may be a powerful, frightening, outwardly-visible event known as a "mindquake".
The range of most telepathic abilities is line of sight. Certain materials, such as metal, block telepathic abilities better than others. Bare skin contact is best. A Class H telepath requires proximity to scan; a Class C can easily do it from across the room. The more powerful the telepath, the further their abilities can range. Telepaths working in conjunction with one another are substantially more powerful than a single telepath working alone; however, because of the exponential nature of telepathic abilities, it may take a dozen or more telepaths of mid-level ability to overcome even a single telepath of Class A ability.
"Mundanes" (non-telepathic individuals) can be "surface-scanned" without them noticing, and powerful telepaths may be able to go somewhat deeper. However, a deep scan is painful, and always noticeable, even for a mundane. A surface scan picks up only obvious emotions and prominent thoughts. Note that even mundanes can resist deep scans. It takes a Class C telepath to do strong scans, particularly if a person is resisting.
It's also possible to use telepathic abilities to experience the world as someone else is experiencing it -- seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. as the target is. This is subject to the same restrictions as scans. Mundanes are normally incapable of detecting this.
Telepaths can mindspeak to others, even mundanes. To converse mentally is more difficult, since the telepath must then read the reply off the target; it takes a Class A telepath to be able to smoothly and effortlessly conduct a mental conversation with a mundane. Less powerful telepaths may have difficulty hearing mental communication, particularly mental communication aimed at a group of telepaths rather than at themselves; indeed, they might not be able to participate in group mental conversations at all.
If a telepath surface scans another telepath, they can guess at the strength of his blocks, if he has any, and thus gain a rough estimate of his power level. The person being scanned will usually feel something, though they may not be able to tell the source. The "feel" of the thought can be recognized, though, if it is familiar, through previous contact. A powerful telepath, standing next to someone, including a mundane, can sense the "shape" of someone's mind, even through that person's blocks -- just a general impression of their layout, sort of the equivalent of physical appearance.
Certain mundanes have the equivalent of weak blocks -- nothing actually telepathic, but just a kind of order, a discipline. This makes surface scans, and the picking up of stray thoughts and emotions, in particular, more difficult.
A telepath may block others, including mundanes, from being scanned, though it can take several mid-power telepahs working together to block a single powerful telepath. There's a limit to what this can block, though; for example, even a Class A might not be able to block another Class A who is trying to sense whether or not a third party is lying, though the specifics of thought/emotion would be blocked.
Class A Telepaths
Class As may project the image of themselves into the mind of someone else, over long distances, including through obstacles, and carry on conversations that way. Less powerful telepaths can also do this, if they combine their efforts. The ability to implant thoughts in others' minds increases with classification. Indeed, telepaths may force others to see things which are not really there, or cause them to believe things which they should otherwise logically believe are not true. A powerful telepath can project emotion, getting a target to feel fear, sadness, or the like -- the feeling seems entirely natural to the target, and even a hardened cynic might end up finding himself in tears. However, suggestions are just that -- actual mind control is extremely difficult, and even a Class A can't mind-control another Class A.
A Class A can "fugue" a mundane, though this requires physical contact to initiate. A fugue causes the last thought in the mundane's head to repeat itself over and over -- a sort of state of waking unconsciousness. It only lasts a few seconds, and it leaves the telepath so drained that the effective strength of his blocks is severely reduced.
A Class A is capable of locking the muscles of others, even other telepaths. Only voluntary muscle control is affected -- this technique can't be used to stop a heart, for example. Several people can be affected at once, but only with total concentration and at the cost of a great deal of effort.
The Science of Telepathy
The human mind itself is independent of the brain. It exist as a "psionic field" in space and the brain functions by simply "tuning in" to this field like a radio tuning into the energy signal from a station, the DNA serving in a similar capacity. The body's bio-energy field acts as the "antenna", a bridge to the "mind field" that stores all aspects of the consciousness. This being the case, each mind has its own separate field. While existing in the same space, each field is effectively separated from other minds, by virtue of having a different frequency - one unique to itself. The mind fields exist in an alternate dimensional plane. From such a dimension all points in this realm are accessible from one location in it and vice-versa. In effect, the psionic field can be said to be all-pervasive relative to this universe.
This other dimension exists outside of space-time and is therefore not an actual physical construct. People have their own individual characteristics, but are "composed" of the same "substance" as the rest of the alternate dimension. In other words, their own "personal" storage space, rather than being "partitioned off" from the rest of the alternate dimension, is actually part-and-parcel of the "fabric" of the parallel realm. They are able to access their thoughts, memories and personality strictly by virtue of their physical/energetic resonant signature, which is matched to their own field.
Telepathy is analogous to cordless phones/cell phones and "crossed signals". While everyone's physical/energetic signature is unique, "overlapping" is possible, which allows someone to "tap into" the psionic field of someone else, providing that he or she can "get into resonance", or "tune" to that person's bio-energy field signature to match their mind frequencies, allowing for the "sharing" of thoughts and emotions.
As the DNA is so instrumental in the "tuning" process, anyone with the specific telepathic gene sequence, thus sharing elements of their DNA, can possibly form a mental contact with one another, no matter their respective locations on Earth. Signal strength will be always the same and communication transluminal. This is why telepaths have been known to communicate over very long distances.
It is likely that telepaths have existed for millennia but it is only within the past few decades that their proportion within the population has been increasing. Speculation leads modern science to ambient radiation caused by the detonation of nuclear weapons as the cause of the growing numbers.
In June 1967, two students at the Harvard Medical School published a study. This study had been intended to be a joke, nothing serious, because the subject they investigated wasn't anything to be taken seriously.
The title of their paper: Investigations into Biochemical Sensory Transmission. The young researchers and authors: Duffy and Philen. Ms. Duffy and Mr. Philen were writing a paper that was a sort of hazing ritual. The first year students were required to write at least two hundred pages of garbage on something nontopic, but they had to research it, give it all the form of a good journal article. It was a student competition to see who could treat the most absurd subject in the most clinical fashion, using the most jargon and academic doublespeak. It was a bonus if they could make it recognizably similar to something that had actually been published.
Philen and Duffy chose to research telepathy. They set up a study and - surprisingly - they began to get results. An abstract of their paper: "A sample population of 1,000 volunteers was screened for metasensory abilities using standard set Zener cards and blind curtain tests. Two individuals demonstrated consistently accurate results for each test, and ten demonstrated statistically improbable accuracy. Further tests demonstrated collateral cerebral cortex activity between senders and receivers in accurate tests. The sample population was increased to 5,000 individuals. Two members of the larger sample conclusively demonstrated metasensory abilities, with thirteen sets of statistically improbable results. Brain activity was consistent with the findings of the preliminary study."
As time passed by, people discovered that these results could be explained by the statistical allocation of telepaths in the human population: 1 out of 1,000 humans has telepathic abilities.
The probability was high that this research might have been forgotten, and therefore, telepaths might not have been discovered at such an early stage. This could have happened if one important person hadn't read the paper. The person to perceive the importance of the paper was Alan Kimbrell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. He had been reluctant to trust this study because of its strange topic. However, the paper was well written and evidenced, the data set was verifiable and the experiments replicable. That's why he published the paper against his better judgment.
In October 1967, a team at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine confirmed the findings of the Philen-Duffy study. On April 4, 1968, the Journal of the American Medical Association acknowledged the existence of telepaths for the first time. At first many were skeptical. Public opinion was soon swayed, however, as more and more individuals stepped forward and revealed telepathic powers of greater or lesser magnitude, or were discovered under the new scrutiny of a nation. Extrasensory perception was a fact. The public went crazy, to say the least. Suddenly the world had to deal with a brand new situation - a telepathic population.
Many people were scared. They saw their privacy at risk, afraid any telepath might discover their most intimate secrets. As one Mississippi congressman put it:
"Society is structured around secrets, around limited disclosure. Success has always meant being able to navigate in that world, guess the unspoken, erect a façade. And now we find that there are people who have the inborn ability to simply cut through all that. Would you like to play poker with a telepath? Or trade stocks against someone who could secure inside information simply by being in the room with the right person? It's not so much a matter of specifically regulation telepaths as it is of making certain that existing laws regarding privacy and disclosure aren't violated by them."
The 1970s were a time of great social upheaval and tension within the United States, and indeed even other parts of the world. With the Vietnam conflict becoming more unpopular, America was having a difficult time adjusting to the rise of telepaths in it's midst. Organizations were formed for the advocacy of telepath rights, such as Project: Lifeline, and even PsiFriends--a national support group for telepaths and their friends and family--as well as SANE (SuperMinds And Normals as Equals). Other groups rose up to condemn telepaths as being "mutants" or "freaks of nature", and a potential danger to humanity in general. SLAM (Stronger Limits Against Metasensory) was one of the first and is possibly the best organized and reasonable of these groups.
Nations across the globe reacted in a variety of ways. In 1973, the United Kingdom created the Royal Telepathy Regulatory Commission (RTRC) to oversee telepaths in Great Britain. Within a year West Germany followed with the Board of Telepathy, and France with its own Board of Telepathy. In 1974, the Soviet Union formed the Soviet Telepathics Commission to control telepaths. On August 16, 1975, the Metasensory Regulatory Administration was formed by the United States government. The MRA was set up to provide services to telepaths, establish basic rules for telepaths to follow, and advocate for them in government. The MRA specified training guidelines for people born as telepaths as well as those who develop telepathic ability later in life.
The Soviet Union instigated a "collection" of known and suspected telepaths, utilizing them in research, national protection, or slave labor with little regard for human rights. Many telepaths were captured, or enslaved, or killed outright.
In 1976, due to pressure from the MRA, Congress passed and President Ford signed into law a bill forbidding the United States government from using telepaths for domestic or foreign spying. That same year, following the creation of the MRA, a number of other countries founded their own organizations to assist and regulate telepathic activities. Five years later, all of these agencies worked together to develop the telepath classification scale.
The past few decades telepaths have gain more acceptance as more prominent people have been revealed to be telepaths, most notably Pope John Paul II. He developed his telepathic abilities shortly after being shot in May of 1981. He, however, was a very weak telepath - barely a Class L telepath. His ability to project thought was very weak - other telepaths had to concentrate a great deal in order to pick up his thoughts. Experts say that sometimes people have latent telepathic abilities, and that major life changes or a major trauma will sometimes cause a person's abilities to emerge. Experts believe that John Paul's family had a genetic disposition and he was born with his telepathic abilities switched off. They believe that being shot was so much of a shock to his system that it caused his abilities to switch on.