Distant feelings: telepathy and the problem of affect transfer over distance



This paper addresses the problem of affect transfer at a distance. Geographers have been creative in importing concepts that seek to account for the transmission of affect. These include terms such as suggestion and contagion, and indeed transmission itself. In this paper, I explore the problem through the concept of telepathy. Telepathy, understood as ‘distant feeling’ or ‘feeling at a distance’, is directed at the problem of the transfer of affect as well as thought over distance. Using telepathy to throw into sharp relief the problem of affect transfer, this paper explores examples drawn from late nineteenth century psychology, late twentieth century psychic spying (remote viewing) and Freud’s interpretation of occult phenomena. The paper concludes on the implications of telepathic unconscious communication for understanding affect transfer at a distance.