Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Chris Campbell0
Animal Communication: Is It Really Possible?
The human imagination travels faster than reality. Visionaries dream up worlds bursting with implausibility. However, it is astounding how many seemingly impossible ideas end up becoming scientific realities.
Google is testing driverless cars. Neurobiologists have built robotic arms that can be controlled by quadriplegics’ brainwaves. 3-D printers spit out working organs, and biotechnology firms have bent light waves to create invisibility cloaks.
In 1920, Hugh Lofting published the fantastical story of Dr. Dolittle, the man who could speak to animals. And, nearly a hundred years later, animal communication is being practiced around the globe.
In fact, it is Mary Getten’s career. She is a naturalist, animal communicator, and author of the book Communicating with Orcas: the Whales’ Perspective, winner of the 2007 Nautilus Book Award in the category of Animals/Nature.
Getten runs her own practice, helping people all over the world to understand animals at a deeper level. Some of her work is done over the phone, and some of it is leading groups into the wild to swim and learn from cetaceans.
“I’ve taken groups to San Ignacio lagoon in Baja to touch and kiss gray whales. My gosh, I really can’t explain the explosion of joy and love that happens when you put your lips on a rubbery, salty whale, as she lifts her head to meet you!” said Getten.
Featured image from the photostream of Go Bush.
How does one talk to an animal?
“There are four main ways to receive telepathic communication: sight or mental pictures, hearing or sound, physical and emotional feelings, or an intuitive sense of knowing,” explained Getten.
“For example, let’s say I ask a dog why he’s limping. I might get a picture from him of his wrist, or he might say to me, ‘I twisted my wrist’, or I might actually feel pain in my own wrist.”
Image from the photostream of Mercedes Roundy.
If this seems farfetched, it is because this innate skill has been muted by socialization, suggested Getten.
“All animals are born with the ability to communicate telepathically, including us, but we were socialized out of it. As babies, we telepathically told our parents what we needed. Very often they understood. Then as we grew older and started to speak, we were very highly rewarded for that speech.”
“The more we spoke, the more we were praised. As little children, most of us could communicate with animals, but when we told mom that the cat had a stomachache, we were told cats couldn’t talk. After a few such incidents, we began to believe the adults, and ignored the messages from our animal friends,” continued Getten.
Mary Getten was a tomboy growing up. She loved running around in the woods, exploring new natural environments, and had a knack for jumping on the back of a sleeping horse. However, it wasn’t until her thirties that her life became intimately enmeshed with the animal kingdom.
In the mid-1980s Getten was leading rescue and release crews at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, a hospital for seals and sea lions.
Image from the photostream of Kengeroo.
“Then in 1988, I met Penelope Smith, a pioneer in the field of animal communication. When I found out that humans could actually talk to animals I was so excited. If I could talk to the seals and sea lions and find out what was wrong with them, I thought I would be an incredible asset to the center.”
Getten allocated much of her time to absorbing the skills necessary to communicate with animals. However, when she tried to apply her new ability, her director looked at her like she was crazy.
“It was the dark ages of this skill. There were hardly any people I could talk to about it. If I did mention it, the response was generally for the person to back away slowly and then run,” said Getten.
“I actually had a man burst out laughing when I was introduced to speak at a Kiwanis meeting. It was intimidating at first, but once I made peace with it, and understood that my role is to help people see the world in a new way, it all changed,” she continued.
“Now, I happily talk to all kinds of people about animal communication and if they are shocked and in disbelief I know that I’ve just opened a little crack in their belief system, and by the tenth time they hear about it they just may believe,” she continued.
Anyhow, having information about animals that she could not use was painful, and Getten decided to leave the Marine Mammal Center in California.
“In 1990, I moved to the San Juan Islands of WA State, where I vowed to spend the rest of my life working with animals. I chose this area because I could still do rehab with seals and I could also spend time with whales – killer whales, better known as orcas,” said Getten.
In the San Juans, Getten worked as a naturalist leading whale and wildlife trips for a decade. Each year she spent 100 days out on the water with the population of 86 resident orca whales. Strange sensations washed over her; one uncanny whale encounter followed another, and soon, she was documenting it all.
“I spent more than a year interviewing whales with a colleague of mine, and eventually published our findings in the book Communicating with Orcas; the Whales’ Perspective,” said Getten.
The book is filled with stunningly precise details of Orca life. Their social structure, the way knowledge is transmitted from parent to young, the way pods handle conflicts, the sex lives of whales, and infinitely more.
Image from the photostream of Nicolas Bouvier.
“When you connect with an animal, it is a process of merging with their consciousness and sometimes their physical body. Often I ask them a question and we have a conversation, just like you and I are doing, and at other times, I’m experiencing things from their perspective. Both methods allow me to understand what’s going on for the animal. Each animal is unique, so it’s always fun and exciting to see what’s going on in their world,” stated Getten.
“I remember the first time I talked to an iguana,” started Getten.
“It wasn’t eating and the person wondered what was wrong. All I could feel was a sense of congestion in the lower abdomen, something I might have thought was constipation. The iguana didn’t know what it was either. Two days later the person called me to say that the iguana had just laid over 100 eggs! It was her first time, so she didn’t understand what was happening.”
Image from the photostream of Ian Michael Thomas.
The last question Mary answered was a famous one taken from James Lipton – if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Hey thanks Mary, I won’t make you do that again. You can go back to the sea now,” she answered.