Date
22 July 2017
Thomas Cheng, founder of the Institute of Scientific Animal Communication, is stunned for a few seconds after learning that a tortoise he has been studying is just a toy. Photo: i-Cable
Thomas Cheng, founder of the Institute of Scientific Animal Communication, is stunned for a few seconds after learning that a tortoise he has been studying is just a toy. Photo: i-Cable

Netizens mock ‘pet psychics’ over flunked tortoise test

Netizens in Hong Kong have poked fun at some “pet psychics” who claimed they could communicate with missing animals and get to know their whereabouts.

On social media, people are widely sharing video footage that suggests that the self-proclaimed skills of some animal specialists are nothing but hollow.  

The clip is from a news story aired by i-Cable in which a reporter asks five “animal communicators” to make contact with a “lost tortoise” to help the owner trace the animal.

The five are shown a photo of the purportedly missing tortoise and come up with answers as to what happened to it.

After receiving “service fees” ranging from HK$150 to HK$400, all five claimed that they had successfully talked to the tortoise “Bo Au” through telepathy.

However, they all came up with different answers on how the creature went missing.

One of the so-called experts said “someone has taken Bo Au out but paid little attention to it”, while another said: “Bo Au could not stand the dullness at home, so it decided to get back to nature.”

The other three said something totally different. 

Later, the “pet psychics” received a shock as the reporter told them that there was actually no lost tortoise, and that the picture shown to them was that of a plastic toy that cost 22 yuan.

After suffering severe embarrassment, some of the psychics quickly regained composure and came up with excuses.

“I may have connected to another tortoise that is also named Bo Au,” a man who teaches courses on “energy therapy for pets” said.

But the damage was done, and the so-called animal communicators drew wide ridicule.

The video clip made its way to internet forums and quickly went viral, garnering over 760,000 views with just one day as of Tuesday noon.

Hundreds of messages were posted by netizens mocking and jeering the so-called pet psychics.

A netizen posted a picture of a soy sauce chicken and left a popular comment that said: “Looking for a real animal communicator who can ask this chicken what were its unfulfilled wishes.”

“Why didn’t [they] bluff more?” another commentator said in an amused tone. “Toys also have lives – look at Toy Story.”

Thomas Cheng, founder of Institute of Scientific Animal Communication, argued that “mental communication with pets” is real and “scientific”.

“I have been studying quantum mechanics. Physicists are welcome to discuss how quantum mechanics can explain human-animal communication with me,” Cheng wrote on social media.

Professor Chau Hoi-fung, who teaches quantum physics at the University of Hong Kong, had a point of view different from Cheng’s.

If animal communication could be explained by quantum mechanics, “I think we wouldn’t have chance to meet those ‘pet psychics’ in person, because they would all be working in the department of defense,” Chau said.

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YH/RT/RC

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