From Abracadabra to Zombies
(psychic) staring effect
In a nutshell: The psychic staring effect is the idea that people can tell by ESP when somebody is staring at them.
Can anyone really tell when someone else is staring at them? Sure, especially if the one doing the staring is standing right in front of you. But what about someone staring at you from behind? Nine out of ten people say they can "sense" when they are being stared at even when they can't see the person who is doing the staring. What does science have to say about this ability to sense being stared at?
There have been several scientific studies on staring and all but one of them has found that people are fooling themselves if they think they can tell when they're being stared at. The one scientist who found that some people can tell when someone else is staring at them is Rupert Sheldrake, the same scientist who found that a parrot and a dog can read the minds of people. If you think about it, you would have to be psychic to be able to "feel" somebody staring at you rather than see them with your own two eyes. That's why this ability to tell when you're being stared at is called psychic staring effect (PSE).
The first scientific studies of PSE were done in 1898 by Edward B. Titchener. He wanted to prove once and for all that PSE was a superstition. He did prove PSE is a superstition, but most people didn't believe him anyway.
After Sheldrake did some tests that showed PSE is real, several other scientists tried to duplicate his work. No one else could find evidence for PSE. It looks like Sheldrake made a mistake or two. Right now it does not look like there is any logical reason to believe that some people can psychically tell when someone else is staring at them.
For more information on the study of psychic powers see A Short History of Psi Research by Robert T. Carroll (psi is what parapsychologists call perceiving or moving things with the mind only).