Telepathy is the ability to mentally control any function the brain controls, hearing other people's thoughts, scanning the memory of other people and sending thoughts directly to other people's minds.
Also Called Edit
- Mind reading
- Charles Deveaux was the first character (chronologically) to demonstrate this ability. (1961)
- Matt Parkman is the first person shown to innately have this ability. (Don't Look Back)
- Peter Petrelli absorbed this ability from Matt (Fallout), but lost it when his father stole it from him (Dying of the Light). He has since replicated this ability twice from Matt (Exposed, The Art of Deception), only to both times discard it in favour of flight (Exposed, Brave New World).
- Maury Parkman also had this ability. (Fight or Flight)
- Arthur Petrelli stole this ability from an unknown source, prior to stripping Peter of his powers. (Dying of the Light)
- Draph replicated this ability from an unknown source. (Slow Burn)
- According to Chandra's journal, a woman in Botswana, a woman in California, and a man in Sweden potentially have this ability. (Seven Minutes to Midnight)
Matt's ability first manifested as mind-reading, but he subsequently discovered that he can also send his thoughts to other people as a form of communication. His control over his ability continues to improve with practice. He can actively focus on the thoughts of a particular person, but he still sometimes picks up thoughts at random from people in his vicinity, and he can have difficulty "blocking" the thoughts of agitated individuals or crowds. He was once overwhelmed by the intense thoughts of a crowd of frightened customers at a convenience store (Hiros), but he has not had any "overload" problems recently.
Matt once told his wife that he is only able to hear the thoughts of others. He was unable to receive mental images, complex thoughts, or delve into the memories or emotions of others (The Fix). While he is now able to send thoughts and even influence the behavior of others, he has yet to receive a mental image.
Matt is unable to read the Haitian's mind, and he has great difficulty reading the minds of other people when the Haitian is "screening" against mental intrusion. With extreme effort, however, Matt can occasionally pick up a word or two through the Haitian's interference.
If a person is thinking in a language other than English, Matt can still hear them, but he does not automatically understand the thoughts.
Matt's telepathic abilities seem to have a limited range; he has not been seen to pick up thoughts from anyone more than a few hundred feet away. He does not require a line of sight to pick up thoughts, but it seems to help. However, while hiding from Danko's team, he was able to sense them coming as a result of his ability.
To escape from his father's nightmare, Matt was able, for the first time, to telepathically communicate to Nathan (Fight or Flight) and later, Molly. Later, Matt was able to break himself and Molly out of the "nightmare" trap into which Maury had placed them. Matt was even able to turn the tables on his father, trapping Maury in the nightmare (Out of Time).
Matt has also discovered that he can coerce people with his power. Not only can he hear thoughts and send them, but he can also implant them, as he has done with people like Molly Walker, Detective Fuller, and Gibson, in a non-verbal version of persuasion. However, Angela Petrelli, due to her experience with Maury and Arthur, was able to resist him, and in doing so caused herself a nosebleed, similar to the ones Matt gets around the Haitian. She did not prove entirely successful, as Matt was able to get a name from her (Cautionary Tales). The persuasive effect of thought projection did not seem to affect Peter (Powerless), who was able to resist and counter.
Matt experienced painful feedback when he tried to read Future Peter's mind. However, Peter did not appear to suffer any ill effects, perhaps because he was more experienced than Matt (The Second Coming). Matt can now read the thoughts of another with little effort, only having to concentrate to read deeper complex thoughts. Matt can also cast telepathic illusions to mislead individuals. These illusions can deceive a target's senses of sight, hearing, and touch (Eris Quod Sum). Expanding on this ability, Matt was able to cause a gunman to turn against his allies, shooting each of them down (Trust and Blood).
Matt has since refined the ability to enter the minds of others, even able to find a way out in an attempt to free Angela. Thanks to Daphne, Matt now has the skill to bring other people with him into another's mind and take them all back to the physical world (It's Coming). When Matt activates his ability to read Mr. Millbrook's mind, he is able to receive the thoughts of Daphne. He is able to interpret and understand each without being overwhelmed (The Eclipse, Part 2). Matt can also locate others by homing in on their thoughts (The Eclipse, Part 1). Matt can now erase memories (Almost Famous).
Although Maury said that he can receive mental images, Matt has not yet displayed this aspect of his ability yet.
Matt has been shown to scan the brain for exact memories as detailed as flashbacks, although the process can be painful to the victim if he or she tries to resist it. Mohinder noted that Noah's entire system was being strained from trying to resist Matt's probing. (Cold Wars)
A new aspect is the ability to control minds from a distance. He took over the minds of two of Danko's team members and controlled them to leave them alone and keep Danko contained. This wasn't just mental commands as he clearly lost control of them when his ability was disrupted. Besides Peter, who was using a replicated copy of the ability at the same time, neither Maury nor Arthur displayed this aspect of the ability. He can also control people from a distance with this ability as he was able to control the two team members from the room he was in despite the fact that they were elsewhere in the building (Exposed).
Like Peter, he is able to make others follow his vocal commands, though he has demonstrated that the vocal commands do not necessarily need to be heard in order to work, as when Matt vocally controlled Danko from within his car.
However, there is a weakness to this ability: loud noise and bright lights disrupt telepathy and hurt the user as well as breaking their concentration. Matt and Peter were hurt by this when Noah Bennet activated the fire alarm of Building 26, disrupting Matt's mental control over two guards and causing him pain. (Exposed)
Matt displayed another aspect of this ability: He can induce dreams in others. He uses this to give Daphne a storybook ending as she dies from an infection of her gunshot wound. (Cold Snap)
Matt also displayed the ability to hide at least himself and two others from detection with this ability, allowing him, Tracy and Mohinder to escape and him and his family to avoid detection (Cold Snap, I Am Sylar).
Recently, Matt has shown that he can wipe out a person's memories and replace them with that of another person. He uses this to transfer Nathan's memories into Sylar (An Invisible Thread). An apparent side effect though, is that he somehow absorbed Sylar's consciousness which has started to torment him. (Orientation, Jump, Push, Fall)
Matt can also use his ability to access the same state of consciousness that precogs access with their precognition, therefore allowing him to paint the future.
After returning to his body, Sylar visits Matt to try to get him to block his powers so he can live a normal life. While Matt is able to read Sylar's mind enough to see that he's serious, but keeps getting feedback that blocks him. At Janice's suggestion, Matt uses telepathy to trap Sylar in a nightmare where he's completly alone with no powers, similar to what his father did to Molly (The Art of Deception). In this nightmare, one hour in the real world equals a year in Sylar's mind and anyone who enters, such as Peter ends up trapped too. Eventually Peter and Sylar manage to escape from Matt's nightmare trap by working together. (The Wall)
Later, Matt tries to project a thought into the mind of an Eli clone to try to stop him, but can't as the clone doesn't have a mind to implant the thought into. According to the clone, only the real Eli can be manipulated by telepathy. Later, after Peter and Sylar defeat the real Eli, Matt is able to brainwash him into turning on Samuel Sullivan, proving what the clone said was true. (Brave New World)
By the time Matt becomes the director of Sunstone Manor, his power has advanced to the point where he can control the residents with a mere recording of his voice giving instructions. When Farah Nazan and Carlos Gutierrez destroy the recording, Matt's power over the residents is broken. He later states on the phone that they need to fix the recording as he can't control the residents if they can't hear his voice. Also, unlike with Eli, Matt demonstrates the ability to control the clones of M. F. Harris, but this may be because Harris' cloning power manifests different than Eli's. He also states that he now hears voices inside his head from his telepathy all the time now and its had a detrimental effect on his mental health. (Send in the Clones)
Matt's father stated that his abilities only started with mind-reading. At the time of his first encounter with his son, Maury Parkman was far more adept than his son at using this ability. He is able to trap people in nightmarish visions that can fool the senses, such as he did with Molly, Matt, and Nathan (Fight or Flight). In order to put an individual into a nightmare, Maury first has to find a nightmare from the individual (Out of Time).
He is also able to sense and block mentally intrusive abilities and damage the minds of people who attempt to do this--such as when he incapacitated Molly when she used her ability to find him (The Kindness of Strangers), and caused Matt pain when blocking his telepathy (Fight or Flight).
After escaping Level 5, Maury used his ability to cause Nathan and Daphne to see and speak with a projected mental image of Linderman. However, he was either unable to deceive Daphne's sense of touch or she caught him by surprise before he could react, and she was able to sense his deception by passing a file through "Linderman's" chest (Angels and Monsters). At this part of the ability Matt has proven more adept as he was able to fool Knox's sense of touch when he cast an illusion to trick him.
Initially, Peter could only read the minds of others. Originally, he was unable to do so with focus or intent, seemingly hearing thoughts accidentally and scanning the memory of his mother while in the future (Out of Time). He first used the ability on purpose to listen to the thoughts of Victoria Pratt (Truth and Consequences). He was able to project thoughts after Matt projected thoughts into his own mind. The persuasive effect of thought projection did not seem to affect either of them. (Powerless)
During a visit to see Gabriel Gray in the exposed future, Gabriel was able to resist Peter's use of telepathy, although the reason is unknown. Also after Peter activated intuitive aptitude, his use of telepathy became more refined as he appeared to be able to scan Nathan's memory to analyze his thought patterns.
Peter has displayed seeing actual images in people's minds. When he was trying to remember Angela in the future he scanned her memories and saw the actual images connected to them. This was accidental, but later he was able to see an image in Angela's mind (The Pinehearst logo) while trying to read her mind to find the reason for her coma, but this was after he activated intuitive aptitude which seemed to help him gain better control over his various abilities. However, Arthur's imprisonment of Angela in her mind seemed to also cause telepathic feedback as well as it hurt him to do.
Recently he replicated the ability in order to infiltrate Building 26 using it to control the minds of a few people in order to get where he needed to go. Peter was also able to use it in order to make agents obey his vocal commands, similar to persuasion. He also attempted to telepathically communicate with Matt and Daphne similar to how Matt communicated with Nathan while trapped in the nightmare and only failed due to the fact that the two weren't there. Also, while attempting to communicate with the two, Noah mentally warned him of what Danko was doing and despite the fact that he wasn't even aware of the fact that he was there or where he was, Peter picked up on Danko's thoughts as well, despite him being hidden a distance away. This saved his life as it caused him to turn towards where he detected Danko, causing Danko to non-fatally shoot him. Peter later discarded this ability in favor of flight in order to escape from Nathan. (Exposed)
After arriving at Matt Parkman's house, Peter replicates telepathy again from Matt.He is instantly able to read Matt's mind and tell that Sylar's at the house. He learns that Sylar is trapped in his own mind, and enters Sylar's mind trying to free him (The Art of Deception). Peter is unable to forcibly use telepathy to take Sylar out. It takes them years inside Sylar's mind to break him out, only after they begin discussing things about themselves, such as Sylar killing Nathan, they're able to break free, taking down a giant wall, the barrier Matt put around Sylar. In reality, the years passed in Sylar's head were about half a day. (The Wall) Peter later uses telepathy to read Eli's mind in order to find out Samuel's plans which he succeeds in doing despite Eli being unconscious. Peter later discards telepathy in favor of flight again. (Brave New World)
Arthur was already an experienced user of telepathy in April 2006. He can use this ability to read thoughts, project thoughts, control a person's behavior and personality, and alter a person's memories. According to Daniel Linderman, lasting telepathic alterations, such as thought projection or memory erasures, to a person's mind leave "scars" but evolved humans possessing the ability of healing or regeneration can counter memory loss/mind control by healing the scars.
After being paralyzed by Angela's poison, Arthur could still communicate telepathically which is how he talked to everyone as all he could move was his eyes until he regenerated.
Arthur was able to imprison Angela in an unresponsive trance, disguise himself as Daphne within Angela's dream to trick Matt, and inflict a psychosomatic stab wound upon Matt from inside Angela's dream. However, despite his disguise, his shadow was still the same as his true self. He can also enter the minds of others that are not close to him. (It's Coming)
In his mid-twenties, Charles Deveaux had developed this ability enough to listen to other people's thoughts and to manipulate their behavior. On one occasion, he was able to manipulate the thoughts of a diner full of people, making them forget they had seen anything (1961). He was also capable of discerning Angela Petrelli's favorite song, and the fact that she missed her prom. During the St. Marks Riot, Charles began using this power to calm the rioters, succcding in calming one and a police officer, but is knocked out before he can do anything more. (From the Files of Primatech, Part 2)
In chapter 6 of Slow Burn, Josh implied that Draph telling them that some girls were checking them out was a result of telepathy. It is uncertain whether this was an example of telepathy or claircognizance, Draph's original ability. Draph, however, does use telepathy when he tells Bill that he will not remember the events of the fight the next morning.
"It's like -- it was like someone was talking to me. Except it was in my head."
"Did the voices tell you anything else? They want you to do things? Rob a store, kill the President?"
"No. It's more like I can... Hear people's thoughts."
"Those marks that you have all over you. My father made you do that to yourself, didn't he? Did you know him when his mind reading became something more? When pull became push, and then he realized he could put a thought into anyone's head?"
"Telepaths over-rely on their ability for protection, making them highly vulnerable to someone with mental discipline and determination. Statistically speaking, telepaths have a slightly longer lifespan."
- The Mozaic file reads Parapsychology / Telepathy.
- In a post on 9thwonders.com, evsdropr calls Maury's power "dream telepathy".
- According to writer-producers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite, "For those who have complete control of telepathy--death may never be as final as it may seem." This could possibly be hinting at another X-Men reference; Doctor Charles Xavier was a dying telepath who inserted his consciousness into another body to prevent his death.
- While trapped in Matt Parkman's mind, Sylar was able to manipulate Parkman into using his telepathy, sometimes against himself. While Matt was seemed able to stop Sylar when he was aware that Sylar was trying to use the ability, Sylar was able to use several advanced aspects of telepathy. He was able to make Parkman see an illusion of a small child's corpse and stuffed bunny (Ink) and able to transfer his mind back into his own body (Brother's Keeper).
- The Heroes Reborn app lists Matt Parkman's ability as "telepathy", but lists Maury Parkman's ability as "advanced telepathy and mind manipulation".
- Audrey calls Matt "Carnac," referring to his ability (One Giant Leap). Carnac is the comic psychic played by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Carnac the Magnificent could "read" questions on a card inside a sealed envelope and give a humorous answer to the question prior to opening the envelope.
- Telepathy is the first power shown to have passed directly from parent to child.
- For the similar ability to alter the minds of others, see Mental Manipulation.
- For the similar ability of being able to shut down the upper brain functions of other people, see Neurocognitive Deficit.
- For the similar ability to take control of other people's bodies and motor functions against their will, as well as the functions of objects, see Puppeting.
- For the ability to persuade others using verbal means, see Persuasion.
- For the similar ability to induce beliefs in people using verbal means, see Belief Induction.
- For the ability to create illusions that affect all people, see Illusion.
- For the ability to know the emotions, thoughts, and motives of others, see Empathy.