I received notice of a rather attractive idea for a telegraph involving snails from Debra Hamel
today. The theory depended on the (completely unproven and crackpot) idea that when two snails mate (an engrossing process which I have described elsewhere) they become telepathically engaged with each other and, in the romatic tradition of a pair of separated identical twins, are able to feel each other's pain and sensation. So that if 26 or more pairs of snails are collected together, encouraged to fornicate (not sure how this is done - do snails have pheromones, I wonder) and each pair labelled with letters from the alphabet, then on separation each snail will empathise with the movements of its partner. Arranging one set of snails into a message will therefore cause the corresponding sets of labelled snails (by this time far away) to arrange themselves in sympathy and so the message can be observed.
Obviously this will work. No doubt about it. The story first appeared on the fascinating website of the proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society
which specialises in looking at all things weird and wondrous and sounds like a very attractive place to me - and one which I intend to visit often.