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8 Common Psychic Abilities

Psychic phenomena have long been unilaterally spurned by the codified, hard scientific disciplines of the West. However, with recent burgeoning understanding of the principles of particle and quantum physics coming thick and fast, perhaps the time for codification and sober consideration of these concepts has arrived.

The following eight psychic abilities will be discussed:

1. Clairvoyance
2. Clairsentience
3. Clairaudience
4. Telekinesis/Psychokinesis
5. Psychometry
6. Remote Viewing
7. Telepathy
8. Aura reading


Clairvoyance is generally understood by parapsychological circles to be fundamentally different from precognition because it refers to events, places, or people acting in the present, rather than the future. Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Phenomena, published by Guiley in 1991, denotes clairvoyance as being “the perception of current events, objects or people that may not be discerned through the normal senses.”

For some, these two qualities may be classed collectively under the heading of extrasensory perception, commonly referred to by the acronym ESP. A further distinction within the classification of knowing beyond the scope of the ordinary sensory faculties is made with telepathy. Unlike with telepathy, clairvoyance involves no sender of information. The person experiencing clairvoyance is instead acting as a receiver of general information.

Guiley further notes that clairvoyance appears to be a rather generalized ability among human beings and has been utilized by a variety of seers, oracles, and purported magic handlers throughout history. Derived directly from the French, the term itself translates as “clear seeing,” While the Oxford English Dictionary does not report the entrance of the term into common parlance of the English language until the mid-18th century, it was in use by the French as early as the last half of the 16th century, and likely made its appearance across the Channel in association with modern spiritualism and the movement’s adherents.

It should be noted here that while clairvoyance entails a keen perception of the connectivity between places, people, and things, it should not be considered a “magical” ability. Rather, individuals who experience episodic visitation of “clear sight” should be considered possessed of the ability to make astute connections between events, people, or places.

There is still a great deal that science does not know about how our brains process data sent through the channels of ordinary perception, though there is hard evidence that our eyes send a great deal more data to the visual cortex than we utilize to construct our physical realities. Until all the evidence is in, we should practice neither exclusive skepticism nor wholesale belief, but soberly evaluate all data if we wish to practice true scientific inquiry.


Clairsentience literally translates as “clear knowing or understanding” without the logical basis that often leads to conclusions in traditional thought processing. It is thought to refer to understandings of both the present and the mutable future, and several sources will divide this area of psychic experience into two distinct varieties. First, that of the prophetic clairsentient, who experiences the phenomenon through the media of precognitive hunches, holistic or “big picture” understandings, and dreams. The phenomenon is focused outward in this variety of clairsentient, often pertaining to how these understandings, hunches, and dreams impact others.

Because the future is a mutable medium, with probable and possible occurrences in suspension until the moment of the present, a precognitive dream may actually predict a probable outcome. This may be because such an outcome is more likely to occur, based on unseen connecting actions, events, or speech.

This manifestation of the phenomenon should not be considered as one of supernatural origins, but as a natural manifestation in an individual more aware of a larger scope of reality. That this manifests as dream or rootless knowing is not evidence of extra-human ability, but perhaps speaks more to the limited ways in which our human faculties can inform us of data collected and connections made.

The second type of clairsentient is the Feeler, their particular affinity to transmute connections, perceptions, and understandings immediately into a specific feeling. This is a manifestation of extreme empathy, and the empathic individual may be sensitive enough to read energy invested in personal objects belonging to others—psychometry.

While this may sound far-fetched, and lacks hard, scientific backing, modern science has confirmed that all matter is composed of energy. We are energy. To perceive those particular signatures each individual creates may not be quite so unimaginable. This may also be related to documented experiments relating to the impact of the focused will or intent, conducted by reputable scientists in the field of quantum physics, with water and binary ticker devices. The principal of quantum entanglement may also come into play in this matter.


This is often closely associated with Victorian era spiritualism and clairvoyance. Clairaudience relates to the experience of hearing information, much in the way that clairvoyants and clairsentients see or understand information not readily available to the range of ordinarily understood sensory perception. Clairaudience has a deep and extensive relationship to mysticism, lauding back to both the philosophers and adherents of mystery cults of Ancient Greece. Though it is stressed that the classical understanding of the Inner Voice may differ from a modern interpretation of the term, there is also strong evidence for the concept in early Christianity. The purposive ability to hear the spiritual voice of the divine was central to the transformative experience of adopting the early faith.

We see a familiar dichotomy develop during the period of German philosophical enlightenment of the 19th century—contrary positions of empiricism and spiritualism were adopted and defended by Kant and Swedenborg, respectively. The ability to perceive or “hear” what is unheard by others pertains more to what modern circles know as the subtle or spiritual form, and not the corporeal form with its aural faculties. While belief structures may bear further scrutiny in pertinence to this ability, it should be noted that the mechanisms by which memory is stored and recalled are still not fully understood by neurologists. There is also a well-documented history of recall through the aural senses—hearing the past, though the source of that aural memory is no longer present. In light of this, it would be unwise to cast aside the possibility that such aural ability exists independently of the physical mechanism of perception.


Telekinesis or Psychokinesis is generally understood to be “mind over matter”. Derived directly from the Greek, the latter term breaks down as psyche—life, breath, or soul—and kinein—to move. Essentially, utilizing the energy of the spirit or life to impact the tangible world. Historically speaking, PK has been attributed to manifestations of what might otherwise be called “magic” by the Western world—materialization, dematerialization, weather control, the evil eye, spells, etc. More recently, experiments were conducted by J.B. Rhine of Duke University in the 1930s and American physicist Helmut Schmidt in the 1960s.

While the publication of Rhine’s work was delayed and the scholarly community cast aspersions on the results, based on lax controls and a purportedly flawed methodology, Schmidt’s experiments utilized a “coin flipper” regulated by the radioactive decay of certain materials. Because these materials were not sensitive to temperature, pressure, magnetism or chemical change, they were not subject to tampering or manipulation. His method led to the development of the random event generator in later experiments testing the focused will.

Even while today’s scientific community does not officially recognize PK as a legitimate natural phenomenon, quantum and particle physicists are more optimistic. A number of experiments pertaining to the effects of the focused will have gained a certain amount of notoriety among members of the scholarly circle. Several Eastern traditions initiate practitioners in the rigorous discipline of focused will during trance meditation to control autonomic functions such as heart rate, respiration, and nerve impulses that signal pain or pleasure. When this will is collectively focused on a random event generator under controlled laboratory circumstances, with specific results as a goal, these results have consistently been achieved. More research is demanded on this front, though it should be conducted with the same purity of observation that signifies inquiry in the fields of chemistry and physics, as free of bias in either direction as possible.


Psychometry refers to the ability to hold an object and “read” from its energy information about the owner of the object. While scientific rigor may prevent a ready acknowledgement of this phenomenon in part or whole, there is a precedent for investment of energy into or focus on material objects over time. Ceremonies as commonly accepted as the ritual conduct performed during a Catholic Mass, in which the practitioner wears ritual garments and utilizes devoted materials specifically designed for that purpose and invested with the energy of focused intentions over a period of time, rely upon just such a principal. There are many among the parapsychological community that believe psychometry is a teachable skill rather than a mystical and inborn gift of perception.

As we have touched upon several times in this article, the level of reality at which sub-atomic reactions occur is sensitive to energy—be it from ordinary electrical impulses produced by the human body and transferred via contact or the radiation produced by a star that exploded billions of miles away sometime before our solar system formed. In the past, such phenomena as psychometry—the ability to sense the flavor of that focused intention, the investment and transfer of energy from possessor to possession—have been dismissed completely by the traditional Western scientific community.

However, as we come to understand more about how the quantum level of reality functions, discovering the undeniable existence of quantum entanglement and other verified processes that set the laws of classical physics on their ears, we must be willing to investigate these phenomena more openly. It is suggested that practitioners of traditions that accept these occurrences are unacceptable to the scientific community because they have been barred from the very rigor that would have helped to codify and describe them in the first place.

Remote Viewing

Remote viewing is the use of psi energy or psychic ability to obtain information about distant objects or situation. It is considered both a controllable and trainable ability of normal human mental functions, and has been used by the military of the United States to obtain information for the purposes of espionage. In all cases, remote viewing involves the normal waking state of the human mind, and does not call for states of trance or altered consciousness. Rather it is considered to involve the shifting of awareness of the viewer. Conducted in a “blind” condition, the viewer knows nothing about the viewing target.


Telepathy is the exchange of information or sensation from one mind to another in the absence of any other form of direct communication. F.W.H. Meyers, a prominent member of the British spiritualist community during the latter half of the 19th century, coined the term. During this time, there was a decided effort to shift the emphasis of psychic phenomena from the realm of spiritualism to that of science. Much 19th century popular thought centered on scientific rigor, even where it might be completely misplaced or perverted to suit the aims and goals of others. Eugenics experiments conducted by the German government during WWII were seeded in the scientific and spiritual consciousness of the German philosophical and intellectual communities at this time. The odd pairing of pseudoscientific rigor with occult and psychic phenomena resulted in some truly monstrous practices and misconceptions within that particular regime.

But this insistence upon modernizing psychic phenomena to conform to the sterile laboratory trends of the time, as well as the bounds made in terms of technology, were the focus of many during that era. Meyers himself was captivated by the idea that the individual consciousness might persist after the event of physical death. In order to meet the new quasi-scientific and ideological standards, the concept that psychological or psychic contact could be made with these retentive personae shifted away from the attribution of direct channeling on the part of the psychic medium. This idea essentially entertained that the medium “hosted” the disembodied spirit and was in direct contact with that personality, from which they obtained detailed information. Rather, the concept of information transference from those living members nearby or more distant was brought into popular consideration. By the standards of the time—in which the telegraph revolutionized and standardized time regulation as well as national and international communications—this latter concept was more plausibly scientific.

The development of the telegraph is more significant in the rise of the concept of telepathy than one might at first assume. For the first time in history, the message content was almost wholly divorced from the sender. The idea that human though could travel independently of a human messenger, even if that messenger were not the originator of the thought information, made waves among the communities of intellectual elite. This led to the exploration of the disembodied transference of information between two minds—telepathy—in earnest by interested philosophical, scientific, and psychological practitioners who were also members of these circles.

That the concept has persisted and kept pace with technological advances, evolving to meet the edge of current communications developments, warrants as much inquiry as the possibility of the actual phenomena. Irrespective of its actual existence, the desire for such a connection speaks to the human desire to feel less isolated by their discrete physical bodies and the closed circuits of their intellects. It is the evocative personification of a yearning that may be as old as the species itself—that of intimacy with others of our kind, a bridging or mingling of emotive and intellectual spheres that mimics that most physical of intimate acts.

Aura reading

Aura reading pertains to sensing the energy field generated by any object, animal, or person. Many pagan or pantheistic sources describe the aura—its color, shape, and sound—as the effect of the energy field. While several widely dispersed cultural traditions have utilized the concept of the aura—from Buddhist to Native American traditions—the resurgent interest in metaphysical concepts and studies has brought this idea back into the fore of the discussion.

Aura reading now utilizes photographic techniques with a high voltage or Kirlian camera. Readers then interpret the resultant electrical impressions based on a codified system that existed long before the photography was introduced.

Traditional aura reading divides the energy field into three sections—inner, middle, and outer—and ascribes aspects of health or state of mind to each, with corresponding definitions for color and shape. It may be asserted by some metaphysicians that modern science denies the existence of an energy field surrounding people, animals, and things. This is, in fact, not really true. Particle physics has identified a field of energy that surrounds and connects all things everywhere. It is known as the Zero Point Field, and it is empirically detectable in the laboratory.

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