ESP: Extrasensory Perception


Photo from Psychic Library

What is Extrasensory Perception?

According to Wikipedia, ESP is “also called sixth sense or second sight, includes claimed reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind.” (Wikipedia)

I think most of us have had weird experiences like this before. For example, if your thinking about someone and out of the blue they just happen to text you right at that moment.

ESP is beyond regular perception. It is not really something that can be felt, tasted, smelled, or physically seen. It is based on thought and because of this it has unlimited range.

Extrasensory perception is a term that seems to cover different types of abilites. The main types are telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, mediumship, and psychometry. (How Stuff Works)

  • Telepathy is the ability to read other’s thoughts.
  • Clairvoyance is the ability to see events happening in other places.
  • Precognition is the ability to see the future.
  • Retrocognition is the ability to see the past.
  • Mediumship is the ability to speak with spirits.
  • Psychometry is the ability to learn information about a place or person by touching an object. (How Stuff Works)
  • Clairaudience is the ability to hear sounds from the spirit world.
  • Clairsentience is the ability to sense or feel auras. Also vibrations and the presence of people from the spirit world.
  • Claircognizance is the ability to know of something without having prior knowledge of it. (Psychic Library)

Another closely related ability is telekinesis. Although it does not directly fall under the term ESP. Telekinesis is the ability to move objects with your mind. (How Stuff Works)


“All of these abilities are based on the idea that human beings can perceive things beyond the scope of known bodily senses.” – How Stuff Works

This idea has been around since the beginning of human civilization. There has been names for these abilities but the more modern ideas didn’t develop until the 20th century. The term ESP came from a professor at Duke University by the name of J. B. Rhine. He was one of the first well-respected scientists to do paranormal research in a college laboratory.

There are many beliefs about ESP. Some say that everyone has these abilities. That we experience ESP all the time but may just not realize it. Others believe only a select few have these abilities. Most believers think everyone has this ability. It’s just that some people may be better at tuning into it than others.

There is also a disgreement among believers on how ESP works.

“One theory says that, like our ordinary senses, ESP is energy moving from one point to another point. Typically, proponents of this theory say ESP energy takes the form of electromagnetic waves — just like light, radio and X-ray energy — that we haven’t been able to detect scientifically.” – How Stuff Works

This theory was popular in the beginning of the 20th century but lost it’s popularity for many reasons. One of these being that it only explains a few types of ESP but not all of them.

The most popular theory among believers today is that ESP is the result of something beyond the physical world. This theory is obviously outside of our scientific understanding. ESP has never been proven so that is probably why this theory is the most popular. People may like to look at it as something that cannot be explained and maybe never will. (How Stuff Works)


Photo from The Telegraph


In 1898, a book called Futilty was published by Morgan Robertson. Supposedly the story came to him in a trance. In the book, a ship called the Titan hits an iceberg and sinks. This caused the death of many passengers. Fourteen years later the Titanic sunk. It was around the same size and structure as the Titan was described. They both had so many casualites for the same reason; there wasn’t enough life boats for all of the passengers.

Parapsychologist J.B. Rhine conducted experiments to study ESP. One of these experiments was Zener cards. Zener cards are a deck of plain white cards that have shapes on them. Rhine would have subjects pick a card and guess which pattern was on it. He said that some of his subjects guessed right consistently while others did not. Many were surprised by Rhine’s findings and some questioned the credibility of his experiments. Even if some questioned him, he was still considered a sincere and legitimate scientist. (How Stuff Works)

The idea of ESP has been around for a long time. I think it is something that people will try to research and prove for many years to come and who knows, maybe one day they will. Whether you choose to believe in the ability or not is entirely up to you.



How Stuff Works

Tom Harris




Psychic Library



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