A psychic is a person who claims to have the
ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through
extrasensory perception, or is said to have such abilities by others. It
is also used to describe to theatrical performers who use techniques such
as prestidigitation and cold reading to produce the appearance of such
abilities. It can also denote an ability of the mind to influence the
world physically and to the telekinetic powers professed by those such as
Psychics appear regularly in fiction and science fiction, such as
the The Dead Zone by Stephen King, or Jean Grey from the Marvel comic book
universe. A large industry exists whereby psychics provide advice and
counsel to clients.
 Some famous contemporary psychics include Miss Cleo
 Sylvia Browne, Danielle Egnew, and John Edward.
A psychic reading is a type of method used in
an attempt to foretell the future of an individual or group.
Types of psychic reading
There are many types, methods and systems of psychic or extra-sensory
readings employed by those who claim to have psychic abilities. A
professional psychic may have one or more specialized areas of expertise
such as psychometry, distant readings, Tarot reading, astrology or
horoscope readings, numerology, palm reading, past-life readings, aura
readings or any number of other methods.
Most psychic readings do not usually use any tools and can include
face-to-face readings such as in-person readings at home, psychic party
readings for a group, and the less detailed and shorter psychic fair
readings. Distant readings include internet readings, phone readings and
mail readings. In some rare cases, a method of psychic sensing known as
remote viewing is used.
Distant readings are conducted many times without the reader ever meeting
or speaking to the client. The client asks questions pertaining to his or
her life and a psychic uses intuitive senses to determine a probable
outcome or solution to those questions. At times this practice is similar
to methods used for remote viewing and healing. This method dispenses with
the possibility of the reader picking up on visual or verbal cues evident
in face to face or telephone readings.
Psychometry is a form of postcognition which enables the psychic reader to
receive information about people, events or objects associated with events
that have already occurred, or are occurring in the present, by being in
close contact with the area or object where the event took or is taking
place. Commercial psychometry readers often ask the subject for their
favorite and most meaningful objects, such as wedding rings, glasses, car
keys, etc., for the reading. The belief is that objects which are in close
proximity to a person for extended periods of time hold some of that
person's energy; energy which can be detected. This method is often used
to try and locate missing persons.
Aura psychic reading involves the observation and interpretation of auras
around physical human bodies. The “aura” is a set of cascading colored
outlines emanating from the surface of the body which differ from one
person to another in terms of size, shape, intensity, and color. Aura
readers claim to have the ability to see or sense this aura, observe each
characteristic and interpret their meaning to the individual.
Tarot reading does not need psychic abilities. A deck of 78 cards known as
the Tarot is used to predict and interpret relationships, love, careers,
etc. The tarot is also used for spiritual, esoteric, psychological, occult
and divinatory purposes. Tarot reading tends to have a great deal of
variation, since each card in the Tarot, as well as the order in which
they appear, and their position within the 'spread' when dealt, have
different specific meanings. The meaning of each tarot card is also open
to the interpretation of the Tarot reader, and the same set of cards may
have two different meanings to two different readers.
Numerology is defined as the study of the occult meanings of numbers and
their influence on human life. It is essentially a reading of an
individual based specifically upon numerical values such as their date of
birth, letters in their names, etc.
Numerology was once considered part of higher mathematics in the ancient
world. Numerology is not a form of psychic reading.
Palmistry is another popular method of giving readings, involving
characterization and foretelling of one's future through the study of the
lines, shapes, wrinkles and curves on the palm. Palmistry can be studied
and learnt and does not need any psychic ability at all.
Astrology involves the reading of an individual and predicting of their
future based upon their date of birth, based on the alignments of the
planets and stars. Astrology is an ancient practice and pre-dates many
scientific methods of astral observation. Astrology can be studied and
learnt and does not need any psychic ability.
Runes are an ancient alphabet used for divining the future. The runes are
cast on a mat to discern future events or path a problem or issue will
take. Runes are also considered magick and are used for spells and
incantations by some witches.
Cartomancy or Playing Card Reading
The reading of playing cards is also a method some psychics use to conduct
a psychic reading. This is done with playing cards that are shuffled by
the querent and laid out in a spread by the psychic and is then
interpreted by the reader. The difference between this and tarot readings
is that a deck of regular playing cards are used rather than a tarot card
Belief in psychic abilities
In a survey, reported in 1990, of members of the National Academy of
Sciences, only 2% of respondents thought that extrasensory perception had
been scientifically demonstrated, with another 2% thinking that the
phenomena happened sometimes. Asked about research in the field, 22%
thought that it should be discouraged, 63% that it should be allowed but
not encouraged, and 10% that it should be encouraged; neuroscientists were
the most hostile to parapsychology of all the specialties.
A survey of the beliefs of the general United States population regarding
paranormal topics was conducted by The Gallup Organization in 2005.
The survey found that 41 percent of those polled believed in extrasensory
perception and 26 percent believed in clairvoyance. 31 percent of those
surveyed indicated that they believe in telepathy or psychic
A poll of 439 college students conducted in 2006 by researchers Bryan
Farha of Oklahoma City University and Gary Steward of University of
Central Oklahoma, suggested that college seniors and graduate students
were more likely to believe in psychic phenomena than college
freshmen. 23 percent of college freshmen expressed a belief in
paranormal ideas. The percentage was greater among college seniors (31%)
and graduate students (34%). The poll showed lower belief in psychic
phenomena among science students than social science and education
Some people also believe that psychic abilities can be activated or
enhanced through the study and practice of various disciplines and
techniques such as meditation, with a number of books and websites being
dedicated to instruction in these methods. Another popular belief is that
psychic ability is hereditary, with a psychic parent passing their
abilities on to their children
Psychic advice industry
Many people proclaim to have psychic abilities and some make a living as
professional psychics or earn celebrity hosting their own TV or radio
programs. Individuals such as Gary Spivey, John Edward and Sylvia Browne
either have their own television shows or are frequently featured on talk
shows. (see Paranormal television).
Some psychics are first known by the public as celebrities; for example,
rock singer and actress Danielle Egnew, who has made frequent radio and
television appearances as a psychic, rather than a singer.