People have always wondered if there was more to the world than they could perceive with their usual five senses. Whether it's a belief in an all-knowing being that affects their destiny or a suspicion that the nighttime bumps and groans are caused by a ghost, many people believe in some form of the supernatural. Some even claim to have psychic abilities - that they are able to perceive the supernatural with an extra or sixth sense. Here are some common forms of psychic ability that you may run across in popular fiction or even real life.


Telepathy is one of the most common psychic abilities represented in fiction. Characters such as Edward from the Twilight franchise and Professor Xavier from the X-Men claim to be able to read thoughts from the minds of others with varying degrees of accuracy and detail. Such a talent would prove useful for a salesperson in the middle of negotiation, and some real life people do claim to be able to read minds, though theatrical shows of such abilities are invariably staged. One common drawback associated with this ability is the constant bombardment by unwanted thoughts.


One of the most common psychic abilities people in real life claim to have is clairvoyance, which is the ability to predict events before they occur. Some psychics offer telephone services to clients who want to know their futures. Others read crime scenes to help the police track down criminals. Still more charge a few bucks for a reading at a fair or shop. Most steer clear of specifics to increase their chances of being correct. Some psychics make use of devices such as Tarot cards or crystal balls in their readings.


The psychic ability that many people have decided is the coolest and most useful is telekinesis (also called psychokinesis), which means the ability to move objects with your mind. The famous Jedi from the Star Wars movies and the main character from Stephen King's novel Carrie are telekenetics, but telekinesis in the real world is notoriously difficult to demonstrate. That hasn't stopped everyone from parapsychologists to the military to ordinary people from pursuing it, however.

Extrasensory Perception

Extrasensory Perception, or ESP, takes a variety of forms, of which telepathy and clairvoyance are a part. However there are many more forms of ESP. An individual might claim to be able to see inside patients without an x-ray machine. A paranormal researcher may claim to be able to see the dead. Remote viewing, or the ability to see things happening far away, was even the subject of military research.

Copyright (c) 2008 -