Psychics are individuals gifted with extrasensory perception or ESP. Such type of people can identify things that are not normally perceived by the common senses. Some psychics use their abilities to earn money. For example, magicians employ prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot reading, for their performances.
Some psychics also provide serves and counsel to clients. Several known psychics include Edgar Cayce, Ingo Swann, John Edward, and Sylvia Browne. Meanwhile, other fields such, such as psychic archaeology and psychic surgery, primarily utilize psychic abilities.
The word psychic has Greek origins (psychikos) which pertain to human mind or psyche. A character in Greek mythology was named Psyche, who was maiden and served deity of human soul. The term psychic was to have been first coined by French astronomer and spiritualist Camille Flammarion. The term then became more prominent in the 1870s thanks to Edward William Cox.
Divination and fortune-telling were already common practices in ancient times. Fortune-telling was first practiced through astrology. Astrologers used positions of stars to make predictions. Meanwhile, seers or prophets experienced visions of the future. Seers and prophets later became known as clairvoyants.
In early services, seers normally offered their services to advisors, priests, or judges. Meanwhile, some stories in classical antiquity were about prophetic abilities. Pythis was a priestess who presided over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, and she was believed to make prophecies during rituals.
Some of most notable prophecies were made by Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamus during French Renaissance. Though his profession was as apothecary, Nostradamus had predictions, which became popular worldwide. Even if the man is long dead, his book of predictions was still a best seller among a number of people. Nostradamus’ prophecies mostly revolved around disasters, including earthquakes, wars, floods, murders, and plagues.
PSYCHIC PRACTICES IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Modern Spiritualism is a popular movement in the United States and United Kingdom in the 19th century. This group believed in possibility of communicating with spirits of the dead through mediums. A popular psychic in this era was Daniel Dunglas Home, who believed to levitating abilities.
In 1875, Helena Blavatsky co-founded Theosophical Society. The field of theosophy focused on spiritualist elements and Eastern mysticism.
LATE 20TH CENTURY
Psychics are also part of the New Age culture. The 1960s were popular time for psychic readings, which were normally given as home service, at fairs, or through telephone.
PSYCHICS AND POP CULTURE
In 1990s, research showed that most people believed that ESP did not have any scientific bases, whereas a small number thought that ESP occur occasionally. Meanwhile, neuroscientist were the people who were most against parapsychological practices.
Meanwhile, in 2006, a study showed that college and graduate students are more susceptible to believe in psychic phenomena than college freshmen.
On the other hand, some individuals think that psychic are not absolutely inherent but can also be developed through study and practices different techniques, including meditation and divination. A number of books have been published with focus on providing instructions for such methods.