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Psychic abilities and other centuries-old unexplained phenomena: real or quackery?
Many distinguished scholars hold that everyone has psychic abilities, in varying degrees, early in life, but that these abilities generally disappear by the time a child is six or seven. Skeptics tend to dismiss such contentions as so much quackery. Part of the problem is that this phenomena cannot be scientifically proven and that there are far more skeptics than psychics. Another obstacle consists in the fakes, people who advertise in tabloid magazines, ‘psychic guarantees return of your lost love in 24 hours’ or some other such ridiculous premise.
In fact, people who do have psychic abilities, tend to experience them outside of a clinical setting, which makes the experience and report purely anecdotal, that is, lacking in quantifiable, scientifically repeatable proof. However, this does not negate the phenomena. It simply remains unproven.
Various studies have shown that psychic ability seems to run in families. In retrospect, anecdotal reports of ‘knowing’ future events does tend to repeat down through generations. Sometimes, the knowledge is fairly insignificant and not traumatic. In other instances, people have knowledge of traumatic events prior to the occurrence. One such famous case is that of Jeanne Dixon, who predicted the circumstances and time of President Kennedy’s assassination. Ms. Dixon went to great lengths to try to warn the Kennedy’s, with details that so closely matched the actual event, it was truly inexplicable. Her desperate pleas went unheeded and history records the outcome. In this instance, it’s certainly hard to explain how she could have known about this disastrous event.
It’s interesting to note that most religions acknowledge visions as a legitimate extension of psychic ability. There is a definite correlation between these two unexplained phenomena. In some senses, what’s currently termed ‘psychic ability’, was, centuries ago, deemed ‘visions’. In the Catholic church, well known visionaries, such as Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Catherine of Siena, experienced visions of both future and revelatory events which have survived the centuries. The church decided that it could not discount these contemplative, meditative souls, but neither could they endorse this psychic phenomena as truth for the ordinary believer. The church instead deemed these people, with what we now call psychic abilities, or visions, to be ‘Doctors of the Church’. This provided a special, separate category, into which the ordinary person could not and should not, enter.
If you were to ask a person who claimed psychic abilities just how they apprehended this knowledge, chances are that they might not be able to tell you if they were dreaming or awake! The knowledge is understood and irrefutable. It might come in the form of a thought, a dream, or a visual representation while awake. This reportage is not credible to most people. It’s simply too difficult to understand. For example, if you’d never seen snow, how could you believe a description of it? However, this obviously does not mean snow does not exist.
Perhaps psychic ability will forever remain a mystery. It’s possible that some people are able to apprehend a different plane of reality than most of us are capable of seeing.
The fascinating aspect of the psychic phenomena is that countless scholars have verified, in clinical settings, that almost all children have psychic ability, to a degree and up to a certain age. The fact that this ability almost always fades as a child matures may be only a result of anchoring in the world most of us see as reality. Who can say?