Extrasensory perception (ESP), also referred to as the sixth sense, is the ability to perceive information with the mind without relying on the normal physical senses. There are many different categories of ESP including clairvoyance, telepathy, telekines, precognition, intuition, and retrocognition.
Some people believe that everyone possesses extrasensory abilities, and it’s just a matter of harnessing the powers through lots of practice. While others tend to believe that extrasensory perception is something that you’re born with and can only be used by real psychics and mediums.
ESP abilities come in nine different forms. Some people have one of these psychic gifts, while others may have two, three, or more. In this guide, I’ll explain the 9 different types of extrasensory perception and how each one works.
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Clairaudience translates from French into “clear hearing.” It is the ability to hear messages or receive information from sounds beyond our ordinary senses.
These messages may come from those that have passed beyond our life. They may come from the energies of the universe, a spirit or animal messenger, or any other source that exists separate from our physical existence here on Earth.
Most often, these sounds are voices, reaching out with warnings or advice. Other times, a clairaudient might hear music, nature sounds (birds chirping for example), or rhythms. Sometimes it may be akin to white noise or static or even an internal dialogue.
Regardless, a clairaudient who keeps themselves open and practices their abilities can grow to recognize and understand these messages.
Clairvoyance is another one of the “clair” talents. In French, clair means “clear,” and voyance means “vision.”
So, clairvoyance is the ability to see beyond the earthly world. Some clairvoyants see visions of the past, present, or future in their mind, like a TV show or movies. Seeing the past is called postcognition, while seeing visions or images of the future is precognition.
Others see symbols, images, or auras, the energetic bodies that surround us.
Clairvoyants typically receive these visual messages through their “third eye.” The third eye is the gate or portal in the forehead that leads to a higher spiritual plane and often symbolizes enlightenment. Seers and mystics use their third eye as a tool to receive spiritual and psychic messages.
Some of the most famous mediums from history have been clairvoyants. Figures like Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus, and some believe, Joan of Arc, had clairvoyant powers.
Mediums represent a different type of ESP ability than those with clairvoyance or precognition. And, while mediums may be psychics, psychics are not always mediums.
Mediums are those who speak with the spirits of those who have passed on. They use trances, voluntary possession, seances, or “clair” abilities to communicate with the energy of those that have transitioned from life to the beyond.
As with all psychic abilities, each medium works slightly differently. They fine-tune their paranormal talents in their own way. Some mediums can only connect with their spirit guides while others can communicate with anyone’s spiritual energy. Some talents can build a bridge with both.
Mediums have been significant figures in our past, advising kings and bringing solace to those left behind.
Psychometry comes from two Greek words. One means spirit or soul, and the other means measure. It is also called psychoscopy or token object reading.
People with a talent for psychometry can read the lore or history of objects through the energetic vibrations stored in those objects. Token object reading is also a form of scrying or divination. It works best with metals, but these vibrations—our vibrations—are stored in everything we touch.
When reading an object, the psychic holds it in their hand or presses it to their forehead. Emotions, particularly strong emotions, leave the most tangible record behind. Some people can even perceive the object’s owner, experience sequences of their life, and grasp that person’s personality.
Those with precognition can divine events and experiences about locations or people that have yet to occur. It is also known as prescience, future sight, future vision, and foresight.
The word precognition comes from the Latin pr., or “pre” and cognito, which means “to gain knowledge.”
In simple terms, precognition is the sixth sense to see into the future.
These psychic visions can happen in dreams or during waking hours and often involve the “clair” talents. While some psychics can bring on a precognitive event, many experience this prescience when reading or practicing their supernormal abilities.
Josephine and Louisa Rhine studied precognition extensively at Duke University.
Psychics with remote viewing talents can sense accurate details about a person, place, or event that is not local to them. Remote viewing is also known as anomalous cognition or second sight.
Agencies that include the U.S. Government, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and local police agencies have tapped into the talents of remote viewers to help find missing persons, solving crimes, or gaining insight into events.
Remote viewers project their minds to a distant locale and describe details of their target. Some people use their “clair” talents or telepathy to assist their viewings.
Retrocognition is the ability to see into the past. Often connected to the sense of déjà vu, retrocognition is the opposite of precognition.
From Latin, retrocognition means “backward knowing.” This talent gives the psychic knowledge of past events. Sometimes the psychic picks up information about a person’s past, while other times, their knowledge relates to distant histories.
Psychics often express their past visions through art like writing, drawing, or painting. Dreams are often a vehicle for retrocognitive seeings.
Telepathy is the ability to read people’s minds or communicate with others without speaking.
You’re probably familiar with the phenomenon of saying the same thing at the same time as someone else. Or thinking of someone and getting a call from that person at that moment. These are instances of telepathy at work.
Telepathy can pick up on thoughts, emotions, and physical needs or desires. It can occur during waking moments, as well as in dreams.
The Zener cards we mentioned earlier were tools used for testing telepathy.
The ability to move distant objects through non-physical means is called telekinesis. Sometimes the word psychokinesis is used instead, although there is a slight difference in their definitions.
Telekinesis comes from Greek words meaning “far off movement.” (Psychokinesis is also Greek and means “soul movement.”)
First coined by Russian psychical researcher Alexander Aksakof, telekinesis was part of the ESP studies of the Rhines at Duke University.
Telekinesis can work on a macro or micro level. It includes such phenomena as levitation, psychic healing, and the ability to bend metal, among other abilities. If you want more information, we put together a guide on how to do telekinesis.