Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Bob from Attvile, GA. Bob Wonders, “Are Psychic abilities real?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Bob!

Can you read minds? Do you sometimes predict events just before they happen? If this sounds familiar, maybe you have ESP!

ESP is short for extrasensory perception. It’s the ability to receive information directly with the mind. Most people use several of their five senses to take in information. Those with ESP also use what they call their sixth sense. They might also call it their gut feelings or hunches.

Is ESP real? Some people think so. Have you ever heard of a parapsychologist? That’s a person who studies paranormal psychic phenomena. They believe there’s plenty of proof that ESP is real. Most of this evidence is anecdotal. That means it comes from stories told by those who say they’ve experienced ESP.

However, most scientists think otherwise. They say there is not enough evidence of ESP. Why? Scientific experiments can’t prove instances of ESP actually happened. This makes scientists and many other people skeptical.

Still, the ESP has a long history. “Extrasensory perception” is a term that was first used by Frederic Myers. It describes a number of psychic abilities. Let’s take a closer look at a few of these.

Clairvoyance is the ability to gain information from an unknown external source. Typically, this is information about a person, place, thing or event. The term comes from the French words meaning “clear vision.” A person with this ability is called a clairvoyant. 

Maybe you’ve heard of “mind reading.” It’s also called telepathy. This happens when information is sent from the mind of one person to another. Telepathy comes from the Greek words that mean “distant experience.”

Zener cards are sometimes used to test for telepathy. To do so, one person looks at a random card. They then try to send the image of that card to another person. The second person then guesses what card the other person is thinking about.

Of course, someone could guess another person’s thoughts by chance. Some children, though, might believe that their parents really do have telepathic abilities.

Do you ever feel like your parents know exactly what you’re thinking before you even realize it yourself? Is this telepathy? Probably not! They just know you very well based on their experience being your parents!

Finally, some people seem to know information about the future. They don’t base their prediction on current information. Instead, they just know what will happen. This is called precognition. This term comes from the Latin words meaning “before” and “acquiring knowledge.” Some people call precognition “future sight” or “second sight.”

Have you ever had a vision of the future that came true? If so, you may have experienced precognition. Still, most scientists would say there are other ways to explain what happened. 

Many people say they have had experiences with ESP. What do you believe? Is ESP real? Or is it just a clever trick? Maybe some people are just really good at guessing. We may never know for sure!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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We hope to see a definite SPIKE in visitors to Wonderopolis tomorrow!