Extrasensory perception or ESP is a means of gathering information from sources without the use of the five natural senses.

Origins of the term

Extrasensory perception (ESP) was a blanket term created by Duke University researcher J.B. Thine to be applied numerous psychic abilities, such as telepathy, precognition, retrocognition, intuition, and telekinesis. All utilize means of attaining an awareness of events and information without prior experience or the use of the common five senses. This was why ESP has sometimes been referred to as the sixth sense.[1]

Testing extrasensory perception

Cartas Zener

standard Zener cards

Experimenters in parapsychology have used special decks of cards called Zener cards to test individuals that claim to possess extrasensory perception. The cards were named for Karl Zener, their creator, a perceptual psychologist and associate of J.B. Rhine. The cards are presented one at a time by the experimenter, but obscured from the test subject's view. The subject is expected to correctly identify the cards and place them in the correct sequence. In some studies, it has been claimed that the number of correct "guesses" is greater than the law of averages. (TZDELL: 01: "Journeys into the Twilight Zone")

Other experiments have involved claimants being asked to physically control the outcome of a rolling die using only their mind. Again, a number of studies have shown that those claiming ESP had been able to cause a particular face to be rolled higher than chance should allow. (TZDELL: 01: "Journeys into the Twilight Zone")

Types of extrasensory perception


People with the power of precognition have claimed that they can prophesy events before they occur. (TZDELL: 01: "Journeys into the Twilight Zone")


Pyschometry is the alleged ability for those gifted with the talent to absorb memories and information through the touch of objects or people. (TZDELL: 01: "Journeys into the Twilight Zone")


Those alleged to move objects using only their mental power are said to be capable of telekinesis—otherwise known as psychokinesis.


Telepathy is the ability of an individual to see into the mind of another person, sometimes at great distances, and read their thoughts. (TZDELL: 01: "Journeys into the Twilight Zone")

Notes and references

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