This is part of Mindstream’s editorial package on Parapsychology Research, highlighting findings and discussion from the Parapsychological Association’s 2023 convention.
By Liza Horan
While psychic ability is common, natural and normal, some people seem to have more psi experiences than others. Researchers are demystifying what psi is and under what conditions it occurs to whom.
“In parapsychology, as an academic discipline, we get the sense that psi is something that happens all the time. It’s just whether we notice it or not. Being psychic isn’t something you do so much as much as you reorient yourself to open up to something that is already there,” University of Northampton (U.K.) Psychology Professor Dr. Chris Roe explained in an interview at the Parapsychological Association convention. “We don’t cause ourselves to see, we simply open our eyelids. We don’t cause ourselves to hear. These are processes that just happen naturally by themselves. And it’s probably the wrong model to think we can make (psi experiences) happen or we have to force it. Rather, we need to think, Why is it that we’re not noticing that information that’s already available to us?
“We can learn a lot from mystics, but also from people who are practiced meditators, about ways in which we can be more sensitive to ourselves — our inner voice, our embodied experiences — which are channels (through) which unconscious information can become conscious. And that’s not at all controversial in psychology,” said Dr. Roe, who is a member of University of Northampton’s Exceptional Experiences & Consciousness Studies Research Group.
Researchers are evaluating the conditions and personality traits that may contribute to higher incidences of psi. Among the findings shared at the PA convention are that:
- Highly Sensitive People report more psi phenomena than most, and one research team has found that a personality trait of transliminality most predicts a person’s ability to have anomalous experiences and anomalous abilities. “Highly transliminal people are susceptible to the occurrence of large amount of imagery, thought, and emotion, and tend to pay more attention to their inner processes,” writes the U.K.-based team of four, which are based at Canterbury Christ University and University of Derby . Sensitive people who are particularly open to altered states of consciousness (“boundary thinness”) also have a higher disposition to psi. (Take the HSP test.)
- Mediumship ability can emerge suddenly and unexpectedly. Dr. Lenore Matthew‘s research was prompted by her own personal experience of mediumship awakening that occurred upon the death of her husband. She described her own journey of grief from his passing, confusion about this new experience, frustrating for finding no information or support about the mediumship emergence, and eventually her comfort of finding a therapist who said this was not an unusual experience. This led to her research, which is ongoing.
The mediums who participated in her study described a variety of communication modes with their loved ones: clairvoyant visions, voices and other sounds, telepathic conversations, intuitive “knowing,” and clairsentient interaction (physical feeling). Her findings revealed that the individuals’ new mediumship abilities caused “chaos and disruption” in their lives, which was followed by “peace and knowing.”
“As much as participants’ grief was tied to their mediumship, so was their healing,” Matthew reported. “However, there was a lack of understanding of mediumistic experiences in the traditional grief and mental health space.” She’s continuing the research and working to connect the mediumship and grief professions.
- What you eat matters: University of Northampton Ph.D. candidate Michael Daw has shown that fasting increases psi ability, and vegetarianism enhances it. During a Remote Viewing experiment between meat eaters and vegetarians, “Vegetarians performed better than meat eaters … Vegetarians achieved a hit rate of 40% and meat eaters 15%. Vegans (within vegetarian group) achieved a hit rate of 47%. … [These are] significant findings for participants who conducted their session in a fasting state and suggestive findings for those who habitually abstain from alcohol,” Daw explained.
- There are many methods to expand your sensitivity to these phenomena, and they generally involve quieting one’s self to a meditative-like state to increase self-awareness. These include breathwork, traditional seated meditation, a silent walk in nature, contemplative journaling, and moving meditations like Qigong and yoga. University of West Georgia Psychology Professor Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore is exploring if this state can be induced by observing fractals [try it], which are a natural, mathematical-based growth pattern that occurs in nature and the brain. [See this story for resources to develop your psi abilities.]
DEVELOP YOUR ABILITIES
There are many methods to expand your sensitivity to these phenomena, and they generally involve quieting one’s self to a meditative-like state to increase self-awareness. These include breathwork, seated meditation, a silent walk in nature, contemplative journaling, and moving meditations like Qigong and yoga. With regular practice, one can cultivate greater self-awareness and openness to sensations (physical and non-physical) for greater intuition and channeling knowledge (psychic) and, potentially, two-way communication (mediumistic).
For guidance, look for books, videos and workshops to develop your intuition and psychic abilities. Some options are “The Science of Channeling” by Dr. Helané Wahbeh, where you can learn about your unique “Noetic Signature,” which is your intuitive process; “Trust Your Vibes” by Sonia Choquette; online and in-person courses by The College of Psychic Studies, The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre and Udemy (online only); open circles and training offered by The Spiritualist National Union and holistic wellbeing centres; and programming on Gaia and Mindvalley.
View the Parapsychology Research package main page