The psychic abilities demonstrated by the four main Medusa teens – Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan – are those that people told Sophie they’d most like to have if they could! But, is there evidence of people really having these powers, and how has each been viewed through history? Sophie explains more here…
One of the best known psychic abilities, telekinesis, has never been scientifically proven. There appear to be two kinds of telekinesis; the sort caused by ghosts or spirits, such as poltergeists, and the sort that ordinary humans claim to be capable of.
Throughout history there have been many, often highly extravagant, claims of macroscopic telekinesis (that’s telekinesis you can observe with the naked eye). In the late 19th and early 20th century the Society for Psychical Research claimed to have observed all sorts of activities – from table tipping to levitation to playing musical instruments without contact.
More modern telekinesis claims tend to focus on the bending of metal (such as Uri Geller’s forks and spoons) and the production of images on unexposed photographic film. One famous twentieth century psychic, a Russian woman called Kulagina, is typical. She claimed that, with sufficient preparation, she was able to move small objects such as a matchbox or a wine glass across a table without touching them.
There are many examples of telekinesis claims on Youtube. Here a guy appears to move a glass, just like Kulagina claimed to be able to do years ago. See what you make of this…
Of all the Medusa powers, predicting the future is the psychic ability given most credence in our culture, even though it is obviously the hardest to physically demonstrate.
From ancient times to today, certain people have claimed to be able to foresee future events. 16th century physician Nostradamus is a famous example though, as with other ‘seers’, many argue that his predictions (written in the form of poetic quatrains) are so vague that they can be interpreted to predict any occurrence. This, of course, is also the charge levelled at lots of psychic prediction – from interpretations of tea leaves and tarot cards to crystal balls and astrology.
To me the most interesting question is: if someone can predict the future, does this mean they or others can change it? Is there one future mapped out for everyone which is unchangeable, or are there several alternative versions of the future… possibilities which may, or may not, come to pass?
Of all the psychic gifts in The Medusa Project, predicting the future is the one I would least like to have. Forseeing future events brings with it a terrible responsibility. If what I see is potentially beneficial, like knowing next weeks winning lottery numbers, do I take advantage of that knowledge? If what I see is destructive and upsetting, such as the hour of my best friend’s death, do I attempt to change it? What will be the consequences of my actions either way?
To a certain extent we all read each other’s minds everyday. Whether in the middle of an argument or a lighthearted chat, we’re looking for clues about what the other person is thinking and feeling. To me, this is the most interesting psychic ability, because while telepathy – the actual ability to ‘hear’ and ‘speak’ thoughts – is not scientifically proven, its cousins – empathy and intuition – are definitely part of our day-to-day lives.
Telepathy itself is an extraordinary psychic gift and one which many people believe exists. Twins, especially identical ones, are often credited with the ability to understand each others thoughts without words. Many psychics make a living based on their claimed ability to ‘read’ and interpret the thoughts of their clients.
And there are many debunkers out there too – mentalists such as Derren Brown who explain how apparently amazing mind reading tricks can be performed through a combination of techniques such as neuro linguistic programming, suggestion and misdirection.
In March 2009, mindreading literally came a step closer to reality after scientists used a brain scanner to ‘read’ memories. A set of volunteers navigated their way across a virtual reality room and the scanner then worked out where they had been.
When I was younger I was fascinated by the idea of people who could withstand physical pain. I remember watching TV footage of individuals apparently able to chop bricks in half with their bare hands or walk across broken glass or lie for hours on a bed of nails. Science offers some interesting insights into how people may be able to achieve some of these accomplishments. I’m sure there’s a wide range of possible explanations… from complete fakery to people who withstand pain by dramatically lowering the level of oxygen in their blood…
Religious fire-walking festivals are still held in India and other places around the world. The Thimithi Festival, for example, takes place every October in Singapore. Devotees walk across fire pits to honour the Hindu goddess Draupadi and prove their own devotion and purity.
When I researched this ability I discovered that lots of people have tried to do things like walk on fire or broken glass – and have hurt themselves badly in the process. So this is one psychic power that definitely shouldn’t be attempted at home!
The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organisation of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psychic experiences. You can find out what the PA makes of some of the psychic abilities covered in The Medusa Project at www.parapsych.org.