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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Introduction to Psychic Powers

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig on May 09, 2002
posted under Psychic Powers

The word "occult" merely means "secret." Occultism is the study of one or more of a variety of subjects which have been held secret from the public at large during some time in history. As these subjects become more and more available to the public there is an increasing number of people who want to learn about them.

There have generally been two types of books which investigate the unusual phenomena found in occultism: the unquestioning believers and the unbelieving debunkers. Even today, book after book is published telling how great this or that psychic or "channel" is. (A "channel" is a person who is capable of abandoning their body and allowing a non-physical entity to use the body for communicating with the
physical world. A Spiritualistic "medium" is a type of channel who allows their body to be used by entities claiming to be the spirits of people no longer living. The distinction between these types of psychics has become blurred over the last few years. Also, whether these entities are whom they claim to be, are other entities or are manifestations of the subconscious is unknown.) Very few
books from the unquestioning believers try to prove to you that the psychic or channel is good or even honest. They just urge you to believe whatever is said by the person they are studying.

On the other hand, there have always been those who like to consider themselves "rational thinkers" and delight in trying to disprove all claims of psychic phenomena. It
is true that some of these authors do explain by scientific means seemingly supernatural events. As an example, using a hammer to break a large stone on a personís stomach without harming that person is not accomplished by advanced yoga (or any other) techniques! Rather, it is an unusual demonstration of the physical law that a body at rest tends to resist going into motion. In this case, the rock, which is resting stationary, resists going into motion as a
result of the hammer blow. The stone absorbs the shock of the hammer and shatters without harming the person beneath.

Unfortunately, the debunkers do not stop with these types of proofs. Even today they write books whose only seeming purpose is to attack claims and stars of the paranormal. We are left with the problem of picking up books that either say, "everything you believe is correct," or "everything you believe is false." There is no in between.

This is especially difficult for those who do believe in the existence of phenomena not currently understandable by modern science. Thousands of years ago, medicine, physics, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy and relativity were understood only by those who delved into the mysterious, the occult. Today, many of these things are taught to grade-school children.

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