MASENTLE NTHOLENG

Do you miraculously know who is on the other end of the landline when someone calls? Have you seen dead people? Do you know when you are about to be dumped? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are clairvoyant.

All right, that last one was a bit of a joke, but you could easily surprise yourself with a paranormal gift. Belief in clairvoyance has grown throughout the years: para-psychological research shows that the general belief of the existence of clairvoyant abilities grew from 26% in 1990 to 49% in 2005.

Clairvoyance refers to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses. The topic of clairvoyants, mediums, palm readers and psychics is a very controversial one because, though many people believe in it, there is very little scientific evidence that proves it even exists at all.

The concept of clairvoyance even gained some support from the US and Russian governments during and after the Cold War. Both governments made several attempts to harness it as an intelligence-gathering tool.

Often clairvoyance is associated with religious or shamanic figures. Locally, people visit sangomas for a proudly South African experience.

According to sceptics, clairvoyance is the result of fraud and self-delusion and it is not scientifically or logically clear. An example of this is John Edward. Internationally, the likes of John Edward of Crossing Over with John Edward fame introduced us to the art of being a medium. Mediums are supposedly channels between the living and the dead.

Critics assert that he uses fraudulent techniques of hot reading and cold reading, in which one respectively uses prior knowledge or a wide selection of quick and sometimes general guesses, to create the idea of psychic ability. Choosing the first reading from a two-hour tape of edited shows, magician and sceptic James Randi found that just three of twenty three statements made by Edward were confirmed as correct by the audience member being read, and the three statements that were correct were also trivial and unclear.  James Underdown of the Independent Investigative Group (IIG), attended a Crossing Over show in November 2002 and said, “John struggled to get hits, and in one attempt shot off nearly forty guesses before finding any significant targets.”

Along with the other para-psychological gifts Perdeby has mentioned, there are also other kinds such as clairsentience (feeling/touching), clairaudience (hearing/listening), clairalience (smelling), claircognisance (knowing) and clairgustance (tasting). These terms basically mean that a person has the ability to connect to the other side, tell you of your past, future or present by using one of these enhanced senses.

They always say “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it”, and Perdeby encourages you to explore the clairvoyant in you. So if you put something in your mouth and you start hearing a voice, it is probably your deceased grandmother telling you the person that cooked the dish got the recipe wrong.

Image: Ezelle van der Heever

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