How ESP Works

Man trying to guess card on his forehead
ESP is thought to be a special sense beyond the physical world. So if this man has "the gift," he should be able to tell what the pattern is on that ESP test card on his forehead.
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Most likely, you've never been abducted by aliens, and you probably don't know anybody who's had a brush with Bigfoot. But undoubtedly, you or somebody close to you has had the apparently paranormal experience of "seeing" the future or distant events.­ Most of us have dreamed something that ­eventually came ­true­, ­­­had a correct ­hunch about an event ­miles ­away ­or predicted an­ out-of-the-blue phone ­­call from an old friend.­­­ The experience is incredibly strange -- positively spooky -- but it happens all the time.

­So what's go­ing on here? Depends on who you ask. A sizable chunk of the world's population attributes these strange events to extrasensory perception (ESP), a special sense beyond vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Unlike ordinary senses, ESP has virtually unlimited range, and it's experienced mainly as thoughts rather than bodily sensations.

The other view holds that there's nothing supernatural about these events at all. These things do happe­n, the skeptics say, but they're perfectly in keeping with conventional science.

In this article, we'll take a look at both sides of the argument to find out what might be behind the ESP phenomenon. We'll also find out how false psychics can fake ESP, and we'll see how this sort of trickery factors into the ongoing parapsychology debate.