Clairvoyance comes from a French word meaning “clear seeing.” It is a form of extrasensory perception (ESP), which refers to knowledge of external things or happenings that is gained without the use of the senses and the ordinary methods of perceiving and reasoning, thus a so-called psychic experience. Specifically, it provides a person with information through “seeing” or visualizing things and happenings beyond the range or capability of physical sight. When hearing is involved, as it sometimes is, the phenomena may be referred to as clairaudience, meaning “clear hearing.”
The practice of clairvoyance is often connected with the state of consciousness called a trance and the object of knowledge and understanding is often the spirits of the dead. As such, it is connected with Spiritualism, which holds the belief that the dead can communicate with the living through a medium. The phenomenon is sometimes explained as a vision that arises from psychic communication with spirits or, alternatively, as a form of telepathy in which communication takes place from one mind directly to another.
To the present, studies have been unable to establish an underlying understanding for the claims of clairvoyance that quells the concerns of all about its validity, but research continues. The Stargate Project in the latter part of the Twentieth Century was one of several projects by the US Federal Government to investigate the validity and possible strategic deployment for military use of psychic phenomena, especially “remote viewing,” which is a subset of clairvoyant experiences in which some rigor is applied to situation. In remote viewing, a viewer is able to accurately describe a scene that is at a distance. The particular project called Stargate was ended in 1995 as it was not proving useful.
The recently coined term “genetic clairvoyance” refers to the new-found ability for genetic testing to determine a person’s medical future to a certain degree. People with a history of Huntington’s disease, for example, can learn if they carry the gene that would determine their future, even before the disease has caused any symptoms. Not everyone wishes to have this kind of knowledge, however, as is demonstrated by the number of people with Huntington’s disease in their family who choose not to have the genetic work done.