Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


Events thought to exceed the limits of what is deemed physically possible based on current scientific assumptions.

The term psi is a general one used either as a noun or adjective to identify ESP or PK. Extrasensory perception (ESP) is defined as paranormal cognition: the acquisition of information about an external event, object, or influence (mental or physical, past, present, or future) in some way other than through any of the known sensory channels. Psychokinesis (PK) is paranormal action: the influence of mind on a physical system that cannot be entirely accounted for by the mediation of any known physical energy. Scientists who investigate psi are known as parapsychologists. J. B. Rhine, a researcher at Duke University who published statistical studies of ESP in 1934, is generally considered to be the father of modern parapsychology.

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was the center of the largest lay organization in the United States focusing attention on psychic phenomena. Cayce was a photographer who diagnosed illness and uttered prophecies while in trance. His followers founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) in 1934. After Cayce's death, the ARE sorted and indexed some 15,000 transcripts of his statements, all of which are available to visitors at the ARE's headquarters in Virginia Beach. The ARE is a forerunner of the American holistic health movement.

James McClenon

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