Psi Power, or psionics, sounds like something straight out of The X-Men.

Psionics describes a set of alleged extra-sensory powers such as telepathy (mind-reading), telekinesis (movement from the mind), and, of course, precognition (seeing into the future).

Psi Power is an immensely popular motif in science fiction.  The first writer to use the term psionics was probably Murray Leinster in his 1955 tale The Psionic Mousetrap, though Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man (1953) had busied itself worrying how to get away with murder in a telepathic society.

In the 1960 movie of John Wyndham’s Village of the Damned, an alien race manage to impregnate Earthly mothers to produce psionicly powered blond-haired children who come over like a group of mutant Hitler Youth.

Most famous is the 2002 movie of Philip K. Dick’s The Minority Report (1956), in which three ‘pre-cog’ mutants are used to divine ‘pre-crime’.

Psionic techniques were later developed by researchers at Stanford Research Institute in the US as part of a government program that ran from the 1970s to the 1990s.  Key to their strategy: Remote Viewing (RV) where a ‘viewer’ attempts to collate data via psi power on a remote target, with little prior knowledge of the target’s identity.

Though sceptics dispute the validity of psionics, Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Sir John Eccles believes a particle that he calls a ‘psychon’ may carry thoughts.

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