What is Psychometry?
Psychometry is a psychic ability in which a person can sense or “read” the history of an object by touching it. Such a person can receive impressions from an object by holding it in his/her hands or, perhaps, touching it to the forehead. Such impressions can be perceived as images, sounds, smells, tastes – even emotions.
Psychometry is a form of scrying – a psychic way of “seeing” something that is not ordinarily seeable. Some people can scry using a crystal ball, black glass or even the surface of water. With psychometry, this extraordinary vision is available through touch.
For example, a person who has psychometric abilities – a psychometrist – can hold an antiqueglove and be able to tell something about the history of that glove, about the person who owned it, about the experiences that person had while in the possession of that glove. The psychic may be able to sense what the person was like, what they did and even how they died. Perhaps most important, the psychic can sense how the person felt – the emotions of the person at a particular time. Emotions especially, it seems, are most strongly “recorded” in the object.
The psychic may not be able to do this with all objects at all times and, as with all psychic abilities, accuracy can vary, but the ability is available to the psychic.
A Brief History
“Psychometry” as a term was coined by Joseph R. Buchanan in 1842 (from the Greek words psyche, meaning “soul,” and metron, meaning “measure.”) Buchanan, an American professor of physiology, was one of the first people to experiment with psychometry. Using his students as subjects, he placed various drugs in glass vials, and then asked the students to identify the drugs merely by holding the vials. Their success rate was more than chance, and he published the results in his book, Journal of Man. To explain the phenomenon, Buchanan theorized that all objects have “souls” that retain a memory.
Intrigued and inspired by Buchanan’s work, American professor of geology William F. Denton conducted experiments to see if psychometry would work with his geological specimens. In 1854, he enlisted the help of his sister, Ann Denton Cridge. The professor wrapped his specimens in cloth so Ann could not see even what type they were. She then placed the wrapped package to her forehead and was able to accurately describe the specimens through vivid mental images she was receiving.
From 1919 to 1922, Gustav Pagenstecher, a German doctor and psychical researcher, discovered psychometric abilities in one of his patients, Maria Reyes de Zierold. While holding an object, Maria could place herself in a trance and be able to state facts about the object’s past and present, describing sights, sounds, smells and other feelings about the object’s “experience” in the world. Pagenstecher’s theory was that a psychometrist could tune in to the experiential “vibrations” condensed in the object.
How Does It Work?
Of Buchanan’s “souls” and Pagenstecher’s “vibrations,” the vibration theory is the one getting the most serious attention from researchers. “Psychics say the information is conveyed to them,” writes Rosemary Ellen Guiley in Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience, “through vibrations imbued into the objects by emotions and actions in the past.”
These vibrations are not just some New Age concept, they have a scientific basis as well.
In his book The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot says that psychometric abilities “suggest that the past is not lost, but still exists in some form accessible to human perception.” With the scientific knowledge that all matter on a subatomic level exists essentially as vibrations, Talbot asserts that consciousness and reality exist in a kind of hologram that contains a record of the past, present and future; psychometrics may be able to tap into that record. All actions, Talbot says, “instead of fading into oblivion, [remain] recorded in the cosmic hologram and can always be accessed once again.”
Yet other psychical researchers think the information about an object’s past is recorded in its aura – the field of energy surrounding every object. According to an article at The Mystica: “The connection between psychometry and auras is based on the theory that the human mind radiates an aura in all directions, and around the entire body which impresses everything within its orbit. All objects, no matter how solid they appear, are porous containing small or even minute holes. These minute crevices in the object’s surface collect minute fragments of the mental aura of the person possessing the object. Since the brain generates the aura then something worn near the head would transmit better vibrations.”
“Psychometry – Psychic Gifts Explained” likens the ability to a tape recorder, since our bodies give off magnetic energy fields. “If an object has been passed on down the family, it will contain information about its previous owners. The psychic can then be thought of as a tape player, playing back the information stored on the object.”
Mario Varvoglis, Ph.D. at “PSI Explorer” believes that psychometry is a special form of clairvoyance. “The individual performing the psychometry,” he writes, “may gain psychic impressions directly from the person to whom the object belongs (through telepathy) or may clairvoyantly learn about past or present events in the life of the person. The object may simply serve as a kind of focusing device which keeps the mind from wandering off in irrelevant directions.”
Stefan Ossowiecki – This Russian-born psychic is one of the most famous psychometrists. Ossowiecki claimed to be able to see people’s auras and to move objects through psychokinesis. His psychic gifts enabled this chemical engineer to locate lost objects and missing people, and he assisted in several criminal investigations. In 1935, he participated in a test of his psychometric powers – a test devised by a wealthy Hungarian named Dionizy Jonky that involved a sealed package. Jonky stipulated that this test was to be conducted eight years after his death. (Jonky and Ossowiecki did not know each other.) First, 14 photographs of men were placed in front of Ossowiecki, one of which was of Jonky. Ossowiecki picked out the correct photo. Next, Ossowiecki accurately described many details of Jonky’s life and correctly identified the man who held the package for the past eight years. Finally, Ossowiecki was presented with the sealed package Jonky had prepared before his death. Ossowiecki touched the package and concentrated. “Volcanic minerals,” he said. “There is something here that pulls me to other worlds, to another planet.” Oddly, he also sensed sugar. Inside the package was a meteorite encased in a candy wrapper.
In later experiments, Ossowiecki performed remarkable psychometric feats with archeological objects – a kind of psychic archeology. These tests were conducted by Stanislaw Poniatowski, a professor of enthology at the University of Warsaw who could verify the accuracy of what Ossowiecki “saw.” While holding a 10,000-year-old piece of flint, Ossowiecki was able to describe in amazing detail the lives of the prehistoric people who made it. In other tests he provided similar descriptions of people who lived as long ago as 300,000 years. Some of the information he provided was not even known by experts at the time, but confirmed by discoveries years later!
Ossowiecki described his visions as being like a motion picture that he could watch, pause, rewind and fast-forward – like a videotape or DVD!
George McMullen – McMullen, a carpenter and wilderness guide, became aware of his psychic abilities as a young boy when he correctly predicted the motorcycle death of a neighbor. As an adult in 1971, he agreed to a series of psychometric tests conducted by educator J. Norman Emerson. Emerson was an expert in the history of the Iroquois nation. He handed McMullen a non-descript fragment of a clay cylinder. McMullen not only identified it as part of a ceremonial pipe, but also described in detail how it was made and used, going so far as to draw an accurate picture of the complete object, decorations and all.
Over two years, Emerson took McMullen to various Iroquois sites in Canada where McMullen was able to provide highly detailed information about the lives of the Native Americans who lived there. He said he could actually hear them talking – and apparently understood what they were saying. Language, it seems, is not a boundary in this cosmic record. Over the years, he assisted many archeologists around the world with their research, giving correct information about prehistoric Canada, ancient Egypt and the Middle East – details that were confirmed by subsequent research.
Gerard Croiset – In the late 1930s and into the ’40s, Croiset gained a reputation as a psychic detective using his powers of psychometry. Police departments in his native Netherlands and other European countries sought his help in solving some of their most bewildering cases. In one noted instance, he was even asked to help in the search for a missing four-year-old girl from Brooklyn, New York. Without leaving Holland, Croiset was given a photo of the girl, a map of New York City and a piece of her clothing. He correctly described that she was dead, the location of her body and the man who murdered her. His information led police to the girl’s body and to the murderer, who was convicted of the crime.
How You Can Do It
Although some believe that psychometry is controlled by spiritual beings, most researchers suspect that it is a natural ability of the human mind. Michael Talbot agrees, saying that “the holographic idea suggests that the talent is latent in all of us.”
Here’s how you can try it yourself:
- Choose a location that is quiet and as free of noises and distractions as possible.
- Sit in a relaxed position with your eyes closed. Rest your hands in your lap with your palms facing up.
- With your eyes remaining closed, ask someone to place an object in your hands. (The person should not say anything; in fact, it’s best if there are several people in the room and you don’t know who the person is giving you the object.) Preferably, the object should be something the person has had in his/her possession for a long time. (Many researchers believe that objects made of metal are best, theorizing that they have a better “memory.”)
- Be still… as images and feelings come into your mind, speak them aloud. Don’t try to process the impressions you get. Say whatever you see, hear, feel or otherwise sense as you hold the object.
- Don’t judge your impressions. These impressions may be strange and meaningless to you, but they might be of significance to the owner of the object. Also, some impressions will be vague and others might be quite detailed. Don’t edit – speak them all.
“The more you try, the better you will become,” says Psychometry – Psychic Gifts Explained. “You should start to see better results as your mind becomes used to ‘seeing’ the information. But you can progress; at first you will be pleased to pick up on things correctly, but the next stage is to follow the pictures or feelings. There may a lot more information that you can obtain.”
Don’t worry too much about your rate of accuracy either, especially at first. Keep in mind that even the most renowned psychometrists have an accuracy rate of 80 to 90 percent; that is, they are inaccurate 10 to 20 percent of the time.
“The important thing is to be confident that you will gain accurate psychic impressions when you handle the object,” says Mario Varvoglis at PSI Explorer. “It’s also important not to try to figure out likely histories of the object, not to analyze and interpret your impressions to find if they make sense. It’s better to simply observe all the impressions that come into your mind and describe them without clinging to them and without trying to control them. Often the most unexpected images are likely to be most correct.”