Life After Life (novel)
Life After Life is a 2013 novel by Kate Atkinson. It is the first of two novels about the Todd family; the second, A God in Ruins, was published in 2015. The novel has an unusual structure looping back in time to describe alternative possible lives for its central character, Ursula Todd, born on 11 February 1910 to an upper-middle-class family near Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire. In the first version, she is strangled by her umbilical stillborn. In iterations of her life she dies as a child - drowning in the sea, or when saved from that, by falling to her death from the roof when trying to retrieve a fallen doll. There are several sequences when she falls victim to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 - which repeats itself again and again, though she has a foreknowledge of it, only her fourth attempt to avert catching the flu succeeds. There is an unhappy life where she is traumatized by being raped, getting pregnant and undergoing an illegal abortion, becoming trapped in a oppressive marriage, being killed by her abusive husband when trying to escape.
In lives she averts all this by being preemptively aggressive to the would-be rapist. In between, she uses her half-memory of earlier lives to avert the neighbour girl Nancy being raped and murdered by a child molester; the saved Nancy would have an important role in Ursula's life, forming a deep love relationship with Ursula's brother Teddy, would become a main character in the sequel, A God in Ruins. Still iterations of Ursula's her life take her into World War Two, where she works in London for the War Office and witnesses the results of the Blitz including a direct hit on a bomb shelter in Argyll Road in November 1940 - with herself being among the victims in some lives and among the rescuers in others. There is a life in which she marries a German in 1934, is unable to return to England and experiences the war in Berlin under the allied bombings. Ursula comes to realize, through a strong sense of deja vu, that she has lived before, decides to try to prevent the war by killing Adolf Hitler in late 1930.
Memory of her earlier lives provides the means of doing that: the knowledge that by befriending Eva Braun - in 1930 an obscure shop girl in Munich - Ursula would be able to get close to Hitler with a loaded gun in her bag. What is left unclear - since each of the time sequences end with "darkness" and Ursula's death and does not show what followed - is whether in fact all these lives occurred in an objective world, or were only subjectively experienced by her. Whether or not her killing Hitler in 1930 produced an altered timeline where the Nazis did not take power in Germany, or took power under a different leader with a different course of the Second World War. Though in her 1967 incarnation Ursula speculates with her nephew on this "might have been", the book avoids giving a clear answer; the Guardian gave the book a positive review, finding it conveyed both the changing social circumstances of 20th century Britain, the particular details of the character's day-to-day life, in addition to the pleasures offered by the narrative format.
The Daily Telegraph praised it, calling it Atkinson's best book to date. The Independent found the central character to be sympathetic, argued that the book's central message was that World War II was preventable and should not have been allowed to happen, it won the 2013 Costa Book Awards. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, Waterstones Book of the Year, the Walter Scott Prize, it was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review, an ALA Notable Books for Adults, The Morning News Tournament of Books, Goodreads Choice Awards, Andrew Carnegie Medal longlist, The South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Groundhog Day - film with a similar theme Sliding Doors Ursula Todd Timeline
Dream telepathy is the purported ability to communicate telepathically with another person while one is dreaming. The first person in modern times to document telepathic dreaming was Sigmund Freud. In the 1940s it was the subject of the Eisenbud-Pederson-Krag-Fodor-Ellis controversy, named after the preeminent psychoanalysts of the time who were involved Jule Eisenbud, Geraldine Pederson-Krag, Nandor Fodor, Albert Ellis. There is no scientific evidence. Parapsychological experiments into dream telepathy have not produced replicable results; the notion and speculation of communication via dreaming was first mooted in psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud in 1921. He produced a model to express his ideas about telepathic dreaming, his 1922 paper Dreams and Telepathy is reproduced in the book Psychoanalysis and the Occult and was intended to be a lecture to the Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society, although he never delivered it. Freud considered that a connection between telepathy and dreams could be neither proven nor disproven.
He was distinctly suspicious of the whole idea, noting that he himself had never had a telepathic dream. His ideas were not accepted at the time, but he continued to publicly express his interest and findings about telepathic dreaming, he observed that he had not encountered any evidence of dream telepathy in his patients. Freud claims neutrality about the phenomenon itself, states that the sleep milieu has special properties for it if it does exist, discounts all of the cases presented to him on standard psychoanalytic grounds. In the 1940s Jule Eisenbud, Geraldine Pederson-Krag and Nandor Fodor described alleged cases of dream telepathy. Albert Ellis regarded their conclusions to have been based upon flimsy evidence, that they could be better explained by bias and unconscious cues than by dream telepathy, he accused them of an emotional involvement in the notion, resulting in their observations and judgement being clouded. Psychologist L. Börje Löfgren criticised dream telepathy experiments of Eisenbud.
He stated that coincidence was a more explanation and the "assumption of paranormal forces to explain them is unnecessary." There have been many experiments done to test the validity of dream telepathy and its effectiveness, but with significant issues of blinding. Many test subjects find ways to communicate with others to make it look like telepathic communication. Attempts to cut off communication between the agent and receiver of information failed because subjects found ways to get around blindfolds no matter how intricate and covering they were. In studies at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York led by Stanley Krippner and Montague Ullman, patients were monitored and awakened after a period of REM separated to study the claimed ability to communicate telepathically, they concluded. The picture target experiments that were conducted by Krippner and Ullman were criticized by C. E. M. Hansel. According to Hansel there were weaknesses in the design of the experiments in the way in which the agent became aware of their target picture.
Only the agent should have known the target and no other person until the judging of targets had been completed. Hansel wrote there had been poor controls in the experiment as the main experimenter could communicate with the subject. An attempt to replicate the experiments that used picture targets was carried out by Edward Belvedere and David Foulkes; the finding was that neither the subject nor the judges matched the targets with dreams above chance level. Results from other experiments by Belvedere and Foulkes were negative. In 2003, Simon Sherwood and Chris Roe wrote a review that claimed support for dream telepathy at Maimonides. However, James Alcock noted. Alcock concluded the dream telepathy experiments at Maimonides have failed to provide evidence for telepathy and "lack of replication is rampant."The psychologist and noted skeptic Richard Wiseman took part in a dream telepathy experiment. It was conducted by Caroline Watt at a sleep laboratory in an attempt to replicate the results of Krippner and Ullman.
The experiment was a complete failure. According to Wiseman "after monitoring about twenty volunteers for several nights on end, the study didn't discover any evidence in support of the supernatural." Collective unconscious Parapsychology Alcock, James. Parapsychology: Science or Magic? A Psychological Perspective. Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-025772-0 Devereux, George, ed.. "The Eisenbud-Pederson-Krag-Fodor-Ellis controversy". Psychoanalysis and the Occult. Oxford, England: International Universities Press. Ellis, Albert. "Telepathy and Psychoanalysis: A Critique of Recent Findings". Psychiatric Quarterly. 21: 607–659. Doi:10.1007/bf01654321. Child, Irvin. "Psychology and Anomalous Observations: The Question of ESP in Dreams". American Psychologist. 40: 1219–1230. Doi:10.1037/0003-066X.40.11.1219
Kendrick Crosby Frazier is a science writer and longtime editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is a former editor of Science News, author or editor of ten books, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is a fellow and a member of the executive council of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, an international organization which promotes scientific inquiry. He has written extensively about a variety of science topics including astronomy, space exploration, the earth and planetary sciences, technology, the history and philosophy of science, public issues of science, the critical examination of pseudoscience and fringe-science. Frazier received a B. A. in Journalism from the University of Colorado and a M. S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He is a member of the National Association of the American Geophysical Union, he lives with Ruth, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is an international consultant in community development and a former president of Futures for Children, an organization which works with American Indians of the Southwest.
They have Chris. Frazier was the earth sciences editor of Science News in 1969–70, he was named managing editor in 1970–71 editor from 1971 to 1977, remained a contributing editor until 1981. In December 1973 he traveled to Antarctica and the South Pole and wrote a series of articles reporting on the historic U. S. research into the continent's geologic and climatic history and the environmental impact of such research. In 1976 Frazier reported on the organizing conference at which the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, CSICOP, was founded. In a discussion with James Randi at CSICon 2016 regarding the founding of CSICOP, Frazier said that Isaac Asimov being associated with the organization "gave it immense status and authority" in his eyes; the committee published a journal called The Zetetic featuring articles examining the claims of occultism and pseudoscientific theories. In August 1977 Frazier became the editor of the journal, with the first issue of 1978 its name was changed to the Skeptical Inquirer.
Frazier has written articles in every issue for thirty-five years and participated in every national and international conference of the organization since 1977. Examples of his recent editor's columns and reports that feature popular science topics include "The Winter of Our Discontent", "Why the Bem Experiments Are Not Parapschology's Next Big Thing", "Getting People Emotionally Invested", "The Roswell Syndrome....and Pseudoskepticism". His comprehensive history of CSICOP was published in The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. From 1983-2006, he concurrently worked as a full-time staff member at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he wrote about its research projects and for the last 11 years edited its award-winning newspaper, the Sandia Lab News, he retired as a Principal Member of Laboratory Staff. Frazier's most recent book Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience was featured by Science News for its "engaging and surprising essays by researchers and journalists" about "what science is and is not, what happens when the facts get twisted."
Three prominent scientists gave testimonials about the book. Astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote "Science Under Siege is a welcome antidote to the profound science illiteracy that, permeates American pop culture and the press." Harvard University cognitive scientist and author Steven Pinker called the book "An entertaining and eye-opening collection of essays that advance the battle against ignorance and superstition." Williams College astronomer Jay M. Pasachoff said "Ken Frazier's collection brings a well-chosen selection of logical and well-reasoned pieces before a general audience that would enjoy and benefit from their analyses and exposés." Frazier has hosted panels and made presentations at many other conferences. They include The Second World Skeptic's Congress at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, July 1998 where he spoke on a panel alongside Sergei Kapitza and Vern Bullough The World Congress on Scientific Inquiry and Human Well-Being organized by Center for Inquiry and China Research Institute for Science Popularization, China, October 2007 The Northeast Conference of Skeptical Societies, New York City, April 2011, the basis for this Skeptical inquirer article "Who Really Wants Reliable Scientific Information?".
The Amazing Meeting 8, Las Vegas, July 2010, where he participated in a panel titled "The Origins of the Modern Skeptic Movement" alongside James Randi, Ray Hyman, Paul Kurtz The World Conference of Science Journalists, Qatar, June 2011 which became the focus of two articles "The Age of Denialism: When Beliefs Trump Scientific Facts" and "Pseudoscience, Evolution Gain Attention of World's Top Science Journalists". CSICon New Orleans, October 2011 where he gave opening remarks and moderated a panel on Science and Public Policy at which Ron Lindsay spoke on the subject of Food Fears -- The Need for Appropriate Risk Assessment; the Australian Skeptics National Convention in November 2014. He spoke of today. In 1985 the University of Colorado presented him with the George Norlin Award for outstanding achievement by an alumnus; the American Humanist Association awarded Frazier t
Electronic voice phenomenon
Within ghost hunting and parapsychology, electronic voice phenomena are sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices that have been either unintentionally recorded or intentionally requested and recorded. Parapsychologist Konstantīns Raudive, who popularized the idea in the 1970s, described EVP as brief the length of a word or short phrase. Enthusiasts consider EVP to be a form of paranormal phenomenon found in recordings with static or other background noise. However, scientists regard EVP as a form of auditory pareidolia and a pseudoscience promulgated by popular culture. Prosaic explanations for EVP include apophenia, equipment artifacts, hoaxes; as the Spiritualist religious movement became prominent in the 1840s–1920s with a distinguishing belief that the spirits of the dead can be contacted by mediums, new technologies of the era including photography were employed by spiritualists in an effort to demonstrate contact with a spirit world. So popular were such ideas that Thomas Edison was asked in an interview with Scientific American to comment on the possibility of using his inventions to communicate with spirits.
He replied that if the spirits were only capable of subtle influences, a sensitive recording device would provide a better chance of spirit communication than the table tipping and ouija boards mediums employed at the time. However, there is no indication that Edison designed or constructed a device for such a purpose; as sound recording became widespread, mediums explored using this technology to demonstrate communication with the dead as well. Spiritualism declined in the latter part of the 20th century, but attempts to use portable recording devices and modern digital technologies to communicate with spirits continued. American photographer Attila von Szalay was among the first to try recording what he believed to be voices of the dead as a way to augment his investigations in photographing ghosts, he began his attempts in 1941 using a 78 rpm record, but it wasn't until 1956 — after switching to a reel-to-reel tape recorder — that he believed he was successful. Working with Raymond Bayless, von Szalay conducted a number of recording sessions with a custom-made apparatus, consisting of a microphone in an insulated cabinet connected to an external recording device and speaker.
Szalay reported finding many sounds on the tape that could not be heard on the speaker at the time of recording, some of which were recorded when there was no one in the cabinet. He believed. Among the first recordings believed to be spirit voices were such messages as "This is G!", "Hot dog, Art!", "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all". Von Szalay and Raymond Bayless' work was published by the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1959. Bayless went on to co-author the 1979 book, Phone Calls From the Dead. In 1959, Swedish painter and film producer Friedrich Jürgenson was recording bird songs. Upon playing the tape he heard what he interpreted to be his dead father's voice and the spirit of his deceased wife calling his name, he went on to make several more recordings, including one that he said contained a message from his late mother. Konstantin Raudive, a Latvian psychologist who had taught at the Uppsala University and who had worked in conjunction with Jürgenson, made over 100,000 recordings which he described as being communications with discarnate people.
Some of these recordings were conducted in an RF-screened laboratory and contained words Raudive said were identifiable. In an attempt to confirm the content of his collection of recordings, Raudive invited listeners to hear and interpret them, he believed that the clarity of the voices heard in his recordings implied that they could not be explained by normal means. Raudive published his first book, Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead in 1968 and it was translated into English in 1971. In 1980, William O'Neil constructed an electronic audio device called "The Spiricom". O'Neil claimed the device was built to specifications which he received psychically from George Mueller, a scientist who had died six years previously. At a Washington, DC press conference on April 6, 1982, O'Neil stated that he was able to hold two-way conversations with spirits through the Spiricom device, provided the design specifications to researchers for free. However, nobody is known to have replicated the results O'Neil claimed using his own Spiricom devices.
O'Neil's partner, retired industrialist George Meek, attributed O'Neil's success, the inability of others to replicate it, to O'Neil's mediumistic abilities forming part of the loop that made the system work. Another electronic device constructed in an attempt to capture EVP is "Frank's Box" or the "Ghost Box", created in 2002 by EVP enthusiast Frank Sumption for supposed real-time communication with the dead. Sumption claims; the device is described as a combination white noise generator and AM radio receiver modified to sweep back and forth through the AM band selecting split-second snippets of sound. Critics of the device say its effect is subjective and incapable of being replicated, since it relies on radio noise, any meaningful response a user gets is purely coincidental, or the result of pareidolia. Paranormal researcher Ben Radford writes that Frank's Box is a "modern version of the Ouija board... known as the'broken radio'". In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena in Severna Park, Maryland, a nonprofit organization with th
The afterlife is the belief that the essential part of an individual's identity or the stream of consciousness continues after the death of the physical body. According to various ideas about the afterlife, the essential aspect of the individual that lives on after death may be some partial element, or the entire soul or spirit, of an individual, which carries with it and may confer personal identity or, on the contrary, may not, as in Indian nirvana. Belief in an afterlife is in contrast to the belief in oblivion after death. In some views, this continued existence takes place in a spiritual realm, in other popular views, the individual may be reborn into this world and begin the life cycle over again with no memory of what they have done in the past. In this latter view, such rebirths and deaths may take place over and over again continuously until the individual gains entry to a spiritual realm or Otherworld. Major views on the afterlife derive from religion and metaphysics; some belief systems, such as those in the Abrahamic tradition, hold that the dead go to a specific plane of existence after death, as determined by God, or other divine judgment, based on their actions or beliefs during life.
In contrast, in systems of reincarnation, such as those in the Indian religions, the nature of the continued existence is determined directly by the actions of the individual in the ended life, rather than through the decision of a different being. Theists believe some type of afterlife awaits people when they die. Members of some non-theistic religions tend to believe in an afterlife, but without reference to a deity; the Sadducees were an ancient Jewish sect that believed that there was a God but no afterlife. Many religions, whether they believe in the soul's existence in another world like Christianity and many pagan belief systems, or in reincarnation like many forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, believe that one's status in the afterlife is a reward or punishment for their conduct during life. Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death, it is called rebirth or transmigration, is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.
It is a central tenet of all major Indian religions, namely Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. The idea of reincarnation is found in many ancient cultures, a belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras and Plato, it is a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism and Eckankar and is found as well in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Australia, East Asia and South America. Although the majority of denominations within the Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; the historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and Gnosticism of the Roman era as well as the Indian religions have been the subject of recent scholarly research. Unity Church and its founder Charles Fillmore teach reincarnation. Rosicrucians speak of a life review period occurring after death and before entering the afterlife's planes of existence, followed by a judgment, more akin to a final review or end report over one's life.
Heaven, the heavens, seven heavens, pure lands, Jannah, Valhalla, or the Summerland, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, jinn, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in exceptional cases enter heaven alive. Heaven is described as a "higher place", the holiest place, a paradise, in contrast to hell or the underworld or the "low places", universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, piety, faith or other virtues or right beliefs or the will of God; some believe in the possibility of a heaven on Earth in a world to come. In Indian religions, heaven is considered as Svarga loka. There are seven positive regions the soul can go to after seven negative regions. After completing its stay in the respective region, the soul is subjected to rebirth in different living forms according to its karma.
This cycle can be broken after a soul achieves Nirvana. Any place of existence, either of humans, souls or deities, outside the tangible world is referred to as otherworld. Hell, in many religious and folkloric traditions, is a place of torment and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history depict hell as an eternal destination, while religions with a cyclic history depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations; these traditions locate hell in another dimension or under the earth's surface and include entrances to hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include limbo. Traditions that do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward describe hell as an abode of the dead, the grave, a neutral place located under the surface of earth; the afterlife played an i
James E. Alcock is a Canadian educator, he has been a Professor of Psychology at York University since 1973. Alcock is a noted critic of parapsychology and is a Fellow and Member of the Executive Council for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, he is a member of the Editorial Board of The Skeptical Inquirer, a frequent contributor to the magazine. He has been a columnist for Humanist Perspectives Magazine. In 1999, a panel of skeptics named him among the two dozen most outstanding skeptics of the 20th century. In May 2004, CSICOP awarded the In Praise of Reason Award. Alcock is an amateur magician and is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. James Alcock was chosen as a fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association for making "a distinguished contribution to the advancement of the science or profession of psychology". In his first television appearance in 1974, Alcock appeared on the TVOntario magazine show, The Education of Mike McManus, in Toronto, he sat on a panel discussing current paranormal research with a parapsychologist and a psychic healer.
When asked if he was closed-minded to the possibility of psi, Alcock responded that there is no good research out there that would change his position. "The experiments that have been done... are filled with flaws... they just don't satisfy the canons of science. Until the parapsychologists can present evidence that satisfies the criteria of science there's nothing to investigate, there's no phenomenon there.""The pursuit of science should be directed at seeking explanations, whatever they are, rather than searching for preferred explanations. Parapsychology is directed at finding evidence that paranormal phenomena exist, rather than at explaining the strange, anomalous experiences that people have from time to time. Parapsychologists show little interest in normal explanations for those experiences because they are committed to finding evidence of the paranormal, their commitment is such that failures to replicate, rather than suggesting that there is "nothing there", the failures are reinterpreted in terms of some made-up "effect."In 1976, Alcock attended the organizing conference at which the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal was founded and was invited to be a Fellow of CSICOP at that time.
He was appointed to the Executive Council a few years later. Alcock's 1981 book, "Parapsychology-Science Or Magic?: A Psychological Perspective," was instrumental in transforming Professor Chris French's skeptical understanding of paranormal events and explaining unusual experiences: A long–time member of the Skeptic's Toolbox faculty, Alcock lectures at the 4-day workshop that teaches attendees critical thinking skills for their daily lives. Alcock told a Register-Guard reporter who attended the 2003 conference, "Science has many voices... We encourage people to listen to scientific evidence, but how do we determine who to listen to?" And in the case of printed media, "There are lots of things published that are sheer nonsense." Learning to evaluate evidence is. In October 2004 Alcock spoke at the World Skeptics Congress in Italy; as a member of the executive council of CFI, he addressed the opening session of the 2012 6th World Skeptic Congress in Berlin. He outlined the history of the modern skeptical movement as begun by CSICOP in April 1976 in Buffalo, NY.
The San Francisco Chronicle asked Alcock to comment on ghost-hunter instruments. He suggested "several explanations for so-called voices from the dead. One theory is. Another is called'apophenia,' which means that people tend to perceive patterns when there are none. If we play the same piece of tape over and over... we maximize the opportunity for the perceptual apparatus in our brain to'construct' voices that do not exist." In a systematic review carried out by Alcock of all parapsychological research involving random event generators, several important methodological problems became evident, these problems were of such a serious nature that one could not have any confidence in the results and conclusions of the various studies. Much of that research was carried out in the Princeton University Anomalies Research laboratory of Robert Jahn Dean of that university's Engineering faculty. In addition to these serious methodological concerns, Alcock determined that if one were to remove the data related to one particular participant, the results of the study were no longer statistically significant.
Moreover, the fact that the participant was the individual who set up and oversaw the research for Dr. Jahn rang alarm bells. In 2003 Alcock published Give the Null Hypothesis a Chance: Reasons to Remain Doubtful about the Existence of Psi, where he claimed that parapsychologists never seem to take the possibility that psi does not exist; because of that, they interpret null results as indicating only that they were unable to observe psi in a particular experiment, rather than taking it as support for the possibility that there is no psi. The failure to take the null hypothesis as a serious alternative to their psi hypotheses leads them to rely upon a number of arbitrary "effects" to excuse failures to find predicted effects, excuse the lack of consistency in outcomes, to excuse failures to replicate. Basic endemic problems in parapsychological research include: insufficient definition of the subject matter, total reliance on negative definitions of their phenomena.
A psychic is a person who claims to use extrasensory perception to identify information hidden from the normal senses involving telepathy or clairvoyance, or who performs acts that are inexplicable by natural laws. Although many people believe in psychic abilities, the scientific consensus is that there is no proof of the existence of such powers, describe the practice as pseudoscience; the word "psychic" is used as an adjective to describe such abilities. In this meaning, this word has two synonyms, which are metapsychic. Psychics encompass people in a variety of roles; some are theatrical performers, such as stage magicians, who use various techniques, e.g. prestidigitation, cold reading, hot reading, to produce the appearance of such abilities for entertainment purposes. A large industry and network exists whereby people advertised as psychics provide advice and counsel to clients; some famous psychics include Edgar Cayce, Ingo Swann, Peter Hurkos, Janet Lee, Jose Ortiz El Samaritano, Miss Cleo, John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Tyler Henry.
Psychic powers are asserted by psychic detectives and in practices such as psychic archaeology and psychic surgery. Critics attribute psychic powers to self-delusion. In 1988 the U. S. National Academy of Sciences gave a report on the subject and concluded there is "no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena". A study attempted to repeat reported parapsychological experiments that appeared to support the existence of precognition. Attempts to repeat the results, which involved performance on a memory test to ascertain if post-test information would affect it, "failed to produce significant effects", thus "do not support the existence of psychic ability", is thus categorized as a pseudoscience. Psychics are featured in science fiction; the Star Wars franchise, for example, features "Force-sensitive" beings that can see into the future and move objects telepathically. People with psychic powers appear in fantasy fiction, such as in some of the works of Stephen King or Dungeons & Dragons, amongst many others.
The word "psychic" is derived from the Greek word psychikos, refers in part to the human mind or psyche. The Greek word means "soul". In Greek mythology, the maiden Psyche was the deification of the human soul; the word derivation of the Latin psȳchē is from the Greek psȳchḗ "breath", derivative of psȳ́chein, to breathe or to blow. French astronomer and spiritualist Camille Flammarion is credited as having first used the word psychic, while it was introduced to the English language by Edward William Cox in the 1870s. Elaborate systems of divination and fortune-telling date back to ancient times; the most known system of early civilization fortune-telling was astrology, where practitioners believed the relative positions of celestial bodies could lend insight into people's lives and predict their future circumstances. Some fortune-tellers were said to be able to make predictions without the use of these elaborate systems, through some sort of direct apprehension or vision of the future; these people were known as seers or prophets, in times as clairvoyants and psychics.
Seers formed a functionary role in early civilization serving as advisors and judges. A number of examples are included in biblical accounts; the book of 1 Samuel illustrates one such functionary task when Samuel is asked to find the donkeys of the future king Saul. The role of prophet appeared perennially in ancient cultures. In Egypt, the priests of the sun deity Ra at Memphis acted as seers. In ancient Assyria seers were referred to as nabu, meaning "to call" or "announce"; the Delphic Oracle is one of the earliest stories in classical antiquity of prophetic abilities. The Pythia, the priestess presiding over the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, was believed to be able to deliver prophecies inspired by Apollo during rituals beginning in the 8th century BC, it is said that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapors rising from the ground, that she spoke gibberish, believed to be the voice of Apollo, which priests reshaped into the enigmatic prophecies preserved in Greek literature.
Other scholars believe records from the time indicate that the Pythia spoke intelligibly, gave prophecies in her own voice. The Pythia was a position served by a succession of women selected from amongst a guild of priestesses of the temple; the last recorded response was given in 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I ordered pagan temples to cease operation. Recent geological investigations raise the possibility that ethylene gas caused the Pythia's state of inspiration. One of the most enduring historical references to what some consider to be psychic ability is the prophecies of Michel de Nostredame Latinized to Nostradamus, published during the French Renaissance period. Nostradamus was a French apothecary and seer who wrote collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide and have been out of print since his death, he is best known for his book Les Propheties, the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Taken together, his written works are known to have contained at least 6,338 quatrains or prophecies, as well as at least eleven annual calendars.
Most of the quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, wars, invasions, murders and battles – all undated. Nostradamus is a controversial figure, his many enthusiasts, as well as the popul