The word psychic comes from the Greek psyche, loosely meaning "the mind and soul". In the popular context, psychic means a person who appears to possess gifts or powers which are outside our normal understanding of what the human psyche is capable of.
Psychic also refers to general supernatural phenomena related to the psyche.
Common examples of psychic powers and phenomena include:
The ability to perceive psychic information visually (as mental images), especially of events and locations in a remote place or time.
Speaking with the dead or spirit beings, or acting as a portal between humans and the spirit world.
The ability to perceive or predict future events.
The ability to communicate directly from mind to mind.
Psychokinesis (AKA Telekinesis)
The ability to move inanimate objects with the mind.
The ability to perceive information from inanimate objects using touch and feel.
There are many theories on how such powers can be explained, but no particular theory has emerged as being authoritative or representative of those who believe in psychic ability.
Most popular theories refer to channeling of energy, either energy forms we already know about being used in new ways, or new energy forms which we don't understand.
Some theories claim that psychic powers are closely related to instinct, and that humans were more reliant on psychic ability in the distant past - before language and speech began to dominate our thought processes.
Psychic phenomena have been reported for as long as humans have recorded history. Although the terminology changes between eras and cultures, many of the same basic themes have persisted.
In Western culture, interest in psychic phenomena spread during the 19th Century with the popularisation of tools and methods such as the ouija board.