Psychometry (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, "spirit, soul"; + μέτρον, metron, "measure"),[1] also known as token-object reading,[2] or psychoscopy,[3] is a form of extra-sensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object.[4] Supporters assert that an object may have an energy field that transfers knowledge regarding that object's history.[5]

Psychometry is commonly offered at psychic fairs as a type of psychic reading.[6] At New Age events psychometry has claimed to help visitors "meet the dearly departed" (a form of spiritualism).[7]

Although the majority of police departments polled do not use psychics and do not consider them credible or useful on cases,[8][9][10] some authors write that psychometry and psychic detectives were used by law enforcement agencies on specific cases.[11]

History Edit

Joseph Rodes Buchanan coined the word "psychometry" (measuring the soul) in 1842.[12] Buchanan came up with the idea that all things give off an emanation.[13]

The Past is entombed in the Present! The world is its own enduring monument; and that which is true of its physical, is likewise true of its mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand — the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation, while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism! Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history![14]

Buchanan asserted that his particular psychism would supersede empiric science. He wrote a comprehensive treatise, Manual of Psychometry: the Dawn of a New Civilization (1885), detailing how the direct knowledge of psychometry would be applied to and affect the many various branches of science. It also would elevate the various schools of philosophy and arts thereby affecting wide social change and ultimately an enlightenment of humanity:[15]

The thermometer measures caloric (thermo temperature). The barometer measures the weight (baro, weight) of the atmosphere; the electrometer measures electric conditions; the psychometer measures the soul (psyche). In the case of Psychometry, however, the measuring assumes a new character, as the object measured and the measuring instrument are the same psychic element, and its measuring power is not limited to the psychic as it was developed in the first experiments, but has appeared by successive investigation to manifest a wider and wider area of power, until it became apparent that this psychic capacity was really the measure of all things in the Universe.[16]

Buchanan continued to promote psychometry throughout his life and his followers believed that it would revolutionize science in a comprehensive way as "the dawn of a new civilization".[17] Other spiritualism-based scientists built upon Buchanan's theories such as Stephen Pearl Andrews who promoted Psychometry along with his own new science of Universology. As a lecturer Andrews asserted that such inquiries, as paraphrased by a 1878 New York Times article, "demonstrated that the sympathy between the mind and body is an exact science".[18]

In the later nineteenth century demonstrations of psychometry became a popular part of stage acts and séances; with participants providing a personal object for "reading" by a medium or psychic.[19]

In fictionEdit

In Evermore by Alyson Noel, Ever can touch people and know their thoughts and past actions. The Goth series by Katie Maxwell features a psychometrist as the main character, Fran. In the Maximum Ride book series the character Nudge has psychometric abilities. In the novel The Witching Hour, the first of Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches trilogy, protagonist Michael Curry receives the power of psychometry. In the novel The Dead Zone (1979) by Stephen King, Johnny Smith uses his newfound psychometric powers to help the police in solving many cases. In the young adult fiction Dark Visions Trilogy (1994–1995), by L. J. Smith, the character Laurie Frost has the ability of psychometry. In the Fingerprints series of youth novels (2001–2002) by Melinda Metz, the character Rachel "Rae" Voight can receive the thoughts and emotions of others by touching the fingerprints left on a object handled by them. The light novel series Katanagatari by Nisio Isin boasts a psychometrist by the name of Kawauso Maniwa, one of the 12 Maniwa Ninja Corps Heads.

In the 1988 movie Vibes, Jeff Goldblum plays a psychometrist. In the 1994 film, The Crow, Brandon Lee plays a spirit of vengeance with psychometric powers. In the 2009 action film Push, psychics called Sniffs can relive a person's past and their location by touching or sniffing objects. In The Meteor Man, Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend) gains various superhuman powers from a meteorite, including to ability to psychometrically and psychosomatically memorize by touch the contents of a book.

In the 2003 HBO television series Carnivàle, Professor Lodz can read thoughts and dreams through contact with a person or object. Creating visions by touching objects is also displayed in Charmed and Medium. In the television series Chuck (2007- ), the main character has the ability to 'Flash', or have a memory blast when coming into contact with or sighting something. On the superhero comedy-drama The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983), the lead character possesses psychometric powers when wearing his super-suit. Kaos, the son of mad scientist Desty Nova in Yukito Kishiro's Battle Angel Alita appears as a very unusual psychometrist in that not only can he read the memories of objects but can also absorb the talents and skills necessary for their creation.

A number of comic book characters exhibit psychometric powers, including Longshot,[20][21] Adrienne Frost and Terror, all of whom appear in books published by Marvel Comics. Many field agents featured in Mike Mignola's Hellboy series have this ability. Characters appearing in Japanese manga and anime that possess psychometric abilities include Chiba Mamoru from Sailor Moon, Olivier Davis from a Ghost Hunt, and Kaos, the radio DJ from Battle Angel Alita.

See alsoEdit


Bibliography Edit


  1. Joseph Rodes Buchanan, Manual of Psychometry : the Dawn of a New Civilization Boston, Frank H. Hodges (4th edition), 1893 p.3. ISBN 1150077247
  2. Psychometry - Key Words Frequently Used in Parapsychology, Parapsychological Association (2006-12-17)
  3. Tischner, Rudolf, Telepathy and Clairvoyance Great Britain, Steven Austin & Sons, Ltd. 1924, p.70. ISBN 1846641357
  4. Template:Cite book
  5. Noreen Renier, A Mind for Murder: The Real-Life Files of a Psychic Investigator, Hampton Roads Pub Co; Revised edition (May 9, 2008) p.13 ISBN 1571745734
  6. Marcelle S. Fischler LONG ISLAND JOURNAL; Where $20 Will Buy A Peek at the Future, December 15, 2002.
  7. Katherine E. Finkelstein Northport Journal; The Very Determined Meet the Dearly Departed, August 25, 1999.
  8. Template:Cite web
  9. Template:Cite web
  10. Template:Cite web
  11. Robert Kessler, Tom Schachtman, Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI, St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 15, 1993) pp.270-272. ISBN 0312950446
  12. Mark A. Lause (University of Cincinnati): Joseph Rodes Buchanan (Internet Archive)
  13. Psychometry at
  14. Buchanan, 1893, p.73
  15. Buchanan, 1893, pp.4–5
  16. Buchanan 1893, pp.3–4
  17. Buchanan's Journal of Man., Vol. I. August, 1887. No. 7.
  18. A discourse on Seven Sciences.; Cerebral Physiology, Cerebral Psychology, Sarcognomy, Psychometry, Pneumatology, Pathology, and Cerebral Pathology. The New York Times, March 17, 1878
  19. Beloff, p.29, "After that would come tests provided by members of the audience involving 'billet reading', 'token object reading' leading up, finally, to a test of travelling clairvoyance where the person's private home would constitute the target area."
  20. Template:Cite comic
  21. Template:Cite comic

External linksEdit

  • Psychometry Experiment, a project that gave residents in Ontario, Canada the opportunity to participate in a psychometry study

Template:Parapsychologyda:Psykometri (parapsykologi) mk:Психометрија it:Psicometria (paranormale) ja:サイコメトリー pt:Psicometria (parapsicologia) ro:Psihometrie fi:Psykoskopia sv:Psykometri (paranormal) tr:Psikometri zh:接觸感應

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