THOSE STRANGE, STRANGE, STRANGE PEOPLE...
Paranormal phenomena have always attracted attention
of fantasy and science fiction writers. As a matter of fact,
those phenomena as well as their carriers are one of the eternal
topics of fantastic tales, successfully competing with robots,
spaceships, alternative history and strangers from space. But the
classic authors of the genre - Wells, Jules Verne and Alexander
Belyaev - practically did not write about paranormal phenomena
leaning towards rational knowledge, but in our times telepathists,
pyrokinetics and extrasensors have taken double revenge - both on
the pages of books and in films ( to say nothing about magicians'
rooms where they take off magic spells and fill chakras in with
useful ether ).
Notwithstanding the active interest expressed by readers,
viewers and writers for the topic, I should mention that our
ideas about paranormal phenomena are chaotic, vague and unclear
because, with rare exceptions, there is not either a generally
accepted classification or terminology. Certainly I mean fantastic
classification and not the one used by practicing magicians and
contactors with the Orion constellation; everything has already
been noted down by them, and a professional wizard definitely knows
whom he has to deal with - either the elemental, or astroidea, or
egregor, or criminally sexual larva. What are we worse in, I am asking
you? We, the lovers of fantastic tales?
You are right, not in anything. And because of that let us
try to work the classification of PP or paranormal phenomena out.
First of all I would like to mention that one should not confuse
them with the heavenly, the magical or the anomalous. The heavenly
is the prerogative of religion, as for magic, i.e. the connection
with the world of spirits and other tricks of this kind, wizards
are engaged in it; both the heavenly and the magical are transdental
phenomena, in other words, otherwordly, lying in their essence beyond
the limits of experience and knowledge. As for the anomalous phenomena
( the Greek "a" means "non", it is a negative particle ), in the wide
sense they are phenomena yet unknown to science ( and then PP are their
part ), and in a more narrow sense - phenomena connected with UFO and
visitors from space. The PP as themselves are near-normal phenomena
( "para" - "near", "by", Greek ) under which we understand mysterious
and yet unknown abilities of a man. It is in this sense that I shall
use the terms "paranormal phenomenon" or "paraphenomenon" in my
It is evident after the most superficial review that the PP
class is not uniform, that phenomena of various power get into it,
capable to cause the most wide spectre of feelings in us, from light
surprise to deep shock. It is really impossible to compare the ability
of quick reading with foretelling of events which will take place in
a year or in a thousand years! But both of them refer to PP because
mysterious abilities of a man, his body and psyche reveal themselves
in these phenomena. Such an "anisotropy" of paraphenomena hints at
the necessity of their classification in which we shall engage now.
I divided PP into four classes or categories which I shall
mention in the order of progression of "unreality": exotic phenomena,
extrasensoric, extramental, exceptional. Besides, I had to think out
a number of new fantastic terms because numerous phenomena are defined
only descriptively; in any case, I do not know their medical or any
Such PP that exist really and truthfully and are partly
explained by physicians and psychologists refer to the category
of the e x o t i c. Their list follows.
Ultrareading - the phenomenon of extra quick reading and
counting, the gift to take in any visual or acoustic information
Mnemotaxis - the phenomenon of absolute memory, visual and
acoustic; quoting from memory of long texts, ability for desribing
events that took place many years ago in detail. One of special cases
of mnemotaxis is the ability of quick mastering of foreign languages.
Hypnofading - fading of sleep; ability to do without sleep
for a long time ( months or years ) or sleep an hour or two per day
without any damage to one's health or mental abilities.
Chronosensing - feeling of time; a carrier of this ability
listens to his "inner watch" and knows the time up to a minute.
Orthodromy - word for word: "the right way"; intuitive
feeling of direction helping to find the right way in the mountains,
in the sea, in the forests, deserts and big cities.
Hide - based on the English word meaning "to conceal", "to
keep from someone"; the gift to stay unnoticed, one of the talents
intelligence workers, spies and Zinja must have.
Sympathy - an unexplainable talent to win sympathy and
confidence; absolutely necessary for presidents and travelling
Endowiation - "inner way"; conscious or unconscious ability
to manage the body and internal organs inherent to endowiates.
Endowiation unites such paraphenomena like insensitivity to pain,
seeing in the dark, skin vision, transformation of sounds and
smells into visual succession, the gift to heal one's wounds and
to resist illnesses, thermal and electrochemical regulation of
vital processes. Special cases of endowiation of various degree
are demonstrated by yoga, autotraining and religious ecstasy.
Pscychotransformation - a gift of psychical transformation
into a different type of person, including - into a vampire,
ghoul and werewolf. The carriers of this ability are transformers.
One should not mix them up with robots-transformers, as well as mix
psychotransformation up with transformation-teleconversion.
E x t r a s e n s o r i c phenomena lie on the border
between the real and the unreal; we cannot state for sure that
they exist, but their negation would be a step too hasty. I divide
them into two categories:
Supersensing - supersensing in relation to the surrounding
world: to smells, sounds, changes in temperature, moisture, pressure,
sun radiation, magnetic field, etc. The typical carriers of this
ability are water diviners capable to trace the flow of underground
waters and deposits of minerals, find out leaks in gas pipes and
electrical cables as well as lost objects.
Extrasensing is an analogy of supersensing directed to man's
body. Healers-extrasensors have this ability. They are capable to
diagnose and heal illnesses, to mobilize the inner resources of a
patient's body, to influence an alien body - it is an alien body
in contrast to the mentioned above endowiates. But the talents of
endowiation, super- and extrasensing may be found in one and the
The e x t r a m e n t a l is a phenomenon of a higher
degree than those mentioned above; it is that phenomenon that first
of all attracts the attention of fantastic tales writers. Below I
shall give references to respective books in brackets. The idea of
the extramental includes telepathy and telekinesis but these phenomena
are subject to hierarchy classification, that is they could be
described in a certain order, from the lowest forms to the highest.
I singled out the following subclasses below:
1. Telepathy - the lowest form.
Homeo-telepathy - similar to telepathy; it is a gift to guess
thoughts from facial expression, voice, behaviour. A carrier is
supposed to have developed logical thinking and power of observation
( Conan Doyle, the series of stories about Sherlock Holmes ).
Endo- and exo-empathy - receipt of feelings of alien creature
or projection of one's own feelings to a man, animal or plant. If
both gifts are present, they could then be called bi-empathy. Special
cases: "speakers" having the gift to speak to animals ( Harrison
"Deathworld" ); "farmers" - people with a "green hand" ( the gift to
speak to plants ).
Pre-telepathy - receipt of separate thoughts or intentions
from a great number of people thinking about one and the same -
i.e. receipt of mental information in case of a powerful signal and
relative simplicity of communication - for example, receipt of certain
figures. I would call the carriers of this ability "listeners".
2. Telepathy itself.
Endo- and exo-telepathy - receipt of thoughts and mental
images from another person or their transfer to another person.
A telepathist can have only one of the said qualities.
Bi-telepathy - two-way mental exchange ( TME ) between
people. Most telepathists described in the fantastic tales are
bi-telepathists ( see, for example, Bester "The Demolished Man")
3. The highest forms of telepathy.
Ultra-telepathy - TME both with a man and any other creature
up to insects, plants and creatures from other planets. The highest
form of bi-telepathy.
Super-telepathy - a long-range telepathy; TME with any creature
on space distances ( figuratively speaking, listening to stars'
Telepathic control - mental hypnotic suggestion to another
person when the suggested thoughts are taken by him for his own.
Telepathic contamination or mixing up - ability to unite
several minds as a single one ( supermind ) with the purpose to
increase the power of mental processes. It is the highest form of
telepathy and one should suppose that it is accompanied by such
phenomena as telekinesis, teleportation and ability for
4. Telekinesis itself.
Telekinesis is a gift allowing to manipulate objects without
5. Highest forms of telekinesis.
Teletaxis - control over the characteristics of the surrounding
world including gravitation and electromagnetic field. Special cases
of teletaxis are the following: electrotaxis - generation of powerful
protective fields, electrical discharges and ball lightnings as well
as radio interferences; advection - transfer of heat, moisture etc.
and as a result possibility to influence the weather ( carriers of
this gift are "weather forecasters", rain charmers ); levitation -
flight without any technical means; pyrokinesis - starting a fire and
management of fire ( Stephen King "Firestarter" ).
Teleportation - an ability to transfer oneself and any
objects from one point in space to another, with the transfer being
carried out either immediately or at a great speed.
Teledestruction - destroyal of any atom or molecular
structures without technical means. A special case is telecavitation
or making holes in walls or any other obstacles.
Teleconversion - or transformation - directed changing of
any atom or molecular structures. A special case is changing of
one's own body; according to Silverberg ( "Lord Valentine's Castle" )
and other authors, the carriers of this ability could be called
metamorphers. The metamorphism reminds of endowiation but is an
incomparably more powerful phenomenon.
6. Mixed telepathic and telekinetic phenomena.
Perception - passive connecting up to mind and sense organs
of another creature ( man, animal, plant ); long-distance seeing,
long-range hearing and clairvoyance come from it.
Full control - complete submission of another creature to
one's will, telepathic and telekinetic control over it or him.
Perception and telepathic control are described by Sterling
Lanier in "Hiero's Journey".
I would like to make some remarks on extramental phenomena.
If we take reality but not fantasy, we still do not know for sure
if the telepathic phenomenon exists. Why? Here is a probable
explanation. If we suppose that telepathy is an inborn quality of
a child, such a child will inevitably grow up an imbecile because
he will be unable to protect ( screen ) his mind from the others'
thoughts in childhood ( if only such screening is not an inborn
ability either ). Only in case the telepathic gift is revealed
in a much maturer age and its carrier masters protective procedures,
he will become a real telepathist of value.
In contrast to telepathy the inborn gift of telekinesis
does not make a child go mad and I think that there are a lot of
telekinetics. Some of them ( possibly - the prevailing number )
do not realize their capabilities which wake up only at the moments
of great excitement and stress; and then they, not knowing it
themselves, start manipulating objects and energy fields chaotically.
This could explain poltergeist.
Finally I would like to mention that a telepathist always
knows about his gift if he is not a small child; it is absolutely
clear to a telepathist that he percepts thoughts of people surrounding
him, and it is easy for him to check this fact up. But the abilities
of telekinesis, teletaxis and teledestruction could be unconscious
though very strong - especially in case they reveal themselves from
time to time; it is much more difficult then to establish the cause
and effect than in case of telepathy. One should suppose then that a
whole number of catastrophes and natural calamities are caused by some
advect-telekinetic who often quarrels with his wife. It is possible
that this gift is hereditary in certain families like the talents
of Kuttner's Hogbens. Is it possible that all members of this family
are very irritable? It is possible that they live somewhere in the
vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle which ņould be called poltergeist
on giant scale?
Now, after I made my remarks let us pass to the
e x c e p t i o n a l phenomena i.e. the most unusual PP. I refer
the following to them:
Intuitivism - ability to come to the right conclusions and
decisions immediately independent of professional knowledge and
bypassing the chain of ratiocinations ( Isaac Asimov "The Gods
Themselves" and "Foundation Edge" ). In special cases the following
persons could be referred to the carriers of this gift: "mechanics"
- people intuitively understanding the purpose of any mechanism,
capable to find faults in it and to repair it; "financiers" - people
having the talent for multiplication of wealth; dangerers - people
able to anticipate danger ( Akhmanov "The Scythians Feast at Sunset",
Gromov "The Year of the Lemming" ).
Psycho-amphibology - doubleness; location of two or several
minds in one brain or dividing one's own process of thinking into
several parallels ( the cybernetic analogue are multiprocessor
systems ). Such a case is described in Sheckley's "The Humours".
Precognition - foreseeing and foretelling of the future. I
would like to add that in this case the future appears like connected
with each other pictures of events but not forebodings like with the
Longevity - in this case I mean active life during several
centuries or even eternal life ( Heinlein's novels about Lazarus Long,
Van Vogt "The Weapon Makers" ).
Accidention - conscious or unconscious gift to control accidents
in the result of which a person becomes especially lucky. The carriers
of this gift could be called "the lucky" ( Niven "Ringworld" ).
Heterochrony - multitimeness or control over the time. A special
case is countermotion or life in a backward time flow ( Strugatskys
"Monday Starts on Saturday" ).
The classification offered by me is certainly not full
and exact but at least it brings some semblance of order to the
world of chaos. In the end I would like to attract the attention of
the readers to the fact that I have not used the terms "skill" or
"craft" even once - for example, I did not say, "the craft of quick
calculation". Skill and craftsmanship are the things one can master
but paranormal qualities cannot be acquired either at school or
University. They cannot be acquired yet - and that may never happen.
It is an inborn talent, God's Gift.
Or, if you want it, God's Punishment.