When I was young, preadolescent, I took an interest in the paranormal and parapsychology. I liked books or shows on poltergeists, ghosts, unexplained phenomena, crop circles (I still love me some crop circles), and especially anything to do with mental or psychological capacities.
The guy who could bend spoons with his mind was a celebrity, but I wasn’t too keen on that. What was I going to do with a bunch of bent spoons? Besides, we had no trouble getting plenty of our own misshapen cutlery courtesy of the kitchen sink garbage disposal. No, what I really wanted to have was ESP.
I’m not entirely sure how much of my ideas about the 6th sense came from fiction vs nonfiction, but it definitely seemed desirable. People with ESP – none of whom I actually knew – struck me as the human equivalent of unicorns, mystical and mysterious. As a kid, I just wanted to “magically” know things.
Today, I think of it a bit differently. I gather actually having ESP is not necessarily such a delight. Its possessors, from what I’ve heard, report getting lots of chaotic messages in their heads and being unable to shut off things they’d rather not know. That’s a different kettle of neurons and not what I imagined as a child.
Some advocates claim we ALL have degrees of ESP and it’s a matter of tapping into and honing it. I am sorry but no way. I meet people on a regular basis who appear to be operating at a level barely above that of a domestic dog or cat; people who frighten me in that they possess driver’s licenses, have children, or own firearms, none of which I’d trust them with. The idea they’d have extra sensory perception lurking somewhere in their gray matter is whoppingly doubtful.
I don’t think I have ESP. However, what I do have is perception. I did not always know this, or rather, I did not know what to call it, or that the trait was in any way unusual or a type of skill. I couldn’t say whether there’s a bit of irony in that I do have a semblance of the thing I wished for as a child. Maybe it’s just that I was already on to something back then, if only unconsciously. Don’t know. I can tell you I very much like knowing things which was my desire. (Even when, at my own level, I know things I’d rather not, or more to the point, I know things I wish weren’t so.)
Mostly, I am able to laser in on situations and people and read them. I often know how people are feeling, even when they haven’t said. I don’t see “auras” but I certainly pick up on energy, whatever that nameless thing is that people exude, for better and worse. I don’t have “visions” but sometimes specific information or insights appear fully formed in my mind. I never doubt them when that happens. That said, I’m not a savant and I miss the mark sometimes with my “take” on things but I’m right more than I’m wrong. And — as I’ve said once before, I’ve never been wrong when I had a “bad feeling” about somebody.
Not everybody enjoys my perception. People with things to hide don’t like someone popping along and reading them. I get that. Or I do now. I keep my mouth shut more often. As opposed to when I was younger, when I think I sometimes showed off, like a party trick, telling people things about themselves. A very close friend once observed, somewhat accusingly (I thought), “You see too much.” I guess what I’m trying to say is that these days I don’t force it on anybody, and further, a lot of what I perceive, I keep to myself, unless someone wants to know. Even then, I’ve learned to be a bit more judicious about it.