Parapsychology is the scientific and scholarly study of three kinds of unusual events (ESP, mind-matter interaction, and survival), which are associated with human experience. Parapsychology is the study of paranormal or superhuman experiences and events, such as hauntings, near-death experiences, and alien abductions. In the present, parapsychology is considered a pseudoscience because it appears to be scientific but lacks any empirical evidence or scientific method to back up that claim. Yet, despite the fact that it is rarely taken seriously in the present, there was a time when parapsychology was believed to be the next frontier in scientific study.
For centuries, existential questions of life after death or belief in otherworldly beings were left up to religious teachings to answer. And many people just accepted things like ghosts or demons as a part of everyday life. This all changed in the latter part of the 19th century with the opening of the Society for Psychical Research in London. The purpose of the society was to bring together people from different disciplines, like scientists and scholars, to find evidence and answers to the paranormal experiences that many people claimed to have had throughout time. The birth of the parapsychology movement coincided with two similar movements in the US and UK during that same time. The first, Spiritualism, was an American religious movement founded on the belief that people could communicate with spirits through a psychic medium. Shortly after Spiritualism became popular in the US, its British counterpart, Theosophy, began to bring parapsychological and supernatural ideas to the front of many people’s minds.
Parapsychology is a field of study that investigates paranormal or “psychic” phenomena. Researchers have looked for evidence of extrasensory perception (ESP), precognition (perceiving the future), telepathy (communicating mind-to-mind), and telekinesis (manipulating objects with the power of the mind). Parapsychologists refer to such alleged phenomena as psi. Other seemingly supernatural occurrences, such as out-of-body experiences, apparitions, and hauntings, have also been investigated.