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Retrocognition; Retrodiction

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Retrocognition—also known as postcognition—is knowledge of an event after it happens, when the person would have no natural knowledge of that event. A better known term is precognition, which is knowledge of an event before it happens. (In the same way, retrodiction is the opposite of prediction.) J. M. Robertson, in Buckle & His Critics (1895), said, “Let us first put a little order in our conception of prediction and ‘retrodiction’ as they indisputably take place in the settled sciences.” And Frederick W. H. Myers, in his 1901 work Human Personality, said, “Our retrocognitions seem often a recovery of isolated fragments of thought and feeling.”

Most people who exhibit the ability to be retrocognitive are also precognitive. They have the ability to focus on people and events from either the past or the future. The information is frequently obtained through clairvoyance, clairaudience, or clairsentience. Psychometry is another one of the main ways of working with retrocognition. By handling an object, the medium is able to gain information about the past connections with that object, and the people and events that have come into contact with it.

One of the most famous cases of retrocognition was that of two English ladies who, on August 10, 1901, visited the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France. Annie E. Moberly and Eleanor M. Jourdain went through a side gate, just before getting to the main gate, and found themselves on a path which they followed, thinking it must lead to the main house. Instead, they found themselves back in the year 1770. In their perambulations, the ladies saw men in three-cornered hats, a woman with a large white hat, and others in the dress of the eighteenth century.


Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Holroyd, Stuart: The Supernatural: Minds Without Boundaries. London: Aldus, 1975 Myers, F. W. H.: Human Personality and Its Survival After Bodily Death. London: Longmans, 1903

Oxford English Dictionary, The. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989

Retrodiction see retrocognition
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