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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Psychometry, also known as psychoscopy, is the ability to hold an object in the hands and to divine from it the history of that object. Spiritualist mediums, psychics, and others, can take a ring, watch, or similar object that has been in close contact with a person, and are able to “read” the past and present of the object itself and of those who have been in close contact with it for any length of time. The name (which is derived from the Greek psyche meaning “soul” and metron meaning “measure") was given by Dr. Joseph Rhodes Buchanan (1814–1899), a pioneer in psychometric research.

The theory is that everything that has ever existed has left its mark—some trace of its existence—on the ether. Lewis Spence suggests that haunted houses demonstrate this on a larger scale; events that took place left their impressions in the rooms, to be picked up by psychics. Impressions received through psychometry may vary in intensity, depending upon the acuteness of the atmosphere which has affected the object.

Everyone has the ability to psychometrize, though many need to practice at it in order to bring out what is latent. There is a well known story of Professor William Denton, a minerologist and researcher on psychometry, giving his wife and his mother meteoric fragments and other items, all carefully wrapped in paper so that they could not be seen. Denton’s wife had done psychometry before. She held to her forehead a package containing carboniferous material, and immediately started describing swamps and trees with tufted heads and scaled trunks (palm trees). Denton then gave her lava from a Hawaiian volcanic eruption. She held it and described a “boiling ocean” of golden lava. Denton’s mother, who did not believe in psychometry, was given a meteorite. She held it a moment then said, “I seem to be traveling away, away through nothing—I see what looks like stars and mist.”

Spiritualist mediums say “spirit speaks first.” What is meant by this is that first impressions are the most important. If too much thought is given, for too long, about the object being held, the mind starts trying to think logically and, whether consciously or unconsciously, to reason. If what first comes into the head is stated, no matter how outlandish it may seem at the time, it will invariably be the correct observation.

Psychics and sensitives have traced lost and stolen property and found missing people through the use of psychometry. Gérard Croiset frequently concentrated his energies on an object that had belonged to a missing person, in order to find them.


Buchanan, Joseph R.: Journal of Man. Boston: Little, Brown, 1849
Buchanan, Joseph R.: Manual of Psychometry. Boston: Little, Brown, 1885
Buckland, Raymond: The Fortune–Telling Book: The Encyclopedia of Divination and Soothsaying. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 2004
Butler, William E.: How to Develop Psychometry. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1971
Carrington, Hereward: Your Psychic Powers: And How to Develop Them. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1920
Spence, Lewis: An Encyclopedia of the Occult. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1920
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