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Clairvoyant, n. A person, commonly a woman, who has the power of seeing that which is invisible to her patron — namely, that he is a blockhead.
—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)

Clairvoyance (also known as remote viewing) is the supposed ability to see distant objects or events by extra-sensory means. A common misconception is that clairvoyance means "predicting the future", but in parapsychology this has its own term, precognition. The word comes from the French clair + voyant, meaning "Keenness of mental perception, clearness of insight", extended figuratively to mean insight into things beyond mere human understanding.[1]

Clairvoyance is not accepted as genuine by scientists, but enough people have wanted it to be real that intelligence agencies such as the KGB and the CIA have put a fair amount of research into it with nothing to show for it. In addition, theosophists Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater wrote a book called Occult Chemistry in which they used clairvoyance to create a series of completely erroneous pictures of atomic structures.

See also[edit]


  1. "clairvoyance, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2016. Web. 2 November 2016.