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