Mind reading and the ability to predict the future are not skills people generally associate with the human race. Yet, research shows many people genuinely believe in the existence of psychic powers.
You would think that instances of proven psychic fraud over the years would weaken the credibility of psychic claims. There have been historical cases, such as Lajos Pap, the Hungarian spiritualist medium, who was found to be faking animal appearances at seances. And then more recently, self described psychic James Hydrick was revealed as a trickster. Hydrick confessed his paranormal demonstrations were tricks learned in prison.
Another notable example involved televangelist Peter Popoff. His wife used a wireless transmitter to broadcast information about sermon attendees to Popoff via an earpiece. Popoff claimed to receive this information by paranormal means and rose to fame hosting a nationally televised programme, during which he performed seemingly miraculous cures on audience members.
But despite such cases, there are still many people who firmly believe in the power of psychic ability. According to a US Gallup survey, for example, more than one-quarter of people believe humans have psychic abilities – such as telepathy and clairvoyance.