The word psychic comes from the Greek word psychikos which means “of the mind” or “mental.” A psychic may be also known as a seer or a clairvoyant and supposedly possesses the power to peer into the future and foretell of events that have to occur. The tools of a psychic can range from slipping into a trance to looking into a crystal ball. Psychic predictions can be presented with dead-on accuracy, though most tend to be rather more vague and open to interpretation.
The most famous psychic of all time is probably the man known simply as Nostradamus. He was born Michel de Nostredame in 1503 and his reputation as a great seer began with his legendary confrontation with Franciscan monk in front of whom Nostradamus knelt and addressed as “Your Holiness.” Many years later, after Nostradamus had died, that young monk was elected Pope Sixtus V. The world today knows of the psychic predictions of Nostradamus thanks to their being collected in a volume titled Centuries which seems to predict events up to 3773 A.D. The predictions are in the form of quatrains that are so obscure as to be open to vast interpretation. Among the most famous of the psychic predictions of Nostradamus are those that seem to foretell the Great London Fire, the French Revolution and the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Edgar Cayce is a unique individual in the history of modern psychics in that he did not try to cash in on his abilities, regardless of whether they were real or imagined. Cayce was born in Kentucky and 1877 and his predictions were arrived at by going into a such a deep trance that he could neither remember what he’d said while under nor even explain some of the things that he said while in the trance. Edgar Cayce’s greatest claim to psychic fame was his prediction in April of 1929 that the stock market would crash later that year. He was far less accurate in psychic predictions that warned of massive flooding in Japan, Atlantis rising from the ocean floor and the devastation of Los Angeles due to a massive earthquake.
The most commercially successful psychic of the 20th century may well have been Jeanne Dixon whose column ran in thousands of newspapers. The story goes that a gypsy recognized Dixon’s talents as a child and handed her a crystal ball which she used to make predictions. Her rise to prominence came when she supposedly predicted the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In fact, the only written prediction occurred in Parade magazine in 1956 in which Dixon predicted only that the winner of the 1960 election would be a Democrat and that he would either be assassinated or die in office. Among Dixon’s other accurate predictions were that UN Sec-General Dag Hammarskjold would die in a plane crash and that Richard Nixon would be elected President. Among her most illustrious misses were that an enormous civil war would break out in the 1980s and that aliens will give society the knowledge to harness the energy of the sun.