The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning “alongside”, and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research. Parapsychologists study a number of ostensible paranormal phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation and apparitional experiences.
Parapsychologists study a number of ostensible paranormal phenomena, including but not limited to:
Telepathy: Transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses.
Precognition: Perception of information about future places or events before they occur.
Clairvoyance: Obtaining information about places or events at remote locations, by means unknown to current science.
Psychokinesis: The ability of the mind to influence matter, time, space, or energy by means unknown to current science.
Near-death experiences: An experience reported by a person who nearly died, or who experienced clinical death and then revived.
Reincarnation: The rebirth of a soul or other non-physical aspect of human consciousness in a new physical body after death.
Apparitional experiences: Phenomena often attributed to ghosts and encountered in places a deceased individual is thought to have frequented, or in association with the person’s former belongings.
The definitions for the terms above may not reflect their mainstream usage, nor the opinions of all parapsychologists and their critics.
According to the Parapsychological Association, parapsychologists do not study all paranormal phenomena, nor are they concerned with astrology, UFOs, Bigfoot, paganism, vampires, alchemy, or witchcraft.