So, What is Psychometry?
Within the study of parapsychology, psychometry is the ability to received extra-sensory information from objects, usually by touching them with your bare hands. As such, it is a form of extra-sensory perception (ESP).
The term psychomtry was coined in 1842 by Rhodes Buchanan. Historically and currently the same word is used to describe the empirical measurement of normal mental functions (such as reaction time, or memory). For this reason some prominent parapsychologists have suggested that its use in the psychic sphere may be a source of confusion. However an alternative term has not be developed. The valid synonyms such as psychic touch, retrocognition, imprint reading, pragmatic cryptaesthesia or bioholography have not become widely accepted.
How Does it Work?
W G Roll suggests that every object emits a psychic field, and a person's psychic field my leave an impression on this field that a sensitive person can read. Hans Dreisch considers this a form of object memory distinct from telepathy because the memory can be read even when the person to whom the memory initially belonged may be dead at the time of the psychometric reading.
- Parra & Argibay (2007) found that normal people could not identify characteristics of a person by holding an object they had carried with them (a keyring).
- Parra & Argibay (2009) found that neither psychic nor control subjects could determine whether subjects were alive or dead from their photographic portraits.
- Parra & Argibay (2009) found that their subjects, some of whom claimed psychic experiences, were unable to determine by touch whether or not an object came from a sacred site.
There is no evidence from properly controlled trials that psychometry is real. However, all psychic phenomena seem to be elusive and difficult to study. So absence of evidence is not always definitive evidence of absence.
There is something intuitively attractive about the idea of reading information from an object by touch--but the existence of this ability is currently unproven.