Extrasensory perception is the ability to procure any information through paranormal means, or any form of information gathering without using the five senses or past information. Extrasensory perception usually refers to the use of psychic abilities, of which there are five recognized categories. These are telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition, and psychometry. In a more general context, the term is referred to as the sixth sense, a gut feeling, or a hunch. The study of ESP and other paranormal phenomena is called parapsychology. The term extrasensory perception was coined by J.B. Rhine, a researcher from Duke University.
Records of extrasensory perception as witnessed or experienced by people have existed since the ancient times. Powers to read the mind and the future were often attributed to wise men, sages, and holy people. They were often believed to have a second sight or a third eye with which they saw the future. ESP is believed to be an inborn trait. The proponents of ESP believe that everyone has some degree of psychic ability, only that this ability is more developed in others. There are some instances when ESP has been observed in individuals who have undergone traumatic or paranormal experiences.
Presently, no concrete scientific proof for ESP has been found, and skepticism about ESP is mainly due to the lack of a viable theory behind this phenomena. Historical records of flaws in the experimental designs of studies and uncovered hoaxes dealing with paranormal phenomena have not helped build a solid foundation or credibility for ESP and other paranormal activities.