TARDIS Index File

Psychic power

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Psychic powers, also known by the acronym ESP for Extra-Sensory Perceptions (TV: Planet of the Spiders), were made possible by the conscious or unconscious manipulation of psychic energy.


History edit

Originally related to magic and still understood as such in many cultures, psychic abilities survived the Time Lords' imposition of the laws of physics on the universe by being sufficiently grounded in science. (PROSE: So Vile a Sin)

The Tenth Doctor described psychic abilities as simply, "the ability to see strands of future time." (PROSE: The Weeping)

The Soviet Union began research into psychic powers before World War II in the hope of creating a psychic bomb designed to provoke extreme emotions in people. This ambition had been achieved by 1965. The United States of America also researched psychic powers in the 1960s. (AUDIO: Peshka)

Causes of psychic ability edit

Natural racial abilities edit

Some species were innately psychically active - in some cases it was very unusual for an individual of a given species not to manifest psi-powers. These powers could be of any type - for instance, the Arcateenians appeared to be innately telepathic. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts)

A Krynoid and Harrison Chase developed a psychic attachment, with Harrison being indoctrinated with the others thoughts. (TV: The Seeds of Doom)

The Doctor [source needed] and Susan Foreman [source needed] both displayed telepathic abilities, but most Time Lords did not. [disputed statement] [source needed] Several other Time Lords [who?] [source needed] did show psychic abilities and the Doctor [which?] said at least twice [source needed] that Time Lords were telepathic.

Innate psychic ability in humans was rare, but not unknown: according to the Third Doctor, they were just dormant in most members of Homo sapiens. (TV: Planet of the Spiders) Most humans had at least some latent psychic potential. Significant individuals (such as William Shakespeare), showed enough latent psychic ability to see psychic paper as blank. (TV: The Shakespeare Code) This ability may have been due to an extra synaptic engram in the brain, which was seen in individuals with mild telepathic abilities such as Tim Latimer. [source needed] Torchwood 1 personnel were given basic psychic training, also giving them this ability. (TV: Army of Ghosts)

Mutation due to external factors edit

In species that were not normally psi-active, powers could nevertheless still appear given the right stimuli. Humans living near a time rift developed psychic abilities, (TV: The Unquiet Dead, The Fires of Pompeii) which might vanish if the rift were sealed. (TV: The Fires of Pompeii) Prolonged exposure to a Metebelis crystal might also result in psychic powers. [source needed]

Due to living on the lip of a wormhole for centuries, human colonists on Agelaos developed psychic abilities. (PROSE: The Weeping)

Types of psychic ability edit

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Sensory abilities edit

Manipulative abilities edit

Artificial psychic phenomena edit

Psychic energy was normally only produced by living minds, which made it (and the powers utilising it) difficult to study or replicate using conventional technological means.

However, a number of devices were constructed to facilitate or mimic natural psychic powers. TARDISes generated a psychic field and incorporated telepathic circuits to facilitate both short- and long-range communications. (TV: Frontier in Space) The IRIS Machine artificially boosted the telepathic potential of human test subjects. (TV: Planet of the Spiders) The Arcateenians used telepathy pendants for long-range communication. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts) The Coronet of Rassilon gave the wearer the power of mind control, even over multiple subjects simultaneously. (TV: The Five Doctors)

In his later incarnations, the Doctor routinely carried psychic paper to save time in establishing his credentials. (TV: The End of the World, The Long Game and others) This ploy was also used by Captain Jack Harkness. (TV: The Empty Child) Psychic credit cards were used by the Doctor to hold money. (PROSE: Only Human)