What Is Retrocognition?

The term retrocognition refers to the knowledge of things that have already happened. That doesn’t sound too exciting until you add the words “which could not be known by normal means”. In many ways retrocognition is the opposite of precognition and is sometimes called postcognition.

Like its better known sibling precognition, retrocognition is a psi ability that can take many forms. For instance psychometry can be considered an application of retrocognition.

As with precognition, retrocognition can occur at many levels. At its simplest it’s simply a “feeling”: regonising a place, person or set of circumstances; somehow “knowing” what happened in a certain situation. The common feeling of “deja vu” could be a low level example of retrocognition. As always, skeptics often explain such feelings as coincidence or information subconsciously gathered by ordinary means.

More difficult to explain away are the examples of retrocognition where someone is consciously aware of the details of a previous happening. These “visions” can either be experienced as watching a movie or through the eyes of one of the participants. Unfortunately this is one of the many psi abilities not amenable to laboratory testing – for most psychics, such flashes occur spontaneously and cannot be reproduced at will.

Past Lives

Perhaps the most spectacular demonstration of retrocognition is past life recall or regression. Here the events perceived often occured in the far past and could not possibly have been known about by normal means.

Whether the psychic really “lived” these lives or is picking up on some sort of historical “psychic shadow” is a question for philosophers. It doesn’t change the nature of the experience.