Applied Psi, a term coined in the early 1980s by parapsychologist Jeff Mishlove, refers to the technological aspect of psychic phenomena as opposed to the purely scientific study of it. Assuming that psychic phenomena (telepathy, clairvoyance, psychometry, etc.) exists, one should be able not only to describe it and predict its behavior, but to learn to control it to some extent and use it in practical situations. The idea was announced in a new periodical, Applied Psi, the first issue of which appeared in 1982. Mishlove called for parapsychology to re-focus its attention, then almost exclusively oriented (in the face of skeptical critics) to the accumulation of proof that psychic phenomena existed, to study ways to develop psi application to business and daily life. Shortly thereafter, E. Douglas Dean issued a book-length study of his observations of business executives who used their psychic talents in making crucial (and successful) business decisions. If psi could be made operative, one could imagine application in almost every field of endeavor.
Applied psi was an integral part of pre-scientific cultures. Practitioners, who went under a variety of names from witch to shaman, were called upon to predict the future, control the weather, heal the sick, and locate lost objects. While attempts at such uses of psi are still common in Spiritualist and New Age circles, their general application in society has been replaced by more successful scientific methods. Unbeknownst to most people at the time, during the Cold War the United States government had, as had the Soviet government earlier, initiated experiments in the use of remote viewing. Other experiments were carried out in a more or less controlled manner on the use of precognition to make money gambling or in the stock market. While the government experiments yielded some impressive results, ultimately, they were not reliable enough to use for spy operations. In like measure, the gambling and stock market results, which included some impressive successes, such as the ability to predict rising stocks demonstrated by psychic Bevy Jaegers, eventually leveled out.
Possibly the most extensive possibility of the observation of psychic powers in a practical situation came in the field of crime detection. Through the 1980s and 1990s, a number of police departments have either invited or allowed the participation of a psychic in the attempt to gather clues in an otherwise dead-end case. The widely publicized work of Dutch clairvoyant Gerard Croiset had placed this option before police departments around the world. While a few departments, in the wake of some apparent successes, such as the efforts of psychic Dorothy Allison, continue to use psychics, the practice remains controversial. Psychics are also employed by lawyers for use in the selection of jurists in important court cases.
Thus, while the major observation of Dean—that successful executives often demonstrate an intuition that appears to be psychic rather than simply good judgment—may stand, the application of psi to practical situations have yet to yield the results hoped for by the exponents of applied psi in the early 1980s.
Applied psi has also been called psionics, but has to be distinguished from the use of that term in radionics as initiated by John W. Campbell.
Dean, E. Douglas, et al. Executive ESP. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.
Mishlove, Jeffrey. Psi Development Systems. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1983.
——, and William H. Kautz. "An Emerging New Discipline!" Applied Psi 1, no.1 (March/April 1982): 1.
Pease, Marshall. "Intuition and the Stock Market." Applied Psi 3, no.3 (fall 1984). 7-9.