Psychometry: Fact or Fiction?

The Chicks welcome back Judy Penz Sheluk, who shares a fascinating story from her personal life that inspired the plot of Past & Present, her latest Marketville Mystery.

When I was about sixteen, my mother and her best friend, Kay, dragged me to an “event” where a blind psychic would go into the audience, take a proffered object, and tell the owner something about it (for something like $10 a pop). At the time, Kay and my mom were big on going to fortunetellers, Kay being recently divorced and actively looking for a replacement husband and impending news of where or when she’d find one, whereas my father had died of stomach cancer two years earlier, widowing my mother at age 41. She was looking for answers, too, though her hope was that she’d hear from my father on the “other side.”

Anyway, being the stellar teenager that I was (hey, this is my version of the story), I agreed to go with them and so off we went. I’ll admit to being a major league skeptic, especially after the first few objects garnered generic responses like, “The person who gave you this ring meant a lot to you, didn’t they?” and so forth. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud.

When my turn came, I handed him a gold locket given to me by my father two month’s before his death. I was expecting the usual rhetoric when the psychic doubled over, clutching his stomach, his face writhed in pain, tears trickling down. I watched transfixed, wondering how he could have felt my father’s pain while holding that locket, when he handed me back the locket and said something along the lines of  “He is watching over you.” My mom and Kay became life long believers. I never went to another psychic.

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Judy, wearing the locket that was a gift from her father

Fast forward a few decades, and I’m writing Past & Present, the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic, and my protagonist, Callie Barnstable, has started her own company: Past & Present Investigations. Her first case involves searching for information about her client’s grandmother, Anneliese Prei, who came to a “bad end” in 1956. Callie has a couple of pieces of jewelry that belonged to Anneliese, and I’m thinking…okay…now what? And I remembered that day all those years ago, and the gold locket (which I still own and wear), and I started doing some research.

I learned that someone who reads objects is not a psychic, but a psychometrist. For the uninitiated, psychometry is based on the theory that the human mind radiates an aura in all directions, which impresses everything within its orbit. Since all objects are porous, the minute holes in the object’s surface collect fragments of the mental aura of the person who possessed the object. Of course, there is no scientific evidence that psychometry exists, and skeptics explain alleged successes of psychometry by cold reading and confirmation bias. I’m still not sure how either cold reading or confirmation bias explains that day with the gold locket.

But what about in the book? Does Callie visit a psychometrist with Anneliese’s jewelry? Well, yes she does, despite a healthy dose of skepticism. Does that person reveal anything relevant about the past? Ah…you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Unless, of course, you’re psychic. Then you already know the answer.

Readers, have you ever had a psychic – or psychometric – experience?

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Soon after forming Past & Present Investigations, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable gets her first client: a woman seeking the truth about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, who came to a “bad end” in 1956. But Anneliese’s past has a way of winding its way into Callie’s present, and not in a way anyone, least of all Callie, could have predicted.

Past & Present is currently available for pre-order at the introductory price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99) on Kindle, and in paperback ($14.99) at all the usual suspects. Publication date is Sept. 21, 2018. Buy link:



About the author: An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, was published in July 2015, and is also available in audiobook. The sequel, A Hole In One, was published March 2018, with audiobook to follow Fall 2018. Skeletons in the Attic, Judy’s second novel, and the first in her Marketville Mystery series, was first published in August 2016 and re-released in December 2017. It is also available in audiobook format. The sequel, Past & Present, will be released September 2018. Judy’s short crime and literary fiction appears in several collections. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors as a representative for Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find out more about Judy at

48 thoughts on “Psychometry: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Welcome Judy. You know, for some reason you name kind of makes me envision the background of your character’s situation. Great story here. I like this kind of stuff.
    As far as psychic goes? I am a believer. I have dreams that predict future events. I had a dream befor each child was born of a medical problem (abstract visioning of course) they would have. And of course all three of them are true (son 1 bipolar, son 2 heart issues, daughter hears voices). I also have been known to ask the tarot cards very specific questions that come true, especially when I don’t want them to. And no, they aren’t general like you described of the audience, they are like what you had happen.
    I don’t want the stuff to be real, but it can be, if you just believe with a certain amount of skepticism. That is key.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I am not a believer, but I do believe that those practicing the art of psychometry (is that a word?) are at the far end of the empathy scale–i.e., they have an uncanny ability to read people by their faces, hands, clothes, movements, etc. So I guess in some ways, who’s to say it’s not some kind of psychic ability?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. That’s so interesting that you happened to write about this when you did. My grandmother’s been gone for 20 years, but I just last week got her wedding ring after my aunt passed away. I was *just* thinking how cool it would be to have someone do a reading, just out of curiosity to see if they would say something more than, “The person who wore this meant a lot to you.” 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Marla, I’m not sure where you’d find someone — I have no idea how my mom and Kay found the folks they went to see — but it would be interesting. Of course, the style of the wedding ring will be a giveaway of the age of the person who owned it, more than likely.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. How interesting! I will admit that I’m not a believer, but I also like to know about various ‘unexplainable’ things. I think that our minds are capable of so much more than what even the most cutting-edge science is aware. Who knows what we might be able to do if we used every little bit of our intellect? Love the story and I certainly understand why you didn’t want to visit another psychic-type person.

    Good luck with the book and I’ll watch for it. I have Skeletons in the Attic on my Kindle, but haven’t read it yet. Story of my life – I have it, but haven’t read it yet. Ha! This is a good reason for me to start it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Kay, for purchasing Skeletons! Hope you get to read it soon. I know all about a Kindle full of books. It was easier when we were print-only readers — you could look at your bookcase and say…that one! But now…
      I like to think, in Past & Present, that I’ve given both believers and skeptics alike pause for thought.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Wow, Judy, what a moving story! Okay (deep breath), I actually do believe that some people have the power/empathy to receive messages from beyond, and that some people who have passed possess the energy to send them. I also feel as if they have a very important reason to relay those messages or feelings. I would like to be a skeptic, but I seem to be one of those people who’s open to receiving communications (from good people, not bad or scary!). Am I crazy? Maybe. But I’ve had a few experiences myself that have made me a believer (taking all the money-grubbing hacks and fortunetellers out of there). I will never visit a psychic, for 2 reasons: on one hand, most will be fake, and on the other…I already know the people who need to reach me from beyond will do it themselves. Thanks from me also from visiting us Chicks! We love it when you drop by.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree with what you are saying Lisa. Going to a psychic or fortune teller is good for entertainment value only. Kind of like hypnotists. But if you keep your mind open to the possibility, yeah, people will reach out to you.
      I remember a story my mother told me. She was depressed, and was thinking of ending it all. In the shower one day, my grandma’s spirit came to her and said “you can’t do that. You daughter is pregnant with your first grandchild.” A week later, I called my mom saying I was pregnant.
      Spooky? Imagined? Skeptical? Real? Who knows. But I have had too many unexplained things happen to toss certain things aside.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a fascinating post! Thanks for visiting us, Judy.

    I’ve had some psychics tell me very specific things that came true later. (Also had some intense instances of “knowing” something that I can’t explain too!)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Judy, I have a friend who is a psychic. I completely believe in him. He has told me things about my dogs — he is not a dog person — that have helped me tell the vet what to look for. He doesn’t usually remember what he tells a person in a reading unless they discuss something after he finishes the reading. I find comfort in believing dogs I have loved and lost are waiting for me on the other side as he says they are. I’m not arguing. I don’t understand the process, but I am highly intuitive myself and sometimes “know” things that seem improbable that turn out to be true. Thank you for the interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary, my last dog, Copper, I could not connect to him. We got him at 8 months, just after my beloved Ranger had died of cancer. I thought it was too soon for another dog. And then, Copper almost died being neutered (allergic to anaesthetic). And after that, he had new personality quirks that reminded me of my first 3 dogs (including Ranger) and I knew that “all my dogs” now lived inside Copper. People may think I’m crazy, but I know what I know. When he died in Dec. 2014 at age 12 1/2, I lost a wonderful friend. I believe your friend has the gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Informative and intriguing. I am just about to publish a book (not my own) dealing with a world famous — or infamous — medium who is likely to have had psychometry as part of her makeup, so this is of particular interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve read that we only use about 10% of our brain, so whose to say that psychic’s aren’t using a part of the brain not used/ developed by most people. Look at Rain Man, with the toothpicks. I certainly couldn’t do that.
    That being said, I believe most are frauds. Although I used to watch Medium about Alison DuBois.& I believe in her gifts.


  10. Hello Judy, thank you for sharing your story. I am a trance medium, use psychometry at times and insist, on specific information to be delivered. The dose of scepticism was healthy that you showed with the generic phrases being proffered as a reading. There is a good line in the film “Ghost” when the ‘psychic’ says “he loves you” and then annoyed with the ghost “what do you mean, ditto” at which point ‘ditto’ is what the ghost said in real life instead of I love you. The physical pain or awareness, such as the doubling over at feeling your father’s abdominal pain, is called clairsentience. Many myths abound about psychic and spiritual communication, with or without the use of divination tools. I have written a book on ethics and psychic readings, and write for an international psychic magazine – if you or anyone else is interested in asking questions to clarify about writing psychic stuff in a book please feel free to contact me.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Suzanne, I just downloaded your book on Kindle. Not sure when I’ll get to read it — doing some R&R at our cabin now, but it sounds like a wonderful resource. I loved Ghost and remember that line very well. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. And now I know what clairsentience is…

    Liked by 2 people

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