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reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals, stones, glass, mirrors,

water, fire, or smoke. Scrying has been used in many cultures in the belief that it can
divine the past, present, or future. The visions that come when one stares into the media
are thought to come from one's subconscious and imagination,[1] though in the past they
were thought to come from gods, spirits, devils, the psychic mind, depending on the
culture and practice.
Although scrying is most commonly done with a crystal ball, it may also be performed
using any smooth surface, such as a bowl of liquid, a pond, or a crystal.
Like other aspects of divination and parapsychology, scrying is not supported by
mainstream science as a method of predicting the future. However, a 2010 paper in the
journal Perception[2] identified one specific method of reliably reproducing a scrying
illusion in a mirror and hypothesized that it "might be caused by low level fluctuations
in the stability of edges, shading and outlines affecting the perceived definition of the
face, which gets over-interpreted as someone else by the face recognition system."[3]
The Ganzfeld experiment involves sensory deprivation which might also be seen as
comparable with scrying.


1 Method

2 Religion and mythology

o 2.1 Ancient Persia
o 2.2 Latter Day Saint movement

3 In folklore

4 Modern day

5 See also

6 Notes

7 References and further reading

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The visions that scryers say they see may come from variations in the medium. If the
medium is water (hydromancy), then the visions may come from the color, ebb and
flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool. If the medium is a crystal ball,
the visions may come from the tiny inclusions, web-like faults, or the cloudy glow
within the ball under low light (e.g. candlelight).
One method of scrying using a crystal ball involves a self-induced trance. Initially, the
medium serves as a focus for the attention, removing unwanted thoughts from the mind
in the same way as a mantra. Once this stage is achieved, the scryer begins a free
association with the perceived images suggested. The technique of deliberately looking
for and declaring these initial images aloud, however trivial or irrelevant they may seem
to the conscious mind, is done with the intent of deepening the trance state, in this
trance the scryer hears his own disassociated voice affirming what is seen within the
concentrated state in a kind of feedback loop. This process culminates in the
achievement of a final and desired end stage in which rich visual images and dramatic
stories seem to be projected within the medium itself, or directly within the mind's eye
of the scryer, something like an inner movie. This process reputedly allows the scryer to
"see" relevant events or images within the chosen medium.
One of the most famous scryers in history lived in the 16th century and was known as
Nostradamus. He used a bowl of water or a "magic mirror" to "see" the future in it,
while he was in trance.

Religion and mythology[edit]

See also: Mirrors in Mesoamerican culture

Ancient Persia[edit]
Main article: Cup of Jamshid
The Shahnameh, a historical epic work written in the late 10th century, gives a
description of what was called the Cup of Jamshid or Jaam-e Jam, used in pre-Islamic
Persia, which was used by wizards and practitioners of the esoteric sciences for
observing all of the seven layers of the universe. The cup contained an elixir of

Latter Day Saint movement[edit]

Main articles: Seer stone (Latter Day Saints) and Urim and Thummim (Latter Day
In the late 1820s, Joseph Smith founded the Latter Day Saint movement based in part
on what was said to be the miraculous information obtained from the reflections of seer
stones. Smith had at least three separate stones, including his favorite, a brown stone he
found during excavation of a neighbor's well. He initially used these stones in various
treasure-digging quests in the early 1820s, placing the stone in the bottom of his hat and
putting his face in the hat to read what he believed were the miraculous reflections from
the stone.[4] Smith also said that he had access to a separate set of spectacles composed

of seer stones, which he called the Urim and Thummim. He said that, through these
stones, he could translate the plates that are the stated source of the Book of Mormon.[5]

In folklore[edit]

Divination rituals such as the one depicted on this early 20th-century Halloween
greeting card, where a woman stares into a mirror in a darkened room to catch a glimpse
of the face of her future husband while a witch lurks in the shadows, may be one origin
of the Bloody Mary legend.

This Halloween greeting card from 1904 satirizes divination: the young woman hoping
to see her future husband sees the reflection of a nearby portrait instead.

Rituals that involve many of the same acts as scrying in ceremonial magic are also
preserved in folklore form. A formerly widespread tradition held that young women
gazing into a mirror in a darkened room (often on Halloween) could catch a glimpse of
their future husband's face in the mirroror a skull personifying Death if their fate was
to die before they married.
Another form of the tale, involving the same actions of gazing into a mirror in a
darkened room, is used as a supernatural dare in the tale of "Bloody Mary". Here, the
motive is usually to test the adolescent gazers' mettle against a malevolent witch or
ghost, in a ritual designed to allow the scryers' easy escape if the visions summoned
prove too frightening.[6]
While, as with any sort of folklore, the details may vary, this particular tale (Bloody
Mary) encouraged young women to walk up a flight of stairs backwards, holding a
candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were
supposed to be able to catch a view of their future husband's face. There was, however,
a chance that they would see the skull-face of the Grim Reaper instead; this meant that
they were destined to die before they married.
In the fairytale of Snow White, the jealous queen consults a magic mirror, which she
asks "Magic mirror on the wall / Who is the fairest of them all?", to which the mirror
always replies "You, my queen, are fairest of all." But when Snow White reaches the
age of seven, she becomes as beautiful as the day, and when the queen asks her mirror,
it responds: "Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you."[7]

Modern day[edit]

The Ganzfeld experiment involves sensory deprivation which might be seen as

comparable with scrying. According to the small community of
parapsychologists, it provides the best known evidence for psi abilities in the

The Dr. John Dee of the Mind research institute, founded by the
parapsychologist Raymond Moody, utilizes crystallomancy to allow people to
experience an altered state of consciousness with the intention of invoking
apparitions of the dead.

Contemporary mass media, such as films, often depict scrying using a crystal
ball, stereotypically used by an old gypsy woman.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth (especially in The Lord of

the Rings), the Palantr is a stone that allows a viewer to see what any other
Palantr sees, and the Mirror of Galadriel is used as a scrying device to see
visions of the past, present, or future.

The British astrologer and psychic known as Mystic Meg, who came to national
attention as part of the UK's National Lottery draw in 1994, was often portrayed
with a crystal ball.

In the videogame Clive Barker's Undying, Patrick Galloway (the player) is

shown in possession of a green crystal, The Gel'ziabar Stone, which allows him
to scrye visions and sounds from the past, that are vital to the various missions.
[citation needed]

In Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle the use of a mirror to view people and
places the viewer knew in the present was possible with the drawback of not
being able to see anything to which they had no knowledge. The attempt to scry
the future would cost the user their life.

In the US television series Charmed, the sisters scry with a crystal and a map to
locate people.[citation needed]

Traditional healers from the Yucatn Peninsula and Guatemala use stone crystal
balls for scrying. These are known as sastun or zaztun. Originally, they were
Mayan antiquities that they used to collect in archaeological ruins.[9] Nowadays
they are mostly modern objects. It is unknown what was the original use of the
jade balls found in ancient Mayan burials.

See also[edit]


Crystal gazing

Ganzfeld experiment


Kozyrev mirror



Magic (paranormal)



List of topics characterized as pseudoscience