Can a person really start fires with their mind – or move objects without touching them?
The question of whether humans can have psychic powers has been discussed for centuries.
And now a new film tells the story of a young girl who develops pyrokinesis – the ability to create fire via thought – and is hunted by a secret government agency.
Firestarter, which features Ryan Kiera Armstrong as the flame-setting Charlie McGee and Zac Efron as her dad Andy, is based on a 1980 book of the same name by Stephen King.
But other real people have claimed to have spooky psychic skills, as Nadine Linge reveals…
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Born near Edinburgh in 1833, Daniel Dunglas Home was a celebrated Victorian medium who boasted a string of impressive skills.
He could play an accordion without touching its keys, summon disembodied limbs, make objects float and levitate. Several eyewitness accounts recorded him rising up and hovering in the air.
Home could also handle fire – plunging his hand into flames and taking a fiery coal without being burned, an ability known as pyrokinesis.
While many were sceptical of his talents, he refused payment and performed in well-lit conditions. He was even tested by leading physicist Sir William Crookes in 1874, who declared his powers real.
But his skills proved to be no flaming use when ill health caused his powers to fail. He died in 1886, aged 53.
THE GIRL WITH THE X-RAY EYES
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When she was just 10, Natasha Demkina discovered she had an incredible ability – she could see inside her mother’s body.
Just like an X-ray machine, the Russian claims to be able to detect internal problems and diagnose them.
When word got out, she had people queuing up to be diagnosed. As her fame spread, at 17 Natasha was invited on to This Morning in 2004 to give resident medic Dr Chris Steele the once-over. She correctly spotted his lymph nodes were enlarged and that he had two hernias, although other diagnoses proved incorrect.
She also spotted host Fern Britton’s sore ankle. During testing in Japan, Natasha was asked to diagnose a dog – and claimed to have correctly spotted a prosthetic device in its legs. Now 35, Natasha seems to have disappeared from public life.
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Just like another Stephen King character Carrie – the bullied girl with telekinetic powers, played by Sissy Spacek in the 1976 horror – Nina Kulagina appeared to develop the power to move things with her mind.
And similar to Carrie again, Nina realised her power when she found items spontaneously moved around her when she was angry.
The decorated WW2 Red Army veteran held her hands above objects on a table and they moved.
She once separated egg yolk from the white without touching either. One of her most famous experiments happened in 1970 when she was tasked with seeing whether her abilities extended to living creatures.
She proved they could when she stopped a frog’s heart beating. Scientists could find no explanation. She died in 1990 aged 63.
THE REAL-LIFE MAGNETO
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Just like Sir Ian McKellen’s X-Men character, who controls metal with his mind, Liew Thow Lin was known as the “human magnet” for making metal objects stick to his skin.
The Malaysian could hold and balance anything from cutlery to tools and household items – anything made of metal weighing up to 2kg, up to a total of 36kg. He also pulled a car using this ability.
His capabilities were not due to any source of magnetism and scientists found no magnetic field in his body. Lin died in 2013, aged 83.
THE SPOON BENDER
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Famous for his metal bothering, Uri Geller says his powers of telepathy and psychokinesis – reading thoughts and manipulating objects with his mind – were activated by an encounter with a UFO when he was three.
In 2017, documents revealed Geller underwent a week of CIA experiments in 1973 as part of the Stargate programme which investigated psychic powers and how they could be weaponised by the CIA. They concluded he did have paranormal abilities.
He famously claimed to have moved the ball at Euro 96 when Scotland’s Gary McAllister ran up to take a penalty against England and missed.
This year we also revealed how Geller, 75, urged Brits to “tickle a sickle” to get Vladimir Putin to step back from the war. Err…
THE DREAM DETECTIVE
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Since 1986, Chris Robinson has been dreaming of crimes, disasters, terror attacks and celebrity deaths.
The psychic, from Leighton Buzzard, Beds, claims he foresaw Michael Jackson’s death the night before it happened and dreamt the Chernobyl disaster, Princess Diana’s death, IRA attacks and the Lockerbie plane horror before they occurred.
At the time of the 9/11 attacks on New York, his abilities were being examined by Professor Gary Schwartz in the US.
Chris, 71, also claims he has worked with police, assisting their investigations with his psychic visions and warning them of crimes.
●Firestarter is in cinemas now.
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