What Is Retrocognition?

Find Out About Retrocognition and Its Connection to the Past

Also known as "postcognition," retrocognition literally translated from its Latin roots means "backward knowing." In the context of the paranormal, it is the ability to psychically pick up information about a place's or person's past.

We have all seen psychics on TV shows who go into a location that they allegedly know nothing about and can sense and articulate information about that place. Most often, they seem to be able to do this in locations where there has been a death, trauma, or significant event.

It's very difficult to prove or disprove the claims for these psychic abilities. The psychic could have researched the location beforehand, for example, or otherwise been provided with information.

How Does Retrocognition Work?

Retrocognition might work in the way that residual ghost phenomena works: the event is imprinted on the environment in some holographically psychic way that we do not yet understand. Everything, after all, is made up of energy, and the energy of the traumatic or oft-repeated events remain recorded in the environment in which they originally occurred. The psychic is able to "tune in" to the specific frequency of this residual energy and "see" it or experience it. Let me stress that this is just a possibility or theory for which we have no concrete proof.

Retrocognition and De​ja Vu

​Paranormal experts believe that all people have some power of retrocognition, though some are more in tune with their abilities than others.

​The experience of deja vu may be a small form of retrocognition. If you have ever walked into a room or met someone, and felt like you have done that same action before, you may have experienced retrocognition.

Retrocognition and Reincarnation

​In cultures were reincarnation is accepted, small children have recounted stories of past lives in great detail, right down to the address of where they lived and what their trade was.

Often, they have skills without ever training or can report details they could not know otherwise. Their ability to know and acknowledge the past is astounding.

​While western cultures are dubious of these claims, in cultures where past lives are considered part of their doctrine, these children are used as proof of retrocognition and reincarnation.

​Famous Examples

In 1901, ​Annie Moberly and Eleanor ​Jourdain became well known for their abilities of retrocognition. Both were academic scholars and worked at a British ​school for women and were well-respected in their fields.

​They were determined to find the location of the private chateau belonging to the ill-fated French queen, Marie Antoinette. But as they sought its location, ​they believed to have encountered Marie Antoinette.

​Rather than coming across the deceased queen's ghost, the pair said they thought they interacted with a recollection of her past and it became one of the most notable examples of retrocognition to date.

Moberly and Jourdain wrote about their experience in the book An Adventure, published in 1911. They provided details about the queen's speech, dress, and actions. They believed the retrocognition they experienced was a memory of Antoinette's last days before her execution.