Crystal gazing goes by a variety of names, including crystallism, crystallomancy, gastromancy, spheromancy, and the more common crystal-seeing.
All of these names refer to the practice of seeing visions during a trance, which is induced by gazing at a crystal.
A variety of different materials can be used to induce a trance for crystal gazing; the most commonly known is a crystal ball, which is just a transparent simple sphere usually composed of glass or lead crystal.
Popular media often depicts large crystal balls on a fortune teller’s table, but crystal balls used by crystal gazers can vary greatly in size. Some are over a foot in diameter and require a stand or table for support.
Others can be as small as a couple inches in diameter, small enough to be held in the hand of the crystal gazer. Any object with similar reflective or refractive properties can replace the ball, however; some examples are gem stones with crystalline appearance, or even curved mirrors.
Research has not found any evidence that crystal gazing has a direct supernatural connection or reveals visions of the future. However it is clear that crystal gazing does induce a trance or hypnosis-like state in the mind of the crystal gazer.
Visions in this state can almost be compared to hallucinations, except that they are deliberately induced and recognized by the beholder. From a scientific standpoint, it is difficult to conclusively say what a subject sees in this trance, or even that the results will be the same with different subjects.
Some researchers have speculated that crystal gazing causes the subject to visualize things based on their conscious or subconscious memory, with other influences from their subconscious.
Other research suggests that there is a link between what the subject’s visions and their expectation.
Some researchers and practitioners alike have made the point that the possibility of crystal gazing showing the contents of the gazer’s subconscious mind does not necessarily preclude the visions’ ability to show the future.
Written by – Sol Vazquez
Society for Psychical Research. N.p., 2009. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.spr.ac.uk/>.
Sprague, De Camp L. The Ragged Edge of Science. Philadelphia: Owlswick, 1980. Print.
Zusne, Leonard, and Warren H. Jones. Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum, 1989. Print.