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Psychometry is a Psychic Power in which a person receives visions upon physical contact, sometimes involuntarily. The most common form is when the person touches an object and receives information about things or people the object has associated with and/or the environment around the object. It can also manifest as touching a person and getting visions or knowledge of their history, memories, or character.

Sister Trope to Touch Telepathy (active mental communication through touch), often overlaps with it. Compare Dreaming of Times Gone By, which can convey similar information but is done through dreams rather than a psychic event.

Not to be confused with psychrometry, which is the real life study of vapors.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaos from Gunnm perceives the world mostly this way (for some reason his ordinary senses are scrambled). His power is so great that he can use the items with the full skill of their previous owners, which is quite a surprise for a bunch of assassins who invade his truck and he grabs a katana.
  • In Tokyo ESP, Murasaki can read the past of objects by touching them. Later she starts using this ability on weapons to copy their past owners' fighting skills.
  • Shiho of Zettai Karen Children is one of the setting's most powerful users of psychometry. Along with Touch Telepathy she can handle objects used by criminals and provide details about the crime and how the object was used. Her father, a chief of police, was taking advantage of this while Shiho was still in grade school.
  • Miho Karasuma from Witch Hunter Robin has this power, perceiving people's feelings and even past events through handling objects they've touched.
  • Some people from the Tokyo Babylon second OVA have this power, much to the surprise of Subaru since it's stated to be very rare. These persons are a young woman named Mirei, Mirei's own mother (who uses it in an Heroic Sacrifice to save her daughter) and a handsome bookworm named Miyazaki aka Mirei's love interest.
  • Two female characters created by Yoshihiro Togashi have both this skill and Touch Telepathy:
    • Kaname Hagiri's sister in Yuyu Hakusho got such powers when the Demon's Gate was opened. At the end of the Sensui saga she's seen mourning the death of a stray cat at the hands of a bunch of Japanese Delinquents, then touches the kitty's corpse to retrive its last memories, and then she places her hand on her brother's forehead to give him said memories, so he can locate the killers and punish them.
    • If Pakunoda from Hunter × Hunter wants to know something about a person and get info from them, all she has to do is get in physical contact with him/her and activate her powers via a question. The only foolproof way to counter her skills is simply not knowing what she's talking about, as she's so good at it that she can even pick up subconscious thoughts and know when they're trying to lie to her.
  • Psychometry is one of Saiki Kusuo’s many powers in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
  • Yukina Sonogi of Night Raid 1931 has this kind of ability asides from Telepathy which fits perfectly for her role as the Mission Control.
  • Psychometrer Eiji is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: misfit teen Eiji Asuma aids Fair Cop Ryoko Shima in her homicide investigations. His powers seem to grow over the course of the series, to the point where he's able to literally read the air for information.
  • Mekakushi no Kuni revolves around this, with all three of its main leads having some version of this: Kanade occasionally sees the future of an object, Arou always sees an object's past, and Masahiro who can see an objects future in a controlled manner.

    Comic Books 
  • In Ultra Force, Ghoul is able to see the history of objects by touching them.
  • In The New Universe, Lindsay Falmon can perceive a person's bioelectric residue on things they've handled, and receive images and perceptions of what the person is doing or has done while handling the object.
  • Ragman, protector of a small Gotham neighborhood where he occasionally interacts with the Bat Family and member of Shadowpact can see people's deaths if he touches the clothes they were wearing when they died soon enough after the fact as seen in Robin.
  • Rachel from Rachel Rising develops this among several other magical talents. The most memorable example by far is when she touches the knife that the Fallen Angel Malus had given to Zoe. It shows the history of the knife from when it was Satan's sword that broke during his fall from grace, and how it has been wielded and reshaped by people throughout the ages.

    Fan Works 
  • Bird features this as a facet of Taylor's powers, which are a wide-ranging range of sensory abilities tied to proximety. Though she is not limited to touch- that is just when it is at its strongest, and clearest.
  • In the Massively Multiplayer Crossover story Blood and Revolution, the human form of the earth god has psychometric powers. There aren't many demonstrations since he avoids touching people and things because of it, but once he touches the living chain weapon Shun, he has visions of Shun's 600 years of life and the wars he's been used in.
  • Aurics in We Are All Pokémon Trainers can use the residual Aura on objects to get memories or to find a target's Aura trail, though it doesn't work once enough time has passed.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Unbreakable, the hero has the ability to read evil intentions and/or actions in a person via physical contact, which he always thought was simply normal intuition and never really followed up on it. Elijah eventually confirms that his intuition was extremely accurate, to the point of describing the look and design of a concealed gun.
  • This is one of Eric Draven's powers upon coming back from the dead in The Crow. He has the ability to pick up on memories related to his past by touching things related to said past — including ones that didn't originate with him, as seen with the scene with Gideon when he sees Shelly's final moments through the cop's eyes. He eventually develops the ability to transfer memories and the pain that comes with them by touch, which he uses to completely wreck Top Dollar in the final battle.
  • Constantine. Father Hennessy can run his hands over printed newspaper stories and psychically detect which ones are significant. Constantine asks him to do this to get information he needs. Later on Hennessy tries to read the body of Angela Dodson's dead sister Isabel.
  • Hellboy: In the film, Abe Sapien is able to touch items to see its past, future, and potentially other information. If someone touches Abe while he touches the item, both Abe and the person he touches can see what he sees. He uses this power for surveillance and investigation throughout the movie. He is also able to see how sick Bruttenholm is.
  • In The Force Awakens, Rey experiences this when she touches Luke's lightsaber for the first time, giving her temporary Power Incontinence as she sees visions of the past.
  • In Vibes, Nick Deezy has this power. In one scene he even guides the other characters while holding an artifact in his hands.
  • In the first Puppet Master, Carissa can read an object's past by touch. For some reason, most of what she picks up is sexual.

    Literature 
  • In Stephen King's novel The Dead Zone and its TV adaptation, Johnny Smith sees visions of the future when he touches people or objects. He's largely unable to control this, and it becomes a huge hassle until his visions about Greg Stillson motivate him to try to assassinate Stillson before he can set off World War III.
    • King also uses this in Doctor Sleep, with Abra's efforts to learn about "the baseball boy".
  • In the Deadly Curiosities novel and ebook series by Gail Z. Martin, protagonist Cassidy Kincaide is a psychometric, able to detect the history and magical properties of objects by touching them. She makes use of it in both her day job as an antiques dealer in Charleston, South Carolina, and her side business acquiring and neutralizing objects with dangerous qualities. It also lets her activate magical weapons by keying off memories of the item being used by its original wielder.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, Ziantha can access an item's psychic abilities, if any, by touching the object she wants to read/contact.
  • In Star Wars, Quinlan Vos is a Kiffar Jedi with the ability to use Force psychometry in order to collect information on other beings via their clothing or other objects.
  • In the YA Jack Bishop novels by Steve Diamond, the titular character has these abilities as part of his larger ESP package. It doesn't exactly make his life any easier, especially when he's forced to use them in violent places wrecked by monsters.
  • In the Maximum Ride series, Nudge has the power to read psychic imprints left on objects.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, when Dora's powers are going slightly haywire at the beginning of the first book, she sometimes sees emotionally-charged events from the past of people she touches.
  • In the Corine Solomon novels by Ann Aguirre, this is the eponymous heroine's occult power. Her mother was a powerful witch, but all Corine got was this lousy psychometry. This is an advantage when she runs an antique shop, but she leaves it at the beginning of the first book and is hurled into a world of crime and danger while coping with the memory of her mother's murder in a fire. Contact with crime-related objects she reads burns her hands painfully, over and over, so she avoids touching anything unless it's necessary to gain information. As the series goes on, though, she develops impressive occult superpowers with the help of a Fallen Angel.
  • One of Candy's abilities in The Bad Place, by Dean Koontz.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Pretender: Angelo was one of Dr. Raines' early attempts at creating a Pretender but the treatments destroyed his mind. Instead of the usual Pretender abilities, it gave him the ability to pick up an object and know what the object's owner is doing right now.note 
  • Zed's visions in Constantine are sometimes triggered by the contact of an object, such as the blood map left by Liv.
  • In Heroes, one of Sylar's victims had the ability to learn the history of an object by touching it.
  • Due South: The clairvoyant homeless man's powers appear to work this way in "Heaven and Earth". He gets visions of the missing girl after finding her necklace, and they intensify when someone later presses the necklace into his hand.
  • This is one of Sapphire's abilities in Sapphire and Steel: she can use it to learn the histories of objects or people, most often how old they are (and sometimes how long they have left).
  • The Greatest American Hero has this as one of the protagonist's powers. More precisely, he can see thoughts left in objects by people manipulating them. In one episode, touching a bomb gives him the location of a second one, because the criminal who built and placed it had been thinking of both.
  • This is how Phoebe's powers in Charmed work, at least in the beginning. She had to touch an object to see visions of the past and future.
  • Pam Asbury in Stephen King's Rose Red has this power. What makes her version particularly interesting (and chilling) is that while handling or touching objects lets her pick up emotions and even hear things which were said by the people who interacted with them, she is also shown to sometimes subtly channel the person in question—when she touches the front door of the mansion and picks up the interaction between Bollinger and the ghost of Sukeena, she actually adopts Sukeena's diction and accent when speaking her words. The experience is also shown to be rather upsetting, since she ends up shedding tears during it, and afterward said she didn't like how it made her feel.
  • An alien-of-the-week on Star Trek: Enterprise has this ability, which he uses on a piece of the Xindi weapon that attacked Earth several episodes earlier. It helps him guide Enterprise to the facility where the component was manufactured.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 2nd Edition: The Complete Psionics Handbook has the Clairsentience Science "Sensitivity to Psychic Impressions". A psionicist using it get a picture of significant events in the past for a specific location, thanks to the psychic residue left by strong emotions. "Object Reading" is another claisentient power, working as below.
    • In Edition 3.5, Seers have access to a power called "Object Reading" that lets them touch an object and learn information about its previous owners. There's also a magic item called "gloves of object reading" that grants a similar ability.
  • People with Postcognition in Rocket Age can read objects for past events, with the most skilled able to read events up to a century ago.
  • GURPS has a power simply titled "Psychometry".
  • Rifts and other Palladium Games with Psychic Powers has a Sensitive power called Object Read, also known as Psychometry.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE: The Mask of Psychometry, which allows its user to learn details about the past of an object by making physical contact with it. While the user can see something of an object's past, they have no real control over how much information they actually receive. This power cannot be used on more than one object at a time, nor does it work on living beings.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 3 reveals that the Protheans have the ability to read the memory of things and living beings simply by touching them. Javik the last Prothean uses it to determine that the room he occupies on the Normandy was previously inhabited by a genetically engineered perfect krogan soldier. It is also implied that the asari's Touch Telepathy is a weaker variation of the same ability that the Protheans genetically engineered them to have, along with universal biotics.
  • Talion from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor perceives flashbacks of Celebrimbor's life whenever he touches one of his lost tools and items. This is usually followed by a Power-Up.
  • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers series, the player character possesses a power called the "Dimensional Scream" that enables him or her to see visions of the past or future by touching objects, but it isn't something he/she has control over.
  • Common in the Fatal Frame series, and Maiden of Black Water makes it a gameplay mechanic via "Shadow Reading", where you can use items you collect to see where their previous owners have traveled.
  • Ishmahri, the keeper of the Moonshadow Land in Dragon Quest VIII possesses this ability. He states that clothing, furniture, the land, and sky have memories as well. He is able to recreate these memories by playing his harp.
  • Caves Of Qud has this as a mental mutant power. It allows the character to identify trinkets without fail; learn crafting recipes by examining items, rather than needing to find blueprints; and opening security doors without keys.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shirou Emiya of Fate/stay night has this as one of his only reliable spells (and the only useful one) prior to the start of the story. He also does it remotely and reflexively with weapons. Over the course of the story, we see just how useful this power is, as it's an integral part of his Reality Marble, which allows him to create a near-perfect copy of any weapon he's ever laid eyes on, and borrow the skills of the original wielder to boot.

    Web Comics 
  • Zombie twins Mye and Hex of Charby the Vampirate have tactile postcognition which causes them to see things from other people's pasts when they have skin contact. Mannick can read the past of articles of clothing he's wearing, and delve into the mind of whomever the object belongs to if it's something they wear often enough gaining pieces of their personality.
  • Charlene the witch from How To Be A Werewolf has this ability and uses it to relate important backstory to the others after touching a coffee mug belonging to a key character

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • This is Niko's primary ability in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. She can get vague impressions of where an object has been, or what's happened at a site without her badge, but when she uses the implant, the impressions become very exact and detailed.

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