Written by: Grace Duong - Published: Jul 28, 2022


Have you ever wondered what kind of events the items in an antique shop have witnessed? Maybe you’ve held your great-grandmother’s necklace and thought about all the places it’s been and people it’s seen. These questions and more can be answered through the use of psychometry.


This divinatory practice falls under the psychic category of scrying: the psychic ability to “see” visions of colors, people, words, and feelings through an object. In this guide, you will learn all about psychometry. You’ll understand what it is, where it originated, and how you can dive into the practice yourself.

What is Psychometry?

Psychometry is the extrasensory ability to know about an object’s history simply by holding it. The word was created by combining two Greek words, “psyche” and “metron,” which translate to “soul measure.” The theory, created in 1842 by Joseph R. Buchanan, is that every object has a soul capable of storing and transmitting memory through energy. 

Getting a psychometry reading is great for people looking to learn more about their loved ones who have passed, or even people alive today, through an item they’ve touched and interacted with. You can even try it yourself on family heirlooms or vintage items you picked up from the secondhand store. Later on in this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step process to try out psychometry yourself. For now, let’s talk about the history of the practice.

The History of Psychometry

As we mentioned above, the term psychometry was first coined by Dr. Buchanan in the mid-19th century. He conducted his research coming from a background of spiritualism and phrenology–the skull equivalent of palm reading. He believed the psychometer (the one holding an object) was able to sense and relay the energetic information located in the soul of an item.

Inspired by Dr. Buchanan, William F. Danton was another admirer and psychometry enthusiast who conducted experiments in the mid to late 1800s, with his wife acting as psychometer. He conducted many convincing experiments and recorded his findings in books like Nature’s Secrets and The Soul of Things: Or, Psychometric Researches and Discoveries. 

In the early 1900s, the German physician Gustav Pagenstecher was performing his own psychometry experiments in Mexico City. He believed the psychometer could sense information about the object through vibrations emitted from it. One of his patients was Maria Reyes Zierold. While undergoing hypnosis treatments to address her insomnia, during one of their sessions she accurately described things happening outside of the room and outside her field of vision. By 1919 Dr. Pagnstecher presented his discovery to a local medical society who then proceeded to run their own controlled test. They were amazed at Ms. Zierold’s abilities.

How Does Psychometry Work?

Due to the intuitive and subjective nature of psychometry, it’s hard to know or measure exactly how this phenomenon works. There are, however, two working theories on the “how” of this extrasensory ability. Let’s go over the popular explanations:

How Tarot Reading Works
Subatomic Vibrations: Author Michael Talbot held similar beliefs to Dr. Pagenstcher. He discusses psychometry in his book The Holographic Universe. Talbot suggests that the past endures invisibly in a vibrational form on the premise that all matter exists as vibrations on a subatomic level. They exist within a “cosmic hologram,” and psychometers are able to access this information at any time.
Energy “Aura” Fields: On the other hand, psychometry researchers like Dr. Buchanan believed the phenomenon existed on more of an energetic level. The personal information was linked to an object through an imprint left by the owner’s aura or energy field. They left a kind of energy signature on the object, allowing psychometers to tap into and interpret that energy.

How to practice psychometry

How Tarot Reading Works
1. Choose your object. Decide which object you would like to scry. If you’re with another person or a group of people, have them choose an object belonging to them, without telling you anything about it.
2. Get comfortable. Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
3. Relax your mind. Rest your hands on your legs and spend a few moments breathing deeply to calm your thoughts.
4. Hold the object. With your eyes closed, pick up the object, or have the other person place it gently into your hands.
5. Acknowledge your feelings. Think about what you’re feeling or sensing from the object. Often the very first things that come to mind are the most accurate.
6. Say what you see. Try not to judge your first impressions and keep an open mind. Something strange or meaningless to you may be significant to the person.

How to Prepare for a Psychometry Reading

While it can be fun to try psychometry out for yourself, sometimes you need the help of a professional. Their years of experience and practice honing skills allow for the most accurate reading. Before you book the appointment you’ll need to prepare a few things. 

Focus on one or only a few objects to bring with you and think about questions you have for the psychic. Write down your questions for the practitioner pertaining to the object or the person associated with the object. It’s important to be prepared so you can get the most value out of the short amount of time you have during a reading. Here are a few example questions:

  • Who is linked to this object?
  • What kind of life did they have?
  • How old were they when they had this item?
  • How old is the object?
  • Where does the item originate from?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • question
    What kinds of objects can psychometry be used on?

    Any kind of object can be used to perform a psychometry reading, though metal objects are said to be the best as the energy is more easily interpreted. Common metal items include jewelry, watches, or figurines. If you’re wanting to know more about a person associated with an object, be sure to choose an item that they would have touched and interacted with. It’s the human interaction with an item that imbues it with that vibrational or energetic information.