Psychic Science, the study of psychic and spiritual guidance through the senses has been around since the start of time. The first known reference in the Bible is found in Acts 15. According to this Act, the people brought to Ephesus by the Emperor Dometian were instructed by an oracle to bring forth bread and wine, and a cup of leavened bread. The resulting bread and wine gave them a supernatural experience. The messengers were so impressed with what they had that they told other people about it. In fact, many churches are named in honour of the messenger boys who brought the bread and wine to Jesus.
While this is an example of psychic science in action, there is no evidence that this practice continued beyond Acts. Its roots were undoubtedly planted in earlier eras, when many people began to use divination techniques in order to come up with predictions or to learn more about the past and present. The practice as a whole came to be regarded as heretical by the time of the Roman conquest of the third century BCE. This is because, according to Romans, it was heretical to dabble in “divine arts” in order to win over the forces of evil tam linh huyen bi.
Two centuries later, in the 17th century, the French Revolution occurred, throwing into the balance between the religious and the civil governments and unleashing a new age of freedom for all citizens. In the wake of this turmoil, it became customary for both Christians and Muslims to consult the local priests and yes, even fortune tellers, who were considered to have the power to foretell the future. The ban on psychic reading was slowly lifted but not until some thirty years later when the California Supreme Court decided that it violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.
At that point, the court stepped in to protect its citizens from the dangers of the free speech rights of those practicing black arts (as it was then perceived) and from the dangers of inherently deceptive or immoral speech. The Court ruled in favor of the legislative body, saying that it could not distinguish between what is essentially deceptive or immoral speech and what is heretical or unsavory speech. The state had to allow people to practice or speak about the subject of their choice – and that includes fortune telling. So how does the state square this with the rights guaranteed in the first amendment?
The state Supreme Court has tried to make the case that the intent of the California legislature was to distinguish between what is protected by the first amendment as free speech and what is protected by the next amendment as a violation of the first amendment. It claims that the free speech or religion clause is an inherent part of the constitution. This would seem to be a bit of a stretch, in light of how the amendment was adopted. For starters, no one really believes that the US Supreme Court was created by the framers of the US Constitution, so it cannot be an inherent part of the constitution. Additionally, even if it were read into the constitution, the courts have been reluctant to extend the protection of free speech to the states.
The second argument made by the State Supreme Court is that it cannot distinguish between what is within the realm of lawful speech versus what is beyond that line. To do so would mean that the court is opening itself up to criticism from more conservative quarters that feel it is encroaching on private life and the rights of citizens to engage in conduct they deem to be immoral. It is very easy to see how this argument could be stretched to include many forms of paranormal or mysterious speech (such as clairvoyance or aura reading), but it does not apply in the context of psychics and their abilities. It is unlikely that the United States Supreme Court will ever have to decide on the issue, and that is probably for the best.