Clairvoyance derives from French, meaning 'clear sight'. The term is generally used to include any ability to gain information by psychic means, rather than through the physical senses. But as suggested in the translation, 'clairvoyance' literally refers to the ability to see clearly, to view things that are not usually seen.
The term 'clairvoyant' is usually used to describe someone who can communicate with the dead or 'the spirits' as they're often referred to. Methods of communication can vary from psychic to psychic.
Clairvoyance is a faculty that is independent of normal eyesight and is exercised by the mind without the assistance of the senses; placing the hands over the eyes makes no difference to clairvoyant visions, though turning the head away often causes the pictures to disappear.
Often the clairvoyant describes the images as resembling a small card that seems to appear somewhere about the middle of the forehead. In parapsychology the ability is regarded as a part of extrasensory perception.
The clairvoyant may be able to see or sense people and things that seem not to be present to those with ordinary sight. Such perception, which results in a visual image being presented to the conscious mind, may pertain to the past, the present or the future.
Some people believe that a clairvoyant person gains psychic visions through communication with spirits: that the information is obtained as a result of the combination of their own special abilities and the communication from a person or persons from 'spirit'.
Even the instant attraction or dislike of a person on first meeting may be a form of clairvoyance. Probably it's commonest manifestation is when someone 'knows' that there will be a letter from a certain person in the morning's post, or that a distant cousin who has not been seen in years is going to call later in the day.
Clairvoyance in Children
Clairvoyance is often noticed in children, only to disappear at an early age, possibly due to clairvoyant faculties being subconsciously dropped in favour of a more pragmatic approach to the world. In fact small children are very psychic and will sometimes describe a 'special friend' who only they can see.
Unfortunately grown ups will often dismiss this as a normal attachment to an imaginary friend and may even ridicule the child. At times like these, the very gift of linking with 'spirit' can be permanently lost.
Clairaudience derives from French, meaning 'clear hearing'. It is sometimes used to distinguish the psychic ability to hear voices and other auditory phenomena not present to ordinary hearing. Such sounds are pitched on such an auditory scale or vibration as to be inaudible to most people.
Clairaudients have been known throughout the ages since biblical times. The enigmatic Joan of Arc began her mission in response to voices heard by her alone, while the voices that William Cowper - the eighteenth century poet - heard in his later years affected his life and influenced his poetry.
Clairaudience is spontaneous. Books have been produced that are received and dictated entirely by clairaudience. Clairaudience is often used and experienced by a medium when linking with 'spirit', either in a meeting or on a one to one basis in a private sitting.