Some of my earliest and most profound intuitive experiences were puzzling, such as the sporadically appearing sparks of light I saw around people and feeling an unbearable, growing sense of loss in the weeks before my grandfather passed away.

With regard to the latter, I was with my grandfather at that medical appointment, and the dread I felt was by this time overwhelming. My family thought I was simply being a dramatic, anxious teen when I erupted, “but can’t you see, he doesn’t look right!” His doctor assured him, “you look great, Barney! Keep taking your medication.” I was utterly bereft when my grandfather had a massive, fatal heart 24 hours afterwards.

When I interviewed for my first job post college, I had a sudden, uncomfortable knowing that my future employer would never fulfill his promise to move me into the position I wanted. I signed on, and hated working there, but hoped for the best. Before the year was out, it became clear that my boss was unable to carry out his promise. Not once have I been sorry I left. I have thought often about that time, and others, when my guidance was ultimately correct. That said, I continued to wrestle with my own and others’ skepticism for years afterwards. Some people had less trouble believing the veracity of these phenomena, but a high school boyfriend warned me, “don’t say anything about this in front of my mother. She thinks this stuff is the work of the Devil.”

As I grew older, I worried less about the consequences for my soul and more about my professional health. Psychic research has spawned a coterie of committed skeptics, who tote disbelief as a badge of honor and are quick to devalue and marginalize those who cross into what they consider “unscientific” territory. They are entitled to those beliefs, but data from both military and academic research has shown that intuitive experiences are quite real.

What we know from the extant and growing body of research is that intuition is not perfectly reliable (nor is any other sense), but it is trainable. It can also have real-world benefits. When faced with more mundane, personally meaningful concerns, such as which babysitter will take the best care of one’s child, or which of two seemingly equivalent jobs will make one happier long-term, intuition can be another valuable tool to employ alongside logic, due diligence, and common sense.

Over the years, I’ve come to know a number of skilled psychics. For example, the pet communicator who relayed over the phone, that our new dog, Mitzi, told her that the reason she couldn’t get along with our male dog, Morty, was because she came from a house where “girls are the boss, and I need to be the boss too!” The woman had no way of knowing that before, Mitzi had lived 1500 miles away in a household dominated by my grandmother, aunt, and three female cousins. The communicator explained to us and Morty, that for this situation to work out, Morty would have to let Mitzi be dominant.

Within an hour of the call, Morty adopted a submissive stance and allowed Mitzi to claim every single one of his beloved toys. This shift marked the end of two weeks’ growling and ushered in ten years of genuine affection between the two dogs.

In more recent times, my intuition has been clinically useful, such as when a dense fog cloaked one of my patients just days prior to a precipitous decline requiring medical intervention. On several subsequent occasions, the fog acted as a signal for impending medical and psychiatric emergencies. I never told the patient, nor other providers, about the fog. And in no case did intuition supplant my training, experience or willingness to consult with other professionals in caring for this patient or others—but I learned not to dismiss these signals either.

I am not alone in either experiencing intuitive events or acknowledging their existence. Innumerable lay people and credentialed professionals alike have shared their psychic experiences, such as channeling the distress of a loved one even when miles apart, or feeling a sense of unease at the physical discomfort of another, even in cases where the other’s symptoms are otherwise undetectable.

Historically, there has been a cost to outing oneself as having psychic experiences, particularly in mental health or the medical fields. Many health professionals are quick to label claims of intuition as coincidence, fantasy, or worse, delusions. Yet, in my own pursuit of knowledge and intuitive development, I have discovered a number of professionals with advanced degrees in psychology, engineering, statistics, philosophy and physics, among others, who recognize these phenomena. Notable among these professionals are statistician Jessica Utz, experimental psychologist Dean Radin, social psychologist Daryl Bem, and laser physicist Russel Targ, to name a few.

Our own government invested upwards of twenty million dollars and over two decades on training military and lay personnel to develop a systematic, rigorous methods for psychically gathering intelligence (according to May & Marwaha, 2018 in the “Star Gate Archives”). Although this program was disbanded in the 1990s, many of those involved continue to dedicate their lives to training others in this methodology. In addition, several branches of law enforcement quietly enlist professionals trained in remote viewing to help find missing persons, track down suspects, and more.

The general consensus among experts in this area is that everyone has some psychic potential, just as everyone has some musical ability; although, not all have the same variety or have it in equal measure. For most of us, developing our intuition won’t lead to a career in psychic sleuthing or any other formal intuitive pursuit, just as learning to play piano won’t lead to a gig at Carnegie Hall. Like the majority of people, I have no aspirations to don a psychic crime fighter cape or hang out a Madame Zelda shingle. But I continue to be grateful for, and awestruck by, personally meaningful intuitions — both mine and those shared by others. I know with certainty that intuition is universal, real, and worth developing.