The media loves a good story, and the paranormal is no exception. You've certainly seen many portrayals of psychics and the paranormal on TV and in the movies, and perhaps you've based your awareness of these phenomena on what the media shows. In fact, psychic experiences are often very different from what the media presents.
What the Media Portrays
The media takes on the paranormal in both fictional and real life accounts. Many movies or television shows center around ghosts and other unexplained phenomena. Documentaries and other programs that claim to show true events have helped get rid of the stigma attached to psychic phenomena, but they also often keep the truth shrouded in mystery.
In fiction, supernatural elements appear closely linked to what we know in everyday life. A ghost may float into the room as if perceivable by the naked eye, or a precognitive impression might be portrayed as something dreamlike. These images, so common in the media, have misinformed the public about how psychic experiences truly occur. What really happens is often much less dramatic than what's seen on TV, and many people have psychic experiences every day.
A clairaudient is someone who can "hear" beyond what's typically audible to most people. This includes spirits, otherworldly beings, and guides. This kind of experience comes on an auditory level, when non-verbal information comes in subtle cues. It can come as something as simple as a gentle thought to take an umbrella when there's no rain in the forecast.
Other times, a clairaudient inner voice can feel firm, like a persistent nagging. Finding yourself feeling after the fact that you should have listened to yourself could be a sign of a clairaudient experience.
Have you ever done something because it just felt right in your "gut?" That's one way to describe clairsentience, when psychics get information through feelings and the body. Feelings like distrust, anger, tranquility, and certainty are some examples.
Psychics have clairsentient experiences when they feel vibes in a room or get a bad feeling when meeting someone new. Clairsentience lets those who experience it feel empathy and know when things aren't right.
When psychic information comes visually, it's known as clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the ability usually shown in the media, and it's also the most misrepresented ability. Most people think clairvoyance means seeing ghosts floating or entities materializing and interacting with the psychic expert.
In fact, a clairvoyant sees things in the mind. Sometimes clairvoyance comes as a fleeting image or thought, and most people think it's just the imagination at play. In fact, a true psychic experience can help us plan and visualize outcomes of our decisions and actions.
Though there can be some truth to the stories or events shown in the media, an expert or psychic experiences the paranormal in very different ways than the tropes often presented on TV or in films. Psychic experiences are often much more subtle than made-for-TV drama, and being aware of these experiences can help you make smart choices.