Is Scully Psychic?

December 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm (x-files)


Is Scully Psychic?

by Sonya

At first glance it would appear that Dana Katherine Scully is a woman with her feet firmly planted on the ground. For the most part, this analysis of her character is true. There have been times, however, when it seems that she is the recipient of a rare gift. That of latent psychic powers.

In order to examine the claim that Scully is in fact psychic, we must define and categorize what is meant by that term. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, (of a person) considered to have occult powers, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, etc.. Therefore, if Scully exhibits any of these abilities, we can consider her psychic. The highly subjective field of parapsychology has four major categories of psychic ability. They are 1) clairvoyance, 2) precognition, 3) psychokinesis, and 4) telepathy.

Of the four given categories, I believe that it can be proven that Scully possesses clairvoyance and telepathy. Clairvoyance is, “the ability of a person to receive extrasensory knowledge of a thing or an event that is not known to any other human being at the time.” *Telepathy denotes, as subscribed by F.W.H. Myers (an early psychical researcher), the “transmission of thought independently of the recognized channels of sense.” Numerous episodes will be used to illustrate both of these capabilities as they apply to Scully. Some will only show the vaguest of hints and others more tangible occurrences.

Before I begin to look at direct examples of Scully’s psychic abilities, I would like to touch on her psychic heritage.

Lorraine Warren, noted clairvoyant and her husband Ed have encountered many strange, and unexplainable paranormal events. They are the authors of various books and have been called upon in high profile cases involving psychic phenomenon, the Amityville house, being one. It is their business to know and understand the supernatural and preternatural. At one of their numerous speaking engagements, Lorraine has admitted that psychic ability runs in families. That is to say, the ability can be inherited just as any other trait, and that it is most often passed along the female side of the family. If I may use this bit of information for my own purposes, let’s take a look at the other Scully women.

First, Margaret Scully. At the very beginning of Ascension, Maggie arrives at her daughter’s doorstep, only to find that Scully has been kidnapped. The reason she shows up, in the middle of the night, is because, she, “had this dream about Dana being taken away.” A classic case of precognitive psychic ability (seeing the event before it happened.) The rest of her conversation with Mulder implies that she has probably had these insights before and that Dana has always laughed at them. Because this gift is never mentioned again, it is tempting to consider this dream of Mrs. Scully’s as nothing more than a plot device. Except that Melissa, the other Scully female, also displays this talent.

When we first meet Melissa, she is hovering over Scully in the hospital, in One Breath. Her eyes are closed and her arms are outstretched as if she is ‘reading’ her sister. Mulder enters and Melissa stops concentrating, opens her eyes and tells him, “I’ve been told not to call you Fox.” When Mulder questions her on this, Melissa tells him that it was Dana who told her, just now. It is possible that Melissa could have known ahead of time what Mulder liked to be called. She and Scully had been close, she might have remembered something in her subconscious. Christmas Carol effectively squashes that argument however, since we learn that Melissa had been in and out of contact with the family just previous to her return at Dana’s bedside. I consider this proof that Melissa is definitely psychic. Another interesting observation is her choice of words later in that same episode when she visits Mulder’s apartment. She says “Listen. I don’t have to be psychic to see that you’re in a very dark place…” I can almost hear an unspoken addendum to this exchange with her saying, “even though I am (psychic).” But, perhaps that’s just me.

Now that we’ve explored Scully’s psychic heritage, let’s now examine the evidence which points to her own powers.

The first inkling of Psychic! Scully is found in the classic episode, Beyond the Sea. It is perhaps one of the strongest cases to support my claim. During the teaser, we are introduced to Scully’s parents. They are leaving Dana’s apartment after having spent the evening dining there. Hours later, Scully wakes up on her couch to find her father, opposite her, sitting in a chair. His eyes are unfocused, and he appears to be trying to speak. The telephone rings and she looks away. When she glances back at the chair, her father is gone. The call is from her mother, informing her that her father has had a massive coronary and past away, only an hour earlier. Later in this same episode, Scully ‘sees’ her father, Mulder, and even herself, in Boggs. The visions of her father are clearly of a clairvoyant nature, since seeing a departed soul is not something individuals can usually do. Whereas, the ability to see Mulder or even herself, is more likely a case of telepathy. Boggs reading Scully’s thoughts then bouncing them right back to her. At the end of this episode, Scully dismisses these experiences as nothing more than an overreaction to her recent emotional turmoil. We, as viewers, could do the same, except this is not the only instance of her psychic abilities.

The next episode to hint at Scully’s psychic powers is Lazarus. There is only a passing reference involved, but a solid one none the less. During the fourth act, Scully is being held hostage by Lula Phillips. Jack Willis, who helped in this abduction was betrayed by Lula and is displaying all the signs of an imminent diabetic coma. As he goes in and out of delirium, he shouts out, “Get down on the floor! Get over there!” In that very instant, we see what Scully sees, and Jack is now Dupre’, the spirit that is supposedly inhabiting Willis’ body. We know that Scully witnessed this transformation because she gasps in alarm. By the end of the story, one can sense Scully wavering on what she believes was going on. She asks Mulder, what the stopped watch means, to which he replies, “It means whatever you want it to mean.” Giving her and the audience an effective ‘out’.

Another important episode is One Breath. Throughout the story, a mysterious woman, a Nurse Owens, is seen caring for Scully. Much has been said as to the true identity of this nurse, but I believe she represents Dana’s guardian angel. During the episode, she has access to the intensive care unit, which is monitored round the clock. If the other doctors and nurses didn’t think Nurse Owens belonged there, she would have been removed. We learn, in the final scene, that Dana did ‘see’ her and that there is no one by that name or description working at the hospital. I believe it’s logical to assume that Nurse Owens was not observed by the other personnel. How could this be? Because she is an angel, or spirit being if you prefer. The other sign of psychic ability in this episode is her father’s visitation when Scully is on the threshold between life and death. Both of these cases show Scully perceiving things outside of the normal senses. Clairvoyance.

Some circumstantial evidence, concerning Scully’s psychic abilities can be seen in Aubrey. At the beginning of the story, Scully and Mulder are introduced to B.J. Morrow and Lt. Tillman. I can understand how Scully, through careful observation, would have been able to pick up on the fact that B.J. and Tillman were seeing each other, but I don’t buy her explanation. “A woman senses these things.” Either the writer did a poor job explaining Scully’s insight, or she really means it, in which case one could point to this as another Psychic!Scully moment. A more concrete example, occurs just after this, when B.J. walks in to ask how the case is going. As she stands over the bones, a wave of nausea sweeps over her, and she runs to the bathroom. Scully comes to the startling conclusion that B.J. is pregnant. This is puzzling, because Scully hardly ever makes these leaps in logic. Her standard MO is to take all of the facts available, examine them then come up with the proper solution. Couldn’t B.J. have a stomach virus? Maybe she isn’t used to seeing a body’s remains, it is a small town after all and Tillman was the detective working on the murder investigation. I think this is another instance of clairvoyance on Scully’s part.

Irresisitible gives us some more clues in the case of Psychic! Scully. During Act 2, Mulder and Scully arrive at the Minneapolis City jail. Donnie Pfaster is being detained and is obviously fascinated by her good looks, he just stands there and stares. The agents are about to interrogate a man they suspect is the fetishist. After the interview is over, Scully turns and looks directly at Donnie. It’s as if she knew that Pfaster was sizing her up. This could be clairvoyance at work or telepathy, for it is possible that she picked up on his thoughts, causing her to turn around in the first place. Another possible psychic occurrence could be the morphing of Donnie as Scully sits bound in his closet. The transformation is probably nothing more than a trick of the mind, OR it could be a flash of insight into the evil that lurks in his heart.

Although it may not seem like much, in the interest of thoroughness, I have decided to include a small, possibly psychic, event from Colony. Mulder and Scully are on the trail of the bounty hunter, trying to figure out who his next victim will be. They stop at the offices of the Globe and Mail in Binghamton, N.Y. As they are leaving, Scully tells Mulder, “I have a bad feeling about this case.” Is her psychic sense trying to tell her something? Because if it is, it sure is it accurate. Agent Willmore ends up dead, Scully is kidnapped, Samantha appears to be murdered and Mulder ends up on the ice infected with a deadly retrovirus. How’s that for bad?

After a year of waiting, we finally have another clear case of extrasensory perception in The Blessing Way. Scully firmly believes that Mulder is dead. She could not find his body, and the refrigeration car he was last seen in is a smoldering ruin. The night after she goes to see a hypnotherapist, Mulder appears to her in a dream. In this dream, he let’s her know that he is alive and that her life is in danger. As viewers, we knew that Mulder was still alive at this point and by the end of the episode we are shown the bungled assassination attempt on Scully’s life. This is a clear case of telepathy at work. It could be argued that Dana was merely acting a receiver to Mulder’s transmitter, but Mulder has no recollection of this event, since he is surprised to hear Scully say, “I just knew (you were alive.)” in Paper Clip. A side note, I find the conversation Melissa and Dana have at her kitchen table to be somewhat related to the subject at hand. Melissa chides her sister saying, “What are you so afraid of, Dana? You’re afraid you might actually learn something about yourself? I mean, you are so, you are so shut off to the possibility there could be any other explanation except for your rigid scientific view of the world. It’s like you’ve lost all touch with your own intuition.” Maybe it’s just my take on this, but doesn’t it sound like Scully was in touch with this other side at one point in her life?

In Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, Scully has a flash of insight which may or may not indicate her psychic capabilities. Act four finds both Scully and Mulder at the tarot readers shop, conveniently located across the street from the hotel in which Clyde Bruckman is being guarded. When Scully removes her latex glove, she notices a strand of Chantilly lace under her thumb. As she stands there, she realizes that it’s the busboy who is the murderer. In her zeal to protect Mr. Bruckman, she bolts, leaving Mulder to play catch up. Because Mulder has lagged behind he finds himself embroiled in the scenario, Mr. Bruckman described earlier in the episode; trying to track down the killer in the hotel kitchen. Just before ‘the puppet’ can kill him, Scully steps out of a service elevator. One she ‘accidentally got on to. If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?

Rrevelations takes Psychic!Scully back into the realm of the supernatural. The case involves a boy by the name of Kevin Kryder, who appears to be displaying the wounds associated with Christ, the stigmata. The first psychic development occurs when the agents visit him at school. Scully is able to observe where the placement of the cuts are on Kevin’s hand. She can see that the blood is seeping from his palms only. Later, when they arrive at Kevin’s house, she now notices that he is bleeding from the top and bottom of his hands. Mulder does not take any interest in this, perhaps because he wasn’t meant to see it. Second, while performing an autopsy on Owen Jervis, Scully detects a faint floral odor emanating from the body which Mulder can not detect. This is obviously NOT normal and Scully sites the only know reference she has for this phenomenon, that this is a sign from God. For my purposes, a sign from God is evidence of psychic ability, for, as Mulder points out in All Souls, “Religion has masqueraded as the paranormal since the dawn of time…” A more loose interpretation would be that God, the Devil, angels and demons are akin to spirit beings. Therefore, any communication from these beings would be an instance of psychic phenomenon, since it is out side most people’s normal perception. Third, examining Kevin after his car accident, Scully finds no evidence of cuts on his torso. Yet, when he begins to disrobe for his bath at the hotel, a large angry cut has appeared across his chest. Again, Mulder does not see this, in part because he’s too busy berating Scully for believing God is at work here. Finally, it is she who makes the connection between the ramblings of Mr. Kryder’s cryptic, “You must come full circle to find the truth.” and the recycling symbol. Logic and common sense should have pushed her in the direction of the airport, instead she ignores this and follows her instincts to the plant, thus saving Kevin. Throughout the entire episode, each of these events seem to suggest clairvoyance, since she is receiving data that no other person has access to.

Elegy reinforces Scully’s psychic connection. At this point in the show, Scully is suffering from terminal cancer. While investigating a lead on a serial murderer, she is a witness to a specteral apparition. The spirit that materializes, is the fourth victim a Loren Heller. We later learn, as Scully does, that everyone who saw the ghosts of the victims were dying. It would be easy to chalk this up as nothing more than Scully’s imagination getting the better of her, due to the stress caused by her illness, except her psychic track record would seem to negate this. As the episode closes, she has yet another visitation, this time with the recently deceased Harold Spuller. I would not have wanted to be clairvoyant, if it meant viewing your own possible demise.

As Christmas Carol starts, Scully and her mother arrive at her brother Bill’s for Christmas. Dana finds herself standing alone in the entryway as the phone rings. Imagine her surprise when the caller sounds exactly like her dead sister Melissa! When the call is traced, it leads to the Simm’s household which is in the midst of a family tragedy. After a half-hearted attempt to get involved, Scully tries to ignore this strange call and enjoy her holiday. Unfortunately, her sister calls again. “She needs your help.” the voice croons. This prodding sparks her curiosity and eventually leads to the discovery that Emily Simm is her daughter. It’s not everyday, dead relatives call to warn you that your daughter, whom you didn’t know you had, is in danger. Who wants to argue that this isn’t clairvoyance? This otherworldly contact continues in Emily, when Scully receives another phone call, just before Emily becomes very ill.

The penultimate episode which showcases Scully’s psychic abilities is All Souls. In this tear-jerker, she experiences numerous psychic events, the first of which is a vision of her dead daughter Emily. Scully is performing an autopsy on Paula Kokolos, trying to determine the cause of death. She looks towards the x-rays on the light box, then glances back at the body. Instead of Paula, she sees Emily. While disturbing, this might not actually mean anything. Scully admits that the parallels of this case and those of her daughter, have left her emotionally off balance. The next unexplainable event happens in the parking lot of the police station. As she is talking on the phone with Mulder an unearthly being approaches and reveals four faces to her. Father MacCue gives Scully a name for this being- a Seraphim, an angel, even as he dismisses the legitimacy of the vision itself. The next extraordinary incident takes place as Scully is searching for the last of the quadruplets. Aaron Starkey, the social worker, has accompanied her to the church, but has not stepped inside. The sun is behind him, and Dana observes his shadow. The form it takes is not exactly human, with two horn like protrusions appearing at the top of his head. And the last occurrence of clairvoyance happens when Scully finds Roberta Dyer. As she is attempting to remove her from the church, Roberta appears to morph into Emily, begging her mommy to, “Let me go.” If Father Gregory is to be believed then this was a case of a fight between God and the Devil, and lends further credence to my hypothesis that Scully is psychic.

And, as a final bit of psychic evidence, I present a small clue which was planted in the recently aired Triangle. As 1998 Scully is wandering the hallways of the SS Queen Anne and 1939 Scully is running through those same hallways with Mulder, the two individuals cross ‘frames’. After they do so, both Scullys look confused and glance backwards at their alter-egos, as if they knew that something strange had just happened.

So, looking back at the accumulated data, I’ve presented fourteen episodes where Scully exhibits some type of possible psychic ability, and a family history of psychic phenomenon. Of these fourteen episodes, eight display very convincing events, which are difficult to rationalize away. Therefore, I propose that Dana Scully is indeed psychic, but the ability is very erratic and seems to manifest itself best when she is under extreme emotional distress. Perhaps that topic could be explored in another paper.


1 Comment

  1. D-Pole said,

    I am currently rewatching the x-files, and I came to the conclusion the Scully was psychic, even in episodes like’ hollywood a/d’ when she sees flashes and ‘all things’ where she feels things outside her body, so I decided to Google it and it brought me here. Great article and 100% agree.

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