EPR and ESP
It was David Bohm and one of his supporters, John Bell of CERN, who laid most of the theoretical groundwork for the EPR experiments performed by Alain Aspect in 1982 (the original thought-experiment was proposed by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen in 1935). These experiments demonstrated that if two quantum systems interact and then move apart, their behavior is correlated in a way that cannot be explained in terms of signals traveling between them at or slower than the speed of light. This phenomenon is known as nonlocality, and is open to two main interpretations: either it involves unmediated, instantaneous action at a distance, or it involves faster-than-light signaling.
If nonlocal correlations are literally instantaneous, they would effectively be non-causal; if two events occur absolutely simultaneously, cause and effect would be indistinguishable, and one of the events could not be said to cause the other through the transfer of force or energy, for no such transfer could take place infinitely fast. There would therefore be no causal transmission mechanism to be explained, and any investigations would be confined to the conditions that allow correlated events to occur at different places.
It is interesting to note that light and other electromagnetic effects were also once thought to be transmitted instantaneously, until observational evidence proved otherwise. The hypothesis that nonlocal connections are absolutely instantaneous is impossible to verify, as it would require two perfectly simultaneous measurements, which would demand an infinite degree of accuracy. However, as David Bohm and Basil Hiley (1993, pp.293-4, 347) have pointed out, it could be experimentally falsified. For if nonlocal connections are propagated not at infinite speeds but at speeds greater than that of light through a quantum ether - a subquantum domain where current quantum theory and relativity theory break down - then the correlations predicted by quantum theory would vanish if measurements were made in periods shorter than those required for the transmission of quantum connections between particles. Such experiments are beyond the capabilities of present technology but might be possible in the future. If superluminal interactions exist, they would be nonlocal only in the sense of non-physical.
Nonlocality has been invoked as an explanation for telepathy and clairvoyance. though some investigators believe that they might involve a deeper level of nonlocality. or what Bohm calls 'super-nonlocality (similar perhaps to Sheldrake's morphic resonance (1989)). As already pointed out, if nonlocality is interpreted to mean instantaneous connectedness. it would imply that information could be received at a distance at exactly the same moment as it is generated. without undergoing any form of transmission. At most, one could then try to understand the conditions that allow the instant appearance of intormation.
The alternative position is that information - which is basically a pattern of energy - always takes time to travel from its source to another location, that information is stored at some paraphysical level, and that we can access this information. or exchange information with other minds. if the necessary conditions of sympathetic resonance exist. As with EPR, the hypothesis that telepathy is absolutely instantaneous is unprovable, but it might be possible to devise experiments that could falsify it. For if ESP phenomena do involve subtler forms of energy traveling at finite but perhaps superluminal speeds through super-physical realms, it might be possible to detect a delay between transmission and reception, and also some weakening of the effect over very long distances. though it is already evident that any attenuation must be far less than that experienced by electromagnetic energy, which is subject to the inverse-square law.
As for precognition, the third main category of ESP, one possible explanation is that it involves direct, nonlocal access to the actual future. Alternatively, it may involve clairvoyant perception of a probable future scenario that is beginning to take shape on the basis of current tendencies and intentions, in accordance with the traditional idea that coming events cast their shadows before them. Bohm says that such foreshadowing takes place deep in the implicate order (Talbot, 1992, p. 212) - which some mystical traditions would call the astral or akashic realms.