The Doctor is famous for his use of psychic paper:

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However, at times, the Doctor seemingly demonstrated innate psychic powers. At the end of series 4, for example, he used them to

erase Donna Noble's memory of traveling with him, in order to protect her from the influx of knowledge caused by the Meta-Crisis.

Besides this and other powers demonstrated by the Doctor, of course, the Master has demonstrated various psychic abilities, such as being able to hypnotize or possess others.

What actual psychic powers have Time Lords demonstrated, across all media? These could be anything from telekinesis to reality alteration; the word "psychic" merely indicates that they must come from the mind. And are these powers characteristic of Time Lords or Gallifreyans as a species, or simply characteristics of individuals?

  • Copy/Paste
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 14:16
  • I think anyone can use the psychic paper. So that's not evidence of any ability of his. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 14:59
  • @PointlessSpike Yes, I was just giving background.
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    The Brain of Morbius has one of the Sisterhood of Karn stating "Alone among all the races in our galaxy, the Time Lords are our equals in mind power." which at least clarifies that it's a general Time Lord thing.
    – Ixrec
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 0:02

2 Answers 2



Time Lords have possessed psychic ability as demonstrated going all the way back to the 2nd Doctor, Patrick Troughton, when in "The War Games", The Doctor sent an emergency message* to Gallifrey upon discovering the true nature of the Games.

DOCTOR: The only people who can put an end to this whole ghastly business and send everyone back to their own times. The Time Lords.

JAMIE: Who are they?

DOCTOR: They're my own people, Jamie.

JAMIE: Oh, well, that's all right, then.

ZOE: But it isn't all right, is it, Doctor.

DOCTOR: No, it's not, Zoe. But I'm afraid that there's no alternative. (The Doctor sits on the floor and puts six plastic squares in a circle in front of him. Then he closes his eyes and concentrates.)

JAMIE: What's he doing?

WAR CHIEF: Don't do it, Doctor. You can't! You know what will happen! (The squares form themselves into a cube.)

JAMIE: Look at that!

JAMIE: Doctor, what's that?

DOCTOR: It's a very special sort of box. It now contains all the information about what's been going on here, and an appeal for help.

JAMIE: Help? Who from?

ZOE: The Time Lords?

DOCTOR: Yes, Zoe.

The psychic ability of the Doctor (and presumably other Time Lords) is demonstrated several times over the course of the following Doctors (sadly more than I can recall off hand). At one point the 4th Doctor receives a psychic message from Gallifrey calling him home.

SARAH: Oh, and boy am I sick of that sonic screwdriver! I'm going to pack my goodies and I'm going home. I said, I'm going to pack my goodies and I am going home! Right! Excuse me!

(Sarah storms out of the console room.)

DOCTOR: What was that you? I don't know why she goes on like this. There's really nothing the matter at all.

(The Doctor gets a mental wave.)

DOCTOR: The call. The call from Gallifrey. Gallifrey. After all this time, Gallifrey. I can't take Sarah to Gallifrey. Must get her back home. Must reset the coordinates. South Croydon

*This emergency message system is re-introduced in "The Doctor's Wife" when the white flying cube knocks on the TARDIS door.

(The Doctor opens the doors. A small glowing box is outside.)

DOCTOR: Oh, come here. Come here, you scrumptious little beauty.

(The box flies inside and ends up hitting the Doctor on the chest.)

RORY: A box?

AMY: Doctor, what is it?

DOCTOR: I've got mail. Time Lord emergency messaging system. In an emergency, we'd wrap up thoughts in psychic containers and send them through time and space. Anyway, there's a living Time Lord still out there, and it's one of the good ones.

  • Could you add some script quotes?
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:25
  • 1
    Done. I could add more but The War Games pretty clearly demonstrates that his psychic ability is old Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 2:54
  • 4
    Don't forget the 'Brain of Morbius' where two timelords (Morbius and the 4th Doctor) engage in a psychic duel of sorts.
    – Lighthart
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 20:56
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    As well, in Planet of the Daleks: "The Doctor has been wounded after being shot by the Master. Jo Grant manages to help the Doctor into the TARDIS, where he uses the telepathic circuits to send a message to the Time Lords before he collapses" (taken from Wikipedia).
    – user66716
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 18:21
  • And in 'The Three Doctors' (as well as 'The Light at the End(Audio)'), the Doctors can contact each other and communicate mentally. And in 'Planet of the Spiders', he can resist the eight-legs' influence. And in 'The Terror of the Zygons' the Doctor puts Sarah Jane into a deep hypnotic state so she won't breath in poison. And in 'Planet of the Ood' the Doctor can hear the Ood's mental song. The list goes on. I think Time Lords are mentally quite strong, but only slightly psychic, as species go.
    – IchabodE
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 0:04

Early season eight when Madame Vastra had to put the Doctor asleep through psychic means, and the Doctor said he might overwhelm her. Seems to indicate psychic abilities as well.

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