Espers (縁素羽, エスパー, Esupā) are human individuals who display extra-sensory perception or other forms of paranormal awareness without the aid of magical items or technology. Espers that are the result of human-angel experimentation are referred to as Vespers.
"Espers are nothing new. Humans with the capacity for psychic phenomena have been around for millenia, but it wasn’t until 1934 that the acronym ESP was coined." - Hiryuu Osakura
Espers are humans who have some manner of paranormal awareness that can include anything from foresight, mindreading, telepathy, and telekinesis. Natural Espers are rare. The majority of Espers are the Vespers that are the result of Project ESPer and the organization NUE, but there are many Espers that are the result of natural sensitivity to the paranormal.
The status of Espers in human society has fluctuated throughout history. Some groups have risen to power, often through religious means, while others have been persecuted. The belief in the supernatural has also fluctuated throughout history. Currently, there is a lack of awareness of the spiritual realm that Master Genni and the Celestials themselves have noted as "alarming."
In its most basic form, ESP is the awareness of information not gathered by the five senses. Espers can range anywhere on a scale of being only distantly aware of spiritual entities to being able to see, converse, channel them, and even fight them. Espers are ranked by Degrees, from the Tenth Degree to the First Degree, with the First Degree being the most skilled.
- Esper of the First Degree (甲)
- Esper of the Second Degree (乙)
- Esper of the Third Degree (丙)
- Esper of the Fourth Degree (丁)
- Esper of the Fifth Degree (戊)
- Esper of the Sixth Degree (己)
- Esper of the Seventh Degree (庚)
- Esper of the Eighth Degree (辛)
- Esper of the Ninth Degree (壬)
- Esper of the Tenth Degree (癸)
Unlike Vespers, Espers are not typically armed. If they do perform exorcisms, they may use a variety of means not officially recognized by NUE, such as water, crosses, chants, or charms. Unlike Vespers, which destroy the fallen soul, a typical Esper exorcist simply casts the spirit out of the host. Without a proper weapon, they cannot sever the spirit from this realm and cast it to the next realm.Master Genni explains this to his students, saying it is not man's job, but the Celestial's job, to govern what happens to a spirit after they are cast out. It is not man's duty to cast souls into hell.
Espers are especially sensitive to supernatural activity around them which most humans cannot sense. In addition, their heightened awareness and use of their Hakuriki may actually lure hungry Ochigami, bringing danger to them and those around them. Because of their sensitivity, they may show Signs of Possession even though they are not possessed.
Espers in human society often suffer isolation and sometimes persecution. Some Espers suffer depression, possessions, anxiety, rage, mental illness, convulsions, or other disturbances which cannot be explained by normal humans. Others may be driven to anger or violence, or suffer actual physical illness. For example, Fuyuki Hibari displays unusual bruising when near to a harmful or malicious spirit.
Espers are typically far weaker than their Vesper cousins.
Espers' functions depend on their alignment and their abilities. Most Espers are aware of the supernatural activity taking place around them, but few are active participants, possibly because the science of spirits is not commonly accepted in today's world. Some Espers work as religious figures, psychics, or exorcists, while others sometimes offer services revolving around the paranormal such as communication with the dead.
As most Espers are regular citizens, they are not required to participate in the world of the supernatural, and some Espers choose to ignore this other world entirely.
Espers under Master Genni train to fight and exorcise Ochigami in a way that resembles the Vespers, although it lacks the final element of casting the Ochigami into Hell.
Espers generally act to protect humans without meddling in the affairs of angels. When they exorcise demons, they cast the demon out without injury to the host or the demon itself and simply send it out to another place on this plane.
Vespers, on the other hand, actively destroy their targets. Espers believe this upsets the balance of nature and the balances between the spiritual and physical worlds.
The following is a list of known Espers along with their affiliations. Also listed are those Vespers which were natural Espers before their conversion.