Telepathic communication, otherwise known as mind reading, is also known to the Colonials. Following the exodus from the Colonies, the human survivors happen across Count Iblis, who uses his power to acquire information and reinforce his will upon those who freely give themselves to him.
Psionics in Humans
Psionics can either be a naturally-developed characteristic or one activated by extreme outside stimuli. In extreme cases, psionics can be used to impress ideas or beliefs in others, and can also affect machinery (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #10).
For naturally-developed psionics, such as Countess Sephoni of Scorpion, is able to command respect in her colony. Sephoni survives the Cylon attack aboard the ambassadorial ship Taurella and, using her power, is able to follow—but never catching up—for the better part of ten yahren. (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #1—#2).
For those unnaturally developed, such as Galactica's engineer Xam who is struck by void lightning generated by an unnamed storm zone, the resulting strike elevates him to a delta-class telepath: provisioning the ability to project ideas and beliefs into the minds of others, including non-organic life such as the Cylons (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #7—#11).
Despite demonstrable results, psionics are a hotly debated subject, with some ferociously disbelieving in the power and the efficacy of divination (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #1).
A deleterious effect to psionic use, particularly in extreme circumstances, leads to mental damage of the user. In Xam's case, use of his psionic powers to fool the Cylons during the Battle of the Storm Zone results in a persistent coma that lasts for seven yahren (Classic Battlestar Galactica Vol. 2 #11, Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #1).
Also disadvantageous is the Cylons' mastery of psionics: Sephoni is tricked by the Cylons into believing that she has divined the location of the fabled Thirteenth Colony, as the Cylons are able to generate their own robotic form of sympathetic psionic communication (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #1)
In 7358, Xam is able to divine Sephoni's presence and communicate her grid reference via a touch-tablet, thus reuniting Taurella and its survivors with the Fleet. Further, despite being disconnected from the outside world by standard means, he is able to communicate Apollo's survival—and, later, his death—via divination (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #2 & #4).
Starbuck later solicits Sephoni into reading Xam, confirming that the message regarding Apollo's survival is genuine and not machine generated. She notes that the divinations have a purity to them and are not as stilted as the Cylon psionic machinations (Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #4).