Alex Carrel, the French surgeon who pioneered vascular suturing techniques, said,"Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality."
I've had a very strong and fairly accurate intuition all my life, although as a child it wasn't that well-tuned, and it has grown only stronger over the years. Some will laugh, of course. I've come to expect that, but those who understand will identify with much of what I write here.
To qualify Carrel's statement, intuition is most certainly not fortune telling. I don't have visions of the future, I can't read your thoughts and I don't guess under which cup the pea is. I've read numerous scholarly articles on intuition but my own life experience is sufficient to explain what it is.
Intuition is a combination of all the basic senses combined with (and amplified by) experience. Thus, as you mature, unless you just spend your existence in a cave, secluded from society, all the data your brain absorbs from observing and interacting with people just fine-tunes your intuition. Life gives you a data-base from which to work. But it is not just experience.
Actually, sometimes I almost think of intuition as a curse. There are times I wish I could turn it off, but the best I can do is to distract it with stronger sensory input or dull it a bit with something. Remember that what Sherlock Holmes practiced was deductive reasoning; he eliminated what was not true to arrive at the answer. Intuition is perhaps more like inductive reasoning, in that one can use things like speech patterns and body language to read someone.
Does that mean I can't be fooled? Not at all. Intuition is not an exact science, but it's close enough. A person would have to be a very good actor, a skilled huckster to accomplish that, because they would have mastered the art of illusion and duplicity. Essentially, they know how to shape-shift their bodies. The most effective gambling cheats can do this, and most people are just not good actors. Anyone can tell a simple lie, but not everyone knows how to disguise it. If you were to ask any ten people if they could get up on stage and do an impression of someone else, most would probably decline. Yes, part of that is stage fright, but most people aren't schooled in the basics of acting.
So frequently, I know when someone is being disengenuous with me, and it pisses me off because I don't want to come right out and say,"bullshit." Sometimes, but not all the time. It depends upon the situation and whether that person's story has any particular consequence for me.
Other times, I can read some fairly creepy undertones from people; that they have something in particular to hide or that they might have some violent potential. They don't have to look like a thug in order to be one. Remember all the people who tell the media,"Oh, we would have never suspected him of _________."
Still other people don't give me much of a read at all because - and I hate to sound elitist about this - they don't have a lot of depth, personality-wise. That isn't to say they aren't nice people; they're just more like Walter Mitty with perhaps even less imagination. Sorry.
And as I said, my intuition has only become stronger over time. These days, the downside is more like,"Oh, not this shit again," because there aren't really any new disguises under the sun. Sometimes I just get the heebie-jeebies from people. Creeps me out. And yes, on many, many occasions my feelings have been confirmed by something people did or the outcome of a situation. And - sad to say - there have been more than enough occasions when I made the conscious decision to give someone the benefit of the doubt, only to have my intuition say,"I told you so."
The fun and upside of it is that being married for 44 years, I often pick up on something from my wife and she laughs, accusing me of being on the same wave length. She also has a damn good intuition. And I realize that a lot of married couples do this from time to time; I just maintain it happens more often with us.
And happily, our close friends are all really genuine people, so it's not like when we're with them I feel the sensation of reading something other than who they are.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.