Superhuman abilities are described many times in the suttas like the Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta and many others.
Of course they are real and not metaphors or vain myths. But there are many other abilities outside the basic categorizations (as mentioned by The Buddha himself).
Once one achieves a certain level of concentration they can experience all types of superhuman abilities. They are categorized in a certain manner in the Pali canons called the "six higher knowledges" or "Abhijñā".
I saw a documentary a long time ago, called something like "The KGB Paranormal Files" about the Soviet Union researching psychic powers encountering Tibetan monks rumored to have all types of psychic powers. They did experiments with some monks and asked them to concentrate on breaking a skull and within moments it really happened. I found the video, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CH0VyYbwuk&feature=youtu.be&t=3741.
For me personally I've only experienced subtle powers like sometimes knowing the minds and perceptions of others, healing myself, and experiencing extreme enjoyment from the destruction of asavas.
I know that with practice almost anyone who develops concentration would be able to achieve superhuman powers with little difficulty, it's not as a hard as it seems. With proper training it would probably only takes months or less of practice.
But I'm not very interested in developing superhuman abilities right now because it seems unnecessary and not useful to me given my current state.
I'm only interested in the ending of mental fermentations (asavas) because it's very useful to me to experience such enjoyment and put an end to the perpetual cycle of misery.
The thought arose in my mind "What is the point in having all types of superhuman abilities if one still experiences fear, anger, sorrow, boredom, and other miserable states?". With the destruction of asavas I would experience extreme enjoyment, stand fearless, doubtless, sorrowless, just enjoying this eternal moment. So what greater power could there be?
Right now I'm focusing on developing mind-exercises to end mental fermentations (asavas) since exact precise methods seem to have either completely disappeared or are hidden well during this time-period. All that's leftover now in modern times are vague teachings and ideas, not exact precise methods. I hope to become an arahant or paccekabuddha in this existence.
After that achievement I would be able to develop other superhuman abilities easily if I wanted.
Here are some of my personal experiences:
- I concentrate on healing myself, after a few seconds or minutes of concentration I feel tingling vibrations coming out of my body, my nose becomes unstuffed, my vision improves slightly, and my overall health improves
- I concentrate on destroying painful feelings inside of me, I see that in the past I insulted others harshly which is one of the vain trifling deeds holding me back
- I concentrate on destroying painful feelings inside of me, I feel a type of energy go into my forehead third eye area and experience bliss, I try harder and the energy goes above my third eye to the top of my head and experience such an extreme form of enjoyment that I see no other greater pleasure
I also believe that in the past I practiced mind-exercises in early pre-ancient Egypt a long long time ago, which unconsciously unknowingly I revived now in modern times. It seems that the earlier Egyptians were highly interested in mind-exercises and meditation, many from that time are now here during this time-period. Also sometimes I see spirits of deceased relatives, heavenly and hellish beings.
Certainly this extreme form of enjoyment is the greatest gain, greatest pleasure, the only noteworthy goal in life.