COLD READING AND OTHER PSYCHIC SCAMS
A psychics proof of claims
Fraudulent psychics are the modern day equivalent of snake-oil salesman. They have found a gap in the market that they can profit from by selling a product that doesn’t require proof just belief. And just like snake-oil even though it may not work, their clients are desperate enough that they will keep coming back for more, not because it works but because it’s their only hope. When asked for evidence of their abilities physics will always offer up their repeat clients as proof. They will not be able to offer actual scientific proof because they couldn’t provide it. Psychics use the same basic principles and unverifiable promises that organized religions use to get your business. Although unlike psychics most religions don’t charge by the hour. Having repeat clients isn’t proof of ability anymore then junk bond traders having repeat customers is proof that they will make you money. First you probably aren’t going to go to a junk bond trader unless you are in financial difficulty and desperate for a quick solution. And second even when you start to lose you will still keep returning if they promise to make back your loses, even when they don’t. It’s very similar to gamblers that have lost more money then they can afford. It’s not that there is any proof that they will get their money back if they continue to gamble, it is just the hope that they will. A false hope born out of desperation. And a psychic claiming that lack of formal complaints against them is evidence that their customers are satisfied with their service isn’t proof of ability either. There is a stigma in admitting that you go to a psychic and they are aware of this. Making a public complaint about a psychic isn’t the same as making a complaint about a hotel or faulty product you bought at as store. There is also going to be an issue with filing a formal complaint against against a psychic for not providing a service that has never even been proven to exist. It would be like a church-goer filing a complaint against Christianity for not giving eternal salvation for a dead relative.
Cold reading is the technique of making deductions about someone from such indicators as their age, appearance, or where they live, and presenting it in a way that leads the person being read to believe you have arrived at these conclusions through other methods.
The first stage of cold reading begins when you make your appointment or buy a ticket to see a psychic or medium. If you’re visiting a medium or psychic the first deduction that can be made is that you’re trying to contact someone that has died, you’re worried about a relationship, your job or your future. You don’t visit a psychic or medium when you aren’t worried about something and it’s normally going to be something of significance as you’re paying in many cases a considerable amount of money for their services. The second deduction is that you already believe they may have some genuine abilities, as with some of the top ones charging 700 an hour you probably won’t be doing it if you didn’t. It would be like taking a car to a mechanic, not believing they were going to fix it and still paying them. By going to them expecting them to tell the truth, you’re already doing much of psychic’s job for them. They should be convincing you with their results, you shouldn’t be convincing yourself with a pre-made judgment. You are just assisting them with pulling their psychic scams.
Here are some specific examples of information that can be obtained by cold reading. If you’re in you’re early twenty’s its unlikely that you have a child that’s died, and at that age most people’s parents are still alive, so the dead person your probably trying to contact is more likely to be a friend. If you’re in you’re 60’s you are more likely to try to be contacting a dead parent, or deceased child. You could also deduce if a parent is trying to contact their child that the child either died in an accident or was ill, and if ill it’s not likely to be as disease associated with old age. If you’re in your 40’s and you don’t have a wedding ring, there’s a high probability you will ask the psychic if you’re ever going to meet someone and get married, or if you’re going to get married again. If you’re wearing conservative, expensive clothes at the reading, you’re probably a business man, or work in a corporate environment, you’re major concern probably isn’t about lack of money, but maybe it’s about a high pressure career. If you’re poorly dressed, maybe your concerns are more likely to be financial.
When you book your tickets for a T.V or live show headlined by a psychic you will probably have to register your name and address. This is where many of these psychic scams begin. There is a great deal of information that can be obtained from just this alone. Almost every town or city has its own community or news site. From this statistics can be obtained including the social and ethnic make up of the area, its geography, name of local officials, current events, school names, crime rate and economic climate. These sites will often also contain pictures and detailed maps. If the address given is a local one it is quite easy for a fraudulent psychic to send an assistant to visit a person’s home. They could find out what the neighbors look like, what the street looks like and specifics about someone’s house including such things as the color of their front door, or what sort of flowers are in the garden . And thanks to Google Earth Maps, much of this can be done online without having to physically be at the location. A quick glance through a persons living room window could reveal all sorts of personal information, that if recounted back to someone during a reading would have them genuinely believing in a psychics abilities. There are many resources available on the internet that will give the top most common cause of death for people of a certain age, the most common names from particular eras, the average age they died, the most common professions that people in certain locations have. With practice all of this can increase the chances of a psychic making a correct prediction or reading, but none of it is remotely legitimate. Standing in line before you go to see a psychic or medium at a live event can you be a 100% certain the person you’ve been making conversation with is not working with the psychic you are about to see. Even when you book a personal reading with a psychic, and only reveal your first name, and a phone number they can make assumptions based just on this. There is in fact something available on the internet called a reverse phone directory; all you do is type in someone’s phone number and it will reveal their full name and address. But if the person lives locally many deductions can be made simply from knowing the part of a town or city that relates to the area code and phone number they have been given. And with the explosion of social media and sites such as Facebook and Twitter vast amounts of your data and personal history are available instantly. In addition to this many obituaries are now posted online so it is quite easy to match up a recent death with a new client. There are also specialized websites that for a fee can provide details of someones past home addresses, places of employment and financial information. It may seem like a lot of trouble for these psychics to go through to find out information on someone in order to claim they obtained it through spiritual means, and it certainly wouldn’t be practical to use these methods on everyone. But it only takes one person at a live show or in a TV audience to be completely convinced that a psychic’s ability is genuine to get the rest of the audience on the psychic’s side. The same applies to a personal reading; one satisfied customer can bring in several more clients through personal recommendation and it can also convince someone to give the psychic repeat business over the long term.
The subconscious compliance of the participant
The person having a psychic reading may also unknowingly search for and adapt information to fit whatever generalization a psychic has made not what they have actually said.
For example, if the psychic said at the end of August you would find a new job, but you actually get a new job in the beginning of August. The beginning of August is not the end of August, the psychic was wrong but you actually chose not to focus on the specifics which were incorrect. If a psychic makes ten predictions that aren’t correct, and three that are, people always tend to focus on the ones that they did get right. But in this example it would actually mean that they got 70% of their predictions wrong. What if you took your car to a mechanics ten times and they only fixed the car three times, that doesn’t make them very good mechanics. So why would anyone assume that someone that gets most predictions wrong have any psychic abilities. The laws of chance and probability mean most people can get a prediction right if they make enough of them. People will always focus on and remember something positive that they wanted to hear from a psychic, and not remember their mistakes, because if the psychic makes so many mistakes it affects the validity of the few things they did get right. No, one likes handing over money for something that doesn’t work, and unlike most businesses there is little protection for the consumer when it comes to psychic scams. You won’t get a refund if the service is defective. So people make the best of a bad situation and simple search and adapt information so they get a result that won’t make them feel cheated.
If someone says something in an assertive manner as if it’s the truth you are far more likely to be believe them then if they say the same thing in a hesitant unsure manner, whether it’s the truth or not.
Most mediums particularly the famous T.V mediums are personable, and assertive just like most entertainers. They appear to be “nice guys” but if you’re deceiving someone just to make a profit then there’s nothing nice about them. People need to look beyond the “cult of personality” they have created and look at what there actually doing. Social compliance is when you believe because you are supposed to, because everyone else does, and rather then go against popular thinking it is easier to agree with it, even if your own logic tells you otherwise. This can be applied by the psychic in the same way a stage hypnotist can get his audience members to comply to his commands. A more subtle Psychology extends to the setting where a private reading takes place. If it takes place in a New Age shop, or at someone’s home decorated with all the trappings of spiritual belief such as crystal balls, and wind chimes, your already being subconsciously told that they have some sort of spiritual power because of their association with these symbols. These are settings of spiritual belief not skepticism. If someone gave you a reading at the beach, or at a McDonald’s, would you be as likely to believe them?
The same techniques of generalizations used in a horror scope, can be used to perform psychic scams. Statements so vague that they could apply to anyone, but directed at a single person they appear specific. For example, “you’re an ambitious person but you allow yourself to get sidetracked”. “I see there is a photograph that is very important to you”. “I see there will be a major change in your life”. “You are worried about someone close to you”. One method used by a fraudulent psychic is to tell you that you have psychic abilities yourself, something easy to say, and difficult to prove. They know everyone would like to be a genuine psychic, and they use this knowledge to cater to the person’s ego. These generalizations and techniques work equally well over a phone, where you don’t have any face to face contact with a person.
A technique called genetic deduction can be implemented when someone asks a psychic to contact a dead relative from their immediate family such as a father, or sister. What the psychic does is to look at the person that is being read and then describe someone with similar features, which a close relative will also have. For example if you are a tall man, have an angular face, with small piercing eyes there’s a high probability that a deceased relative from your immediate family will have at least some of the same traits . A psychic can simply describe to you that they are getting an image of a tall man, with grey hair and piercing eyes, and then ask if that is your father. To the uninitiated this may sound like they have given an uncannily accurate description of someone they couldn’t possibly have known. But this is not psychic this is just genetic.
Shot gunning is the method used to describe the way psychics throw out a list of common names or scenarios with the hope that the person they are giving a reading to will identify with one of them. For example, the psychic may say “I see a J a John or Jeff or Jim” until someone says they know a person by that name. The psychic may then repeat the process but substitute generic scenarios instead of a name, such as they are “someone close to you, a friend or a relative, or a work colleague” and then allow the person to link the two. You may have seen a psychic use the shot gun effect on Television where it is particularly effective as they may have up to several hundred audience members to choose from. You will also notice that they rarely “shotgun” any unusual names.
Having you provide information then making it appear as if they provided it
Psychics may also ask you questions such as “what would you like me to tell you “, or “who would you like me to contact, a friend or a dead relative” You may reply, “I’m worried about my job”, or “Id like to contact my dead mother”. This immediately tells them what your concerns are or why you are there, but the psychic hasn’t actually predicated this at all. Think about it, you’re paying them to provide you with information, so why do you have to tell them anything? Would you pay your mechanic to service your car and then expect to help him change the oil and filter?
Turning a wrong answer into a right one
A psychic may make a wrong predication, and then reword it to make it seem like they were correct. For example they say “I see a man in your life, he’s very tall”, and there is a man in your life, but he’s actually short. But the psychic can still turn this around, by saying “But he is someone you admire, so he’s tall in your eyes isn’t he”. Or they may say “I see you’re having problems at work”. And then you tell them you’re actually unemployed. The psychic can say “but you consider trying to find employment a job in it’s -self don’t you”. Another standby when they make an incorrect prediction is simply to say it will happen “sometime in the near future”.
Convincing you, you have psychic abilities
If you believe you are psychic then you are more likely to believe that someone who is giving you a reading has genuine abilities. There are many psychics that will help you to develop your psychic powers for a fee. They can just implement the same fraudulent techniques they used to give you a reading to convince you of your “gift.” One of their sales techniques will involve asking you to predict 50/50 scenarios. For example they may ask do I have a red car. Do I have a dog? For extra effect they may provide you with a pendulum to provide yes/no answers. It won’t take many correct predictions of this nature before it appears you are ready to develop your own psychic abilities. But why do they never say what color car do I have, or what sort of pet do I have? Two completely different ways of asking questions, that asks the same thing. One that would give you very high chance of a correct prediction, and another that would make that likelihood considerably lower.
A psychic may make a prediction that there will be an earthquake in Japan, or there will be a terrorist attack in the United States, in the next year, in a major city. But they won’t say where in a major city, the nature of the attack, or give a date. Are they “gifted” to tell you that, or is it just another one of their psychic scams ? And if one of these predication’s did come true, how many have they made that didn’t. If they wish to prove an ability to predict the future beyond the law of chance, the incorrect ones made must also be taken into account. Many of their predictions are simply made on the forecasts of scientists and social analysts. It’s nothing more then assumptions based on projected trends and developing technology. Science fiction writers do it all the time, but they don’t claim to be psychic. Another technique is to make predictions with only two possible outcomes, so the psychic has a 50/50 chance of getting them right. For instance they may predict a certain celebrity couple may split. But even if they do get it right what was the only other possible outcome? That they wouldn’t split? Entertainment magazines make predictions like this everyday, except they don’t call them predictions. When a psychic does get a “hit”, look at how many possible outcomes there really where before you consider them beyond the laws of probability. Everyone makes predictions, whether it’s if their team will win a sports championship, or what share will do well on the stock market. But there simply educated guesses based on prior knowledge and not as a result of any psychic ability.
Proof of psychic ability or the ability to communicate with the dead would be one of the most significant revelations of the 21st century, and if you believe you have proof then why you aren’t willing to provide it? The only reason is because you have no proof, and despite the claim that you use scientific methodology you don’t abide by it. If the psychic’s evidence has no validity, then neither does the organization they are a part of. Using psychics to provide proof of the afterlife is like using unicorns to prove the existence of flying pigs.
Psychic And Clairvoyant Scams – Scam Watch
Operation Bumblebee Stings Medium – James Randi Foundation
Sylvia Browne – Fake Psychic Exposed – Youtube
The 6 Most Humiliated Public Failures – Cracked