The magician Samri Baldwin exposed the tricks of the Davenport brothers in his book The Secrets of Mahatma Land Explained (1895). The medium Swami Laura Horos was convicted of fraud several times and was tried for rape and fraud in London in 1901. She was described by the magician Harry Houdini as "one of the most extraordinary fake mediums and mystery swindlers the world has ever known".
ESP Net’s online “guidance site” asserts that it is an “unrealistic expectation” for callers to assume psychics are psychic. But its contract is more ambiguous about occult powers. While it stated I could not claim a call was “anything more than entertainment,” on the next page, awaiting my signature, was this sentence: “It is my personal feeling or understanding that I possess psychic or clairvoyant abilities.” How could I sign this? Then I thought of my supernatural ability to read my husband’s mind. Take the other morning when the dog, suffering from diarrhea, started whining at 4:45 a.m. I looked over at my husband, and despite the darkness I could see this sentence forming in his brain: “If I pretend I’m still asleep, she’ll walk the dog.” I signed.
In the 1860s and 1870s, trance mediums were very popular. Spiritualism generally attracted female adherents, many who had strong interests in social justice. Many trance mediums delivered passionate speeches on abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. Scholars have described Leonora Piper as one of the most famous trance mediums in the history of Spiritualism.
Literally anything else you do to gouge your fellow man is totally aces. But I'm a human being with what I like to think is a good set of morals, and I started feeling bad about it. In fairness, the callers believed that psychics both: existed and that they plied their trade over the phone rather than winning lotteries or manipulating the stock market. Somebody was going to take advantage of them. Still, though, it's kind of a shitty thing to do. And it wears on you.
Colin Fry was exposed in 1992 when during a séance the lights were unexpectedly turned on and he was seen holding a spirit trumpet in the air, which the audience had been led to believe was being levitated by spiritual energy. In 1997, Massimo Polidoro and Luigi Garlaschelli produced wax-moulds directly from one's hand which were exactly the same copies as Gustav Geley obtained from Franek Kluski, which are kept at the Institute Metapsychique International.
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Gone are the crystal balls, dimmed lights and head scarfs (mainly!). Psychic readings have taken a 21st century leap and many of us use psychics, soul coaches and astrologers as part of our life enhancing tool kit. A good psychic reading can be a real soul rejuvenator. To get our mojo back, reconnect us to our inner wisdom and hopefully throw in a few unexpected revelations to turbo charge our way through life’s obstacles. If you’re thinking about having a psychic reading, it’s very important that you pick someone you trust.
One of my favorite calls was somebody who wanted a psychic reading of her cat. It had been throwing up and she wanted to know why. I hemmed and hawed, "It feels like a stress around something involving morning or evening ... is she being fed regularly?" Eventually it became clear that the cat was really sick and unfortunate enough to belong to someone who thought psychics had more training than veterinarians. The call ended with me saying, "I think the cat wants to go to the vet, and throwing up is the sign she's giving you."
As soon as Thomas John set foot in the mbg office a few weeks ago, we knew he was the real deal. The skeptics among us walked away as converts, having communicated with their ancestors through Thomas in ways they never dreamed possible. Here, the highly sought-after medium and intuitive whose celebrity clientele includes Jennifer Lopez and Courteney Cox shares his top insights from the other side.
After two months of me sending and resending my contract and ESP Net misplacing it, the psychic hot line announced via e-mail that it was accepting me as a reader, pending a phone interview. (Chakra Con had stopped communicating with me altogether.) The contract had warned that I had to be “tested extensively”—at least five sample readings before I would get my own log-in number. I spent another week leaving voice mail messages trying to schedule my first test when “Sandy,” the manager of ESP Net, called me back. As soon as she spoke, I sensed an aura around her of a person who had smoked one or maybe two hundred thousand cigarettes. ” ‘Debbie’ normally does the interview to see if you’re serious,” Sandy said. “But she’s had family problems, so you’re not going to get a call from her. We’ve been short-handed, so log on as soon as you can. It’s been particularly thin in the mornings from 8 to noon, so if you can work mornings, that’s good. Any questions?”
There are all sorts of explanations I could go into, from how quantum physics has shown that everything is connected to mystical explanations of how psychic or tarot readings can be done over the phone, but I always say the proof is in the pudding. In any reading, whether face to face or over the phone, I think an exceptional psychic reader should be able to quickly tune in and say something that lets you know they have connected with you. In my book, they should say something that you feel is accurate and specific in the first few minutes.