After about 15 minutes, our call was interrupted with a recording saying she had one minute left. Then a recording said she had added more time to her call. I had done some Web searching to see how much my potential callers were paying for my advice, and my best guess was that it was about $1.99 a minute. Cindy came back on, and we talked for 15 more minutes. For her $59.70 I told her that she had conceded all the power in the relationship to her boyfriend, and she had to find a way to make the decision whether they would marry more mutual. I realized that she wanted confidence from me—I remembered how much I disliked wishy-washy psychics.
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I learned to read tarot using the Celtic spread, which offers interpretations on the recent past and near future. I flipped over the Disc and Cup cards, and told the woman over the phone that a Capricorn man was sucking her dry. This was the strongest detail I'd provided and it absolutely dazzled her. At that point she broke her character as interviewer and revealed that a Capricorn man had, indeed, drifted in and out of her life over the last 30 years. The next day, she approached my friend in HR and said, "You're so lucky to be friends with someone like Angela."
In 1970 two psychical researchers investigated the direct-voice medium Leslie Flint and found that all the "spirit" voices in his séance sounded exactly like himself and attributed his mediumship to "second-rate ventriloquism". The medium Arthur Ford died leaving specific instructions that all of his files should be burned. In 1971 after his death, psychical researchers discovered his files but instead of burning them they were examined and discovered to be filled with obituaries, newspaper articles and other information, which enabled Ford to research his séance sitters backgrounds.
^ Paul Kurtz. (1985). A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-87975-300-9 "Florence Cook was caught cheating not only before her séances with Crookes but also afterward. Furthermore, she learned her trade from the mediums Frank Herne and Charles Williams, who were notorious for their cheating." Also see M. Lamar Keene. (1997). The Psychic Mafia. Prometheus Books. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-57392-161-9 "The most famous of materialization mediums, Florence Cook – though she managed to convince a scientist, Sir William Crookes, that she was genuine – was repeatedly exposed in fraud. Florence had been trained in the arts of the séance by Frank Herne, a well-known physical medium whose materializations were grabbed on more than one occasion and found to be the medium himself."
I don't think any of these women intentionally bullshitted me. I'm sure they believe they possess abilities to communicate with the dead and tap into people's lives. But, again, out of four psychics—people who claim to have special powers to know greater truths—not one noticed that the very premise I approached them on was phoney. Maybe it's because I sprung for the cheaper ones. Maybe it's because I found them on Kijiji. Maybe I'm fantastic enough of a liar that, like Psychic Three said, I managed to conjure up enough spiritual energy to bring Emily into existence. (I guess there's also the possibility that they all knew I was lying but didn't care because I was paying them.) Or maybe psychic powers don't really exist.
In 1992, Richard Wiseman analyzed the Feilding report of Eusapia Palladino and argued that she employed a secret accomplice that could enter the room by a fake door panel positioned near the séance cabinet. Wiseman discovered this trick was already mentioned in a book from 1851, he also visited a carpenter and skilled magician who constructed a door within an hour with a false panel. The accomplice was suspected to be her second husband, who insisted on bringing Palladino to the hotel where the séances took place. Massimo Polidoro and Gian Marco Rinaldi also analyzed the Feilding report but came to the conclusion no secret accomplice was needed as Palladino during the 1908 Naples séances could have produced the phenomena by using her foot.
The Founder, The late VRR Dr. Lewis Bostwick (1918-1995) founded the Church of Divine Man and its seminary workshop the Berkeley Psychic Institute. He was a natural aura reader who saw a rainbow of colors surrounding people and who had a gift of healing. He has taught hundreds of thousands of people how to use their natural clairvoyant abilities to say hello to another spirit and read and heal auras and chakras. Many of his students have moved on to create their own Institute Students have also use the tools taught to incorporate with their own holistic practice. Clairvoyant readers from all over the world (even a few famous ones) have graduated from the program. All of the Deja Vu Readers are graduates, teachers and former directors.
Phone psychic readings with tarot cards can be a lot of fun, but the reader wont always be a fully developed psychic. Read brand descriptions carefully. A purely academic tarot reader will usually announce that they dont use intuition to read the cards of their clients. Readings with a non-intuitive reader can be just as accurate as readings with a psychic reader, fortunately.
Emily wanted me to be happy and wanted to get some rest too. It's important to remember her and even talk to her but it isn't healthy to dwell on her death, Psychic Four said, and for the first time that day, I began to understand how some people can find going to a psychic comforting. She hugged me a few times as I was getting ready to leave and the last thing she said as I stepped out the door was, "Life is a gift."
I was 13 when my mom dragged my brother and me to a "psychic." We were visiting family in Malaysia and somewhere amongst a few palm oil plantations was the house of an old woman who claimed to be able to channel Buddha. My mother was enthralled during the hour-long ordeal, during which the woman basically rolled her eyes often so the whites were showing, dropped her voice a few octaves, and made astonishingly mundane statements that could've applied to anyone (examples: our house had ants out front; my grandma was old and having some health problems). Combined with my love of Harry Houdini (who spent the last few years of his life debunking psychics and mediums) and teen angst that made me hate everything my parents liked, the experience left me convinced that psychics were con artists who separated vulnerable and desperate people from their cash in exchange for poor acting.
Modern spiritualists and psychics keep detailed files on their victims. As might be expected, these files can be very valuable and are often passed on from one medium or psychic to another when one retires or dies. Even if a psychic doesn't use a private detective or have immediate access to driver's license records and such, there is still a very powerful technique that will allow the psychic to convince people that the psychic knows all about them, their problems, and their deep personal secrets, fears, and desires. The technique is called cold reading and is probably as old as charlatanism itself... If John Edward (or any of the other self-proclaimed speakers with the dead) really could communicate with the dead, it would be a trivial matter to prove it. All that would be necessary would be for him to contact any of the thousands of missing persons who are presumed dead—famous (e.g., Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater) or otherwise—and correctly report where the body is. Of course, this is never done. All we get, instead, are platitudes to the effect that Aunt Millie, who liked green plates, is happy on the other side.
I dug them out again this spring for a foray into a career as a phone psychic—the latest installment of “Human Guinea Pig,” a column in which I am supposed to explore intriguing corners of life, but in which, so far, I mostly humiliate myself. (Like here, for example.) Locating openings for my extrasensory services was easy. I went to an online job site and typed “psychic” into the search engine. I sent e-mails to the three companies listed, and two—I’ll call them ESP Net and Chakra Con—sent me back contracts to fill out.