My first reading was via phone call—the ad said the psychic was offering free mini-readings. She asked for my full name and birthday and Emily's. I gave her the details and almost instantly, she told me Emily wanted me to know that she's in a good place and that she's watching over the family. She also wanted me to be happy too, but my happiness only seems to last temporarily (note: aren't all emotions temporary though?).
To up the difficulty for me and to make it easier for the psychics (it's one thing to lie over an email or call, but another to lie to someone's face), I decided to see my next psychics in person—who knows, maybe getting readings via email didn't provide a strong enough spiritual connection or clues to see I was lying. I also looked for people who charged for readings (maybe you get what you pay for?) and settled on one for $20 and another for $40. Both told me to bring a photo so I pulled one off a (very much alive) friend's Facebook and, armed with Emily's backstory and a few years of high school acting/improv experience, headed out for my third reading of the day. At the point, I was almost hoping to be called out soon—it was too easy.
In 1925, Samuel Soal claimed to have taken part in a series of séances with the medium Blanche Cooper who contacted the spirit of a soldier Gordon Davis and revealed the house that he had lived in. Researchers later discovered fraud as the séances had taken place in 1922, not 1925. The magician and paranormal investigator Bob Couttie revealed that Davis was alive, Soal lived close to him and had altered the records of the sittings after checking out the house. Soal's co-workers knew that he had fiddled the results but were kept quiet with threats of libel suits.
Have a paper and pen handy. Whenever I get a psychic or tarot reading, I tell myself that I’m going to remember everything and then… I don’t. So grab a piece of paper and a pen (preferably a glittery one – because life is more fun with glitter) and write down important stuff so you don’t forget anything. If something doesn’t make sense right now, it might later.
Jean Pierre Allaire was counselling a 13-year old Trois Rivieres girl who reported seeing people that others could not. He told the girl she should go to the medium to find out whether she has a psychic gift. He also told her not to tell her psychiatrist about what she was seeing and hearing because that might lead to an increase in the anti-psychotic medications she was taking, which were making her sleepy.
2. Let the psychic guide the session. You’re paying a professional psychic for their time; allow them to do their job and lead the discussion where it needs to go. A good psychic should do most of the talking and asking you to validate or confirm the impressions they receive. You will likely frustrate an authentic psychic with your emotional overload by going off on tangents or venting your life story. And you’ll be giving a fraudulent psychic way too much information that can be manipulated to their advantage. When in doubt, politely ask the psychic if you may elaborate to underscore a point.
Many 19th century mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud. While advocates of mediumship claim that their experiences are genuine, the Encyclopædia Britannica article on spiritualism notes in reference to a case in the 19th century that "...one by one, the Spiritualist mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud, sometimes employing the techniques of stage magicians in their attempts to convince people of their clairvoyant powers." The article also notes that "the exposure of widespread fraud within the spiritualist movement severely damaged its reputation and pushed it to the fringes of society in the United States."