Magicians have a long history of exposing the fraudulent methods of mediumship. Early debunkers included Chung Ling Soo, Henry Evans and Julien Proskauer.[59] Later magicians to reveal fraud were Joseph Dunninger, Harry Houdini and Joseph Rinn. Rose Mackenberg, a private investigator who worked with Houdini during the 1920s, was among the most prominent debunkers of psychic fraud during the mid-20th century.[60]
^ John Casey. (2009). After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Oxford. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-19-997503-7 "The poet attended one of Home's seances where a face was materialized, which, Home's spirit guide announced, was that of Browning's dead son. Browning seized the supposed materialized head, and it turned out to be the bare foot of Home. The deception was not helped by the fact that Browning never had lost a son in infancy."

The magician Julien Proskauer revealed that the levitating trumpet of Jack Webber was a trick. Close examination of photographs reveal Webber to be holding a telescopic reaching rod attached to the trumpet, and sitters in his séances only believed it to have levitated because the room was so dark they could not see the rod. Webber would cover the rod with crepe paper to disguise its real construction.[162]
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.

After Claudia hung up, I waited fruitlessly during the next hour for another call, then finally disconnected. For the next few days, I logged on at least two hours a day. Often I would have no calls, but sometimes there would be a spate of them. “Roxanne” wanted to know if she should ditch her boyfriend and go to a new guy. The cards said “No.” “Helaine” wanted to know if the guy who broke up with her five months ago was going to come back. The cards said “No.” “Nina” wanted to know if the guy who dumped her three weeks ago might change his mind. The cards said he might, but it would just cause her more pain. “Darla” wanted to know if the guy she had been seeing on and off for 40 (yes, 40) years was going to get serious this time. The cards said he wasn’t capable of being serious.


In 1880 the American stage mentalist Washington Irving Bishop published a book revealing how mediums would use secret codes as the trick for their clairvoyant readings.[84] The Seybert Commission was a group of faculty at the University of Pennsylvania who in 1884–1887 exposed fraudulent mediums such as Pierre L. O. A. Keeler and Henry Slade.[85] The Fox sisters confessed to fraud in 1888. Margaret Fox revealed that she and her sister had produced the "spirit" rappings by cracking their toe joints.[86]

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