A psychic is a person in contact with spirits of the dead, interprets tarot cards and horoscopes, reads palms and uses supernatural methods to tell ones fortune. Fortunetellers giving clairvoyant psychic readings have practiced their craft and techniques over years. Some of these are fraud, and some may be legitimate psychics. It’s hard to tell the difference because their presentation is similar.

Louisanna pyschic studio

Louisanna pyschic studio.

Cold Psychic Reading

A psychic cold reading is a technique a psychic uses to tell a fortune with no advance information about the subject. It is a common technique and it is easy to find a guide to cold reading. Cold readers base much of their reading on a prepared, stock format. A psychic cold reading is a give and take format that uses suggestion and flattery. The psychic says something and the subject responds. One method for staging this is for the psychic to tell the person at the start, something to the effect of “I can’t do this alone, you have to help me. What I see means more to you than me.” This relaxes the subject and prepares them to cooperate. Once into the reading the mentalist uses several methods to produce answers.

The Barnum or Forer effect uses a person’s natural tendency to believe and give details and additional information. Dr. Bertram R. Forer did an experiment in the 1940’s. He handed out a statement to his students to rate the truthfulness on a scale of 1 to 5 on how well it described them. He had each student’s name on the top of the paper. Each student graded an individual copy on how well the student thought it matched his personality. The average was 4.25 out of 5. Forer took the statement out of an astrology magazine and everyone’s statement was the same. The test is still repeated with similar results. When people hear or read things about themselves they feel is true, they have a tendency to be more forthcoming.

The shotgun approach is to throw many ideas out and hope some hit. They are generally vague statements like, “I see someone in the family has problems in their stomach or chest.” This covers most people who have had cancer, heart problems or most physical ailments. The idea is to get broad statements out that cover a wide area. One of them will fit someone’s situation. If one statement doesn’t get a response or is wrong, fire another one out quickly. I’ve seen this method used on TV psychic programs.

Hot Psychic Reading

The difference between a hot and cold reading is that the psychic has some information on the subject in a hot reading. Psychic’s obtain this information in several ways.

James Randi, a magician that did readings in his act, attended a psychic program with a radio receiver. Randi heard information transmitted to the medium who had a receiver in his ear. The medium had people in the line of people waiting to come in. They passed on useful information they heard the people in line talking about. Another psychic had transmitters under the seats that transmitted conversations to associates who relayed information to the medium. Penn and Teller give other examples in their television show “Bullshit!”

James Randi Psychic Prize

The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered a million dollar prize that passes his paranormal challenge. No one has made it past the first portion in a two-part test. Sylvia Browne said on Larry King’s show she would take the test. When asked about it later she said she didn’t know how to get in contact with the foundation. Randi set up the challenge with the intent that it will prove or disprove the ability of the psychic. He is willing to modify these rules and work with the challenger to give positive results.

Clairvoyant Psychic Readings

Free psychic readings are given in-group situations where the medium addresses a crowd and does readings during the presentation. Psychic email readings are common since the internet became so prevalent. In person and over the phone readings can be given.

Are Psychics Real?

Are psychics real, or are they entertainers, or worse, charlatans and frauds? In one sense, they do nothing more than magicians and entertainers. Uri Geller was a magician before he started to bill himself as a psychic. We have all heard stories about palm readers, mediums and psychics that give astounding predictions. Being antidotal, these stories are hard to definitively prove or disprove. Part of the answer may rest in the eye of the beholder. To one observer a psychic that gives 5 correct answers out of 10 is gifted, to another they are no better than a coin flip.