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Q: Aren’t you supposed to tell me things about myself that happened, like “you just bought a new car.”
A: Wait. What?
I have to admit, this one stopped me in my tracks for a minute.
I mean, how is THAT going to help anything? Who pays good money to have a psychic predict the past? Weren’t you THERE when it happened to…. you?
Obviously, this person wanted me to “prove” my “psychic ability” with her notion of “psychic” being pulling impressive random facts out of thin air.
This is the kind of thing that gives actual spirituality a bad name. Sincere intuitives get lumped together with stage mentalists and performance psychics all too often.
We stopped the reading on the spot. Clearly it was a mis-match. She didn’t want anything to do with my style of advice, personal growth or spirituality and I don’t want anything to do with razzle dazzle trickery.
That isn’t to say razzle dazzle is bad. There is nothing wrong with some good old Vegas style entertainment. Especially since outdated blue laws keep so many of us chained to the “entertainment only” disclaimer. The problem comes, as I see it, when people confuse the two. Things go pear shaped when people expect the two totally separate practices to be exactly alike. If you think all intuitive work is scammy stage shows, then you miss out on the chance for personal growth and genuine insights. If you think all “psychics” are serious spirituality, then you risk being taken in by a scam.
So let’s do what all good academic types do at times like these. Let’s define our terms so we don’t get stage magic and sincere spirituality confused.
Stage Magic: See Penn and Teller. No, really. See Penn and Teller. The way they debunk things and encourage healthy skepticism is a good thing.
Cold Readings: Cold readings take subtle clues like body language, appearance, and verbal cues to steer the conversation so that the sitter (person getting the reading) to think the reader knew all of the details through supernatural means. An obvious example would be noticing someone wearing an engagement ring and asking them if there was a wedding coming up in their family. A fast series of questions going from vague to specific is a good indication that a cold reading is in progress.
I use cold reading to a lesser degree, with one important difference – I TELL you when I’m doing it.
I say things like “I noticed _________.” Or I’ll straight up bald faced ask you something, like what you do for a living?” Then we’ll use that as background context. “In that case” X card meaning is probably more likely than Y card meaning….that sort of thing.
Mentalism is slightly different. Instead of gleaning subtle information from questions and clues, a mentalist will actively insert ideas and deliberately lead the conversation to a certain conclusion that also seems supernatural. One is derivative, the other is manipulative but both lead to a similar illusion.
I don’t use mentalism. I don’t know how to use mentalism. Honestly, it seems like WAY more work than it’s worth. The direct information spirit/energy/intuition gives may resonate with you now, it may resonate with you later, or it may never resonate at all. I give what I get as I get it…the rest is up to you. If a reading empowers you to move along your life path with a little more ease and mindfulness, then the reading has done its job, no manipulation required.
Do I tell you what has already happened to you? Um…no.
Do I tell you what is going to happen to you? Nope.
Do I lead the conversation or take tricky cues to make you think I’m the second coming of the great Carnac? No and no.