(Investigator 136, 2010
ability to see beyond the normal range of time and space;
clairaudience, to hear beyond those limits, and prescience or
precognition, knowledge of events before they take place.
garnered together by those advertising as clairvoyants or psychic
consultants, who often augment their prognostications with the use of
astrology, numerology, tarot cards or palmistry. Readers who have
consulted any of the above would no doubt have been amazed at the
revelations about their past history of which the clairvoyant could not
possibly have had any prior knowledge and will attest to the accuracy
of their predictions. The source of this ability you will be told is a
natural gift, a gift from God, the result a traumatic experience, or
training and development of an inherent sense.
abounds with documented evidence by responsible and authoritative
people, whose past has been unfolded before their eyes and who have
been allowed a glimpse of the future. Famous personalities such as
Abraham Lincoln, Lord Balfour, a former Prime Minister of Great
Britain; Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and more
recently, the former President of the United States of America and the
first lady, Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
royalty, heads of state and politicians, as well as ordinary folk, have
consulted a variety of seers in an effort to be forewarned of events to
come, to seek advice, and to find answers to the problems that beset
them. There have been some remarkable accounts of mishaps being avoided
and tragedies that could not; advice which eventuated in a fortuitous
event; of unexpected and unforeseen changes in a person's life coming
to pass, and of changes in attitude leading to a more positive and
beneficial outlook on life. Psychics are sought by those suffering the
trauma of indecision and who may find it difficult to discuss their
everyday problems with friends or relatives, or who may be concerned
with a particular social, financial or relationship problem and are
unable or unwilling to seek the services of a specialist counselor.
Such people often turn to a stranger versed in the art of the occult,
usually with satisfying results.
describe those people who claim to have a gift enabling them to
foretell the future. They can be seen advertising in a variety of
newspapers and magazines under the heading of clairvoyant or psychic
and usually conduct their business from home or in a few cases, from a
small office or by correspondence. One would have thought that with the
ability to foresee events ahead of time, fame and riches would be an
obvious acquisition, however, apart from a relative few, the average
clairvoyant, despite the comparatively low overheads connected with the
business, rarely displays any pretensions of wealth or social standing.
Their fees ranging from $40 - $60 for a one hour reading, restricting
the run of the mill clairvoyants to the lower middle income bracket.
that they do not
have psychic powers one would have to prove a negative, but when the
evidence is examined a far more prosaic explanation of their claimed
powers evolves. This will be disputed by many who have had a reading
and who will testify to the accuracy of what they were told about their
past by a complete stranger and the prognostications for their future
which came to pass. The reasons for this are easily understood when the
techniques of social and psychological manipulation used by
clairvoyants are explained.
aspects which need be
addressed are the methods employed by the reader to convince the client
of their ability, the client's attitude towards the reader, and what
the client thinks they have been told as distinct from what they were
actually told. First, observation by the reader of the client's general
appearance such as clothes, shoes and jewelry will provide the initial
clues for a basic assessment, followed by a judgment of the person's
educational standard deduced from the opening remarks and subsequent
visible clues such
as scars; a zodiac pendant or ring which would disclose the client's
approximate birthdate; the state of their hands and fingernails; and
perhaps a pale band on the finger where a wedding ring was once worn.
People have sometimes told me that they did have a forgotten scar but
which was not visible and yet the clairvoyant knew of it. There is
nothing mysterious about that, most people have had an accident, minor
or serious during their lives that has left a scar. The client
immediately tries to find one to fit.
the client (and
most people for that matter) is usually under the impression that their
particular problems are unique, the clairvoyant will be aware that we
all go through similar stages in life and suffer the concomitant
problems associated with them. Hence, by utilizing the initial
observations and taking into consideration the age and sex of the
client, a reasonable guess can be made in respect of the client's past
experiences and present problem. Then with some idle chit-chat, vague
statements and some leading questions the information gleaned can be
used to augment the second stage.
the reader will
use a technique known as "cold reading", an assessment couched in
general and ambiguous terms which can readily and equally be applied to
anyone, and during which, the reactions of the client are observed and
any information gleaned is then remembered by the clairvoyant and fed
back at a later time, the client under the impression that they are
being told things about themselves that a complete stranger could not
following is typical
of the stock spiels described above (Hyman 1976) and used with
variations by psychics which, when fed back to the client with the
additional information solicited from them earlier, will prove very
effective in convincing them f the psychic's powers. And remember there
is a willingness on the part of the client to try and make the
disclosures fit the circumstances no matter how vague and ambiguous
they may be.
aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. At times you are
extroverted, affable and sociable, while at other times you are
introverted, wary and reserved. You have found it unwise to be too
frank in revealing yourself to others. You pride yourself on being an
independent thinker, and do not accept other's opinions without
satisfactory proof. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety,
and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations.
At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right
decision or done the right thing. Disciplined and controlled on the
outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. While you
have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate
for them. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not
turned to your advantage. You have a tendency to be critical of
yourself and have a strong need for other people to like and admire
Most of the
were garnered by Bertram Forer from a newsstand astrology book in 1948,
for a classroom demonstration of personal validation. Forty-one percent
of his students rated the personality test as a perfect fit of their
tried this same
approach at many gatherings and at least eighty per cent of those
participating have agreed that it is an accurate assessment of their
character. It does not need a particularly close examination to see
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Sense. Angus & Robertson.
Forer, B.R. 1949. "The
Fallacy of Personal Validation: A Classroom Demonstration of
Gullibility." Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 44:
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Good, Bad and Bogus. Prometheus Books, New York.
Hines, T. 1988. Pseudoscience
and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books, New York.
Holzer, H. 1975. The
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_______ 1975. The
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and Parascience. Hoder & Stoughton. UK.
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