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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Debunking Paranormal Feats

Each new year churns out religious and irreligious cranks and crooks who dupe people into believing in their hocus-pocus masquerading as "psychic" readings and other out-of-this-world "feats."

But as you probably know, almost anybody can be a psychic of sorts. For starters, work on a "cold reading" career by using the "Ten Easy Psychic Lessons" by famed myth debunker Michael Shermer (for details, click here):

1. Set the stage for an intimate, comfortable, experience. Establish your Psychic authority with props such as important looking charts, or bookcases full of reference books.

2.Project a sympathetic personality. Put your client in a receptive, cooperative mood by explaining that a reading is a team effort.

3. There are seven things people most want to talk about: love, Health, Money, Career, Travel, Education, & Ambition. Stick to these themes by asking a lot of questions and making plenty of statements from each category. This will also help you remember where you are in the reading.

4. Start with the “Barnum” reading that offers something for everyone.

5. After general statements, you can begin to home in on specifics that apply to most people by referencing such things as jewelry from a deceased family member, toys, books, mementos, etc. and peculiarities about the person.

6. Extract information from your client by disguising questions as statements.

7. Appeal to the authority of ancient wisdom and mysterious secrets by peppering your reading with esoteric jargon.

8. Don’t be shy about using a little scientific knowledge from psychology or sociology to deduce your  client’s concerns.

9. Don't forget the obvious. Flatter your subjects. Tell them what they want to hear.

10. Have your excuses ready. Turn every outcome to your advantage.

It just took a day or so for Shermer to master cold reading, but of course, an average person like me may  be able to master this skill only after the 999th practice. :)

Uri Geller is a cheat known for his so-called "psychokinetic ability." Shermer explodes the Geller Myth with the following demonstration  (be sure to read his related article entitled, "HOW TO BEND A SPOON WITH JUST YOUR MIND"):


Along with Shermer, my two other favorite debunkers are James Randi (website: James Randi Educational Foundation), and Andre Kole (website: Old-timers of Baguio City may remember Kole well for exposing the fraudulent "healing sessions" of the city's former mayor, Jun Labo.


Something to chuckle about: Kim Remesch's "Scientists Say Everyone Has ESP"


One of Andre Kole's earlier performances...


Kim said...

Hi Scott,
Thanks for referencing my article on Scientists saying everyone has ESP. I love the absurd. I love your blog here.

I ran into one psychic who threw me totally off guard if you'd ever like to tackle it. She was so spot on as to be scary. She told me who I had dated by occupation, in order, over the last six months when I saw here. She was spot on. It was icky. I can't figure it out. Her setting wasn't flattering at all. It wasn't a place I wanted to go to. She NEVER flattered me. Quite the opposite. She told me things that weren't good at all but I figured I'd be up against in the near future. She seemed scattered regarding the charts and the like, and honestly, wasn't the most likeable character. Not the usual case.

What are your feelings on police psychics--not like the Medium chick? I worked with law enforcement as a journalist for more than a decade, and there were real people who seemed to be intuitive beyond reason. I'm an intuitive myself, but I see it as a product of my journalism training.

Again, insteresting blog.

scott saboy said...

Kim, you should have checked the micro-transmitter in her ear. You know, the Popoff Technique... :) Re police psychics, some seem credible enough based on what I watched on Discovery (or was that CSI?). What I can relate to this are ghost stories in my country: certain ghost questors are said to have led the police to previously unknown graveyards of murder victims. Whatever, although I don't wish for a third eye, I do wish that I got more of my wife's intuition hehe... Thanks for the post. Cheerio...