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PSYCHICS

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PARTING FOOLS FROM THEIR MONEY

It is quite remarkable how in this day and age, there are so many people who believe implicitly in those purveyors of mystical mumbo-jumbo such as clairvoyants, tarot card readers, palmists, fortune tellers, psychics, spoon-benders and the myriad con-men and con-women who seem to have the talent to find a never-ending source of gullible mugs from whom money can be extracted. What is even more remarkable is that even when these crooks are thoroughly debunked, people still go on believing in their scams and paying them fortunes, regardless of the exposés.

THE CHALLENGE TO SO-CALLED PSYCHICS

The press is rife with advertisements by clairvoyants and psychics touting their so-called paranormal abilities, usually for substantial fees. Most of them claim that their talents are used for the benefit of mankind, however it seems to me that they are mostly intent on lining their own pockets by scamming the gullible. However, very few of these psychics are willing to be put to the test and those who actually are placed in conditions where they cannot use their techniques for eliciting information surreptitiously from their victims, fail miserably.

Various organisations around the world have put up prize money amounting to millions of dollars to be awarded to any person who can prove paranormal powers. Those who have tried to win this money by submitting to tests have all failed miserably and for at least twenty years, this money has remained untouched. If these psychics have the powers they all claim to possess, if they have the ability to predict future events and important numbers and dates, why do they not consistently pick winning racehorses, lotto or keno numbers, or take the millions of dollars on offer? Why do they plod on, earning relatively small amounts of money from phone psychic services or palm reading sessions when all they need to do to make themselves very wealthy immediately is to use those paranormal powers or merely prove that they have them?

Even an abject cretin can figure this out - these so-called clairvoyants and psychics are all frauds, tricksters and crooks, nothing more. There are plenty of easy marks out there just itching to be parted from their money and willing to believe any mumbo-jumbo dished out to them. The craziest part is that the suckers are always amazed when clairvoyants tell them information that they were not supposed to know, however virtually all psychics use a very simple technique called cold-reading that elicits the information required without the mugs being aware that they have given it.

This has been proven many times, with world-famous psychics being asked to use their so-called powers to give information about people who were put in front of them, but with one difference. The targets were not known to the psychics, they did not speak, they did not indicate anything by facial or body movement or expression, they did not give any hint of their background or history - in other words, they could not be cold-read and therefore no information was available to be squeezed out of them by the psychics. In every solitary instance, the readings given by these psychics were so far off the mark it was just embarrassing, or even worse, in many cases the psychics could not even begin to make a reading at all.

COLD-READING

Below on this page there is a brilliant exposé of cold-reading by the most renowned debunker of clairvoyants, James Randi. He has brought many of the most famous "psychics" totally undone in public and easily shows how they operate to fleece the gullible people who are so stupid as to believe such rubbish.

One only has to listen to the radio to hear on-air clairvoyants, psychics and astrologers using this very technique to inform people of their futures, problems and literally anything else that is asked of them. A simple test is to observe whether the clairvoyant is actually giving unsolicited and accurate information or merely asking questions and making appropriate responses based upon the answers unwittingly given by the person making the enquiry.

What will be observed in every instance is that the clairvoyant will either ask a question outright or disguise the question as a statement to elicit a response with information that the clairvoyant can feed back to the victim as if the clairvoyant had divined this revelation by psychic powers. Once one is aware of the cold-reading technique and how it is applied, it is amusing to see such a transparent scam being used without victims becoming aware that they are in fact providing all the answers that they seek.

Some of these scammers have an even better technique. They merely list a pile of predictions and alleged facts about their targets, but don't give them much chance to respond, thus making it seem that their predictions are correct, simply because their targets do not get a chance to refute the statements. And if by some chance the targets do manage to squeeze a word in and deny the accuracy of the predictions, the psychics will merely gloss over them. People who go to so-called psychics are already suckers, as they are gullible and open to suggestion, so in many cases, they will agree to even false predictions by psychics out of embarrassment.

DORIS STOKES

Some years ago a British woman called Doris Stokes showed up in Australia amid great fanfare. She claimed to be able to communicate with the dead, or as she put it, those who had passed over to "The Other Side" wherever that may have been. She was heavily promoted on television and the media and made a very tidy killing with her appearances, where she acted as the "telephone line" between the living members of the audience (although I sometimes wonder how alive these people were) and their departed loved ones.

The well-known debunker of such people, James Randi came to Australia and with great skill and knowledge literally tore Ms Stokes apart, but still the gullible came in droves to talk to those who had departed this mortal coil. However Ms Stokes came unstuck when the parents of a boy who had disappeared implored Ms Stokes to ascertain if he was dead and if so, contact him. Ms Stokes promptly did this and informed the distraught parents that the boy had died, however they could now talk to him through Ms Stokes, which they did for a while. They left the show feeling very sad but content in knowing that their boy was floating around having a great time in heaven.

A few days later, the parents were quite shocked to receive a telephone call from - guess who? Yes, there are no prizes for this one - it was their son. He had run away from home all those years ago and had gone to Tasmania, where he met a nice girl and was very happily married and very contrite at the fact that he had not kept in touch with his parents. This bombshell hit the newspapers and everybody then wondered who (if anybody) Ms Stokes had been talking to when she claimed to be in touch for such a length of time with the "dead" son of these poor people and was answering all those questions that the parents had been putting to her to pass on and get replies from the deceased lad. Of course Ms Stokes had no answer to this and left Australia very rapidly.

MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI

One of the greatest scam artists of our day is the notorious Mahesh Maharishi Yogi. Ever since being discovered and promoted in their ignorance by the Beatles, he has made a very lucrative business out of parting the gullible from their money. No matter how many times Maharishi has been exposed as a fraud, there seems to be a never-ending supply of devotees willing to swallow his tripe. The late Richard Carlton of the Australian "60 Minutes" television show interviewed Maharishi and some of his minions and mercilessly exposed him as an unrepentant charlatan.

One of the most abject idiocies shown was a group of devotees practicing the "art" of Transcendental Levitation. The sight of these fools bounding around for hours on their backsides in a room with a mattress for a floor was just hilarious. To think that these clowns paid a lot of money and may have actually believed that they were flying just shows how gullible people can be.

One of the Maharishi's senior acolytes swore that Maharishi was really and truly able to fly. Carlton asked him whether he had actually seen Maharishi flying using transcendental levitation, whereupon the acolyte admitted that no, he had never seen his master fly in such fashion. Indeed he also admitted that he had never seen anybody fly this way, however he seemed quite content to assist Maharishi in conning money out of idiots for flying lessons without the aid of an aircraft.

CYNTHIA MILLER

Cynthia Miller, 36, who ran the Astrology Life store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA admitted that she defrauded over a million dollars from clients, including a mentally ill man who was hearing voices. She was sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison. Shewas the last of nine family members sentenced for their roles in a psychic fraud conspiracy that US federal prosecutors said fleeced more than $US20 million from gullible people all over the world.

Miller, who advertised as a psychic and life coach, admitted that she claimed she could communicate with spirits and had the power to remove curses and negativity from her clients' lives. She told customers that money or valuables they gave her would either be burned, sacrificed or donated to charity or churches. She made $1.2 million from the fraud.

One of her victims was a man who heard voices in his head and was grieving the recent death of his father when he sought help at her store. He eventually gave her $US400,000 worth of gold coins in the belief she could fix his problems. When he later asked her to return the coins, Miller told him they were buried in a cemetery and she could not remember where. Prosecutors said that some of those gold coins were later found in a safety deposit box controlled by Miller's husband, Michael Marks.

Miller also admitted that she took a huge amount of money from a Japanese woman who underwent multiple surgeries for brain tumours while seeking guidance on romantic and other life matters from her. The woman gave her life savings, about $US500,000 to Miller and is now losing her home in Japan to foreclosure.

Miller wept in court as she apologised. "The first thing I want to say is that I’m sorry to my clients," she said. "There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t punish myself in praying that one day they will be able to forgive me. I did, and still do, care very deeply for them and pray for them and feel horrible for my actions." Judge Marra sentenced Miller to three years and five months in federal prison and gave her until 30 May 2014 to begin serving her prison term. She is expected to pay about $1.2 million in restitution to victims.

But Cynthia Miller and her entire 9-member family ran this fake psychic scam with full premeditation, so her crocodile tears and statement of contrition in court were merely to try and sway the judge in not giving her a harsher sentence. It shows that there is a never-ending stream of gullible fools who will believe anything they are told and are willing to hand over their money to scammers and criminals who take advantage of their stupidity.

ASTROLOGY

To fleece the gullible, astrologers use the ridiculous notion that astronomical bodies that are hundreds of millions of light years from this planet can somehow influence the characters of people and future events. Astrology has been around for as long as there have been fools who were willing to be suckered by this nonsense. In Denmark, one of the largest studies of the possible link between human traits and astrology has found little, if any, connection between the traditional Sun signs of the zodiac and people's characteristics. The study, performed by Dr Peter Hartmann and hi8s colleagues, adds to the growing body of evidence that there is no scientific basis for star signs, like Aries and Taurus, signs that are based on the place of the Sun in relation to someone's date of birth.

Geoffrey Dean, a former astrologer based in Australia who researches the possible scientific validity of astrology, tracked over 2000 people who were born within minutes of each other. The study, which spanned several decades, covered over 100 different characteristics, like marital status, IQ, anxiety and temperament was published in 2003 in the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Dean came to a similar conclusion as Hartmann and his team, that date of birth does not affect an individual's personality. In other words, Dean found that astrology was a pile of utter rubbish.

It is interesting to note that on the website of one of the foremost "astrologers" in Australia, there is a disclaimer that states that the information and astrological interpretations at that website are for entertainment purposes only. The "astrologer" also demands that people using his services agree to release his business from all liability. It does not say much for the alleged ability of this "astrologer" if he takes money from the public without at least standing behind what he claims to be able to do and that he needs some sort of indemnity to protect himself from legal liability. The only conclusion a reasonable person could draw from this is that people who claim to have paranormal powers and abilities, yet need disclaimers such as this, are nothing more than charlatans.

JONATHAN CAINER

Even a cursory examination of the Daily Telegraph astrology column of the late Jonathan Cainer, the self-professed astrologer and charlatan, clearly demonstrates not only how nonsensical it is, but how Cainer used the gullibility and ignorance of people to make a cosy living from his scam. For instance, his alleged predictions for 25 November 2011 are so vague and open-ended that they are completely meaningless, but of course the idea of this is to allow fools to read into them whatever they like and con themselves into believing that this garbage actually applies to them personally. Here are a few examples of Cainer's drivel.

Examine every one of the above horoscopes and it becomes very evident that none of them actually say or predict anything. All of them are piles of unmitigated crap. What they do is lead suckers to click on the link after every horoscope. For the purpose of this article, those links have not been made clickable here because Hotheads refuses to be party to this utter rubbish.

It is blatantly obvious that Cainer just published this garbage every day in the hope that fools clicked on those links and ordered his horoscopes and guides to the future. With his column occupying the best part of a full page in the Daily Telegraph and heaven knows how many other publications every day, Cainer really pulled in the suckers and made a very lucrative living from this scam.

Cainer and all other astrologers cannot actually predict anything about anybody in particular from stars and planets, but to give an idea of the sort of baloney Cainer fed gullible fools, this is what was on his order form:

This is how much Cainer charged for this crap in 2012.

The form ent on to ask for personal details of the sucker, such as name, email, date and place of birth and the obvious checkbox asking if Cainer can send the sucker offers and news - more marketing. After the sucker filled in enough information for Cainer to get a handle on what to tell him, the form went on to ask for payment.

It is truly amazing to think that there are people out there who read Cainer's so-called horoscopes that are just a pile of meaningless drivel and actually went on and feathered his nest by dishing out money to purchase more drivel. But people are gullible and that is why scam artists thrive.

I was happy to throw down the gauntlet to Cainer and I challenged him to prove that he actually had some sort of paranormal power and could predict the future or tell people things about themselves that he would have no hope of knowing under normal circumstances. Like all the other phoney astrologers, Cainer did not take up the challenge, but that was to be expected.

Hotheads has devised a very fair and impartial test for alleged psychics, clairvoyants, astrologers and other merchants of baloney. So far, the couple of people who were game enough to take the challenge failed dismally. I would have expected Cainer to achieve the same result, but of course he did not take it up, because the resultant publicity about his failure would have killed his scam. One of the conditions of the test is that the applicant has to publicly advertise the results, so in Cainer's case, he would have been required to display this in his astrology column. Nevertheless, I live in hope that other merchants of baloney will submit to my test.

My deliberately defamatory statements about Cainer never resulted in any lawsuit because of what I published here, because Cainer knew that I would have taken him apart in court and exposed him as a crook and conman. The same goes for any other person claiming to have paranormal abilities, because in my entire long life, not one of them has managed to show any such powers. In court, that would be the first thing that I would demand from any psychic, astrologer, tarot card reader and other woo-woo scammers - a demonstration that would be doomed to failure. I know that I would bring them all to grief.

ADRIAN DUNCAN

In December 2015, I answered an email that came from the domain www.astrologyanswers.com and decided to put the operator of this scam to the test. So using the pseudonym "Bill" and giving the birth date of a lifelong friend whose life and characteristics are very well-known to me, I asked for a "free" horoscope. I even asked that it be accurate and predict events of the following week or two. You would think that any person with real paranormal powers would have the ability to do this with ease, but of course what ensued was predictable.

After a couple of emails that exhorted me to sign up to his astrological service for a fee, Adrian Duncan responded with my "mini" reading. I won't print the whole thing because it is long and laborius, but here are the main parts.

Free Mini-Reading for Bill

So one has to ask - if this Adrian Duncan really had these paranormal powers, why did he not even use those powers to figure out that my name was not Bill? And if he was really able to divine the future, why is he doing this astrological bullshit? Why isn't he winning the lottery every second week? That's what you never see - a headline stating "PSYCHIC WINS POWERBALL". Why doesn't Adrian take up the challenge that famous scam debunker James Randi has set up and collect the $1 million by proving that he has these astrological powers?

So I decided to throw a challenge at Adrian and his sidekick Sam. I emailed Sam and put ten very simple questions to him, as follows:

  1. Where on this planet was I born?
  2. Where on this planet do I live? Be specific.
  3. Have I ever been married? If so, how many times?
  4. Do I have any children? If so, how many, what gender are they and what are their names?
  5. Have I ever owned pets? If so, what were they?
  6. Am I suffering from any illnesses? If so, what are they?
  7. Do I have any special talents? If so, state them.
  8. Am I rich, average or poor? Be specific as to my nett worth.
  9. Do I have any formal qualifications? Be specific.
  10. Am I left or right handed? You have around 50% chance of guessing this one.

Then I asked Sam the following:

A few days went past with no reply, so I wrote back and told Sam and Adrian that they were a pack of fraudsters, scammers and conmen. However, I don't expect to receive a response because they know that I exposed them as charlatans who prey upon the gullibility of people with a very carefuly contrived website routine that sucks them in with the offer of a "free" reading and then entices them into paying for further bogus readings.

Along with all the clairvoyants, psychics, tarot card and tea leaf readers, water diviners and spiritual healers, Adrian Duncan, his co-conspirator Sam and all the other people involved in his www.astrologyanswers.com scam is an out-and-out fraud, scamming money from suckers who believe his arrant nonsense. Mind you, Adrians operation is rather slick, but anybody with a modicum of reason can see right through it. So if you get an email from Adrian Duncan or indeed anybody else offering the astrology scam, just trash it immediately. It's all nonsense and even worse, it's outright fraud.

I have already been threatened by a couple of so-called astrologers and psychics, who dropped their threats of legal action like hot potatoes when they were informed that I would put them to the test in open court with the media present for them to demonstrate and prove beyond doubt that they actually had the paranormal powers that they claimed to have. In other words, they ran for the hills and I have not heard anything further from them. The reason is that not one of them can prove that they have paranormal powers of any sort.

A FUNNY STORY

Some time ago, I was asked by a friend to help a lady who was looking for work in her particular profession. Being connected with this line of work, I decided to check her out, so I went to her website and also checked her Facebook page. It turned out that she claimed to be a psychic and had all these wonderful clairvoyant powers, as well as being a Reiki healer (another pile of crap) and all sorts of other abilities. So being a mischievous bastard, I decided to have some sport with her, because she did not know me and had never spoken to me, so she had no hope of recognising my voice.

I rang her and she answered the phone and asked who I was. I told her that she was the psychic and not only should she know who I am, but she should have anticipated the phone call. She kept asking me for my name but I refused to tell her, stating that she should already have divined this information. Then she asked me why I was ringing, so I did the same thing - told her that as a renowned psychic, she should know precisely the reason for the call.

This went on for about 15 minutes and after I had really nailed home to her the fact that she had no psychic or any other powers whatsoever, I finally told her who I was and I actually gave her a few jobs. We eventually met up a few times, but she never ever dared to try her alleged paranormal powers on me again. I have done the same stunt with a few prominent "psychics" and not one of them managed to pass the challenge, which just proves that they are all fraudsters.

TAROT CARDS

Tarot card reading falls into the same mumbo-jumbo baloney as astrology. Tarot card readers claim that they can divine the future from dealing a deck of cards and interpreting them. In actual fact, they would have the same rate of success or failure by dealing a poker hand with a regular deck. The truth is that Tarot has no basis in fact and the cards are merely used as props so that Tarot card readers can tell their victims what they want to hear and thus skim their money from them.

OTHER MUMBO-JUMBO

Water divining, phrenology and many other contrivances have been used by conmen to part fools from their money, but there seems to be no shortage of suckers out there. Pick up any newspaper with classified advertisements and there will literally be pages of psychics, astrologers, Tarot card readers and other crooks, all preying on the gullible. If these people had one shred of psychic ability, they would be either divining the winning Lotto numbers consistently or relieving James Randi of his million dollars by proving that they can do what they claim. So far, apart from random chance, nobody has seen a headline proclaiming that a psychic has won the lottery every week or picked the winners of every horse race.

PSYCHICS CANNOT SHOW THEY HAVE ANY POWERS

It is amazing but predictable to see the response of so-called psychics and clairvoyants when they are questioned about why they cannot divine simple things like winning lottery numbers, when they claim to accurately predict the futures of people, even over the telephone sight unseen. They invariably claim that they do not use their "powers" for gain, but they shamelessly run their psychic services via premium telephone lines costing $5 or more per minute and charge exorbitant amounts for psychic readings and telling the future.

These charlatans also invariably duck and weave when asked why they do not prove to skeptics such as James Randi that they have these paranormal powers and claim the US$1 million that Randi has put up for such proof, yet they scrabble around every day for suckers to pay them for psychic readings. It does not make sense, unless you understand that these psychics are either deluding themselves, or are just outright scam artists.

ALLEGED PARANORMAL POWERS WERE NO HELP TO THIS "PSYCHIC"

A graphic demonstration of the complete lack of paranormal power was reported, when self-proclaimed psychic Rosemary Altea was cleaned out of around $250,000 by her own accountant, Denise Hall, over a period of seven years. One would have thought that at least Altea would have felt a vibe or two about her fortune being depleted under her nose, but of course she is an utter fraud with no paranormal powers whatsoever. So while Altea was scamming her victims, her accountant was scamming her.

The sad thing is that Rosemary managed to scam this huge amount of money from her readings to actually allow for $250,000 to be stolen. It is hard to feel any animosity for Denise Hall. After all, consider how Rosemary got the money in the first place.

Apparently in a fairly typical manoeuvre for such psychics, scam artists and most religious cult leaders, who are out there to feather their own nests at the expense of gullible idiots, or even worse, vulnerable sick or dying people, Rosemary got her hooks into a dying cancer patient, Llewella Day. After just one meeting, Ms Day donated her $750,000 farm to Altea under the condition that it remain a farm with structures intact. This last-minute change of will surprised and angered Ms Day's family, who took Altea to court and sadly lost.

DEBUNKING THE CROOKS

James Randi made yet another trip to Australia in 2001 to check out two claims of people with paranormal powers. Of course the inevitable occurred, where one of them, a water diviner, failed to divine any water and the other fellow, who claimed to know which one of a number of boxes contained an article, failed miserably to find it after many guesses. It is apparent that the US$1 million that Randi is offering for substantiated proof of paranormal powers is destined to remain in his bank account.

I recently had an amusing encounter at one of my jobs, where a woman very importantly announced to me in a loud voice that she was a medium. She then asked me from which country I originated. I replied that if she was a medium with paranormal powers as she claimed, she should have divined this information without having to ask me at all. This elicited huge guffaws from bystanders who were listening to this exchange. Of course the woman had no answer to this and slunk away into oblivion, which only goes to show that the best way of dealing with charlatans is to simply show that that the powers they claim to possess are either merely delusions or contrived to part fools from their money.

These few examples graphically demonstrate that the world is mostly full of idiots willing to be led without question and be conned out of their money without being shown any evidence that what they are being sold is actually real. Psychics, clairvoyants, tarot card readers, palmists, fortune tellers and religious cult leaders all claim to have powers far beyond those of mortal men and advertise their services for fees or contributions, but to this day not one solitary provable example of psychic or paranormal ability has been seen. It all boils down to the insecurity and ignorance of most people on this planet and there seems to be no way of protecting these fools from themselves.

THE ART OF COLD-READING

By James Randi

The currently popular "psychics" like Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, and John Edward, who are getting so much TV space on Montel Williams, Larry King, and other shows, employ a technique known as "cold-reading." They tell the subjects nothing, but make guesses, put out suggestions, and ask questions. This is a very deceptive art, and the unwary observer may come away believing that unknown data was developed by some wondrous means.

Not so. Examples: "I get an older man here" is a question, a suggestion, and a guess by the "reader," who expects some reaction from the subject, and usually gets it. That reaction may just be a nod, the actual name of a person, or an identification (brother, husband, grandfather), but it is supplied BY THE SUBJECT, not by the reader. "They're saying, 'Bob,' or 'Robert.' Do you recognize this person?" is another question, suggestion, and guess. If there's a Bob or Robert, the subject will amplify the identification. But if there's no Bob or Robert immediately recognized, the reader passes right on, after commenting that Bob is there alright, but not recognized right now. If any Bob is remembered later, that is incorporated into the spiel.

You should observe and listen to a video of a reading. In one such by Van Praagh, prepared by the "48 Hours" TV program, a reading that lasted 60 minutes, we found only TWO actual statements made, and 260 questions asked. Both actual statements - guesses - were wrong. Van Praagh was looking for the name of the woman's deceased husband, and he came up with it by asking, "Do you know anyone named, Jack?" The woman answered, "Yes! Jack, my husband!" But Van Praagh didn't identify "Jack" at all. He asked her if SHE would identify him. By that time, Van Praagh had already tried on her 26 other men's names - all wrong. But, the woman - the subject - forgot about those failures, because they were not important to her. "Jack" was important.

The readers have a way of leading the subject to believe that they knew something they didn't. Example:

Reader: "Did your husband linger on in the hospital, or did he pass quickly?"
Subject: "Oh, he died almost immediately!"
Reader: "Yes, because he's saying to me, `I didn't suffer. I was spared any pain.'"

It's strange that the reader (Van Praagh, in this example) had to ask that question. And remember, these readers often go out and interview the audience members when they're on line waiting to get into the studio or auditorium. That technique was employed by the very successful reader Doris Stokes. She would feed back any data she got as if she were refreshing her memory of what had been told her. "Are you the lady who has a passed-on sister, dearie?" would of course receive assent from the victim, and ahhhs from the audience.

Also, a person who approaches the reader before the TV show or auditorium meeting and says she has a question about her deceased grandmother, can then later be selected out of the audience when they're on-camera or during the live encounter, and can then be asked, "Is your question about your grandmother?" and that appears - to everyone else - like a bang-on "hit." Or, and this is very subtle indeed, people in the studio or auditorium audience - usually seated up front for best visibility - are sometimes those who have already been to the "psychic" for a private reading, and have then been asked to show up later to occupy reserved seats at the public in-person gathering "to develop more information" using the "collective power of the assembled audience." The reader then repeats previously-gleaned data, and that appears miraculous both to the audience in the studio and at home, watching, or elsewhere in the auditorium audience.

We tested Sylvia Browne in 1989, on live TV, and she failed miserably. On that occasion, she was not allowed to speak to anyone in advance, or to be asked or told anything in advance. The audience was told to only answer "yes" or "no," when asked a DIRECT question, and Sylvia bombed out big-time. She blamed it all on bad vibrations. Van Praagh and Edward have not responded to our offer to test them - for the million-dollar prize, even.

So, you see, it's your perception of what's actually being done, rather that the reality of the procedure, and your ignorance of other subtle clues and methods, that misleads you in your observations of these "psychics." I'll give you one example of something I did when I was performing as a mentalist in Toronto, my home town, at the age of 18. (I hasten to add here that I would ALWAYS thoroughly disclaim any genuine powers, before and after my show.)

They had a huge auditorium filled with reserved seats, just about every one of them occupied by eager subjects. It was some sort of a charity affair, and seats were expensive. After I got rolling with the various moving objects and blindfolded duplication-of-handwriting stunts (spoonbending was not yet a popular miracle!) I stopped abruptly and pointed to a lady in the third-row aisle seat. "I'm led to say to you that I get a middle name of 'Rose' for you, madame!" I cried. Her gasp verified that I was right." And that name is more than significant to you." She leaned forward. "I see a clock, a very old clock, and on the dial three pink roses?" She started to speak, and I silenced her by raising my hand. "But this is a strange clock. It can't tell the time!" By now, the poor woman was about to pass out in excitement. "Why is it useless? I see two arrows, or darts...They're metal, and they're broken...Ah! I see! These are the hands of that clock, and they've come off the clock face, and are lying together behind the glass cover of the clock dial! Is that right?" The woman was standing, mouth open, nodding vigorously. She was awe-struck, and the applause was vigorous indeed.

How was it done? A lucky guess? No. Planning. TK Lawson, my buddy, had been working with that charity. He was the one got me the gig (a contracted appearance). And he also went through several neighbourhoods selling tickets to likely donors. He had sold tickets CC-20 and CC-22 to this lady, and she'd invited him into her living room while she made out a check to pay for the tickets. He observed that the "rose" theme was everywhere, and an embroidered "sampler" was framed by the door, with the woman's full name on it. That clock was by the fireplace. TK noted these facts, and reported them to me. I must tell you that together we intercepted that dear lady as she left after the show, and explained to her how I'd been "psychic." She was highly entertained with the explanation, and grateful for our caring to tell her.

I somehow don't think that Browne, Edward, and Van Praagh would trouble to do such a thing. But, after all, they say they're REALLY "speaking with the dead." I'm amazed at how much death affects people who undergo the process. It makes them really stupid and forgetful. Whenever I've asked any psychics or spiritualists to contact my paternal grandmother, it seems she doesn't remember such basics as the name of her husband, or the name of her church - both important elements in her life while she was "here." Now that she's "there," her rather prodigious intellect has left her quite completely.