1. Don’t judge them by their demeanour. The vast majority of people in this business are sincere, well-meaning individuals, and they are very hard to distinguish from the con artists. They might well be honest, but this doesn’t mean they can do what they think they are doing
  2. Record, Rewind, Review. It’s very easy to interpret something as far more accurate or amazing than it actually is (ie to remember more “hits” than “misses”). Record your interview and listen carefully to the actual words used, how much information is given to the psychic/medium, and how often they reflect that back in a positive way to make it sound as if they knew it all along. If you can, transcribe audio to paper, as this can make what is happening much more obvious.
  3. Listen for open-ended questions or ones asking for agreement. These phrases are designed to encourage you to hunt for a connection, even highly obscure ones, and to respond positively. They are common throughout the industry (sometimes deliberately taught) as they boost the chances of a positive response and give the impression that the performer is doing well.
    Example: asking (of a male subject) “I see a needle. [pause] Understand? [pause] Did your mother do embroidery?” After extended discussion, the subject’s wife decided this referred to an aunt of hers who was diabetic!
  4. Think about the statistics Many psychics/mediums use, deliberately or subconsciously, basic statistics to improve their “hit” rate. People live similar lives and have many things in common. Listen for questions which make use of that and understand the likelihood of getting a positive response.
    Example: “Is the name John familiar?” Many people know at least one John, and even apparently rare names can readily occur. You’re likely to have 30-60 names in your extended family; add a partner’s family, and friends and colleagues, and you’ve probably got over 100 names which have some meaning for you.
    Example: “I see a father figure near you”, usually accompanied by a pause so you can identify the “father figure”. If you don’t, the next question is usually “Has your father passed on?”. This is almost always asked of an older person, so the odds are good that the father has. If not, the next question is usually “Has your grandfather passed on?”
  5. Most of the information mediums provide is generalised and designed to be comforting, such as the deceased spirit wishing their relative/friend well, or forgiving them for not being present when they passed on (it’s increasingly rare to be present with a parent or grandparent when they die). Look for information that is specific, unusual, detailed and, even then, be cautious, as the more unscrupulous people in this industry are not above researching their subjects (the UK psychic scene circulates a database which contains personal details of keen, rich clients!)
  • Vicki Hyde

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