Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's in Your Future? Psychic Phenomena... Fact or Fancy?

What do you want to know? The answers to next week's exam? The scoop on the new boy in your English class? Who's going to win next year's Oscars?

Whatever secret you want to uncover, there are hundreds of fortune tellers, palm readers, astrologers and psychics who'll be happy to share a glimpse into your future...for a fee. Admit it. You're curious.

Of course your parents think all those tea leaves, tarot cards and crystal balls are props for suckers. Your friends would laugh to know how tempted you were to give that woman in the mall five dollars to read your palm. And yet...

You are not alone. No matter how many times scientists debunk the work of those dabbling in the paranormal, 40% of Americans believe "there are lots of mysterious and unknown forces at work." On television millions watch Profiler and The X Files.

Afternoon talk shows tell of mothers who felt a pang of anxiety, and ran home only to find a small child just moments from sure death. Reality shows interview police who search for months for a body only to be led to it by someone who credits her psychic abilities. Are they lucky guesses? Credible evidence the stuff is real? Or the work of con men with a finely tuned antenna?

How do they do it?
  • Fortunetellers are clever enough to pick up clues and tell you things about yourself you have no idea you're revealing. We all communicate how we feel about ourselves and others by how we gesture and move and use our bodies. Soothsayers are keen observers, decoding subtle signals like eye movements and facial expressions.
  • Some of the insightful statements they say, like "You tend to be critical of yourself," apply to most everyone. The best story to illustrate this took place in the early 1970s in Paris. A man named Michel Gauquelin placed an ad offering free personal horoscopes. Later 94% of the recipients said their horoscope was accurate. Each person received the same horoscope...that of one of France's most notorious killers!
  • Psychic professionals tend to speak fast, in a stream of consciousness style that produces ten times as much information as an ordinary conversation, increasing their chances of being right.
  • They tend to make light of their errors in midstream. For example, "Do you wear a lot of blue? No? Does someone really close to you wear a lot of blue? No? Well, one of your friend is going to be wearing a lot more blue soon and she's going to need you to help her out of a tough situation."
  • Sometimes they come up with a number or a date or a name. If their first guess is not accurate, they do what is called "retrofitting." Later they will say those numbers qualify as right answers when they'll correspond to your sister's birthday or the number of your house.
  • Psychic phenomenon has been a source of awe since time began. What we do know is that regarding what these professionals in supernatural phenomenon say as anything more than an entertaining tool for self-discovery, (like checking your horoscope in the newspaper), is risky. Is there a weaver of the web in which we live? If there is, you won't find him on the web or answering a phone on a psychic hotline. And if he's so hot, why hasn't he won the lottery?

No comments:

Post a Comment