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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."

—Voltaire

Your Personal Psychic Reading

How do psychics tell all?

The important thing to remember when dealing with psychics is that we all have common occurences in our lives that make it easy for a fraud to manipulate us.

Now I'm going to give everyone here a psychic reading. This will only work if you are over the age of... oh, let's say 25. Remember, odds are I know nothing about you. So let's see how I do.

You have lost someone close to you.

You have been in a bad relationship.

Sometimes you feel like you're a disappointment.

You care about other people.

You are intelligent.

You have lots of ideas, but you're not sure if they'll work out.

You want to be a better person.

You have big aspirations.

Now I'm going to throw in some flowery speech.

I can see from your aura that you've lost someone close to you. It's like your aura has dimmed. Was it a boyfriend? A relative? I'm getting the sense of someone whose name begins with "J". This person has caused you pain. I don't think it's the person you lost. Sometimes you feel like you're a disappointment, but you should really shove that feeling aside. You're intelligent, and have a lot of ideas, but I see you're afraid that some won't work out. You don't need to be afraid. You're on the way to being a better person. All these obstacles that you feel rising up in front of you will diminish.

So, how'd I sound? I'm not a psychic. Hand to God.

The part that we sometimes forget is that everyone has common experiences in life. We're all going to be hurt by someone else, we're all going to know someone whose name starts with "J". Just imagine the number of Johns in the world, for example.

Something to keep in mind when dealing with a psychic is how our memories work. We are more likely to remember a "hit" in a psychic reading than a "miss". People have a tendency to store information that confirms their beliefs and disregard what doesn't. People don't do this on purpose, it might happen because the hits are so shocking and memorable whereas the misses are common and boring. And if a psychic makes a prediction, we will alter the prediction sometime in the future to fit an event that happens in our lives.

For example: I visit a psychic and she tells me that in February of the next year, I will get a surprise visit from an old friend.

February of the next year comes and goes. Now it's March. At the mall, I run into a girl I knew in high school. She wasn't a friend, just someone that I passed in the halls. But now I know. The psychic was right. So she was a little off - people make mistakes. Actually, I probably wouldn't even pay attention to the small degree of wrongness in the psychic's prediction.

Here's the thing - people reading this account might find it acceptable to fudge a few facts and say the prediction was correct no matter what. But psychics don't claim to vaguely know something they tell you. They claim to know absolutely. If I say I can predict the future, then my ability should function perfectly at the VERY least when I SAY it's going to. If I have a "hazy image" or whatever blathering nonsense I feel like throwing out there, that's a different story. But when the psychic made my high school friend prediction, she wasn't having a hazy moment. She said she KNEW. Big difference.

There is one particular psychic detective who had something very similar to this in a case. The psychic detective in question is very famous, and has taught classes at the FBI and whatnot. Well, this psychic detective was involved in the case of a stolen painting. She said the painting would be found in a cemetery. She said exactly which one. The cops searched that cemetery and didn't come up with the painting. However, the painting was eventually found in a DIFFERENT cemetery. Does this mean the psychic was right? NO. This must instead mean that there is a logical chain of events that made her think the painting would be found in a cemetery, somewhere, and that when she realized the logical thinking wasn't going to take her any farther, she took a mad guess at which cemetery it was.

So, psychics can be disconcerting. Sometimes they can seem to know things that are impossible for them to know. They're probably taking cues from you, rephrasing common life events, or following a line of logica that isn't always apparent to the outside observer. Please, feel free to visit a psychic and e-mail us your findings. We are always interested in paranormal possibilities.

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