A psychic reading is a specific attempt to discern information through the use of heightened perceptive abilities; or natural extensions of the basic human senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and instinct. These natural extensions are claimed to be clairvoyance (vision), clairsentience (feeling), Claircognisance (factual knowing) and Clairaudience (hearing) and the resulting statements made during such an attempt. The term is commonly associated with paranormal-based consultation given for a fee in such settings as over the phone, in a home, or at psychic fairs. Though psychic readings are controversial and a focus of skeptical inquiry, a popular interest in them persists. Extensive experimentation to replicate psychic results in laboratory conditions have failed to find any precognitive phenomena in humans. Psychic reading is pseudoscience. A cold reading technique allows psychics to produce seemingly specific information about an individual from social cues and broad statements.
Types of psychic reading
There are many types of psychic readings practiced. Although psychic readings might not incorporate the use of any tools, a professional psychic may have one or more specialized areas of expertise. Some of the more common readings include Tarot reading, email psychic reading, palm reading, psychometry, aura readings, or astrological readings.
Astrology is the ancient study of how distant objects in the cosmos such as planets and stars have an effect on our lives. The position of the stars, planets, sun and moon when one is born is believed to have an effect on one's personality, shape how relationships work in one's life and even predict future events such as one's economic success. Astrology does not require psychic ability.
Aura readings involve the observation and interpretation of auras. The aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation supposedly surrounding a person. Psychics have offered aura readings for many years. They claim to have a unique ability to see or sense individual’s auras, however no evidence has ever been provided to substantiate this claim. The only supporting evidence for this claim lies within the logical fallacy that psychics use when they claim they are one of the special few individuals who can see auras, and that they are unable to provide evidence to prove this claim. Psychics suggest auras are made up of “bioelectromagnetic fields” or other such phenomenon that do not have a legitimate, scientific meaning. Individuals such as James Randi have tried to test claims made about aura reading, and when he includes a few simple regulations to the test, all the claimants abilities disappear. Since the ability to read auras has been so publicly debunked, Robert Bruce, in his book Auric Mechanics and Theory, has updated the conditions or variables that need to be in place for a proper aura reading. Bruce stated that auras cannot be seen if any part of the person emitting the aura is obscured. One must wonder why clothing doesn't seem to inhibit aura readings.
Cartomancy or playing card reading
Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. The Tarot is a form of cartomancy that can facilitate inner growth, as the symbolism of the cards can be interpreted to discern inner psychological states and unconscious ‘blockages’, that can prevent an individual from reaching his or her potential.
Cleromantic readings usually involve casting small objects and reading them by their position, orientation, and mutual proximity. There are numerous variants used throughout the world.
A distant reading, "traveling clairvoyance", or "remote perception" can be conducted without the reader ever meeting the client. This includes Letters, Telephone, SMS, Email, Chat and Webcam Readings. Distance between the reader and the client does not hinder the clarity of the reading.
Telephone readings are live readings where both Psychic and Client hear each other by connecting via Premium Rate telephone line. In the last years, with restrictions on premium rate numbers, more common are pre-paid callbacks, in which case Client leaves his/her credit card details over the phone to an operator, after which gets a call on a specified phone number. Telephone readings became most popular with the growth of live advice TV shows as main means of advertising, and is commonly used by Companies rather than individual Psychics, due to high setup costs.
SMS and Chat readings is a quick Question-and-Answer format of Reading allowing exchange of basic information between Psychic and Client.
Webcam Reading, or Video Chat Reading is the newest way of Psychic Reading allowing real time live connection between Psychic and Client. Client has possibility to see and hear Psychic, and can choose to be viewed, seen and/or type during the Reading.
Lithomancy and crystallomancy
Lithomancy readings usually involve especially suitable gems or stones that are immersed in water, or tossed as a set and read by mutual proximity. Its origins are unknown, and there are numerous different methodologies used by various cultures throughout the world. A recently more common variant is crystallomancy also known as crystal gazing. Using quartz as a crystal ball it is stereotypically depicted as gypsy fortune telling.
Numerology is defined as the study of the occult meanings of numbers and their influence on human life. It is essentially a reading of an individual based specifically upon numerical values such as their date of birth, letters in their names, etc. Numerology can be used in psychic readings.
Palmistry is another popular method of psychic readings, involving characterization and foretelling of one's future through the study of the lines, shapes, wrinkles and curves on the palm. Palmistry does not require psychic ability, as it generally uses cold reading abilities and previous knowledge of the subject.
Psychometry is a form of psychic reading in which the reader claims to obtain details about another through physical contact with their possessions. Psychometry readers often ask the subject for their favorite and most meaningful objects, such as wedding rings, glasses, car keys, etc., for the reading. The belief is that objects which are in close proximity to a person for extended periods of time hold some of that person's energy; energy which can be detected. This method has been used to try to locate missing persons. Psychometry can be also performed in groups where like-minded people will try to read from objects.
Runes are an ancient alphabet used for divining the future. The runes are cast on a mat or cloth to discern future events or path a problem or issue will take. Runes are also considered magic and are used for spells and incantations by some witches and other practitioners of divination.
Tarot cards have been greatly popularized, but can be often regarded solely as entertainment. Traditional decks are available in chain bookstores. New decks also frequently appear in New Age bookstores. Though not requiring psychic abilities, Tarot cards can be used as a psychic or cold reading tool and Tarot readings are common at psychic fairs.
Challenges to Psychic Readings
Skeptics have challenged the veracity of the claims of psychic readings, largely through disclosure of the methods. Psychologist Richard Wiseman's 2011 book Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There noted the tricks of the trade, and Wiseman noted in a podcast appearance that the disclosure generated negative feedback from the psychic community.
- Cold reading
- List of parapsychology topics
- List of topics characterized as pseudoscience
- Remote viewing
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