I am going to start this entry with a book recommendation, for a change.
It’s a book written by someone who made a decent living as a “medium”, with work on the side as a ghost hunter/house cleanser. Made a lot of money, too, what with TV appearances and book signings, the whole shebang.
She has decided to come out with the truth: she cannot talk to the dead, she’s never been in a haunted house, and now that she’s retired on her considerable wealth she wants to ensure that no one else gets duped. She details how she conducted “cold readings”, how she rigged electronic devices to go off when she was claiming to “sense” a presence, and even how she sometimes had assistants planted in various locations to “make the experience seem more real”.
Emails sent to her, requesting readings, were saved and memorized (on her applications, she states that you need to provide basic details on your reason for a reading) – the rest is something she “fills in” when she meets the person, throws out some generalizations, then runs with whatever information she sees the client react positively to.
At live sessions, she throws statements out that are so general that someone inevitably will think it applies to them. If, during a reading, she says something the person doesn’t relate to, she tells them to “think about it – it will come to you when you get home”. Or sometimes she apologises and says the message is for the person sitting next to them.
She also states she got tired (and a few headaches) from pretending to be possessed by spirits. She apparently has hit her head a few times when her assistants were not paying attention. And, as she is getting older, it’s getting increasingly harder for her to see in the dark, a necessary condition (she says) in order to fool people better.
Additionally, she is getting sick and tired of a select group of clients and hangers-on who, while contributing a lot to her personal wealth, annoy her to the point of “mental exhaustion”.
“It’s as if they cannot make any decisions at all without my advice,” she complains. “Why can’t they just grow up and think for themselves?”
She, of course, doesn’t see that she has fostered this dependence. But hey, no one’s perfect, right?
Aside from the mental and physical exhaustion, she is beginning to worry about her own mortality.
“I don’t know what happens after we die, if anything,” she admits. “And since I was asked to leave church because I was causing so much distraction, I don’t even know where to go to get my own spiritual guidance. I’m getting older, and I’m becoming afraid of old age and death.”
Welcome to the club, idiot. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone like that, isn’t it? And even now, with this admission, she is hurting people because they now have to come to terms with their own belief in something that clearly wasn’t true.
And she’s not even giving their money back.
Another enjoyable post.
Unfortunately, i have some experience with someone similar to the woman you described in the beginning. But i’m afraid this is not the forum for that… maybe offline someday.
However, i gotta say I am in complete agreement with you abput these types of people. Then, the other side of the coin… H.L. Menken!
Great post, as usual.
Thanks. I have only personally known one ‘reader’ in my life, a young man who was a friend’s companion (the friend was a witch). He didn’t read often – it wasn’t his main thing – but if asked he would be quiet a minute, then come out with some stuff that he could not have possibly known under any circumstances. To be specific, it was a warning about my ex-husband that turned out to be true and I am really glad I listened to him. Extremely helpful (life-saving, as a matter of fact) but extremely creepy and I never asked again.
Other than that, I have had people volunteer readings and stuff and none have been anything even approaching accurate.
A friend and I spent an evening in chat, many years ago, giving “readings”. We said things like, “you will meet a man, somewhat short but kind of tall, with darkish light hair”. Really ridiculously vague and stupid things, and people thought it was real (even after we told them we were just kidding). Sad, really, in how easy it is to fool people. I never did it again, it wasn’t funny after the first hour or so.
Myself, I read tarot but never for anyone else. Not anymore. Too much responsibility I do not want.