Published on November 8th, 2014 | by Rayne


Woo and Lament Series: Woofest 2014 – Episode 3: Psychics playing the “Mystery Card”

I’ve never really touched on psychics in any of my posts. I’ve never really seen the point. Most reasonable, rational people can tell from the get go that psychics are nothing more than charlatans who are getting paid to tell you what you want to hear. Though I have wonder to myself, what compels a person to go to a psychic for guidance when we have perfectly well-trained and licensed psychologists who can not only help with your problems but tell you what you need to hear, to help you – not want you want to hear.

When I travelled down to woofest recently, I expected a few psychics entertaining a few people, not an entire half a convention hall of them. My favourite was the one who marketed herself as a psychic who had won the “Psychic of the Year” award. Which by the way is an real thing. Psychics have awards. They vote and everything. They even have an association.

I saw plenty of people sitting on chairs across from the people claiming to see into their future or could speak to a dead love one. I even asked one about my future husband. His name is Chad. I should tell my wife. Her name is not Chad.

Psychics and psychic readings come several different forms including: astrology, clairvoyance, palmistry, tarot, mediumship and clairvoyance among others. Some psychics may mix and match the above in their sessions and despite the absurd claims from psychics – they have a pretty good thing going on. They’ve managed to create an entire industry that cannot be quantified by scientific means. Of course, we can test psychics and list the results if you present them with false information but we can’t measure the ability to speak to the dead on a piece of equipment. Science cannot penetrate the mystical side of psychic spiritualism, if science had in the foggiest idea of how to do so, we could answer the age-old question once and for all “What happens when we die?”. The age-old Mystery card.

This is an advantage to the psychic, science hasn’t got all the answers and science can’t answer everything. It can’t really give an answer to moral questions, science does have its limits. Most people would realise that this isn’t a hole in which a psychic can claim legitimacy, however like all woo, pseudoscience and even religion, psychics attempt to give legitimacy to the profession by discrediting science. Why provide evidence for your assertions when you can just discredit the critics?

And discredit, they do try. How many of us, dear readers, have heard a believer cry “You’re so narrow-minded! Why can’t you open your mind to the possibility?”. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again “The inability of science to disprove your assertions, is not evidence your assertions are true”. The burden of proof is still on the claimant.

Although science has attempted to study psychic phenomenon. One popular excuse for the failure of experiments is the “Skeptic Damping Effect” which is exactly what it sounds like. The Skeptic Damping Effect is produced by a psychic to explain away their failures by insisting that skeptic vibes interfere with their abilities. A psychic limp penis. Apparently they can’t get it up if someone is watching.

Cold reading is another useful technique. Cold reading is a way to determine details about a person by analysing their body language, tone, age, weight, appearance, fashion alongside generalised statements that could apply to pretty much anyone.

Psychics are generally used by people who are predisposed to believing that psychics are legitimate, a form of faith almost. According to the Association for Skeptical Enquiry, people may see a psychic for many reasons. People want reassurance, they want help or to simply hear about a deceased love one. Some may argue that psychics offer a placebo effect – an emotional sugar pill, filled with nothing of substance but designed to illicit a reaction from the user, by the user without the user’s knowledge.

I, for one am torn. Especially after reading confessions like this or this one.

While most people know psychics are bullshit, many people go to psychics for guidance and wisdom. Some people just need an outside source to hear what they want to hear. However, they would be better suited to seeing a psychologist for life problems and not a person who claims to hear voices in their heads. The outright fraud by psychics and predatory nature of the “profession” should never be tolerated.

Apart from an empty wallet – are psychics doing any harm? Unlike pseudoscience alternative medicine where people are lied away from medicine – do you feel psychics are dangerous?

What’s say you, dear readers?

For more in the Woo and Lament series, check out
Woofest 2014: The Beginning.
Woofest 2014: Episode 2: Quack diagnosis
Woofest 2014: Episode 3: Psychics playing the “Mystery Card”
Woofest 2014: Episode 4: A story in tweets

If you like some of the things I say – feel free to add me to your RSS feed, comment or email me: rayne@insufferableintolerance.com. I now have a Facebook page! Feel free to like my page by clicking here

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4 Responses to Woo and Lament Series: Woofest 2014 – Episode 3: Psychics playing the “Mystery Card”

  1. Pingback: » Woo and Lament: Woofest 2014: Episode 4: A story in tweets

  2. Pingback: » Woo and Lament Series: Woofest 2014 – Episode 2: Introducing the quack diagnosis

  3. Iara says:

    It is dangerous…why would you go through all the hassle of making things better, if all you have to do is wait form the “other” world to do it for you?

  4. Pingback: » Woo and Lament Series: Woofest 2014 – Episode 1: The Beginning

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