Teach an actor to successfully pose as a psychic.
actor in question was Ian Rose and although we had a couple of hours
together much of this was spent filming rather than actually teaching.
The original idea was for Ian to practise on
a volunteer straight away and then follow this up in about a week with a more
it turned out the first ‘practice’ reading went so well
that it was felt the second reading was unnecessary. Ian’s
volunteer was so impressed the reading was stopped early. This surely
goes some way to illustrate just how easy it is to fool people.
Why spend years developing your ‘psychic’ talents? And
yet psychics continue to plead that they don’t use cold reading
techniques (either consciously or unconsciously).
receive a reading – and not give out information.
don’t intend to name this medium as this was not shown on
the programme. The medium does however claim to have impressed certain
celebrities and his office is adorned with press cuttings testifying
to his wonderful abilities.
explained that I would not answer any questions. I was assured this
wouldn’t be a problem. During mediumistic training, he told
me, everyone is taught specifically not to ask questions. Great
then! Then I was told all I had to do was say either ‘yes’
on a minute! Say yes or no to what? A question I imagine. So I told
my ‘trained’ medium that saying yes or no was in fact
giving out information. I hear this rather a lot from mediums, e.g.
“Don’t tell me anything. Just say yes or no.”
It sounds so fair don’t you think? Well I don’t. They
are meant to provide all the information. Otherwise this is just
a ‘twenty questions’ session.
to say the reading was hopeless. I listened to a series of random
statements all of which were wrong. Actually they were wildly wrong.
expected, without feedback the reading just fell flat. This was
also amply demonstrated by Keith Charles during the actual show.
With his subject behind a screen (but still obligingly indicating
yes or no via the presenter) he had to resort to widening out his
reading to someone (anyone?) in the audience. True he didn't have
much feedback there either but having found someone with whom the
intial statements vaguely fitted he could at least salvage something.
part was so boring that it was never shown.
the two readings.
was rather interesting to do, if not to watch. Personally I was
amazed at the medium’s style of delivery. In my opinion it
looked like she was verbally bludgeoning her subjects into submission.
the start they were ordered to not say ‘no’ or even
make gestures if something was wrong. On the other hand if something
was right then they should say ‘yes’ in a very bright
way as this would ‘raise the vibration’.
were then shown a series of sketched faces and asked if any of them
looked familiar. If an actual face didn’t register (and they
didn't) then they could simply pick any part of the face, e.g. ears,
eyes, nose, mouth, etc. (I shall resist jokes about picking your
own nose, Doh!)
reading itself touched upon many disparate subjects and if any registered
the bright "yes" obligingly provided the right feedback.
One of the women was particularly affected by reference to a kindly
woman who had passed over. The medium never said who this was although
the sitter clearly identified them in her own mind as her grandmother.
This apparent hit was then developed further by the medium.
one sitter was impressed when the medium mentioned a 'mandrake'
a plant that was once supposed to scream when pulled out of the
ground (the root was thought to resemble human form). It transpired
though that she (the sitter) was confusing this with a ‘mangrove’ having previously visited a swamp in Australia.
idea behind this section was to show how people misremembered what
had actually been said during a sitting. A fact amply demonstrated
by the medium herself who 'remembered' that the sitter had identified
one of the initial drawings of her grandmother. A fact which the
sitter confirmed that she did not in fact do. Both women considered
their readings to be not as good as they first thought. I would
like to add that I feel this showed great strength of character
on their part because many people adamantly insist that the psychic
was 100% correct. In fairness neither of them totally dismissed
their readings either.
of Keith Charles reading here.