Modern spiritualists and psychics keep detailed files on their victims. As might be expected, these files can be very valuable and are often passed on from one medium or psychic to another when one retires or dies. Even if a psychic doesn't use a private detective or have immediate access to driver's license records and such, there is still a very powerful technique that will allow the psychic to convince people that the psychic knows all about them, their problems, and their deep personal secrets, fears, and desires. The technique is called cold reading and is probably as old as charlatanism itself... If John Edward (or any of the other self-proclaimed speakers with the dead) really could communicate with the dead, it would be a trivial matter to prove it. All that would be necessary would be for him to contact any of the thousands of missing persons who are presumed dead—famous (e.g., Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater) or otherwise—and correctly report where the body is. Of course, this is never done. All we get, instead, are platitudes to the effect that Aunt Millie, who liked green plates, is happy on the other side.
Another important distinction is that while psychic readings often focus on predicting future events, mediums primarily tune into past and present issues. It's my opinion that predicting the future, while sometimes helpful, runs the risk of disempowering people. Always remember that you do have a say in how your future unfolds. Despite what any psychic or medium may "see" in your future, it is important to remember you were given the gift of free will when you came into this world, and at any moment in time you can absolutely redirect your course and create the life you want by changing your thoughts and actions. Psychic information is often just insight into what potentially could happen based on the road you are currently traveling—and it should be used only as a guideline to help you make the best choices for yourself.
The oldest surviving tarot cards are the 15 or so Visconti-Sforza tarot decks painted in the mid-15th century for the rulers of the Duchy of Milan. A lost tarot-like pack was commissioned by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti and described by Martiano da Tortona probably between 1418 and 1425, since the painter he mentions, Michelino da Besozzo, returned to Milan in 1418, while Martiano himself died in 1425. He described a 60-card deck with 16 cards having images of the Greek gods and suits depicting four kinds of birds. The 16 cards were regarded as "trumps" since in 1449 Jacopo Antonio Marcello recalled that the now deceased duke had invented a novum quoddam et exquisitum triumphorum genus, or "a new and exquisite kind of triumphs". Other early decks that also showcased classical motifs include the Sola-Busca and Boiardo-Viti decks of the 1490s.
Combining Buddhist practices with ancient spirit worship, the individuals profiled in "Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand," are mostly biological men who, during religious ceremonies, wear makeup and clothes traditionally associated with women. A number of the mediums live permanently as women, with most of them openly and exclusively attracted to men.
"Tarot cards do not tell the future; rather, tarot is a tool for spiritual guidance and enables the person receiving the reading to connect to his or her inner wisdom," she told INSIDER. "Tarot readings help a person understand what he or she needs to know about a particular situation. Decks are best used as a tool of inner wisdom and guidance, as readings give a person insight to past, current and future events based on the person's current path at the time of the reading. The cards do not necessarily reveal what will happen, but instead, allow a person to gain an understanding of a situation and determine the best course of action based on what is known and what the cards show."
Associated with the element of fire, the suit of wands represents passion, inspiration and willpower. The wands imbue their users with primal energy, for it is through them that the cycle of creation can begin. Because of their ability to bring energy into any situation, they are also associated with action, ambition and making plans. At their worst, they can refer to situations that are filled with recklessness and lack of direction. As you follow the journey within the wands, you'll come across these themes again and again.
Mediumship became quite popular in the 19th-century United States and the United Kingdom after the rise of Spiritualism as a religious movement. Modern Spiritualism is said to date from practices and lectures of the Fox sisters in New York State in 1848. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid-19th century. Allan Kardec coined the term Spiritism around 1860. Kardec claimed that conversations with spirits by selected mediums were the basis of his The Spirits' Book and later, his five-book collection, Spiritist Codification.
Last October, I tried making a love potion with a friend of mine, who, quite frankly, perfectly fit the bill that the psychic described. By November, our relationship had changed and wasn't as platonic as I originally thought it was. While it inevitably didn't work out and we just went back to being friends, I could never stop thinking about what the soothsayer had predicted. So, this year I decided to have my tarot cards read once again in hopes that it might change my perspective on dating and relationships.
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I've known Dominique Arganese for some time now and I've always noticed a certain aura of mysticism around her. However, it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized her Facebook bio said: "Model, Psychic, Medium, Tarot and Palm reader [...]." Wait, what? Model AND psychic? You may or may not know that I am exceptionally fascinated with all things paranormal. So right away I knew that I had to get in touch with this gorgeous creature and 1) beg her for a palm reading then 2) have her answer a few questions about this mysterious professional domain.
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She then turned over another two cards that were meant to be situations I was currently dealing with. They both ended up being cups ("You've got three of the four. I've never seen that!") with one being the Sage and the other being the Child. If I came for a reading that focused on my emotions and relationships, I got way more than I could've expected. The Sage card is about feeling confident about your knowledge and beliefs. "If there's some dry place in your emotional spectrum, water it. Give yourself what you need and don't necessarily expect someone else to do that." She explained the child card, saying that it's meant to tell me to allow myself to acknowledge my emotions and truly let myself feel them, even if they're not always the most pleasant.
Michael Shermer criticized mediums in Scientific American, saying, "mediums are unethical and dangerous: they prey on the emotions of the grieving. As grief counselors know, death is best faced head-on as a part of life." Shermer wrote that the human urge to seek connections between events that may form patterns meaningful for survival is a function of natural evolution, and called the alleged ability of mediums to talk to the dead "a well-known illusion of a meaningful pattern."
The pentacles is the suit of all things worldly and material. Though we will immediately think of the pentacles as relating to financial matters, we also can understand them as being associated with security, stability, nature, health, and prosperity. The pentacles are of earth element. When we see pentacles show up in a reading, they are usually concerned with your long term future, career, generosity, your household, business investments and your feelings of sensuality. The negative side of the pentacles show up as greed, jealousy, miserliness, and unbridled ambition at the cost of all else.
The major arcana (trump cards) represent your journey through life, starting out as the innocent and carefree card representing The Fool (at number 0), and going through all your stages of life until you get to The World (at number 21). Each of the trump cards represents an important issue in your life and asks that you pay particular attention to this situation.
But here's the interesting part: the writing samples produced were analyzed and it was found that the complexity scores for the psychographed content were higher than those for the control writing across the board. In particular, the more experienced mediums showed higher complexity scores, which typically would require more activity in the frontal and temporal lobes--but that's precisely the opposite of what was observed.
Mainstream newspapers treated stories of ghosts and haunting as they would any other news story. An account in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1891, "sufficiently bloody to suit the most fastidious taste", tells of a house believed to be haunted by the ghosts of three murder victims seeking revenge against their killer's son, who was eventually driven insane. Many families, "having no faith in ghosts", thereafter moved into the house, but all soon moved out again. In the 1920s many "psychic" books were published of varied quality. Such books were often based on excursions initiated by the use of Ouija boards. A few of these popular books displayed unorganized spiritualism, though most were less insightful.
The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games. A very cursory explanation of rules for a tarot-like deck is given in a manuscript by Martiano da Tortona before 1425. Vague descriptions of game play or game terminology follow for the next two centuries until the earliest known complete description of rules for a French variant in 1637. The game of tarot has many regional variations. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is generally less popular than elsewhere.
So, there you have it, my first (and probably last, since I'm apparently shitlisted) foray into psychic-busting. I'm not going to tell people to stop seeing psychics - if it makes you happy and you have the cash, go wild. Whether you go in as a believer or as a shithead like me, the psychics are the ones making bank, so either way, in the end, they win. And who knows, maybe I have a sister I don't know about whose birth and death dates I guessed right, in which case, I should set up my own psychic shop. I'm sure Emily would approve.
Here's what happened: The experienced psychographers showed lower levels of activity in the left hippocampus (limbic system), right superior temporal gyrus, and the frontal lobe regions of the brain during psychography compared to their normal (non-trance) writing. The frontal lobe areas are associated with reasoning, planning, generating language, movement, and problem solving, which means that the mediums were experiencing reduced focus, lessened self-awareness and fuzzy consciousness during psychography.
The British journalist Ruth Brandon published the book The Spiritualists (1983) which exposed the fraud of the Victorian mediums. The book received positive reviews and has been influential to skeptics of spiritualism. The British apport medium Paul McElhoney was exposed as a fraud during a séance in Osset, Yorkshire in 1983. The tape recorder that McElhoney took to his séances was investigated and a black tape was discovered bound around the battery compartment and inside carnation flowers were found as well as a key-ring torch and other objects.
Maybe you found a “psychic” or “spiritual” medium in your hometown advertising their services as a medium — or you may have seen one of any number of television shows (usually on Daytime television) featuring spiritual mediums like Sylvia Browne or John Edward. These people appear to be making money working as “spiritual mediums” — but what are spiritual mediums?
"Have a little fun with friends," she told INSIDER. "Before going out one night, pull three cards with the intention of the cards giving you some forewarning about the evening. Let it be fun and easy and involve everyone! You can even ask, 'what happens if we go to this spot or this one?' Let the cards decide your night and see if they gave good advice!"
No, the psychic said, because it had been her time. Throughout the eight-minute reading, she repeatedly told me Emily's death was meant to be. Emily was sad that she left me behind, but she's in a positive place now and is the reason why I feel a presence around my house (it's her watching over me and I should try talking to her). I also learned that after death, souls hang around Earth for six weeks which is why I dreamt of Emily a lot right after she died.
The magician Samri Baldwin exposed the tricks of the Davenport brothers in his book The Secrets of Mahatma Land Explained (1895). The medium Swami Laura Horos was convicted of fraud several times and was tried for rape and fraud in London in 1901. She was described by the magician Harry Houdini as "one of the most extraordinary fake mediums and mystery swindlers the world has ever known".
Most people turn to a clairvoyant medium, spiritual life coach, tarot reader or astrologer when they feel they have exhausted every possibility they can think of themselves. It is often when we are needing to make important choices regarding our love life, career direction, buying a home, trying to have children, going through a breakup , a divorce, a job loss, or a spiritual crisis - a crisis of meaning.