The tarot (/ˈtæroʊ/; first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi, tarock and tarot) is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini, French tarot and Austrian Königrufen. Many of these tarot card games are still played today. In the late 18th century, some Tarot packs began to be used in parallel for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy and, later, specialist packs were developed for such occult purposes.
No doubt a great importance in the paranormal field is the problem of fraud. The field of psychic research and spiritualism has been so notoriously full of charlatans, such as the Fox sisters and Eusapia Palladino–individuals who claim to have special power and gifts but who are actually conjurers who have hoodwinked scientists and the public as well–that we have to be especially cautious about claims made on their behalf.
Channeling is a growing phenomenon whereby the channeler – often he or she would not describe themselves as psychic – opens a line to another being or group of beings. They have the ability to allow their consciousness to step aside and let their contact speak through them. One of the most well-known is Esther Hicks, who channels a group of entities called Abraham. Esther describes the experience of channeling as "receiving blocks of thought".
From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery. Séances take place in darkness so the poor lighting conditions can become an easy opportunity for fraud. Physical mediumship that has been investigated by scientists has been discovered to be the result of deception and trickery. Ectoplasm, a supposed paranormal substance, was revealed to have been made from cheesecloth, butter, muslin, and cloth. Mediums would also stick cut-out faces from magazines and newspapers onto cloth or on other props and use plastic dolls in their séances to pretend to their audiences spirits were contacting them. Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote:
Is he my soul mate? Will my ex come back? Is she cheating on me? You can ask a love psychic anything. Love psychics play a crucial role in how we approach our romantic lives on a daily basis. Whether you're married or currently looking for someone to spend some quality time with, love psychics can use their talents to bring you closer to achieving your overall goal for your romantic life.
Let’s say you want to find a new romantic relationship. Instead of pulling a card to predict whether Prince Charming is just around the corner and either being blissfully excited or bitterly disappointed, you consult the cards to discover how you can attract love (and keep it!). You draw the Ten of Cups, and upon seeing the happy family dancing under the rainbow in the card, you are reminded that to attract love, you need to set a clear vision of what it is you want to attract.
There is nothing in this Universe that compares with the power of human relationships to either heal us or do us damage beyond recognition. Sometimes, we don’t think about the potential damage, we concentrate on the delicious feeling we get when we first meet Mr or Miss Right. We think about that person constantly, can’t eat and can’t sleep – have you ever been there?
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.
In 1958, the English-born Spiritualist C. Dorreen Phillips wrote of her experiences with a medium at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana: "In Rev. James Laughton's séances there are many Indians. They are very noisy and appear to have great power. [...] The little guides, or doorkeepers, are usually Indian boys and girls [who act] as messengers who help to locate the spirit friends who wish to speak with you."
The trance medium Leonora Piper was investigated by psychical researchers and psychologists in the late 19th and early 20th century. In an experiment to test if Piper's "spirit" controls were purely fictitious the psychologist G. Stanley Hall invented a niece called Bessie Beals and asked Piper's 'control' to get in touch with it. Bessie appeared, answered questions and accepted Hall as her uncle. The psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that Piper pretended to be controlled by spirits and fell into simple and logical traps from her comments. Science writer Martin Gardner concluded Piper was a cold reader that would "fish" for information from her séance sitters. The physiologist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett who examined Piper's mediumship in detail wrote it could be explained by "muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge."
Astral projection Astrology Aura Bilocation Clairvoyance Close encounter Cold spot Conjuration Cryptozoology Demonic possession Demonology Ectoplasm Electronic voice phenomenon Exorcism Extrasensory perception Forteana Ghost hunting Indigo children Magic Mediumship Occult Orb Paranormal fiction Paranormal television Precognition Preternatural Psychic Psychic reading Psychokinesis Psychometry Remote viewing Retrocognition Spirit photography Spirit possession Spirit world Spiritualism Stone Tape Supernatural Telepathy Ufology
In September 1878 the British medium Charles Williams and his fellow-medium at the time, A. Rita, were detected in trickery at Amsterdam. During the séance a materialized spirit was seized and found to be Rita and a bottle of phosphorus oil, muslin and a false beard were found amongst the two mediums. In 1882 C. E. Wood was exposed in a séance in Peterborough. Her Indian spirit control "Pocka" was found to be the medium on her knees, covered in muslin.