Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, most likely from Mamluk Egypt, with suits of Batons or Polo sticks (commonly known as Wands by those practicing occult or divinatory tarot), Coins (commonly known as disks, or pentacles in occult or divinatory tarot), Swords, and Cups. These suits were very similar to modern tarot divination decks and are still used in traditional Italian, Spanish and Portuguese playing card decks.
Surprisingly, tarot is a relatively modern craft. Though tarot decks date back to the 1400s, pictorial cards were originally used for games rather than prediction. Cartomancy, or fortune-telling through the use of playing cards, actually wasn't developed until 1785, when French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette — known by his pseudonym, Etteilla, the inversion of his surname — created comprehensive links between illustrated cards, astrology, and ancient Egyptian lore.
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.
If you've decided to hire the services of a medium, for whatever reasons, there are a few things you should keep in mind to guarantee you get the best session possible. First of all, try to come in with an open mind. You may be feeling skeptical, but if you let that be an issue, it can certainly color your results. A corollary to that is that it's important, to be honest about why you're there. If you're only trying to debunk things or to expose the medium as a fraud, go ahead and admit it up front. A medium who's legitimate will probably still be willing to work with you.
Visiting a psychic reader can be lightly entertaining or profoundly revealing, depending on what you are looking for. Take a professional approach to consulting a medium, and keep a level head when accepting advice or guidance Don’t get so wrapped up in the spiritual world that you are unable to fully enjoy this one. Above all, don’t be misled into thinking the psychic medium has extraordinary powers until you see proof.
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.
^ Paul Kurtz. (1985). A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-87975-300-9 "Florence Cook was caught cheating not only before her séances with Crookes but also afterward. Furthermore, she learned her trade from the mediums Frank Herne and Charles Williams, who were notorious for their cheating." Also see M. Lamar Keene. (1997). The Psychic Mafia. Prometheus Books. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-57392-161-9 "The most famous of materialization mediums, Florence Cook – though she managed to convince a scientist, Sir William Crookes, that she was genuine – was repeatedly exposed in fraud. Florence had been trained in the arts of the séance by Frank Herne, a well-known physical medium whose materializations were grabbed on more than one occasion and found to be the medium himself."
The medium Henry Slade was caught in fraud many times throughout his career. In a séance in 1876 in London Ray Lankester and Bryan Donkin snatched his slate before the "spirit" message was supposed to be written, and found the writing already there. Slade also played an accordion with one hand under the table and claimed spirits would play it. The magician Chung Ling Soo revealed how Slade had performed the trick.
Spiritualists often set March 31, 1848, as the beginning of their movement. On that date, Kate and Margaret Fox, of Hydesville, New York, reported that they had made contact with a spirit that was later claimed to be the spirit of a murdered peddler whose body was found in the house, though no record of such a person was ever found. The spirit was said to have communicated through rapping noises, audible to onlookers. The evidence of the senses appealed to practically-minded Americans, and the Fox sisters became a sensation. As the first celebrity mediums, the sisters quickly became famous for their public séances in New York. However, in 1888 the Fox sisters admitted that this "contact" with the spirit was a hoax, though shortly afterward they recanted that admission.
Many are unaware of how they attract partners in relationships, the core fears and emotional issues that show up in the relationship, and why these relationships usually don’t work out and are short lived. They continue to attract the same kind of partner or repeat relationship patterns and are not sure as to why. Couples may hit a road block in their relationship and feel as if there is a breakdown in communication, the love and passion is gone, or their emotional needs are not being met. They may even feel as if the relationship may be over and are seeking clarity so they can bring the harmony back into the relationship.
Though each card has classic associations, the most powerful resource available is your intuition. Note your immediate emotional reaction: Your instincts will inform your study and strengthen your pictorial memory. Eventually, you'll develop your own systems and patterns, and individual cards will carry meanings specific to you. Perhaps the Devil card will come to represent an ex-lover, while the Two of Wands will symbolize a new job. Your distinctive lexicon will inform your readings, allowing you to create specific narratives that can be applied to any circumstance or situation.
"Mental mediumship" is communication of spirits with a medium by telepathy. The medium mentally "hears" (clairaudience), "sees" (clairvoyance), and/or feels (clairsentience) messages from spirits. Directly or with the help of a spirit guide, the medium passes the information on to the message's recipient(s). When a medium is doing a "reading" for a particular person, that person is known as the "sitter".
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?
Clairvoyance or "clear seeing", is the ability to see anything that is not physically present, such as objects, animals or people. This sight occurs "in the mind's eye". Some mediums say that this is their normal vision state. Others say that they must train their minds with such practices as meditation in order to achieve this ability, and that assistance from spiritual helpers is often necessary. Some clairvoyant mediums can see a spirit as though the spirit has a physical body. They see the bodily form as if it were physically present. Other mediums see the spirit in their mind's eye, or it appears as a movie or a television programme or a still picture like a photograph in their mind.