A spirit guide is like a spiritual mediums second-hand man. A spirit guide is not a human spirit medium, but an evolved type of spirit whose sole purpose is to send the spiritual medium down the right path and provide other forms of spiritual guidance to a spiritual medium. Mediums who use spirit guides are called “operators” — they commune with their spirit guide to deliver messages from otherworldly entities.
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.
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.
According to James Randi, a skeptic who has debunked many claims of psychic ability and uncovered fraudulent practices, mediums who do cold readings "fish, suggest possibilities, make educated guesses and give options." Randi has a standing offer of $1 million US dollars for anyone who can demonstrate psychic ability under controlled conditions. Most prominent psychics and mediums have not taken up his offer.
Today "demonstration of mediumship" is part of the church service at all churches affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) and the Spiritualists' National Union (SNU). Demonstration links to NSAC's Declaration of Principal #9. "We affirm that the precepts of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship."
The exposures of fraudulent activity led to a rapid decline in ectoplasm and materialization séances. Investigator Joe Nickell has written that modern self-proclaimed mediums like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Rosemary Altea and James Van Praagh are avoiding the Victorian tradition of dark rooms, spirit handwriting and flying tambourines as these methods risk exposure. They instead use "mental mediumship" tactics like cold reading or gleaning information from sitters before hand (hot reading). Group readings also improve hits by making general statements with conviction, which will fit at least one person in the audience. Shows are carefully edited before airing to show only what appears to be hits and removing anything that does not reflect well on the medium.