The suit of cups rules over all that is associated with emotions, the unconscious, creativity, and intuition. They frequently talk about relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, and one's imagination and inner world. They are associated with the element of water, which becomes a frequent visual theme within this suit. At their worst, the cups suit is fret with uncontrolled feelings, fantasy, and a disconnect with one's inner voice.
Psychometry is a form of psychic reading in which the reader claims to obtain details about another through physical contact with their possessions. Psychometry readers often ask the subject for their favorite and most meaningful objects, such as wedding rings, glasses, car keys, etc., for the reading. The belief is that objects which are in close proximity to a person for extended periods of time hold some of that person's 'energy'. This method has been used in attempts to locate missing persons.
For example, if a spirit wants to give the psychic medium the name Sandy, they might flash (in the psychic medium’s mind) the face of a person whom the psychic medium knows named Sandy. If they want to get the psychic medium to say the word “coffee,” they might show the psychic medium someone’s cat that had the name Coffee. This can be confusing and requires that the psychic medium interpret what they are seeing in their mind. For instance, the psychic medium might say cat rather than coffee; and to the person being read, the psychic medium might appear wrong when the psychic medium is actually just “misinterpreting” the message.
In English-speaking countries, where these games are not played, tarot cards are used primarily for divinatory purposes, usually using specially designed packs. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.
A psychic reading is a specific attempt to discern information through the use of heightened perceptive abilities; or natural extensions of the basic human senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and instinct. These natural extensions are claimed to be clairvoyance (vision), clairsentience (feeling), claircognisance (factual knowing) and clairaudience (hearing) and the resulting statements made during such an attempt. The term is commonly associated with paranormal-based consultation given for a fee in such settings as over the phone, in a home, or at psychic fairs. Though psychic readings are controversial and a focus of skeptical inquiry, a popular interest in them persists. Extensive experimentation to replicate psychic results in laboratory conditions have failed to find any precognitive phenomena in humans. Psychic reading is pseudoscience. A cold reading technique allows psychics to produce seemingly specific information about an individual from social cues and broad statements.
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Scientists who study anomalistic psychology consider mediumship to be the result of fraud and psychological factors. Research from psychology for over a hundred years suggests that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion. Trance mediumship, which according to Spiritualists is caused by discarnate spirits speaking through the medium, can be explained by dissociative identity disorder.
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.