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The poet Robert Browning and his wife Elizabeth attended a séance on 23, July 1855 in Ealing with the Rymers. During the séance a spirit face materialized which Home claimed was the son of Browning who had died in infancy. Browning seized the "materialization" and discovered it to be the bare foot of Home. To make the deception worse, Browning had never lost a son in infancy. Browning's son Robert in a letter to The Times, December 5, 1902 referred to the incident "Home was detected in a vulgar fraud." The researchers Joseph McCabe and Trevor H. Hall exposed the "levitation" of Home as nothing more than his moving across a connecting ledge between two iron balconies.
She invited me to her apartment in Brooklyn. When I got to the brownstone-lined street, I found my final destination: a beautiful old converted hospital building that was positively witchy. After I was buzzed in and made my way to the correct floor, I was greeted by a small dog in the hallway that led me exactly to where I needed to be. Mama Donna was waiting by the door, and invited me to sit on her pink floral couch in front of a wicker table. Her pup, Poppy, hopped onto my lap and we began the reading.
Let's talk about the structure of the deck and the meanings of its cards. Any magical practice — tarot, astrology, or spell work — is based on the Hermetic axiom "as above, so below." In other words, the macrocosm of the cosmos is reflected in the microcosm of individual experience. Accordingly, the entire universe exists within a tarot deck, with each card representing a person, place, or event. These symbols are depicted in both the Major Arcana cards, which speak to greater secrets, and the Minor Arcana cards, which speak to lesser secrets.
Besides reaffirming my belief that I'm a great liar and should do it more, my test also gave me some insight on how psychics work. They're talented when it comes to finding ways squeeze emotions out of you and make general statements that allow you to fill in the blanks yourself—you're contributing to your own deception (example: They say they sense a female presence watching over you, at which point you say, "Oh shit, my aunt/grandma/mom/friend/cousin/sister/teacher died a little while ago—it MUST be her!"). I think so many people turn to psychics because they help ease the fear of the great unknown that is death and give meaning and purpose to seemingly unfair and random events in our chaotic universe. To me, that's a form of preying on the weak and exploiting people at their most emotionally vulnerable, but if you believe in the afterlife and psychic powers, I can understand how the experience would be comforting - after all, who doesn't want to know that a loved family member, living or dead, is doing okay?
The psychical researchers Eric Dingwall and Harry Price re-published an anonymous work written by a former medium entitled Revelations of a Spirit Medium (1922) which exposed the tricks of mediumship and the fraudulent methods of producing "spirit hands". Originally all the copies of the book were bought up by spiritualists and deliberately destroyed. In 1923, the magician Carlos María de Heredia revealed how fake spirit hands could be made by using a rubber glove, paraffin and a jar of cold water.