Modern tarot decks, such as we know them, appeared in Italy in the 15th century as series of intricately painted works of art used to play card games. These decks consisted of a varying number of cards and were not specifically created for divination. The first such cards, usually created for noble families to celebrate special occasions, were known in Italy as trionfi (“triumphs” or later, “trumps.”) These trick-taking games later became known by several names, including Tarocchi, Taroc/k, Tarau,and Tarot. Some people even write it as tarrot, taro or tarro - but those spellings are very uncommon.
In the 1860s and 1870s, trance mediums were very popular. Spiritualism generally attracted female adherents, many who had strong interests in social justice. Many trance mediums delivered passionate speeches on abolitionism, temperance, and women's suffrage. Scholars have described Leonora Piper as one of the most famous trance mediums in the history of Spiritualism.
Tarot cards have been greatly popularized, but can be often regarded solely as entertainment. Traditional decks are available in chain bookstores. New decks also frequently appear in New Age bookstores. Though not requiring psychic abilities, Tarot cards can be used as a psychic or cold reading tool and Tarot readings are common at psychic fairs.
In the years following the sensation that greeted the Fox sisters, demonstrations of mediumship (séances and automatic writing, for example) proved to be a profitable venture, and soon became popular forms of entertainment and spiritual catharsis. The Fox sisters were to earn a living this way and others would follow their lead. Showmanship became an increasingly important part of spiritualism, and the visible, audible, and tangible evidence of spirits escalated as mediums competed for paying audiences. As independent investigating commissions repeatedly established, most notably the 1887 report of the Seybert Commission, fraud was widespread, and some of these cases were prosecuted in the courts.
My first reading was via phone call—the ad said the psychic was offering free mini-readings. She asked for my full name and birthday and Emily's. I gave her the details and almost instantly, she told me Emily wanted me to know that she's in a good place and that she's watching over the family. She also wanted me to be happy too, but my happiness only seems to last temporarily (note: aren't all emotions temporary though?).
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.
St. Edith Stein, Patron of Europe, converted to Catholicism after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Ávila on a holiday in Göttingen in 1921, at the age of 29. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Ávila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." She went out the next day to buy a missal and a copy of the Catholic catechism.
In the typical deep trance, the medium may not have clear recall of all the messages conveyed while in an altered state; such people generally work with an assistant. That person selectively wrote down or otherwise recorded the medium's words. Rarely did the assistant record the responding words of the sitter and other attendants. An example of this kind of relationship can be found in the early 20th century collaboration between the trance medium Mrs. Cecil M. Cook of the William T. Stead Memorial Center in Chicago (a religious body incorporated under the statutes of the State of Illinois) and the journalist Lloyd Kenyon Jones. The latter was a non-medium Spiritualist who transcribed Cook's messages in shorthand. He edited them for publication in book and pamphlet form.
The questions floated around in my head for awhile, but it wasn't until last Sunday that I decided to act on them. Inspired by Houdini, I made up a basic pass/fail test that I could apply a few times to see if someone was actually in tune with all the truths in the universe: If I made up a dead sister and asked a bunch of psychics to connect with her, how many wouldn't be able to tell I was full of shit?
“I first met Catharine a number of years ago for a reading. She described my husband and told me that he would be taking 4-6 weeks off work and relaxing. I have to admit I was skeptical…my husband is a complete workaholic and this was definitely not him! A few weeks later he hit his head on a staircase, ended up with a concussion and, yes, had to have 6 weeks off work to rest. I was hooked. Since then, she has described holidays that we would be taking, described my children’s mannerisms down to a tee and also work activities that I would be getting involved with. The rest of my family think that I’m strange for wanting to have readings like this…but it’s amazing how interested they all are when I get home to find out what she’s said and what’s going to happen in their lives. Thanks Catharine!
Many 19th century mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud. While advocates of mediumship claim that their experiences are genuine, the Encyclopædia Britannica article on spiritualism notes in reference to a case in the 19th century that "...one by one, the Spiritualist mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud, sometimes employing the techniques of stage magicians in their attempts to convince people of their clairvoyant powers." The article also notes that "the exposure of widespread fraud within the spiritualist movement severely damaged its reputation and pushed it to the fringes of society in the United States."
Do compose your emotions and appearance to hide any revealing information about yourself. Your facial expression, style of dress, personal mannerisms, and emotional outbursts can tell a psychic, especially a false one, a great deal about you to make it look like she knows all these things from a paranormal reading, when in fact, she is merely interpreting your physical appearance or reactions.