Sunday, September 27, 2009



Nobody asked me, but…

This is going to be a three-part series on frauds who earn their living in the paranormal world by pretending to have Psychic or Medium powers. In truth, there are comparatively few people with genuine Psychic/Medium powers. Yet, it is these few genuine Psychics/Mediums that have given the world a glimpse into things far beyond reasonable and rational thinking. There are a significant number of Psychics/Mediums whose readings consistently defy any scientific explanation and boggle the minds of even the most skeptical people.

One of the reasons a lot of science-oriented people belittle or dismiss everything that appears to be paranormal is because the paranormal world abounds with frauds. People who claim to talk with the dead; people who claim to be psychic: astrologists, tarot card readers, tea leaf, palmists, etc.

In my opinion, the frauds outnumber the genuine by more than a hundred to one. Pretending to be a Psychic or a Medium can be a very good way to make a living: A man tells a so-called Medium that he would like to talk with his deceased mother and the Medium allegedly summons up his mother’s ghost and tells the man (usually) what he wants to hear. Then most Mediums charge a not-so-nominal fee which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for their work.

It’s interesting to note that most genuine Psychics do not make their living working as Psychics.

In order to understand what most people believe are psychic readings or communication with the dead, we must take a good look at a very fine art known as “cold reading”.

Cold reading is an art that was practiced by Gypsies in Eastern Europe using crystal balls, tea leaves and cards. As the Gypsies migrated to other countries Gypsy Fortune Tellers began to appear everywhere; usually performing their trade at carnivals and circus side shows. I mention circuses, because the fine art of cold reading is often called the “Barnum Effect”, named after P. T. Barnum: the man who created and ran the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Barnum is credited with the quip, “There’s a sucker born every minute”. The success of Gyspy Fortune Telling soon fostered the big-stage technique of professional magicians (such as William Larsen, Sr.) who billed themselves as “mentalists”.

Modern interest in the Barnum Effect among psychologists dates from Bertram Forer’s classic experiment at the University of California in 1948. A group of 39 undergraduate psychology students were given a Personality Test; supposedly as a means to explore their individual personalities. A week later every student was given a written report on what their personality test revealed. In fact, unknown to the students, they all received the same report. The students were then asked to rate the accuracy of that report on a scale of 0 (poor) to 5 (perfect). Of the 39 students, only 5 rated it below 4, and no one rated it below 2. The average rating was 4.3.

The report they were given was a cold-reading report and had nothing to do with the answers they gave to the personality test questions. As you read it, it is most likely you will feel it applies to you and describes your own personality. The report given to every student went something like this:

“You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Your sexual adjustment has presented some problems for you. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.”

That’s how cold readings work: Statements that apply to more than 90% of people are used by psychic frauds and astrologists, etc. as if these thoughts emanated from a psychic source. Note that while the report sounds specific, it really has said nothing specific about you.

Magician mentalists or fraudulent Psychics performing cold readings will often add general or semi-specific statements to try and deceive people: “There was, in childhood, a close brush with death “by you or someone close to you.” “There were trials and many changes, the loss of someone close, and an illness or “bad accident.” “You have a streak of stubbornness that is sometimes difficult to control.” There are usually forecasts of financial gain, perhaps having to do with real estate or “property changing hands.”

Or, commonly, the cold reader will tell a woman that she is making a mistake right now trying to reason her way to a decision — she should rely on her intuition and hunches: “If you do, the right course will always be presented to you, and that includes the little problem that’s puzzling you right now.” For a young man, he hears the ringing of a bell — or is it a ring “such as might be worn on the finger? I leave the answer to you.” For another woman, the cold reader sees “blue sky — or blue water?... And somewhere, far in the distance, I hear a voice calling, “Yes, I am here.” I see good fortune in your future.”

People well-practiced the cold reading techniques will also pick-up the subtle reactions of the person being read. A customer’s slight nod of the head or a raised eyebrow may tell the cold reader that he/she is on the right track or, conversely, that an earlier statement needs to be smoothed-over or covered-up. An expert cold reader can convince almost anyone not familiar with cold reading techniques that they have Psychic/Medium abilities and powers; that they are revealing facts about the customer they should have no way of knowing.

Notice how even the written cold readings presented above will fit almost everyone reading them. It’s not that everyone’s life contains the same experiences. It’s that when you remove the specifics from an experience, the general statement fits most people, and little perks and nuances observed by the cold reader tend to make the customer feel that things known only to them have appeared in the mind of a genuine Psychic/Medium.

Next week, we’ll take a close look at cold reading techniques used to convince people that the Psychic/Medium is communicating with the dead.

If you’ve had an experience with a psychic, please tell me about it at My intent is not to expose the frauds, but, rather, to show the distinct difference between the genuine Psychics and the pretenders in order to give genuine Psychics the credibility society has denied them.

As I said…nobody asked me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009



My request to have psychic detectives contact me really must’ve struck a responsive chord: I received eleven e-mails from people who told me that they either “are” or “have been” psychic detectives. To me, the most interesting aspect of all the e-mails was that none of them came from the USA. One of them came from Germany, one from France, three from India, two from what is best described as the former Soviet Union, one from Mexico, one from Australia and two from South America.

Apparently, my blog is read world-wide, but not here in the USA.

I responded to all of them asking for more detailed information, but only two have provided the additional information I requested. In each case I wanted to know whether the respondent was currently working as a psychic detective; whether they were working with a particular police department; at what age were they when they first began to recognize their psychic abilities and if they had ever any other psychic experiences such as astral projection or communication with the dead.

The reason I wanted more information is because there are so many people claiming to have psychic abilities that really don’t have them. I felt if they had ever, successfully, worked with a police department or were currently being consulted by the police, it would be a strong indication that they were genuine. And, if they were genuinely psychic, I would like to write about them in my new book giving details on how they learned of their psychic abilities and how they work (my new book, still untitled, should be ready for publication sometime in 2010). Psychic abilities seem to work differently for every psychic with whom I have spoken.

None of the psychics with whom I have spoken has ever been able to use what is called “precognition”: the ability to accurately look into the future and foresee some event. Most of those whom I have met, need to touch something. It can be as simple as a set of keys, a wallet, a piece of jewelry, a toy, a piece of clothing, etc. Somehow, from that touching, images are created in the psychic’s mind.

If we think about it, this gives us a strong clue as to what psychic ability really is; I’m not suggesting that I “know” anything for certain, but it does seem to indicate that inanimate objects can bear memories. I know it sounds absurd to believe that the ring you wear on your finger or the shirt on your back can recall incidents that happened when you were wearing it, yet the evidence strongly suggests that it’s very possible.

The incident I had in San Francisco where a ghost of a murdered girl appeared in my bedroom….could have been that the walls of the room where she was murdered remembered the incident and brought that memory to my mind/aura…and that’s what I saw.

Walls bearing memories? Why not! If personal items can bear memories, why not other inanimate objects? It would go a long way toward explaining why most ghosts seem to prefer to hang around the house where they died. And, there seems to be another factor: inanimate objects seem to prefer to remember very dramatic incidents…things like murder or near tragedies. I remember when the psychic, Peter Hurkos, made my knees wobble while holding my keys, the things he talked about were my brother’s nearly life-ending automobile accident and how he pulled me (as a child) from the railroad tracks as a train approached. He spoke about the tragedy of my son nearly dying. He didn’t talk about my work or my love-life…only the things that would best be described as “dramatic” incidents.

Isn’t it true that most of the “lingering” ghosts…ghosts that have hung around for years and years…were victims of traumatic deaths or an unexpected termination of their life?

I’m not saying that this is the definitive answer…but it certainly does bear further investigation. It may also help to explain how it is that psychic detectives have achieved such a remarkable degree of success in recreating crime scenes, in locating kidnapped persons, etc.

Write me and tell me if any of your experiences with ghosts followed an unexpected, sudden, death of that person.

Sunday, September 13, 2009



September 13, 2009

Nobody asked me, but…

Anyone who has ever watched “Court TV” or as it has been subsequently known as “Tru TV”, has probably seen one or more shows concerning psychic detective work. The show normally reviews a case that has stumped a local police department and a psychic is called in to help resolve the case. Any of you who have seen the TV show “The Medium” probably have a distorted picture of what a psychic detective can do. Unlike “The Medium”, most psychic detectives do not have dreams that expose a killer, visit a crime scene or have conversations with dead people.

The business of being a psychic detective is expanding, and psychic detectives are used almost five times as often than they were in the past. This is because, in a growing number of instances, psychic detectives have led the police to a crime scene, to a dead body and to a missing person that normal detective work has failed to uncover.

Don’t misunderstand me: More than ninety percent of all crimes that are solved are solved using old-fashioned police detective work. The problem is that less than fifty percent of all crimes are solved. In other words, if you commit a crime, there is less than a fifty percent chance that you will be caught. Of course, the more you repeat that crime, the greater your chances of being caught. The advent of modern DNA science has increased the chances of being caught to almost 90%…provided there is DNA evidence left behind. There will soon be a national DNA computer so that anyone’s DNA can cause immediate identification. Tough luck for criminals!

But there are still thousands of cases, annually, that go unsolved; particularly those of missing children. This is where psychic detectives have played a significant role and are becoming more popular with police departments.

A couple of things need to be understood: (1) Police, generally, relegate psychic detectives to the same category as UFOs, ghosts and other paranormal things. They choose to ignore overwhelming evidence and behave like those living in denial about UFOs or ghosts. Most police tend to believe that all psychics are frauds; that they tend to emasculate detective work, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. (2) Most prosecuting attorneys do not like to work with psychics because they make "weak" witnesses in a trial. Juries usually want hard, forensci evidence, and not the wod of someone who has "visualied" something. (3)Just as is the case in many paranormal reports, the number of frauds claiming psychic ability is very high. Many, who have become practiced and skillful in the art of “cold reading” claim they have psychic powers and tend to discredit those who do possess a sixth sense. (4) People who do possess a sixth sense can rarely turn it on and off like an electric light. As a result, there are times when even a genuine psychic has nothing to offer.

Most of us have heard about the Dutch psychic, Peter Hurkos (deceased), who identified the elusive Boston Strangler and pointed out the spot in Amsterdam where a little girl had fallen and drowned in one of the many canals. But most psychics do not have the abilities of Peter Hurkos.

Almost all cases of using psychic detectives start by a member of the police department visiting the psychic and either giving the psychic a photo of the alleged victim or an article of their clothing or a toy…or something that was close to the victim. All genuine psychics do not want anything more than that. They do not want to know the name, what happened, where it happened….anything! Genuine psychics feel that if you give them too much information it will influence what they visualize. The psychic is then left alone with the photo or article of clothing and tries to summon up his/her ESP.

It is almost beyond amazing the high percentage of times, the psychic will, within a few hours, come up with the name of the victim, what happened to the victim and come up with mental pictures of what the victim has seen…such as street signs, houses, woods, etc. The psychic will then meet with the P.D. agent and discuss what he/she has come up with. The psychic may then travel around the locale with the police until the psychic either sees or feels something. Following his/her ESP instincts, the psychic has then often led the police to a crime scene where the police can search for forensics and other things used during a normal police investigation.

In the case of missing children, the psychic will often be able to describe the place where the child is kept captive as can be seen through the child’s eyes. Usually, such places are very dark but often the child’s eyes sees something that is meaningless to the child, but, as seen through the psychic’s mind, may have important significance in locating a hideaway.

Psychic detectives are playing a larger role is helping to solve crimes that have gone “cold”, but they can never replace the hard day-today of police investigations. But, if they work, even to a small degree, they should be used more frequently.

If you know of someone whom you believe possesses genuine psychic abilities, I’d like to talk with them. E-mail me at

As I said, nobody asked me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Living With Fear

Living With Fear

September 6, 2009

My last Blog on why so many people deny the existence of things like UFOs and other paranormal phenomena really must have struck a chord with a lot of people. I received more responses to this than any other blog I’ve written (and some have gotten a lot of response).

I have a lady cousin who phrased it very simply: Fear is debilitating. It’s the reason we don’t do many of the things we would like to do…like sky-diving or deep-sea scuba diving…or why many teen-age boys and girls are afraid to yield to their burgeoning hormones…fear of pregnancy…fear of entering a forced marriage…fear of being snubbed by your peers…fear of not being accepted, fear of God’s wrath, etc., etc., etc. I could go on endlessly.

I think President Franklin Roosevelt said it all when talking to this nation about the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear…is ‘fear’ itself.” And he was so right! Our present economic recession could and should have ended long ago but the fear of things worsening sent many home and business owners into a panic and they started reducing the prices on everything… which, of course, sent prices spiraling further downward, made employers cut back on their staffs and production, etc.

There can be some positive aspects to fear: We don’t steal from someone else because of the fear of being caught and the fear of being sent to prison. There is always a significant amount of fear present when you violate any law.

The simple act of driving a car: Fear is everywhere! We watch other vehicles for fear that they will hit us; when we drive over the speed limit or don’t come to a complete stop at a stop-sign, we look around for fear that a cop will give us a ticket; we watch every other vehicle on the road suspiciously for fear they will take some sudden, unexpected, action. Fear is everywhere.

Probably the singularly biggest fear that people have is “fear of the unknown”. What will really happen when we die? What will life be like if we are permanently injured? What will happen to us in our old age if someone steals our identity and empties our bank accounts? Is there really a Heaven and Hell and which one will I go to when I die? To quote Hamlet, “…thus would we rather bear those ills we have than go to others we know not of…”

It was fear that kept mankind from inventing fire for centuries….and once it was invented, it brought great advancement to civilization…but it also brought with it a whole new set of fears. The same can be said of the invention of the wheel, of nuclear energy or heavier-than-air flying machines.

Certainly the same thing is true about UFOs and other paranormal things. If we get to the point (and it will happen) that the world proclaims the reality of these mysterious things, it will probably bring forth a great advancement to civilization and it will bring with it a whole new set of fears. Only the brave will venture forth to see what they really are, what they want and how they may become an asset to life here on Earth. Most people tend to shoot-first and ask questions later. Just look at how the fear of a free Black man created things like the Ku Klux Klan, the lynching and the unfair treatment of Blacks…until we finally came to the realization that the Black man was the same as the White man with a darker skin color.

If, as so many allege, UFOs are manned by aliens from somewhere else, you can bet that we will treat them the same way: shoot first, ask questions later. We fear the unknown. We have become so smug and accustomed to the little that we know that anything we don’t know looms like a monster and must be feared.

If some astronomer says that a 20-mile wide planetoid is going to collide with the Earth, panic sets in around the world! Not because we know how it will affect the Earth…but because we don’t know. Fear of the unknown!

When it comes to ghosts, some movie-makers and science fiction writers have pictured them as monsters with all sorts of incredible powers to harm us. So we fear ghosts. We enter a cemetery at night with our fears in control of our minds. Every rustle of leaves in the wind sparks an adrenalin rush in our stomachs. Every shadow caused by the movement of a cloud in the sky fills us with panic. So, when you actually come face-to-face with a ghost, you are paralyzed with fear. Of what? Of the unknown, of course. We will often encounter ghosts in our dreams…but in our dreams they are rarely fearful. It’s like they are alive. And, that’s how it would be if you ever did come face-to-face with a ghost.

Of course, the majority of the population still lives in denial. Despite millions upon millions of verified ghost stories (none of which have ever shown themselves to be harmful to the living), people living in denial will be scared-stiff. Those of us who have accepted the reality of ghosts (even if only by the weight of numbers) will have that fear replaced by curiosity…and maybe we can learn something about the “hereafter”. But those that live in denial can never learn…the fear prevents them from learning.

The same thing is true about UFOs, genuine psychics, astral projection, faith healing and a myriad of other paranormal topics. Those in denial will never learn.

Virtually all paranormal things exist. That’s how the study of the paranormal got started. People experienced things they couldn’t explain. Those who were brave began to study these happenings without fear, while the bulk of our population looked down on the brave and sneered… because most people were (and are) living in denial. Much in the same way everyone sneered at Madam Curie when she believed there was an important element called “radium” that had never been seen by anyone. In fact, most paranormal things have been documented thousands (if not millions) of times more than Madam Curie’s “radium”…but they are still sneered at by those in denial.

As my cousin said: “Fear is debilitating”. It prevents learning and prevents civilization from advancing.

There is much, much more to learn about the world of science, the paranormal world and the everyday world in which we live. Using “caution” is always a good thing. But don’t be so cautious that you allow fear to control what you may find. Acting on the basis of “fear” will rarely benefit anyone.

Don’t fear writing to me at I don’t bite, and I do respond to all e-mails.