I’ve been a fan of James Randi for so long. His pursuit of the truth is awesome. A magician by trade James describes himself as “an honest liar”, ergo he knows his magic work is slight-of-hand, cold-reading, etc and he’s open about it.
James’ takes issue with those who claim to have psychic powers and use those “powers” to communicate with the dead. He sees it as it is, an abuse of people’s grief.
People typically seek out psychics at a time of loss and grief. They charge for this service and then they provide vague readings that could easily apply to many people.
Having watched a few debunking videos over the past few days it’s clear it’s hit and miss.
When discussing members of the family who’ve died they often say “they had trouble breathing”, “they were ill”, “it was a sudden unexpected death”, etc. Things that could easily apply.
One I saw said the passed member was mentioning “a house, a new house, or a house going through renovations”. A situation that could apply to anyone.
The amazing thing is you see the people who are getting read are the ones who make the story fit.
A lady said “I’m seeing a man, a tall man, with a funny hat, I’m thinking it’s a beret, he had an injury to his leg.” The caller, said, my father was tall, and as a southern gentleman he always wore a hat, and he was buried with his cowboy hat. But he had no problem with his leg. Rosemary said well I’m seeing a funny hat with something at the front. The caller then said, oh it could be my grandfather, he was in the civil war, and had his leg injured.
People make the stories fit from vague facts. And when they can’t make the stories fit, they are told to go back to their family and check with them. It’s again making the reader, who is paying for the service, to make the reading fit.
The psychics claim they hear people speaking to her, they see people, the people make gestures, etc. Yet they can never get anything that is clear, like the name of the person, how they relate to the person in question.
They say: “They’re telling me they they had a problem with their head”… but they can’t SAY what it is that was exactly wrong with their head; did they have an aneurysm, did they get it bashed in with a hammer, did they fall and take a hit to the head?
Even names are apparently hard to say, it’s like they spirit doesn’t remember what their name was. “It begins with a D?”, why can’t the spirit say “David”, “Daniel”, “Dionne”, “Daphne”… instead the person having the reading (sometimes and entire studio audience) is left to fill in the blanks… “I know a Daniel who’s died!”.
It’s just BS and it’s dishonest, and it’s exploitation of the living and their grief. And like most things in the human world, it comes back to the human need of connection.
James has called for regulation of the psychic industry many times, for them to have to prove themselves before they can take money, or for them to have to offer refunds when they haven’t actually provided the service they’re being paid for.
I’ve thought about seeing a psychic, just for the experience. I don’t have any great need to get in touch with the dead. But as yet, I’ve not done so. I know before my Nan passed she told my Dad if there was any way she could come back, she would try and make contact. And they actually agreed on a specific word that would need to spoken to prove it was Nan, that removes any other vagary that might match experiences. And Dad says he’s seen a few, but none have ever come up with the code word… which I guess makes sense given they only ever seem to get one letter at a time and wait for you to fill it the blanks. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯