Monday, May 26, 2008

Psychic as career.

One last post from me tonight and then sleep. My Circadian rhythms have been seriously messed with over the last few days and it's catchup time.

Every time I find Randi's face I go over to look at his site, www.randi.org. To see if he's seen the errors in his thinking. Not yet.

One of the things he slates there is the medium. 'There can be no real mediums in the world,' he declares (paraphrased). 'They are all fakes and charlatans'.

There are real mediums. I know at least two.

There really are dead people wandering around. I've met them.

What the sceptics should say is 'There are no real mediums on TV' because that is absolutely true.

Real mediums make a living from other jobs. No real medium makes a living from being a medium for one simple reason.

It cannot be done.

You cannot set up a half hour show and expect exactly three spirits, all of whom are related to someone in your audience, to show up on time.

You cannot expect to set up that show without sometimes finding that none of the spirits who do show up match with anyone in the audience.

You cannot set up that show and expect any spirits to show up at all.

One hundred percent success guarantees fraud. There is no other way to do it. The TV psychics never fail. They always get the right number of matches for the show. Always. They never have a show where none of the spirits they contact have any relationship to the audience. They never have a show where no spirits turn up. What do they do, make them sign contracts? All TV psychics are faking it and I say that precisely because they never fail. If they log a failure in the next few weeks I'll know they read this blog. Too late - you're faking it and I know it.

Real mediums know that ghosts do not come when you call. They are not pets. They are dead people and are just as capricious as the live versions. Ghosts show up when they have something to say. They don't follow TV schedules. They don't follow their relatives around 24/7. Come on. If you were a ghost you'd find something else to do, right? What if you had eight kids? How would you follow them all? If Kid #3 was at the show and you were busy looking over Kid #5's new baby, would you heed the call of the TV cameras or say 'Screw them'? I know what I'd do.

It is not possible to make money as a medium. Customers will not accept success rates of 10% or lower. Ghosts will not do as they are told. They will not conveniently show up for readings.

All TV psychics are fakes, yes, but that does not mean that all psychics are fakes. That is the fallacy in the sceptic's thinking. The real medium cannot make money using their ability. The real medium isn't going to knock your door and give you a message from the Great Beyond because they know they'll get laughed at and possibly punched. Real mediums are out there but they will never be famous for it. There is no way for them to prove it since they can never be sure of when a spirit will choose to speak to them, and they can't 'book' a ghost to coincide with a lab appointment.

The logic is there if you look for it.

7 comments:

Southern Writer said...

You made some valid points here. It reminds me of the recommended list of books Amazon has for me. A lot of them are about life after death. The problem I have with that is that they just rehash the same old material. I want some of these "professionals" to come up with something new. Write something I don't already know.

Southern Writer said...

I should clarify that. I wish THEY would write something I don't already know. That's what I get for posting incomplete sentences.

Romulus Crowe said...

Sometimes I wonder if it's the 'Fox effect'.

The Fox sisters produced some remarkable poltergeist effects at first but later, te effects diminished and they said they'd been cheating all along. They said they'd made the sounds by clicking their toe joints.

If they made 'bangs that shook the room' by that method, I'd like to see those toes!

One of the sisters later recanted the cheating claim, but that was brushed aside. 'No, you said you'd cheated, you can't go back on that.'

In later experiments they probably were cheating simply because they were under pressure to produce the goods and didn't want to lose their fame. In early experiments thay probably weren't.

So I wonder if at least some of these psychics started with (may still have) real abilities. Bounced into the limelight with an ability that is far from 100% reliable, they'd be tempted by bright lights and money to embellish a bit. Then a bit more. Then outright cheat.

Cold reading isn't difficult, nor are any of the other methods in use. Concentrating on a faint spirit voice in a crowded TV studio would be very difficult. It doesn't take much of a leap to see that it's far, far easier just to cheat. Especially when they have to produce results on a specific date and at a specific time, and no spirits turn up.

The books are all much the same - some say that's 'proof' because the stories match. Others say that only proves that they re-use previously disseminated ideas. Both viewpoints have merit but the existence of the second means that the first can't be taken as proof. One of those viewpoints must be disproved in order to validate the other. Neither is easy to prove or disprove.

Trouble is, anyone with a different interpretation will be rejected by both camps. Psychics will say that this new information is wrong - just look at all the previously pubished stuff. Sceptics will say that the new information doesn't even match with what most psychics say so it's just the ramblings of a deranged mind.

There have been different interpretations of psychic phenomena but they fall by the wayside because the established psychics do exactly what they accuse scientists of doing - closing their minds to new ideas.

Besides, they have a franchise to protect.

Anyway, the point is - giving the benefit of the doubt, at least some TV psychics might well have started out as the real thing. They might then have been picked up by the press, found fame and also found that the only way to stay famous is a high success rate. Far higher than is possible when dealing with a bunch of ghosts who might or might not show up, and who might or might not want to speak when they do.

They might have started out real. Now, they are all cheating. There's no other way to get the results they do.

Dr. Brainiac said...

Why do we never hear of psychics winning the lottery? That would be first on my list if I were so endowed.

Romulus Crowe said...

Fortune tellers, if they're any good, should have had at least a few small wins. They should have those cheques framed as evidence they know what they're doing. If they did that, they'd make a lot more money than they would from cashing the cheque!

Then again, it would depend on the type of fortune telling. I'd guess Tarot cards would be the best bet if you wanted to get an answer in number format. I have a set somewhere...

Mediums speak to the dead, who might know about the past but won't know the future - in many cases they won't know much about the present.

Necromancy was the term for those who claimed to tell the future by speaking to the dead, but why anyone ever imagined those who died in the past would know about the future is beyond me!

Southern Writer said...

I gotta disagree with you on this one, Rom. Maybe the deceased who are stuck here don't know much of anything about the present, and even less about the future. I'll grant that. But I think the deceased who have crossed over do know. I think they know all about us whenever it suits them, and I think they know a bit (maybe not everything) about the future, too. That's been my personal experience.

They may not pay attention to the doings of every one, but I think they pay attention to those they love. And as for the future, I think they know the "big stuff" like the eventual destiny of their loved ones, and maybe the future of technology. And why not? They live in a different dimension, where the rules are different, right?

Romulus Crowe said...

I've never met anyone who crossed over and came back - which is why I say I don't have any evidence for a heaven.

On the other hand, if someone did cross into a 'heaven' of sorts and chose to come back, they'd come back for a specific reason to see a specific person. None have come to see me, but there are many reports of this happening to others.

There's a theory in physics that the universe has up to 11 dimensions. We see three physical dimensions and one of time. We can move about in the three physical dimensions but we can't move in the time dimension because it's a line. There's stuff piled up behind us so we can't go back, and we can't see ahead.

That's us - the living. There are (might be) seven more dimensions we can't perceive, and they don't all have to be spatial dimensions.

Two-dimensional time has been proposed. If that's true, then you could go forwards and backwards by going sideways first, in effect stepping out of our time line and stepping back in somewhere else. We can't do it. The ghosts I've met can't do it.

However, if 'crossing over' means moving into a different set of dimensions, then they might be able to do it.

With seven spare dimensions, it's possible to overlay our visible universe with another three-dimensional universe that we can't see, and which can't see us. And still have four dimensions to spare.

There's also the possibility of a universe with four spatial dimensions. We can't see it, but it can see us in the same way we could see a two-dimensional world on a piece of paper. Our world would appear 'flat' to them. They could interact by, in effect, poking a finger into this world, and we'd see only that portion which is available to our senses - three of their four dimensions.

They'd also have an 'overview' of our time dimension so it's possible they could see what's coming for us.

However, I still don't think these could be summoned by necromancers. They're a level up from us - we can't control them.

If they come back for a visit, it's because they want to.


Anyway, that's enough from me for tonight. I have to visit a friend, and there's whisky involved, and best of all, it's his.

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