Psychics – there are as many types of psychics as there are methods to read the past or future. Astrology, tarot cards, mediumship, palmistry – the list goes on. But can these psychic people do as they claim? A large segment of the population seems to think so, as a recent study has shown that more than a third of Americans believes in psi phenomena. Furthermore, media about psychics and other paranormal topics – TV shows, movies, books, and the like – keep growing, with opportunities for psychic employment keeping pace. But what do scientists and skeptics say?
Skeptics argue that most psychics are nothing more than scam artists. While there are a few who might think they are genuinely psychic, it is only that they are delusional, not legitimate. Psychics excel at the art of generalities – they throw so many vague, general statements at an individual that something is bound to stick. This technique works because clients are so willing to believe in the phenomena that they turn off their critical faculties. They fill in the missing details, often at the behest of the psychic, and then later claim that the psychic himself or herself came up with those details. This tendency to forget the misses and only remember the rare hit is what gives psychics their “true” power.
What can be done about psychics?
The United States is a free country, and they often cleverly disguise their work as being for “entertainment purposes only,” preventing any possibility for litigation or clients asking for refunds. All that can be done is proper education of the public about psychical techniques. This training will be useful not only for rooting out psychics but for stopping other scams in their tracks. Psychics and others prey on the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. It is thus an important duty of the learned, academic world to provide people with the skeptical toolkit necessary to navigate through the noise of constant scams and hoaxes.