Are Psychics For Real?

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Recently, my wife went out with some friends to see a psychic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was entertaining and a fun thing to do. They had a few laughs, shed a few tears and everyone had an enjoyable experience.

There are several types, like mediums, tarot card readers or fortune tellers, and depending on what you are seeking, there’s a psychic for that. More than 15 percent of Americans have visited a psychic at some point, looking for advice on their future or to communicate with someone who has passed from this life. While not everyone believes a psychic can read minds or predict futures, many believe some people are clairvoyant and that there are just too many things that cannot be explained.

Full disclosure: I’ve never been to a psychic for a reading. Many people in my family have enjoyed their experiences, as have friends and acquaintances. For skeptics, it’s just a nice evening out. For believers, they are seeking some comfort after losing a loved one and it becomes an emotional experience. Sometimes, skeptics turn into believers.

I guess you could call me a skeptic because I’ve often questioned anyone’s ability to predict the future. After all, if they could, wouldn’t they have bought real estate in the 1980s or have won the lottery by now? What about communicating with the dead? It amazes me that after people die, they no longer seem to be able to speak in complete sentences. When they speak through a psychic, they don’t properly identify themselves.

I am a great lover of magicians, but I know everything they do is a trick of some kind. That doesn’t change my enjoyment—even if I somehow figure out how they fooled me. Psychics in New York State are required to have an entertainment license, and many have a disclaimer on their websites stating, “For legal purposes it is understood that all readings are for the purposes of entertainment only.”

Some psychics are charlatans with a knack for reading people and their emotions. They lead you with open ended questions until you reveal something they can use, then feed it back to you so it’s believable. As long as they are not conning people out of their life savings, it’s a harmless evening of entertainment.

To prove a point, last time my wife was invited by friends for an evening with a psychic, she tried something different. Just for fun, she used our neighbor’s cell phone to confirm the appointment. Wouldn’t you know it, the first thing the psychic said to her was, “So, I’m seeing a Tom and a John in your life…” Unfortunately for the psychic, that’s the names of my neighbor’s husband and son. When informed those names meant nothing to her, the psychic suddenly got a cell phone call she had to take (it was her daughter, apparently) and left the room for a few minutes.

When she returned, she apologized for the intrusion and restarted the reading, this time with the correct names. Wonder if the license plate on my wife’s car in the parking lot had anything to do with that?

But what about people who have had life changing experiences with psychics? It seems that for every story about a poor experience, I hear one about a positive experience. Believers come in all shapes and sizes and all different education levels, mostly seeking answers from someone who is not judgmental. People seek out a therapist to help them understand their problems and provide them with a road map to the future. They can help you find the inner strength to fix or solve a problem. Many find the same solace with a psychic at a far less cost.

With magicians, I know that teller doesn’t actually catch the bullet in his mouth that Penn shoots at him from across the stage, but it’s still fun to watch and try to figure out how they did it. Same thing with psychics. It’s entertainment and sometimes a little creepy. Occasionally they hit something right on the nose that makes you take a step back and wonder, “How did they know that?”

Maybe it’s time I joined the 15 percent of you and found out for myself? Hey, you never know…

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