Psychics Are Frauds: A Case Study With 4 Different Fortune Tellers

Psychics Are Frauds: A Case Study With 4 Different Fortune Tellers

Don’t we all love the idea of someone else being able to tell us the answer we need? To stop fretting our nights away worrying about what will happen. Will we get that new job promotion? Will we find the love of our life and when? Of course, knowing answers to the important questions can set our heart at ease. It’s like grabbing our worries by the throat and forcing down a huge dose of Vicodin. It sounded pretty good to me, so I thought let’s give it a spin and see if they can illuminate my destiny. Besides, lots of people use psychic’s right? (I checked, well over 100,000 people a month Google terms related to psychics).

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I decided to use some ‘free’ time I had for a particular website to test it out. I used one of the most popular sites for psychic readings, one that would be considered a gold star of quality. There were always at least one to two dozen psychics online at any one time. I decided to commit to having the most natural experience possible. To try to prevent arguments saying that “only in person readings work.” So I used their feature to set up my webcam, so the psychic could see me directly, just like if I got a reading on the street corner.

I posed one question (which is true) for all the psychics to answer, “I had a falling out with with a girl I was dating about a year ago, and we haven’t spoken since, what does the future hold for us?” 

Psychic One Had A Hard Time Being Consistent

I did two readings with this psychic two days between, to see if she would keep her story and timelines straight. Initially, she told me I would “reconnect with this person in September of this year.”  It was also clear she was using her computer monitor to read information about my horoscope. She had several other details she added in also, which will be bullet pointed lower down. The second time, a day and a half later, when I spoke with her, she said that we would “reconnect in March.” Psychics must have a short memory; she forgot when the prophecy would come true in just a day.

Psychic One’s Key Points

  • Would reconnect with ex in September March  (?)
  • She would also make a small effort to contact me on February 6th (wrong)
  • Would play some game with me over the phone last week (wrong)
  • She misses me terribly (no way to verify that)
  • She is going through difficult issues right now (isn’t everyone?)

Psychic Two Bolstered My Ego

Psychic two was a very positive one, telling me how much “my ex can’t stop thinking about me.” She also commented on how “very handsome” I am. She drew very specific timelines like the previous psychic. What’s interesting about the first and second is that they drew very short deadlines. So it’s very easy for customers to prove that they are wrong. Usually, psychics will use a minimum of thirty days for their prophecies so that either the customer comes back for more readings in the meantime or forgets.

Psychic Two’s Key Points

  • Said she would contact me in 3 days (last weekend) (wrong)
  • She said we would spend all weekend together talking out our past issues (wrong)
  • Said that Sunday we would passionately make love (wrong)
  • Said she thinks about me all the time (no way to verify that)

Psychic Three Was “Sort of” Correct

Psychic three was the only one to deliver negative news instead of positive news. She didn’t bolster my ego by saying how “in love” my ex is with me. Instead, she stated that she does love me on some level, but is not ready for a change. She also said that my ex would never contact me again. So at this point, she is technically correct that my ex hasn’t contacted me, but she already knew that. She just made that guess that she won’t, and until that happens, she is automatically right.

Psychic Three’s Key Points 

  • Ex loves me on some level (can’t verify that)
  • Ex is not ready for change (what kind of change? Can’t verify that)
  • Ex won’t contact me (Right until proven otherwise)

The Fourth Psychic Was ‘Business-Minded’

The worst part about the fourth psychic was her obvious ‘business tactics.’ A few days after the reading I received a message that she had “more information to tell me” and that it was “critical that I get another reading.” I followed up by entering her chat room where a few other individuals were chatting. The first messages I see in the room are from another customer. The customer said, “I just got a reading from Saturday, are you sure?”.  She proceeded to tell them she had a very “important update” for them.  Shocking, she has important updates for everyone she’s given readings to in the last day and a half. It’s a very prominent scam business tactic for psychics to use. They give you a reading but they forget intentionally leave vital information to conclude the first reading. The gimmick? You need to pay more for them to finish what they were supposed to finish already. It works because people are in a psychological loop wanting just that last little bit of information.

Psychic Four’s Key Points

  • She cannot stop “dreaming about me” (????)
  • She wants to move on, but she can’t (????)
  • The reason why I haven’t met anyone else is because her and I are destined to be together (????)
  • She will contact me within 30 days (????)

Psychic Four’s 2nd Reading (follow up reading with vital information)

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Details from my answers are removed, as I said I was truthful. This is also not a hit piece on any psychics. During the psychics essential follow-up reading, she no longer remembered my name or date of birth, apparently. However, she did remember the time frames I gave her from before.  She primarily appealed to my emotions explaining how alone my ex will feel on Valentine’s day. Then again, I thought that’s what Valentine’s day was invented for ;)?

All the psychics who gave me readings gave me completely different timeframes with somewhat similar scenarios. The reason a lot of people swear by a psychic is not because of their magical abilities, but because of their intuition and something called confirmation bias. Many people are intuitive, which means based on certain information you can guess an outcome. It’s usually a ‘likely-hood,’ such as if you or your ex are married to someone else, they probably won’t come back to you. You don’t need to be psychic to have basic intuition, though. Confirmation bias is looking for what psychics suggest to you. So if a psychic says you will find a job next week, you may notice yourself increasing your job hunt efforts. You end up getting a job, and you think, “wow, she was right, she must have a gift.”

Do Psychics Have Any Real Use?

It’s clear to me that psychics play on people’s emotions. Specifically, they play on the emotions of the downtrodden and confused. Now, I don’t think all psychics are scam artists or bad people, most of them seem to want to help people genuinely. I believe the mistake is giving people false hope that you have the power to predict their futures. In some cases, psychics may even help people – not by predicting their future, but by giving them someone to vent to and talk about their problems.  However, considering false hope and the significant cost (dollars per minute) of psychics, it might just be better to hire a trained therapist to talk to and help you with your problems. If you need someone to talk to for LESS money, that is certified to help you, try one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com 

EDIT: I will follow up on this article in 90 days to report if anything else the psychics said come true. 

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Richard Morris
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Richard Morris is a journalism student from Michigan. His subjects of interest include technology, culture and occasionally politics.

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