How to spot a cold reading and fake psychic?
By Ian Ainsley
I have been asked before how exactly one can tell the difference between a genuine psychic reading and a fake psychic reading otherwise known as a cold reading.
It’s really very simple the more correct information especially relating to spirit with out you having to give away much information in your answers the more likely it’s a genuine reading. It is always best to simply answer yes or no when receiving a reading to ensure you are not feeding information to someone trying to fool you that they have psychic abilities.
If a reading is very vague or very general then chances are it’s a cold reading.
There are three main techniques a cold reader will use when reading I will go over them briefly and give examples with them.
The first technique a cold reader will use is called Shotgunning.
Shotgunning is a technique in which the cold reader offers a large amount of very general statements and then waits for the response (especially body language) of the “subject”. If the subject’s response is positive, the reader continues and expands his statement. The subject will often voluntarily give out new information and later give credit for that to the reader. However, if the response is negative, the reader will try to mitigate the statement and will then quickly move on to another statement. The statements are all pretty vague and the subject is expected to give them the correct meaning. The reader will often pose them as questions and change them into firm statements later, after the positive response from the subject.
An example of shotgunning would be:
“I sense a woman in your family with some sort of cancer. Could be your aunt or something like that. Yes? I am pretty certain it is your aunt and she had cancer. She is no longer with us, is she? Oh, she is? I just sense her somehow distant. Oh, she has moved away recently? Then that must be it. I just feel a lot of distance between you and her …”
The Second technique a cold reader will use is known as Barnum Statements.
Barnum statements are statements which are true for most people, but still sound very personal and seem to reveal a lot about a person. Each subject connects Barnum statements with his or her life and experiences, making them seem more revealing than they really are.
Here are a few examples of Barnum statements:
“You are sometimes insecure, especially with people you don’t really know well.«
»You have a lot of old unsorted photographs at home.«
»When you were young, you had some sort of an accident involving water.«
»You’re experiencing some tension with a friend or a relative at the moment.«
“Your father died because of problems in his chest or abdomen.” (only for older people)
Most people can relate to these kind of statements and take them as a deep insight into their life and personality. What they don’t understand, however, is that most of these statements are true for most of the people. Even if the subject cannot relate to a certain Barnum statement, the cold reader will find an excuse or a way out. If the subject cannot, for instance, remember any childhood accident involving water, the reader can simply blame it on the subjects forgetfulness.
The third technique a cold reader will use is called the Rainbow Ruse.
The rainbow ruse is a statement which simply can’t be wrong, but still sounds like a very convincing description of the subject’s personality. The reader simultaneously attributes two opposite personality traits to the subject, leaving him or her unable to deny the statement. Therefore, the rainbow ruse is one of the safest cold reading techniques (which does not mean it isn’t very effective).
Here are some examples of the rainbow ruse:
“Most of the time you are positive and cheerful, but there has been a time in the past when you were very upset.”
“You are a very kind and considerate person, but when somebody does something to break your trust, you feel deep-seated anger.”
“I would say that you are mostly shy and quiet, but when the mood strikes you, you can easily become the center of attention.”
Since we all like to hear nice things about ourselves, the rainbow ruse should concentrate on the positive personality trait, while briefly mentioning its opposite. Most subjects will wholeheartedly agree with such statements, without realizing how meaningless they really are.
Then there are the statements made on photos that you simply cannot confirm or deny like for instance if say a subject was too put up a picture saying do you sense anything here it is very easy for anyone to make something up like for example:
“I sense a child spirit around you right now he has blonde hair and blue eyes can be very mischievous I hear him laughing right now seems like a very cheeky laugh to me.”
If you have not got any background information on the building/property and it’s history etc or if that description doesn’t match any passed members of your family you still cannot deny the statement even though you cannot confirm it. This is often what cold readers will also use. This is why it is always important to get a bit of research done on the property/area a picture has been taken for example find out if any deaths occurred in that area, or any tragedies like a fire have occurred never leave yourself vulnerable to cold readings.
In conclusion a real psychic reading will pin point actual accurate information that is specific to the subject without needing the subject to feed them any information until after the reading is finished, where as a fake psychic reading is very vague and general and often focuses on statements that you simply can’t confirm or deny and waits on feedback from you to give answers that they can then move the reading on from.