r/todayilearned Jun 28 '22 Helpful (Pro) 1 Helpful 1

TIL about cold reading, a technique used by mediums and psychics in which the reader, through strategic questioning, gets the subject to reveal information, and through clever psychology convinces them the information actually came from the reader rather than themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading
3.0k Upvotes

645

u/lispychicken Jun 28 '22

"has anyone here lost someone recently, I am sensing a recent death..."

My grandmother recently passed, 3 months ago, she was 98

"I knew it, she's saying something about food?"

she loved to eat!!!

"there it is people...a voice from the other side"

"who recently got a job or a promotion.. I feel like this is something here, with us now"

my son got a job at Subway?

"that's it!!! your son, and I'm sensing that you've known him his whole life?"

322

u/fish-fingered Jun 28 '22

And your mother, what was her maiden name?

I also sense your first pet, tell me it’s name and your birthday. And which bank you are with.

47

u/PedroAlvarez Jun 28 '22

Hunter2

51

u/NETSPLlT Jun 28 '22

LOL why would they say *******?

27

u/EwwThatsHot Jun 28 '22

It's pretty clever that google chrome automatically censors your password when you type it. Dogdicksinmyanus17

15

u/Reddit_means_Porn Jun 28 '22

Hahah this shit again? You can easily type out your password, it can’t do that

************ there you go

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u/MicrobialCrafter Jun 28 '22

"that's it!!! your son, and I'm sensing that you've known him his whole life?"

"Actually i just reconnected with him last month. FRAUD!"

34

u/captainporcupine3 Jun 28 '22

Oh I'm sorry... I meant that you've know OF him your whole life? And if you are the father and did not know of him, then I meant that your heart sensed him, secretly knew he was out there and longed for him, deep down.

10

u/MicrobialCrafter Jun 29 '22

Hmm, you're good at this... too good.

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u/LynxJesus Jun 28 '22

"that's it!!! your son, and I'm sensing that you've known him his whole life?"

"Ever since he was born at a very young age"

13

u/deoje299 Jun 29 '22

Alex

Former child

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275

u/MedicalJargon-itis Jun 28 '22

"I'm sensing there's been a loss recently."

"Yes, my grandmother just died at age 96."

"I'm sensing she died of natural causes."

"She was flattened by a steam roller."

"...so naturally she'd be dead."

(credit to Brian Regan)

8

u/ReluctantPirate Jun 28 '22

Steven Wright was my thought when naturally dying was mentioned!

https://youtu.be/9Mz3EWJGGH0

5

u/denny31415926 Jun 29 '22

Road roller da

17

u/Koolmidx Jun 28 '22

K - A - T I'm outta here! (I know it's two Ts)

135

u/OtherKrab Jun 28 '22

Con artists. I remember my dad being obsessed with John Edwards. Fuck that cunt.

79

u/Mo-Cance Jun 28 '22

Biggest douche in the universe.

John Edwards, not your dad.

Although I don't know your dad, so...nah, still Edwards.

23

u/OtherKrab Jun 28 '22

My Dad had just lost his mum so I can imagine that "crossing over" probably gave him some sort of comfort. I called it bullshit from the get go but didn't know about cold reading til south park.

9

u/soFATZfilm9000 Jun 29 '22

This is mostly why this shit is so evil.

There are "magicians" and "illusionists". But for most of them (at least, the ethical ones) it's all in fun. Everyone knows it's a trick and the fun is in seeing them pull it off.

Meanwhile, at least as far as I can tell, that doesn't seem to be as often the case for cold reading "psychics". I suspect that's partly because a leading line of questioning doesn't have the same "wow factor" as visual tricks. Since you can't profit off of it as a fun trick, the only way to profit off of it is by scamming people. And this is where it gets really evil, because it so often relies on taking advantage of peoples' real pain. Why the questioning so often focuses on people who are grieving or desperate.

10

u/dcoopz010 Jun 29 '22

It's an mmmmm.....

It's an errrrre.....

It's an shhhhhh....

It's a kuh...

Kenny!

Kenny says hi.

2

u/crella-ann Jun 29 '22

Yes, why are the dead suddenly unable to enunciate?

20

u/jerekdeter626 Jun 28 '22

The end credits of that south park episode featured a zoomed in photo of John Edwards looking dumb while the song about him being the biggest douche in the universe played. Has me in tears every time

2

u/FecusTPeekusberg Jun 30 '22

"HERE HE IS, THE BIGGEST DOUCHE IN THE UUUUUNIVERRRRRRSE..."

I'm not a douche!

24

u/NoHelp_HelpDesk Jun 28 '22

I watched an episode of John Edwards years back where he couldn't get anyone in the audience to bite and he kept insisting on it. He kept saying the ghost or whatever was in the back. The staff went behind the studio and grabbed the security guard who said he had lost a family member a while back. I'll always remember that episode because every bullshit flag in my went off.

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281

u/revtim Jun 28 '22

One of my favorite South Park episodes demonstrates it very well

147

u/BushWookie-Alpha Jun 28 '22

"I keep telling you I am not Psychic" -Stan

111

u/Mo-Cance Jun 28 '22

Stan, with his head down, pinching the bridge of his nose, the exasperated tone of his voice. It's fucking perfect.

14

u/BushWookie-Alpha Jun 28 '22

I loved that episode.

40

u/Kolja420 Jun 28 '22

"Ok, let's back up. Not litteraly."

-4

u/[deleted] Jun 28 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

21

u/LevelSevenLaserLotus Jun 28 '22

I know, you know, I'm not telling the truth

13

u/bigorosco Jun 28 '22

I know, you know, they just don't have any proof.

5

u/wstly Jun 28 '22

You heard about Pluto?

7

u/pervy_roomba Jun 28 '22

That’s messed up.

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5

u/Aventuristo Jun 29 '22

Embrace the deception, learn how to bend

7

u/passinghere Jun 28 '22

Someone is copying some else's posts word for word including the emoji

https://old.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/vmryj0/til_about_cold_reading_a_technique_used_by/ie3mfwu/

2

u/arkangelic Jun 29 '22

Probably a karma bot account. Report it.

35

u/D00zer Jun 28 '22

Here he is, the Biggest Douche of the Universe! In all the galaxies, there's no bigger douche than you!

You've reached the top, the pinnacle of douchedom! Good going, douche. Your dreams have come true!

11

u/Footboi Jun 28 '22

Yep ... the world really needs more south park 😅

17

u/sumelar Jun 28 '22

More of the world needs to watch south park, but I don't think we really need any more of it.

9

u/Sloth-TheSlothful Jun 28 '22

We dont need South Park, but I certainly want more

2

u/CovidPangolin Jun 29 '22

We always need more south park screw you kyell

2

u/a_Ninja_b0y Jun 28 '22

Give me the sauce

12

u/Tanaka-san Jun 28 '22

It's from the episode Biggest Douche In The Universe.

This is the only clip I could find but it's a potato quality

10

u/wfwood Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

the episode is actually pretty hard to find. they depict Muhammad in it, and while they didnt get any backlash at the time, it has since been removed from streaming platforms. ...however

https://www.wcostream.com/south-park-season-6-episode-15-the-biggest-douche-in-the-universe

edit: excuse me I was mixing up episodes. The episode about david blane was the one that was pulled. They both involve characters being devoted fans of a tv magician/psychic, but the one with david blane was pulled.

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-3

u/PeasantChic Jun 28 '22

it probly helps that so many people are just dumb as fukc

1

u/Thewrongguy0101 Jun 28 '22

What ep. is this?

7

u/revtim Jun 28 '22

The Biggest Douche in the Universe

15th episode of the sixth season

2

u/Thewrongguy0101 Jun 28 '22

Thanks friend.

I binge every season probably about every 3 month lol. Dunno how I can't recall this.

2

u/TomatoFettuccini Jun 29 '22

There are 22 seasons. You can be forgiven for not remembering every single second.

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2

u/xsplizzle Jul 08 '22

its the rob schnieder is a stapler! rated pg-13 episode, also chefs parents are in it

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180

u/DarthDregan Jun 28 '22

I always find it fun picturing a ghost making its way into a TV studio, determined to deliver a message to their broken and depressed son. They fight through. They get in there. The cameras roll... this is the moment... this is when the message can be delivered. So it goes to the psychic and says what it's been wanting to say since death all those years ago..

"My name starts with a shuh sound... like a shuh or a shahh!"

82

u/egnards Jun 28 '22

Everyone knows that the dead can communicate with the living, but they can't say their names, it's like you've never even seen Beetlejuice.

8

u/VoiceOfRonHoward Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

This thing reads like stereo instructions.

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3

u/WeveCameToReign Jun 28 '22

Wait is that a paranormal rule?

1

u/CutterJohn Jun 29 '22

Day oh! Daaaaaaaay oh!

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u/rileyvace Jun 28 '22

I'm now imaging a short film about a ghost that gets to the medium show and is excited to let their loved ones know they love them and they're OK and the medium just starts bullshitting the audience as they do and is furious.

14

u/szasy Jun 29 '22

Hilary Mantel wrote an excellent novel about a real medium, who has to lie to her clients about the afterlife because the dead are actually really horrible.

Title is Beyond Black.

3

u/witchyanne Jun 29 '22

And I mean why would anyone who’s passed on still wanna deal with our bullshit? They have better things to do (in theory). Their time has passed. Like leave Aunt Myrtle ALONE!

3

u/rileyvace Jun 29 '22

Oh nice, sounds great. I'll add to my reading list!

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20

u/Farwalker08 Jun 28 '22

I used to be really good at this in my teens and early 20 but more in the "I can read your mind" kind of way. One of my tricks would be to bet people I could win a game of clue before anyone even rolled the dice, after everyone looked at their cards I'd tell them to visualize any weapons they had, then while their eyes were closed I'd start the cold read. It never failed and I'd be willing to bet at least one person still thinks I can mind read.

3

u/timthebombdizzle Jun 29 '22

How did you do the cold read to be able to guess the right answer?

19

u/Farwalker08 Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

You start by saying something like "it...isn't the lead pipe cause one of you has that...is...is it the rope....no" then watch their faces, since their eyes are closed none notice you reading their faces, if someone is holding the pipe then they will likely react, then list any weapons you are holding if you have 2 or more, repeat this till no one reacts to what you say cause no one is holding the card. But what if someone is a "hard read" you ask, well you have two choices depending on how "invested" everyone is in this farce:

1) call that person out to the group as having a strong mind or chaotic mind, which ever will play better, let everyone open their eyes. Now focus on the hard read and tell them to look really hard at their cards then close their eyes and "open their mind" or "focus on your thoughts" then tell them not to worry about everyone else. You tell them the last part because it will at least subconsciously make them uncomfortable to be the center of attention with their eyes closed. Now they'll probably give off tells and no one else will notice cause they've invested in this trick by now plus you proved you aren't perfect (if you wanted to show off your powers why would you admit to having trouble reading someone)

2) you flat out guess once you have all the info you can get

There is a bit more to it all but that is the basics

*Edit spelling

121

u/marmorset Jun 28 '22

When I was eighteen my friends decided to see a psychic and I went along. One friend was really impressed, he thought she had powers. She told me that I liked a girl who had an R, S, T, L, or N in her name, the most common consonants in English. She also foresaw I'd be going on a trip in the next few months. It was June, I had just graduated.

I don't have any other experiences with psychics, but she was really bad. I don't recall how much I paid, not too much, but even though I was willing to spend a little on the experience, I still felt ripped off.

85

u/TossNWashMeClean Jun 28 '22

Was your psychic by chance named Pat Sajak?

45

u/marmorset Jun 28 '22

The Amazing Madame Vanna.

P.S. I read somewhere, I think from Pat Sajak himself, that they don't allow the people who do best in the auditions to come on the show. The try to find guests that represent the average viewer, but what ends up happening is that most people get nervous and do worse when they're actually filming.

31

u/sumelar Jun 28 '22

Is R.L. Stine a girl?

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u/marmorset Jun 28 '22

I always thought it R.L. Stine was a fake name and a variety of people wrote those books, but it turns out he's Robert Lawrence Stine. While not a girl himself, he's been married to a girl for 51 years, and she has the letters L, N, R in her name.

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u/trwwy321 Jun 28 '22

Medium: “Hmmm looks here like you were born into a family…”

Client: “Yes! How did you know?! My dad was a mechanic and my mother was a homemaker. I have three siblings, 2 older brothers and one younger sister. I’m so lost in my life, what else can you see?!”

Medium: “I see that you’re very confused with the direction of either your relationship or career…”

Client: “oh my god, yes!!!!”

20

u/GDACK Jun 28 '22

A friend had been seeing a “psychic” for a few months when she asked me to go with her, because she was convinced that this psychic was the “real deal”

Eventually she persuaded me to go so off we trotted to see her.

When we got there, I “let” the psychic “draw” information out of me…just the wrong information. Like that I have 6 sisters (I don’t have any family), that I’m a postman (I’m a rescuer, first responder and I own a software consultancy) and that my boyfriend died in a car accident (I’m straight and my late female partner died by suicide / schizophrenia).

Once she’d “wrestled” the wrong information out of me, she elaborated on it, filling in details of a life that was very far removed from mine. Not only did she not get one thing right (which you would expect her to do by accident, by the law of averages), she slipped up and got confused about aspects of my friends life, the person she’d been fleecing & giving false hope to for months.

Some pretend psychics are clever at least….but this one wasn’t.

2

u/XChronic Jun 29 '22

Did your friend stop seeing them after that?

4

u/GDACK Jun 29 '22

Yes she did. She was annoyed at me at first, but eventually she understood that what I did was from a compassionate place. I don’t know whether psychics are real or not, I just knew that this particular one was a complete bullshitter.

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u/LuinAelin Jun 28 '22

As a parlor trick it's cool.

But many take advantage of desperate people who want that last message from a loved one. That makes me angry unless they just say something like move on and be happy.

There's a cool episode of Being Human (original UK version) with a medium. Basically whenever a medium comes to town, all the local ghosts show up. In case they could be real. Because the mediums could help them go on to the next world.

22

u/Mddcat04 Jun 28 '22

This is the difference between claiming to be a "mentalist" versus a "psychic." Mentalists are basically magicians who do the exact same thing but as a performance. And no responsible magician will tell you that their tricks are actually supernatural.

2

u/WhittlingDan Jun 30 '22

Mentalist? New term that I appreciate. I used to do this years ago as a young adult but didn't know the name. I did bar tricks and readings usually for beer. I was pretty good and convinced a couple people to stop going to these people.

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u/wishIwere Jun 28 '22

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u/revtim Jun 28 '22

That was very interesting, especially the part about the con artists starting to believe in the bs themselves

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u/DistortoiseLP Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

That's probably necessary and inevitable emotional survival for most people to live with themselves as they learn it works and this will be their identity, life and legacy if they commit to it.

I'm in my mid 30's now, and every grifter I watched grow up personally (which is frankly more people than not I remember from school) got their start "faking it until they'd make it" and sincerely believed they were better people than that that was only going to grift a little bit to get by until they found a more respectable avenue for success that never happened. It's like the equivalent of a lifer at a starter job but for somebody that couldn't even do that job.

7

u/Astrium6 Jun 28 '22

You can see this happening in real time with various people involved in politics and government.

5

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

Dereck Accorra?

4

u/revtim Jun 28 '22

Did he admit he was a scammer and then started to actually believe his own BS?

5

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

He was caught being a liar on a Debunking TV show.

But he is dead now, no one seems to be channelling Derreck...but only been a few years

3

u/Mymom429 Jun 28 '22

If anyone watched this and found it strangely compelling, for the love of god go watch F for Fake! It’s a ~90 documentary (actually more like a proto video essay) all about fakery and charlatanism and it’s delightful.

Edit: whoops neglected to mention that it’s directed and narrated by Welles lol

11

u/deird Jun 29 '22

My aunt told me that a man looked into her eyes and “Just from looking at me, he could tell I’d had issues with my uterus at some point!”

…you’re a woman in your 60s. No duh.

90

u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

All mediums and psychics are scams and this is just one of the ways they fool you.

67

u/Gemmabeta Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

Dara O'Briain had a pretty funny routine about watching a psychic doing a show in Ireland and his first question was to ask if anyone in the audience had a mother named "Mary."

43

u/UCLYayy Jun 28 '22

If you watch the John Oliver episode on psychics, one of them does a show in Boston and asks the question: "Anyone have a family member with an "O" in their name? O'brien, O'flanigan, O'Flynn, something?"

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u/Gemmabeta Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

"Any of ye mams bomb a series of Unionist pubs in Belfast somewhere between the summer of 1971 and 1972?"

9

u/UCLYayy Jun 28 '22

He might as well have said "Does anyone have a family member who liked Guinness and/or whiskey?"

6

u/MatterShim Jun 28 '22

This ghost is being tricky. Only giving me the first letter!

10

u/xavPa Jun 28 '22

I once saw a psychic reading where the psychic tried that on a middle aged white woman wearing a cross with Jesus on her neck. I would’ve laughed so hard if I were there lol

20

u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

Worse than that, if you see the raw video of cold reads, or go to one knowing the tricks, they fail about 80% of the show, but it’s the smaller portion people remember.

1

u/Blythyvxr Jun 28 '22

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg5lLt6lOJU

It's a bad recording, but here's the routine. (missing the Mary joke tho)

23

u/meexley2 Jun 28 '22

A friend’s girlfriend does this for money. But I am sure she has convinced herself she’s psychic. It’s so hard to not get mad when she talks about it

17

u/Greene_Mr Jun 28 '22

She turns illusions for money?

16

u/LevelSevenLaserLotus Jun 28 '22

Not illusions, Michael, tricks. An illusion is something a magician does for money.

10

u/fish-fingered Jun 28 '22

OnlyPsychics

9

u/Six_Strings_of_Salem Jun 28 '22

If you think about it, mediums are just proto-influencers. Both use illusions to sell the gullible.

14

u/manicMechanic1 Jun 28 '22

The article talks about people who become very skilled at cold reading and do it subconsciously after a while. When they’ve been doing it long enough, they can begin to believe they actually have powers.

6

u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

Likely has. I don’t tolerate it. If you want to do it as part of a show (like a magic show where the performer admits it’s tricks and illusions) I love it. Huge fan. If you are using it to con people out of money, giving them false hope of talking to loved ones, and using their loss as your gain, I will call you out immediately and will not stop. That’s too scummy.

6

u/girraween Jun 28 '22

Mate, my Aunty fell hard for this bullshit. Growing up, she was my absolute favourite adult apart from my parents.

Then her amazing husband died from cancer and instead of mourning properly, letting him go, she saw psychics. She’d try and convince me to go to see them, once even to see that shithead John Edwards.

I once showed her that cold reading video with Derren Brown (https://youtu.be/I6uj1ruTmGQ )and she couldn’t argue against it. Still, she kept on.

Long story short, she turned into this massive cunt who couldn’t let go of her dead husband and eventually broke our family up with her cuntiness.

Our once amazing family is now broken up because of her anger and hostility all stemming from the fact that she didn’t get the proper help she needed when her husband passed.

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u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

This happens much too often, sorry you had to go through it. Randi was notorious for exposing these people, specially John Edwards.

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u/robdiqulous Jun 28 '22

OK, but I saw this one guy and girl in Vegas recently. The America's got talent show. They seemed to be asking random people things and this girl was literally just telling these people things and they were like yup that is me or happened recently. Even got a girls birthday right without asking questions. So unless they have plants in the crowd or mics situated around, I dunno how they did that one. And even if there were mics, is impressive to get it right lol I dunno. I still don't know how she did that one. I know it's a trick but... How?

14

u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

I saw a guy float a tiger across the audience in Vegas. Basically it’s the same thing. It looks really cool, but it’s actually just a (relatively) simple trick you can learn in your spare time. Plenty of books teaching you how.

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u/robdiqulous Jun 28 '22

Yeah I mean I know it's a trick obviously. I just don't know how they did this specific one. It was really impressive. Like threw a ball into the crowd backwards to find a person. Then told them 5 things about themselves or whatever. Then had them throw the ball and kept doing it. Plus she wasn't even looking at the crowd. She was blindfolded. Lol it was so wild. I know it has to be some crazy trick but I got no idea

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u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

If you are interested, Penn and Teller hate psychics that pretend to be real so they reveal a lot of the how to stuff. That’s a fun place to start because they are entertaining.

There are tons of books on cold reading too. I don’t have a recommendation but search mentalist and cold reading and you’ll find it eventually.

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u/Alkalinum Jun 28 '22

To add to the other persons post about Penn and Teller, they gave a tip in one of their shows once - The more the magician claims his volunteer is not a plant, the more likely it is that they are a plant. In fact there can be a few dozen plants in the audience ready to grab that ball as it's passed along, and the magician won't stop it until he sees it reach one of the plants. They don't even have to pre-arrange answers, just have the plant agree with whatever tripe the girl says, "Yes my birthday IS the 31st February! How did you know!"

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u/RandoCalrissian11 Jun 28 '22

https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/mentalism/articles/how-does-cold-reading-work/

You can start here. Forgot to mention James Randi too. One of the most well known for exposing fake psychics.

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u/lambsoflettuce Jun 28 '22

James Randi.....legend!

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u/greenknight884 Jun 28 '22

What would a warm reading look like?

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u/Wessssss21 Jun 28 '22

They've already done research on you. Some have even hired private eyes.

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u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

If you haven’t watched a TBS show called ‘Psych’ with James Roday and Dule Hill. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. Its loosely based on this concept and sudo observation.

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u/orangamma Jun 28 '22

Psych was on USA!

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u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

Oh man you are right! USA network! Fun show!

10

u/Tellyourmomisaidthx Jun 28 '22

Of course it was USA!

Lol they finally had a successful show that people would watch and they didn't want it to end....so they literally changed 5% and repurposed it.

The lovable, critically acclaimed Monk transitioned into the slightly different Psych!

5

u/Pinkaroundme Jun 29 '22

In the same universe as well :) they mention a San Francisco detective organizing some cereal boxes in the last episode

13

u/DustyRhodesSplotch Jun 28 '22

You know that's right!

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u/TossNWashMeClean Jun 28 '22

It's on Bezos prime now! Used to love Monk and watched every episode now I'm going back in time to Psych

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u/mjh215 Jun 28 '22

"sudo observation", is that an elevated form of monitoring process threads?

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u/aussiezulu Jun 28 '22

“Observe”

    “No!”

“sudo Observe”

    “Okay”

13

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

It was pineapple day, yesterday and you post this today....you must be PSYCHic...

5

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

Oh man once I learned about the pineapple it was always so much fun trying to look for them

3

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

Now we can wander off topic, There is at least one in every episode.

Checked out the three movies?

2

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

I’ve only seen the one of the movies . But I saw the whole show more than once. Psych and “my name is earl” are some of my favorite shows from that era It was great TV.

1

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

My name is earl is fucking brilliant, as a UK person. Hate the fact it just stopped.

You know about the Psych 100 clues episode multiple endings?

1

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

I don’t! Fill me in please !

2

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

100 clues was like the clue movie. Clue movie had multiple endings and depending on which ending the cinema had was the one you saw apart from the released film which had all the endings.

100 clues had multiple endings filmed, 5 allegedly. You could vote on which ending to watch when the show was aired and west and east coast had different endings. Different tv services had different endings allegedly. So there are two different endings. There is a third on the Psych DVD.

Don't want to tell you the endings till you have seen them so I don't spoil the surprise.

Have joined the psych reddit group? Nice bunch of fans.

3

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

Awesome. I got the dvds from a used media store, but believe it or not I have the show downloaded on a NAS from torrents years ago before I got the DVDs. Wonder if those are different? Now I gotta rewatch! Good heads up, Ill check out that thread asap!

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u/PMzyox Jun 28 '22

So we’re the shows “Lie to Me” and “The Mentalist”

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u/daniu Jun 28 '22

Did you hear about Pluto?

4

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

Hahahaha “it’s messed up hu!”

2

u/Ancguy Jun 28 '22

pseudo

2

u/ciscoaz602 Jun 28 '22

I see my mistake. I am a horrible person.

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u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

For the UK:

Look up Derren Browns book - Tricks of the mind, has chapters on all the mentalist/entertainer/showman tricks. First chapter is how to improve memory and learn to recite the order of a shuffled pack of cards.

His TV shows are still on allfour I believe and he did a debunking one on these people as well as many other charlatans.

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u/shivermetimbers68 Jun 28 '22

Many years ago when I lived in Venice Beach I was told the old lady will give me a free reading if I help her unload all her crap and drag it to the boardwalk for her.

It was on a Tuesday, I had really long hair and I was helping her to get a free reading.

She told me that I was a musician who hadn't reached his full potential, and that I was frustrated because I hadn't gotten the success I was hoping for.

Gee, how did she do it?

lmao

10

u/[deleted] Jun 28 '22

Why would they even tell you something you already know about yourself. If they could tell you exactly what's going to happen to you next week and it's out of the ordinary, that would be more impressive. Or tell you that have an uncle named John, and then it turns out that you do but you didn't know that when she was speaking.

7

u/megapuffranger Jun 28 '22

The trick is to answer affirmative to everything they ask until they say something very personal and can’t be taken back or excused away, then tell them that nothin they’ve said is true.

8

u/Transpatials Jun 28 '22

Used by scam artists*

FTFY

32

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22 edited Jun 28 '22

More for the US people -

I am a medium.......I am getting a message from the other side...it is The Great Randi....and is screaming from the other side saying I have been telling you for years and why did you not listen when I was alive!!!!!!!!

The Great Randi offered a million dolllar prize, when a million dollars was alot of money, is anyone proved a mediums/psychics. Guess what...no one claimed.

EDIT Sorry it is the Amazing Randi, also look at the post below with links to The Amazing Randi work.

17

u/lispychicken Jun 28 '22

Go on down the rabbit hole that is the Amazing Randi

start here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bjzkYel6DY

keep clicking videos, reading, watch this..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLanxWMwxE8

and when you get to Penn and Teller's Fool Us, with Shin Lim, you're about halfway done with Randi's awesome work.

6

u/DalekPredator Jun 28 '22

I'm not a douche!

6

u/FlashpointJ24 Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

My wife, who is a very intelligent woman, completely buys into the whole medium thing. I'm a very skeptical person, and have tried to explain cold reading several times to her, but she insists that it's real. In the end, I realized that it gives her great comfort to think that her deceased loved ones are "coming through," so now I just listen when she tells me what she heard from the medium. (She and a few other members of her family visit one about once a year.)

Once you learn to spot cold reading, it becomes incredibly obvious. I once heard a medium say about the "spirit" she was communicating with, that she could tell that they died because of "something wrong either in the head or the torso, some sort of a disease or injury in one of those areas." No shit, you mean the 60% of the human body that contains all of the vital organs? What are the odds?? Here's a good Family Guy take on cold reading.

However, cold reading can also go very awry if you're too confident. I once saw Sylvia Browne on The Montel Williams Show, when a woman was telling about how her deceased boyfriend's body was never recovered. Browne interrupted her and confidently explained to her that she could see he had drowned, and bodies on water are often never found. The poor woman then explained that his body had never been recovered because he had been a New York firefighter on September 11 and had been killed when the towers collapsed. But Browne was already in too deep and doubled down. She tried to insist that maybe he had become buried in the rubble, and drowned from all the water being sprayed on the wreckage to fight the fires. The woman sat back down with a pretty disgusted look on her face, while Browne and Williams lamely tried to change the subject, saying that "it doesn't matter how he died, what matters is that he made it to the other side." It was painful to watch. You can see for yourself, starting at 1:50 in this video.

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u/SqueakSquawk4 Jun 28 '22

And then there is hot reading AKA googling your client in advance.

2

u/alphamone Jun 29 '22

Some of them get away with literally asking for personal information as part of booking a ticket.

5

u/GloomyCR Jun 29 '22

When I was in college, my mother's friend became a widow and wanted to see a psychic. I started explaining how cold readings worked and did a bit on the spot to show the woman it was fake.

I was breaking character after each of her responses to explain what information she gave me and why I followed up with the next question, pointing out when I need to asked 3 question to hit a jackpot.

Somehow she came away from that experience convinced I was psychic and would ask me how her late husband I never met wants to parent her 12 year old daughter...

2

u/dzzi Jun 29 '22

I'm sensing... that she may not be the brightest bulb.

3

u/Mobely Jun 28 '22

Nightmare Alley was a watchable movie revolving around this.

3

u/VerreuilVictoire Jun 28 '22

Psychics and fortune tellers are fascinating just because of their ability to understand and manipulate human credulity like this. It's so easy to lead people who want to be led.

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u/lambsoflettuce Jun 28 '22

...every tv psychic.....those shows are strategically edited to make them more convincing....it's all bs.

3

u/speedyrev Jun 29 '22

Move from general to specific. Know your audience and play the odds. Before you pick a specific person, you should look for a connection of belief. Watch body language, sometimes you can save a statement or direction gone wrong by knowing how to read people. If they start talking, listen and let them talk. If you picked the right mark, they will help you because they want to believe.

I worked as a magician in HS and college.

3

u/GlitterGothBunny Jun 29 '22

My mom used to do tarot card readings for free and if she couldn't tell someone what their question was in 3 guesses she wouldn't do the reading.

If I ever go to a medium or tarot reader Im not telling them anything. If you really have magic you wont need all my info.

3

u/Lingering_Dorkness Jun 29 '22

Mentalist Derren Brown did a great show called Messiah where he went around pretending he was psychic. He did cold reading, remote viewing, faith healing, conversions etc. Well worth checking out to see how these charlatans work.

https://youtu.be/9PxHe01mNDQ

https://youtu.be/AkDPdBd6PlE

3

u/S-Vagus Jun 29 '22 edited Jun 29 '22

Tricking people into talking about themselves and their problems is also known as self-recursive psychology, which is superior to reverse psychology.

3

u/potato_owl Jun 29 '22

I saw one on late night TV once, the guy found an older man with a recently deceased wife.

He was going through the usual routine, and then said "And she was always worried about Money, wasn't she? Financial issues".

Older man just looked confused, "No, no, she never worried about money".

"Think again, do you ever remember her worrying about bills?"

"No, we were comfortable"

"Okay, I think you're misremembering. She was probably worried and never told you".

Then he just moved onto someone else. I thought,what the hell, telling this guy he didn't know his wife.

6

u/Yourbubblestink Jun 28 '22

John Edward is a big bullshitter that got started in the 90s and is still spinning the same act

2

u/johnnyquest2323 Jun 28 '22

Can we use this technique to convince a billionaire to find a cure for genital herpes? Someone write up a script for me

2

u/Blueberry_Mancakes Jun 28 '22

My mom used to love watching that show with John Edward and I had already been familiarized with cold-reading from watching videos by James Randi. I tried and tried to convince her it was just mental slight-of-hand and that he was conning people, but she wouldn't hear of it.

2

u/rejectallgoats Jun 28 '22

I played a hoax/real medium in D&D. It is real fun when you can do this and the DM can just make the guesses true. Or I could just use magic to make it true.

2

u/Randyboob Jun 29 '22

It was also part of the whole The Game pick-up artist thing. Or so I've heard.

2

u/DisconnectedThoughts Jun 29 '22

One of my favorite tricks to use on people that wont shut the fuck up.

2

u/kremit73 Jun 29 '22

Then theres hot reading. Having the info and having your stage hand read it to you or have memorized that night targets info.

2

u/MrMitchWeaver Jun 29 '22

So, today you learned about mediums?

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u/drunken_chinchilla Jun 29 '22

That's also how good salespeople work.

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u/CarlJustCarl Jun 29 '22

Once the median say a connection is made, these rubes need to ask for proof - what was the name of the park where you meet Grandma? What was the name of the ship your nephew served on, you always wore a hat with the name of it.

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u/gamerguy287 Jun 28 '22

Basically Madlibs!

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u/Brilliant_Jewel1924 Jun 29 '22

TL;DR TIL about scammers.

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u/FlashpointJ24 Jun 29 '22

"I'm sensing an 'A'. Does your name begin with an 'A'?"

"No."

"A 'B'?"

"No."

"C? D? E? F? G? H? I? J? K? L? M? N? O? P--"

"'P'! Peter! My name's Peter!"

"Is your name 'Peter'?"

"Wow! You are some kind of sorcerer!"

3

u/Nottakenorisiwtf Jun 29 '22

Mediums and psychics don't exist, only scam-artists.

2

u/NYVines Jun 29 '22

Isn’t this taught at every sales event?

2

u/akdhtuss Jun 29 '22

Barnum statements. Much like astrology uses.

1

u/raining_picnic Jun 29 '22

South Park covered this a long time ago

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u/ExcellentGarbage23 Jun 28 '22

If you trust a medium or a card reader you deserve to get ripped off

4

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

You are thinking about the three of clubs...or the queen of diamonds or yes I will eat cake.

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u/ExcellentGarbage23 Jun 28 '22

It's the ace of spades 🤟

1

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

Oh no I am now channel in Lemmy.....time to make hot pants and drink Jack and coke...so am channeling an Lemmy from at least a decade before his passing.

1

u/ExpressAnywhere Jun 28 '22

Have you heard the story that sometimes Lemmy sang 8 of spades instead of ace to amuse himself.

Probably urban myth.

0

u/ima-bigdeal Jun 29 '22

I went once, with my new wife. The medium said things that we didn’t even know yet. She said that we were getting a cat after our vacation, we said yes. Then she said we were not, we were getting two. Sure enough, the people down the street had two left. We took them both. She said that we would be getting a dog that some people call ugly. Sure enough, right after we got home we got a call from a good friend asking is we can take his daughters dog, a shepherd/collie cross he thinks is ugly. She wasn’t.

She said that my dad wad self conscious of his toes, he thought they were too long. When we got home, I called my mom (my dad has passed) about this and she said that she used to tease him about it. I didn’t’ even know about that.

She knew about my job, our two story home, how my wife and I almost met several times (she was correct), so much more.

We never answered a single question from her. I went in a sceptic and didn’t want to influence her at all. It was amazing. There are a LOT of fakes out there, but at least one real one.

We never went to another one.

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u/plytime18 Jul 02 '22 Narwhal Salute

I love how you share an experience and people downvote you for simply explaining what you experienced.

I get there are scammers but I also get there may very well be people with abilities I just don’t understand just like there is a universe I don’t fully understand.

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u/Yourbubblestink Jun 28 '22

John Edward is a big bullshitter that got started in the 90s and is still spinning the same act

1

u/JustinisaDick Jun 28 '22

Biggest douche in the universe.

0

u/plytime18 Jun 28 '22

There are def scammers out there who can do that, but I can tell you I was floored when I was just sitting there and this guy was doing a reading and he turned to my wife and I and asked us if we were looking for a home, buying a house.

We said, wow, yeah.

He said you will find it soon - a big house, its on a hill, not by the water, but has a view kind of. I see you signing stuff in March.

We had looked at alot of houses for a long time.

We soon found the one and we signed the contract in March.

Never met the guy, didnt engage in anything he was telling others — they were all amazed.

I was just standing there.

Go figure.

4

u/NWBoomer Jun 29 '22

That is a pretty reasonable guess that a couple would be looking to buy a house. But here's what people don't pick up on; how many of the supposed psychic's guesses are wrong and how forgettable the wrong guesses are. We remember the hits, we disregard and forget the misses. It's basic psychology, we don't remember non-events.

Retired psychology professor Ray Hyman PhD literally wrote the book on cold reading. I've taken his class on the subject, it's extremely easy to learn. - https://idoc.pub/documents/ray-hyman-guide-to-cold-reading-pqn82d0e58n1

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u/AWalker17 Jun 28 '22

Haven’t there been psychics who have led police to missing bodies? Someone should investigate that shit 🤨

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u/PrometheusOnLoud Jun 29 '22

All people do this.

1

u/Koolmidx Jun 28 '22

You understand?

1

u/Mister_Titty Jun 28 '22

There's been a few TV shows about this.