For the general entry on Parapsychology, click here
Psychics are people who claim to possess abilities that allow them to access the supernatural realm. These alleged abilities could include clairvoyance, aura reading, telepathy, astral projection and many others. Psychics can also use a variety of tools such as crystal balls and tarot cards to aid their readings.
Psychics are most commonly asked to tell of a person’s past and future, and predict worldwide events. Although in-person psychic readings are the most common, online and telephone consultations are also quite widespread.
There exists no proof for the existence of a supernatural realm, and thus a psychic’s predictions are taken fully on faith. Psychics have been shown to be inaccurate in their readings through various tests, and have even been debunked on live television.
James Randi examined the predictions of the famous Sylvia Browne on the topic of crime and murder investigations. Out of 115 predictions, 25 were wrong while the rest could not be verified due to lack of progress on the cases. Currently there is a $1,000,000 prize offered by James Randi to anyone who can prove their psychic abilities in a controlled setting.
So far no one has been able to claim the prize.
Faith in psychics remains widespread. People often abandon reason when faced with the possibility of knowing about their future. Psychics employ various techniques common to con artists, such as cold and hot readings.
A cold reading is performed through obtaining information about a person from various visual details, such as clothing, body language and ethnicity.
A hot reading can be done when the psychic has prior access to background information on their subject, which can then be used in the reading. Through these techniques, psychics can feign a connection with the subject and base their predictions on the information obtained. This method can be very effective and aid in convincing people of the psychic’s ability.
While cold and hot readings can be effective, they are certainly not examples of psychics communicating with the supernatural realm. Due to the lack of evidence for any of the powers that psychics declare to have, their claims can be dismissed as bogus.
Wikipedia Page on Psychics
“Debunking Seeing Without Sight” TIME Article by Leon Jaroff