About a year ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook asking if anyone could recommend a good homeopathic doctor as he’s having problems with his back. I suggested that a trip to his GP or a chiropractor was in order and would probably yield better results. I was told I needed to be more open minded.
Open-minded image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Another friend posted a picture saying there was an orb/spectre floating in the background. I pointed out that it could quite easily be a spec on the lens or a reflection from the flash…again I was told I needed to be more open minded.
There is a notion that is flung around that to question something supernatural is to be closed minded, and to be close minded is a negative aspect of being human. This is not true and it can have dangerous consequences.
If a pilot, who was coming in to land at Heathrow with 300 passengers onboard said to himself ‘Ok I know what to do, I’ve landed a thousand planes. But you know what, today I’m going to keep an open mind, try something new and see what happens’
I would describe myself as open minded. I’m more than happy to accept a new view or opinion.. so long as it’s based in fact and not superstition. I would also change my opinion on a subject if new evidence suggested so, although it would be a bitter pill to swallow. To me the true definition of being open minded is, willing to change your view despite what you believe.
I saw video a few days ago in which the stage & television medium/psychic Colin Fry gave a reading to a gentleman who had lost his son when he was just 3 months old (Please watch the video). I know the video is short, but there are a few classic signs of cold reading, and hot reading, that could explain how Mr Fry achieved his results. Fishing for answers, asking the gentleman to supply valuable information and simple deduction. Colin may possess supernatural powers and is able to communicate with the dead. However, I’m skeptical and unless he’s able to prove his abilities under test conditions then I will remain on this side of the fence.
If Mr Fry isn’t in possession of these magical abilities then what he has demonstrated in the above video is absolutely fucking disgraceful. If Colin Fry uses cold reading to achieve his results, then he’s systematically trampling over the beloved memories of the deceased, offering false hopes and exaggerated claims when people are at their most vulnerable and most desperate, all for profit, then he should be arrested for fraud. If Mr Fry truly believes that he has power to connect to people beyond the grave and hears voices in his head, then he could probably do with being in some kind of institution.
It was estimated at the turn of this century that the psychic industry was worth about $2 billion in the USA alone; and it’s growing. You require no formal training or qualifications to become medium/psychic and there is no governing body or guild, at least not in the sense of the GMC that doctors have. All you have to do is talk to people; and there will always be people who want a reading. While it’s not as lucrative as the oil industry it is older and it will be around for longer.
The James Randi foundation offers a $1 million prize to ANYONE who is able to demonstrate any psychic or paranormal ability under test conditions. Although thousands
en:Image:RANDI.jpg (Original text : James Randi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
of people have attempted the challenge, to date the prize is yet to be claimed and has been on offer since 1964.
I have had people say to me that there are some people who go for readings, and that they take great comfort in hearing messages that their loved ones, who have passed on, are ‘in a better place’ or ‘happy and at peace’. So if it makes them happy, what’s the harm? To that I will say that a friend that offers false hopes and false promises is no friend at all. Especially if they are charging $700 for a psychic reading over the phone. At it’s most harmless it is just a bit fun, maybe after a few drinks down the pub or at a party. But when people make life changing decisions or squander the entire family fortune on trying to reach lost ones then it becomes deadly and it needs to stop. Or at the very least regulated by an independent body.
I don’t believe in psychics, reiki, ghosts, homeopathy or voodoo. Why? because I see no reason why I should. To date, there is not a single shred of evidence that supports any of the above claims, at least nothing that can’t be attributed to cold reading or the placebo effect. So until there is, I will always question something that has no basis in truth or fact. I will try and keep an informed mind and not so open that my brain falls out.
Derren Brown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This year I was lucky enough to part of the Derren Brown live show. I was picked at random from the audience and was asked to think of ANY word, write it down and seal it in an envelope. Derren then removed his envelope from under his jacket to reveal that we both had the same word written down. If you’re interested the word was CORNFORD. A model of guitar amplifier that I use. I have NO idea how he did it and I was 100% certain that he wouldn’t guess the word. The level of connection I felt with Derren at that time was overwhelming, I wanted burst. Derren makes no bones about how he achieves his results and there is nothing supernatural about it. I can understand how people are taken in by it all…It’s very powerful and has nothing to do with how intelligent or gullible a person is.
If you are someone who believes in such things then I would urge you to do some research into cold reading, if only to strengthen your belief in the supernatural. It’s certainly not my aim to convince you that there is no such thing as psychics, I’ll let you be the judge.
I would also like to add that there might very well be real psychics out there. But if there are, why has the $1 million prize reward not been claimed….for nearly half a fucking century?
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”
There was an excellent blog about conformation bias written by a friend of mine which ties in nicely, totally coincidental I must say, which you can find here
And if you are interested in further reading on cold reading and the occult I would suggest:
The full facts of cold ready by Ian Rowland
Trick of the mind by Derren Brown
Confessions of a medium by Anonymous