Elements about character

This first group of elements are chiefly concerned with the client's personality and character.

1. The Rainbow Ruse

The Rainbow Ruse is a statement which credits the client with both a personality trait and its opposite. Here is an example:

"You can be a very considerate person, very quick to provide for others, but there are times, if you are honest, when you recognise a selfish streak in yourself."

In this case, the client is being told that she is both selfless and selfish. There are countless variations along these lines - being both introvert and extrovert, shy and confident, responsible and irresponsible. It covers all the possibilities from one extreme to the other, just as a rainbow encompasses all the colours.

The Rainbow Ruse is a very common element in cold readings. It sounds good, seems perceptive, and wins a good response from most clients. Here is another example:

"I would say that on the whole you can be rather a quiet, self-effacing type, but when the circumstances are right, you can be quite the life and soul of the party if the mood strikes you."

These kinds of statements are not hard to make up. First, the psychic thinks of a common personality trait. Then she describes the client as both having, and lacking, this quality. Finally, she joins the two halves in a single statement with some reference to time, context, mood or potential. The example given above uses the link "when the circumstances are right". Other good links are "at other times" and "yet you also have the potential to be".

As well as being simple and effective, this element also affords plenty of scope for some gentle humour aimed at typical human failings. Here is an example:

"There is an inherent capacity here for neatness and tidiness and order, which is to your credit, but at the same time I can see some indications that this capacity does not always prevail, and you can, in some circumstances - mmm, how shall I put this delicately? - appear a little deserted by this instinct?!"

Rainbow Ruse statements are wonderfully safe, since the majority of personality traits are neither static nor quantifiable. Very few people are outgoing all the time, or introverted all the time. Most of us manifest both tendencies from time to time according to circumstances. What is more, there is no objective way to assess where one lies on the graduated scale between extremes of outgoing/introvert behaviour.

Avoiding the quantifiable

The lack of any quantifiable refutation is an important aspect of the Rainbow Ruse. These types of statement do not really work when dealing with quantifiable characteristics.

To see what I mean, imagine that in the course of a reading an inexperienced cold reader decides to touch on career issues. She might decide to comment on the client's facility with computers and new technology:

"There are indications here that you are in tune with the modern world, and that new technological developments -computers, the internet and suchlike - hold few fears for you. However, at times you have found this area quite daunting. Like many people, the era of the microchip has occasionally left you baffled."

This is a perfect Rainbow Ruse in terms of structure, but it is flawed. The trait under discussion is quantifiable, and hence susceptible to factual refutation. The client might reply:

"Actually, I've been running a data processing department for fifteen years, and I lecture on emerging technologies in my spare time. I've never found it daunting in the slightest."

This obvious error need not concern the psychic, since there are many ways of getting out of it (we will look at this later, in 'The Win-Win Game'). Nonetheless, this admittedly unlikely example illustrates why the Rainbow Ruse element is usually applied to less quantifiable characteristics. It also illustrates the need to couch psychic readings in terms of potential and capacity, rather than actuality and fact.

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