Giving up

If all else fails, and the psychic feels she is having a hard time, her simplest option is to stop the reading, give the money back and move on to the next client who has 'shoe-in' stamped on her forehead. In the psychic world, giving up can be done without any loss of face whatsoever:

"I don't feel that you are sufficiently receptive to what the tarot has to offer for the reading to be a good use of your time or mine. I am sorry about this, but I don't feel I'm the right reader for you, and as such the reading is over."

Another variation is to blame lack of rapport:

"I want to be honest with you, and say that the success of any reading has a lot to do with the rapport between myself and whoever I'm reading for. In truth, I haven't felt able to develop the right kind of rapport with you that is conducive to a worthwhile reading. This isn't a criticism of you personally, but I don't feel I'm able to provide the sort of reading I'd feel was worth the time, and intuitive effort, that is involved."

The more confrontational approach is to suggest that sceptical attitudes themselves are somehow responsible for inhibiting or blocking psychic gifts:

"I have to say that at this point I would like to end the sitting. You have made it clear that you are highly sceptical, and although that's your right, I honestly feel that your scepticism is preventing the consultation from being effective. Psychic sensitivity is very finely-balanced, and takes years to develop. If you are unsympathetic to this sensitivity, and I feel you are, this blocks the channels which are important to my work, and through which I was trying to help you. The reading is over."

Whichever approach the psychic uses, she is able to end the reading, cut her losses, and blame the failure on the client, bad vibes, blocked channels, the configuration of the stars or anything else that comes to mind. The other faintly possible explanation, that the whole thing could be a heap of medieval superstitious claptrap, is generally not mentioned.

Progress Review

In Section Two, the lengthiest in the book, we have seen how cold reading works, and shown how adaptable it can be. Having dealt with the theory, it is time to see some cold reading in action, which is the subject of Section Three. But first, a brief Interlude.

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