The purpose of these demonstrations was to see if I could convince a complete stranger that I was genuinely psychic, purely by using cold reading. The majority of my TV demonstrations have been given under what I refer to as 'test conditions', defined as follows:
1. The TV people select the clients for the readings, and I have no say in their choice. All I usually ask is that the clients should be female, in the age range 21-55, since in real life most clients fall into this category.
2. I do not know the identity of the clients until the moment the readings begin, and I have no prior information about them.
3. Care is taken to choose clients who have no strong opinions about psychic ability either way (some have turned out to be mild believers, others mildly sceptical).
4. The clients are not told anything favourable about my abilities, or otherwise conditioned to believe in me. All they are told is that I am going to give them a reading, and that they will be asked for their honest comments afterwards - be they good or bad.
5. The reading has to last at least 20 minutes. It has to be reasonably detailed, and more than just a string of bland Barnum Statements.
6. Once the reading is over the client is to be interviewed separately, with no further involvement on my part. The client is to be asked for her honest opinion, without being prompted to say anything favourable. In the course of the interview, the client will be asked specifically to consider if I might have been some sort of fake.
7. I only have one chance to give each reading, without rehearsal, re-takes or breaks. I agree to the results being broadcast whatever the outcome.
8. I insist that after the reading and the interview, the truth is explained to the client as sensitively and inoffensively as possible - without making her feel gullible or foolish. She is to be told I am a fake (if she has not already come to this conclusion) and to have the purpose of the experiment explained to her in full.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.