They are found throughout history. They are found throughout the world. And they defy explanation.
They are psychic readings, and everyone has either had one or knows someone who has. People find these readings astonishing, and with good reason, since they are often intriguing and incredible. Let me describe what happens.
You go to see a psychic - someone to whom you are a complete stranger. The psychic, usually female, describes your personality with pin-point accuracy. She identifies events in your past and present. Her reading may include the names of people you know, and specific facts about your personal life, career, and plans for the future. She refers to your innermost thoughts and problems, and provides wisdom and guidance which seems to make sense. She may also offer glimpses into the future which have an uncanny way of coming true.
This is a psychic reading, and it is the essence of today's psychic industry. Countless thousands have been moved, impressed and thrilled by such readings, and offer testimonials like this:
"I found my reading absolutely fantastic, I really enjoyed it. Everything that he said was absolutely spot on, and everything that he said that was going to happen to me seems absolutely fantastic. I was very impressed actually. He did a personality analysis on me and it was really right - spot on."
There are many testimonials similar to the above. If sincere and enthusiastic testimony were an infallible guide to truth, then no-one could doubt the authenticity of psychic ability. But it is not. And it can.
The above is a real quote, from a real person. However, the reading she had been given was a complete sham. I know, because I gave the reading, and there was nothing psychic about it. Instead, I used 'cold reading' - the psychologically deceptive technique which is the subject of this book.
A global industry, and growing
Glowing testimonials such as the one above are more or less the sole fuel of today's psychic industry. If people were not impressed by psychic readings, the industry could well collapse. But people are, and the industry is global and growing. Today, it enjoys unprecedented popularity thanks to TV 'infomercials', telemarketing and the internet.
As an industry, it may not yet be as big as oil, but it is older, will last longer, and is vastly more profitable. To profit from oil you have to find it, transport it, refine it and sell it. To profit from psychic readings, you just talk to people and they give you money. And whereas the world will one day run out of oil, it will never run out of people wanting a psychic reading.
It is hard to say exactly how much talking, and how much money, is involved. One source suggested in 1998 that the psychic network industry in the United States alone would soon be worth 1.4 to 2 billion dollars [see Appendix note 1). In England, where I live, the industry is similarly flourishing if not quite so well-developed. For one thing, our TV channels do not accommodate 30 minute 'infomercials'. This is one good reason for living here, and almost makes up for the fact that it rains a lot and nobody looks cheerful.
There are only two ways to account for all these readings, and all this money. Either the people giving the readings are genuinely psychic, or they are not. If they are psychic, their clients are paying for access to genuine psychic insight. If they are not, people are falling for a scam. And if this is true, then it is the biggest, most enduring and most popular scam of all time.
The great thing about cold reading, as far as its practitioners are concerned, is that hardly anyone knows about it. In an age when consumers are more cautious and informed than ever before, none of them know the first thing about cold reading. No public book store in the world contains a single work on the subject.
I cannot prove that psychics use cold reading. But I can give you all the information you need to decide for yourself. Welcome to the full facts about cold reading.
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