My involvement with cold reading sometimes gives rise to two unhelpful misunderstandings. This seems like a good opportunity to clear them up.
The first misunderstanding is that I am psychic. This means I often get letters from people who mistakenly think I can help them run their lives. I have been asked about romantic partners, exam questions and missing pets. I cannot help with any of these things, since I am as psychic as a coffee pot. Maybe less.
The second misunderstanding is that I am some sort of con-artist. This means I get delightful letters from that very special community of people whose hobby is being angry about things they know nothing about. These pious, lovely people traduce me for my callous practices and vent their outrage at my wicked deceptions. It's one hell of a way to start Monday mornings.
I am not a con-artist. Among other things, I am a lecturer and entertainer with an interest in what real mind power is all about. For various reasons, including a well-spent youth, I happen to know about deception and how to fake psychic phenomena. In my shows, I often demonstrate a wide range of seemingly psychic phenomena, from spoon-bending to ESP. However, I always stress that I am deceptive, not psychic.
Sometimes, media people ask me to demonstrate that cold reading really works. They find someone willing to have a reading, and I strut my stuff. Afterwards, the person to whom I have given the reading is told the truth as tactfully and sensitively as possible. I also make it clear to the subject that having being taken in by cold reading does not mean she is gullible or lacking in intelligence.
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