However, this haphazard method is unlikely to naturally produce all the information the reader wants to know. Other data will have to be teased out through 'fishing'. Hyman (1977) defines fishing as "a device for getting the subject to tell you about himself", but as well as being rather vague, this definition tends to overlook the important characteristic of fishing - that the client doesn't realise (or at least recall) that she is the supplier of the information. Corinda (1984), for example, describes it as
A process of verbal conjuring ... [in which] you have to make them tell you what they want to know - and yet they must not know they have told you. (p. 341).
Like cold reading generally, fishing is better defined operationally, and we will consider three versions here. In its crudest form, fishing involves simply asking the client for required information. Lewis (1991) for example, offers the following patter
Do you drive a red or a silver car? No? Well I see someone close to you who has a car like that. Also "Is there someone around you who wears a uniform? No? You know there are different types of uniform? I think I'm seeing a nurse's uniform. No? I sense someone bringing you news of some sort, the person bringing the news wears a uniform. You will get benefit from the news, and so will a family member."
Where the client answers in the affirmative, the reader will be credited with a perspicacious hit. Where unsuccessful, the reader is able to moderate the prediction, for example. by widening its applicability, or transforming its meaning altogether. Here, the acquaintance in uniform smoothly becomes only the uniformed postman delivering a message from the acquaintance!
More subtly, fishing can involve using questions framed as if they were statements (Couttie, 1988). Here the client is encouraged to elaborate openly on a topic (which of course she has been privately doing for all elements of the reading) as the reader feigns difficulty in quite comprehending the meaning of his message, or is apparently looking for confirmation for a received message. Figure 6 reproduces a conversation contrived by Couttie (1988) to illustrate how this is likely to work.
psychic: I'm getting something about a car crash? client: Yes .. my brother.
psychic: Because he keeps talking about his shoulder. He's saying "It doesn't
' half hurt." client: He had head injuries psychic: That's right, dear, his head and shoulder are hurting. It was your brother wasn't it? client: Yes, that's right.
psychic: He's saying "I was a fool for not doing up my seat-belt." He didn't do up his seat-belt did he? client: No he didn't, that's right.
psychic: No, we haven't met before have we? I couldn't know your brother was in a crash unless I was in contact with him, could I?
Figure 6: Fishing by using statements as questions (from Couttie, 1988)
The reader's initial statement is a fairly safe specific generalisation, which by the way it is presented stimulates the client to give up information which would be extremely difficult to guess at (i.e. that the sitter has a brother who died in a car crash). It is important that the reader gives the impression that whatever information the client volunteers is already known to him. In reality, the reading would be much more chaotic than presented here, as the reader switches between topics and leaves much longer delays between fishing and feeding back the fish. This would increase the likelihood of the client misrecalling that the reader brought up the topic of her brother without any prompting from her. Davidson, for example, typically has three stages to the reading; some palmistry, a Tarot card spread, and use of a crystal ball. Most fishing occurs during the palm reading, but is only fed back during the interpretation of cards (given the symbolic nature of the images, it is a straightforward matter to associate any gleaned information with one of them). The crystal ball allows Davidson to correct any errors by providing the opportunity to reinterpret any cards that he was 'unsure of1.
Another, equally useful form of fishing is the seeking of information about one topic while ostensibly giving information about another. For example, the statement "I get the impression that someone close to you, probably someone in the family, was quite ill recently, does that sound right?" apparently relates to health. In fact the client need only mention a spouse or partner, or son or daughter, for the reader to know that he can safely talk about relationship and family matters and events which only make sense in relation to them. Ideally suited to this purpose are the throwaway items like 'specific generalisations' and 'specific trivia' noted earlier. Once again, such information can be stored to be presented later in a modified form. To ensure that the client forgets where the details have come from, the reader employs some mis-direction, changing the topic of conversation, usually with the help of predictions derived from stock spiel statements (suggested, for example, by the next Tarot card in the spread). After a suitable delay the conversation can revert back to the original topic and this "new" information divulged, typically as an interpretation of a new card.
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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.