What do astrology, numerology, palm reading, tarot card reading, coffee reading, tikshaur and dozens of other "consulting" methods have in common?
From the blog "sharp thinking"
"And all these words, words of lies and falsehood are... they are not words of wisdom but confusion and vanity in which the mindless have been drawn" - Maimonides' words about soothsayers, sorcerers, sorcerers, sorcerers and those who demand the dead.
In each of these consulting methods, the client (the discouraged, the disturbed or just curious) gives money to someone (the "consultant") who seems to know things about him that cannot be mere guesses.
The "consultant" does this with the help of various "tools": making contact with spiritual beings from other dimensions, drawing star maps, performing numerological calculations, examining lines on the palm, etc.
Many customers leave satisfied and even amazed by these meetings and are convinced that "it works".
On the other hand (as far as I know at least), none of these "occult seeing" methods have been proven to work better than guesswork in any well-controlled experiment (and that's if anyone even bothered to test the method in a controlled way). A well-controlled experiment neutralizes all "natural" possibilities to extract information from the client. In the future I will give examples of classic experiments of this type.
Furthermore, many of these methods are devoid of any logic, and are clearly based on magical thinking, and/or on operating principles that contradict all existing and tested scientific knowledge. This in itself does not prove with certainty that they are not "true", but it certainly reduces the likelihood of this dramatically.
So what is the secret to success? How It Works"?
The technique that underlies all those methods is called "Cold Reading".
According to the definition of Iain Rowland, a world wizard in the field: cold reading is a form of speech in which it seems that you are saying meaningful things to someone, while in fact you are not - the meaning and relevance are provided by the imagination of the person to whom you were speaking.
This is a collection of "psychological tricks" for extracting information from the client without him being aware of it, and repeating the same information in a way that makes it appear as if the "consultant" reached him in supernatural ways. The client is the one who actually provides all the information that comes up in the meeting (with the exception of a few educated guesses that came out nicely on the part of the "consultant"), he is the one who remembers the shots and forgets the mistakes, and he is the one who interprets the ambiguous or ambiguous statements that the "consultant" scatters in a way that fits his life the private ones.
Let's remember that the human brain excels at assigning meanings to sensory experiences, even where they are not present. Words, symbols, signs, sounds or gestures are meaningless in themselves. Humans are the ones who give them meaning, and often a personal meaning, without anyone intending it (the ability to think symbolically is probably one of the most distinct characteristics that distinguish humans from other living creatures).
The basics of cold reading - a short practical guide
Let's start by lowering expectations: it's hard to get an impression of the power of the technique when reviewing it on one leg. Combining different components of the technique and a correct balance between them, building a sequence for the meeting and creating a supportive atmosphere, all of these are the result of cumulative experience and natural talent.
It should also be remembered that the mental state of the client at the time of the meeting is very different from that of the reader of this post, and usually he comes in the spirit of cooperation and generating benefit (for the large amount he pays) and not for the sake of trying to expose charlatans.
In any case, here are the basic principles of cold calling:
- Design the setting
Design the place where you receive customers so that it radiates intimacy and relaxation. Comfortable armchairs, weak colored light, soft carpet, candles, incense, crystals and other signs that will create a feeling that the client is in the center of a spiritual ceremony. Create a professional impression by hanging complex charts on the walls and placing many books in the relevant fields on shelves in the room.
- Create an appropriate interpersonal atmosphere
Exude a pleasant personality. Bring the client to a place of cooperation by explaining that reading is actually teamwork. Use a soft voice and non-threatening body language - a pleasant smile, continuous eye contact, head tilted to the side as you listen. Uncrossed legs and unjointed hands. Explain that clients come to you regarding various issues that are bothering them, and that you use the intuition you have developed over the years to help them.
To excuse the mistakes that will happen later, lower expectations and explain that you cannot be 100% accurate. "Nobody's perfect, even Michael Jordan misses a lot of shots!"
- Focus on the main issues
There are seven topics people want to talk about the most: love, health, money, career, travel, education and ambitions.
Ask questions and make several statements about each of the categories. Very quickly you will be able to identify what is the main area that concerns your customer - focus on it.
Also take into account that at any age we tend to be bothered by other issues: teenagers and 20+ are mainly busy with self-searching and marital and sexual relationships, around age 30 focus more on career, money and starting a family, around age 40 are busy with the difficulties of raising children and health problems of the parents , and around the age of 45 onwards people deal with their own health problems and relationship crises. This is of course a generalization, but it is always recommended to start with a "reasonable" guess rather than shooting in the dark.
- Declare ambiguous statements
If you describe a feature and vice versa, the customer will focus on the part that suits him better.
Our tendency to get the impression that a general text that is true for every person applies to us in a special way, is called the "Forer effect" after the psychologist who examined the subject in 1948. The effect is of course amplified if we have reason to assume that the words were said based on data unique to us - numerological calculations of our name, the position of the stars specific to our date of birth, the cards we chose from the pack, etc., therefore it is important to attach to each statement a simulated "reason" that is rooted in some symbol from the set of symbols that you "Using" them, for example: "The black knight card symbolizes that you...", "The harmonious angle between Saturn and the Moon points to...", etc.
Here are some examples:
"Sometimes, when the "muse" rests on you, you can be creative and let your imagination run wild, but when necessary, you are definitely able to be practical and with two feet on the ground."
"You value routine in some areas of your life, but in others you seek to be spontaneous and unpredictable."
"You can be very extroverted when you want, but sometimes what you really need is a quiet evening in front of the television or to immerse yourself in a good book."
"Your friends see you as someone friendly and trustworthy, but you have a more competitive side that comes up from time to time."
"You have self-discipline that helps you appear in control to others, but sometimes, inside, you actually feel somewhat insecure."
While making the statement, pay attention to the client's reaction - to which part of the sentence does he "connect" more. That way, without the risk of making a complete mistake (because you said one thing and the opposite), you will get good hints about his character. You can use this information later in the encounter, as if one or another detail (a certain card, a stain in the coffee) is revealed for the first time.
- Disguise questions
Extract information from the client by disguising questions as statements, after throwing a vague statement in some direction. In most cases, the client will be convinced that you provided the information in the first place, and will not remember that he was actually the one who provided the interpretation and details:
Does that sound reasonable? / So who can this refer to? / Do you agree with what I said? / Can you understand why this is the impression I'm getting? / How can this be significant for you? / What on earth could this be about?
- scattered vague statements
Explain that sometimes you have vague visions or flashes of images in your head, and you can't always understand exactly what is being said, so the customer's help is very important to interpret things in the right way for him. Scatter sentences of the type below and encourage the client to tell about them by adding a disguised question:
"I get the impression of a significant change, maybe a certain kind of journey or a change in the workplace, can you understand why this is the impression I'm getting?"
"Have you recently received a gift of some kind, perhaps money or something of emotional value, what in your life could this be related to?"
"I have a feeling you're worried about a family member or close friend, who could it be?"
"I see a circle closing, do you understand what I mean?"
- Combine more specific statements
Many statements sound very specific, even though they are true for a large number of people. Mention that you perceive objects or events such as those listed below and encourage the client to tell about them by adding a disguised question:
Long expired medicine.
A box or envelope of old photographs that never made it into the album.
A clock that has long since stopped ticking.
A reminder note on the fridge or next to the phone that is no longer relevant.
A very embarrassing experience you had in your youth, which you still remember from time to time.
A key that the client doesn't remember what he keyed.
A drawer is stuck or does not open smoothly.
A childhood accident related to water.
A scar on the knee.
The 2nd digit in the home address (or the house next door, including the house opposite of course, or the house of a close family friend... - continue as needed)
For adults (to be sure that the parents are already dead): I see that your father died as a result of a problem in the chest or stomach area.
- Bombard with professional jargon
Register, confuse and blind the customer by using many "professional" terms. Refer to the authority of ancient wisdoms and strengthen the sense of mystery and ritual.
Here is an example of bombardment in professional terms (meaningless) that refer to a number of different statements, which in the end is elegantly mixed with the intended question. The feeling created by the customer is that the information was provided by the cards and not by him:
"Interestingly, I see that we have received the '5 of Swords', an important card in the lower array that is traditionally attributed to challenge and struggle with emotional issues. What is fascinating is that in the same opening we already received the 'monk', which was originally one of the lower cards of the trio, but in this context indicates not only loneliness but also the fulfillment of personal goals. It's as if the cards are suggesting that your personal goals, at this time, take priority over relationship matters. I don't know if that means anything to you…”
Or translated into ordinary language: "And now tell me something about your ambitions and/or relationships in your life, and possible conflicts between the two."
Undoubtedly, the ability to improvise and good verbal control are important and useful qualities for the "occult seer".
- The butter for the customer
Tell him what he wants to hear, it always works. "Your financial problems will be solved. You are a dedicated, fair, independent and smart worker." Of course, it is better to do this in a smart way, and weave the compliments into general statements about the customer's personality.
A common trick is to tell the client at the very beginning of the meeting that you perceive high intuitive abilities in him, and that he can succeed on his own in the spiritual fields, even as a therapist. This immediately inspires him with unknown hopes, puts him in the desired mindset (lack of criticism), and harnesses him as an active partner in the process.
- Prepare escape routes
Professionals in the field reassure that there is really no way to fail in such meetings. Here are some possible ways of escape, if taken as an irrelevant statement:
Lower expectations - already at the beginning of the meeting, point out that it is not possible to be 100% accurate. One can always directly admit that a certain statement is a mistake, but there is no real need. See below.
If a guess turns out to be wrong, expand the claim in terms of scope, for example, after you told someone that you see him sailing on a ship and it turns out that he never entered the sea, you can say: "When I spoke about sailing on a ship, I meant in a metaphorical sense of course - sailing in a different direction in your life, because you have concerns Regarding him".
Another way of evasion is to claim that the event happened in the distant past and subtly imply that it is the customer's fault that he does not remember it. Alternatively, it can be argued that your statement probably refers to something that will happen in the future (sometimes times get a little confused when dealing with such areas).
Blame poor spiritual connections for faltering and confused reading progress.
Gently blame the client for not cooperating, or not trying hard enough. This is one of the natural escape routes when a great skeptic appears in front of you.
Techniques for predicting the future
A strong prophetic feeling tells me that I will elaborate on this in a separate post, soon...
Ein explains that every person falls into the trap of cold reading, no matter how intelligent and sharp they are, with the exception of those who have studied the subject and know how to recognize the techniques that are applied to them in real time. In fact, intelligence can help people to be more impressionable, because they are able to relate more successfully vague and metaphorical statements to specific details in their lives.
Note: Apparently, many of those who guess, cloud and demand the dead are not aware that they are using the cold reading technique. For them, they are gifted with rare intuitions, the ability to communicate with other beings or a good command of their profession, abilities that have been perfected with experience of course.
A glimpse I got behind the scenes of a numerology course demonstrated how a new generation of cold reading users is being educated (even if at a very low level), without them being aware of it at all! Maybe I'll expand on that in a separate post.
Many of us or our acquaintances have visited a fortune teller of one kind or another at least once in their lives. Often the service providers agree (and even offer) to record the meeting. If you have such a recording, it can be fascinating to check it in light of the above!
If you discover interesting things, I would appreciate it if you shared the findings with us (while omitting identifying or too personal details of course).
Amusing anecdote about palm reading I posted here
Sources and extensions: