A fake psychic has shared how she manages to convince her clients she actually is clairvoyant - despite being just a normal woman.
The anonymous "psychic" (referred to as Sandra) offered to give journalist Katy Ward a free session, to try and show her how easy it is to fool people.
Writing for The Overtake, Ward describes how Sandra alludes to the death of her father when she was a teenager.
She asks if I’d lost a parent at a young age and whether this coincided with a 'major event' in my life. This cuts. My dad did indeed die when I was 18, with this funeral three days before my Oxbridge interview.
Sandra explains that she googled Ward before their appointment, and came across an article she'd written about it.
Looks like journalists would be a fake psychic's dream. Sandra tells Ward:
You’re an open book. I could find your age, profession and personality within five minutes. There’s always one. That person who can’t help revealing everything on Twitter.
But surely most people don't share their whole lives on the internet? Sandra says that "most people give up more than they realise".
She asks people for their email addresses before an appointment and researches them in advance.
If someone doesn’t use Twitter, LinkedIn can be a goldmine. Say a person often moves jobs, it’s hardly a reach to say they’re probably craving stability.
Sandra says she uses a combination of online research and intuition to tell people what she believes they want to hear, and relies on what's known as "cognitive validation" - where people will take a vague statement and convince themselves it applies to their experience. (See also: horoscopes.)
While Ward points out that many would call what Sandra is doing a "scam", Sandra - perhaps unsurprisingly - has a different perspective:
I’m a highly intuitive person and often pick up on things others miss. Does that mean I have extrasensory perception? Who is to say?
HT: The Overtake