On Sunday I went to a spiritualist church because my friend M wanted to go and make contact with his dead brother. I went along in a skeptical frame of mind but then something spooky happened.
The first 20 minutes or so was singing hymns and a reading of that glurge about living every day to the full. The bloke also said we should all try to go back to a simpler way of life when life was easier and there was less illness. It took quite a bit of restraint on my part to not giggle at the glurge and ask him exactly what period of history we were healthier.
Then we came to the contacting the dead bit and the second person he came to was me. When he said he had a mother or strong grandmother figure there I lost it and started crying. He said he had a woman who lost a lot of weight before she died suddenly of heart disease which is true my mum died very suddenly of heart failure when she was expected to get better. He said the woman remembered me with long hair which was a bit creepy as I had my hair cut from waist length to shoulder length two days before that. He mentioned something about a caravan holiday.....yes we went on a couple caravan holidays when I was a kid(as have most Brits my age I imagine) but I certainly dont remember them as significant, he mentioned some worry about a sister who is younger and slightly smaller than me which is true my sister who is younger and smaller has been worrying me more than usual lately. The weirdest bit was an almost verbatim replay of a conversation I had a week or two ago. I was talking about life goals and how my plans for this year have had to be put on hold for now but they will happen at some time in the future(my daughter suffered complete kidney failure at the begining of the year and my life for the past couple of months has revolved around driving her around three different hospitals for appointments and sorting out alternative education so my plans for my own life have had to be put on a back burner). He said at I was stressed and tired with running around trying to sort everything out and now was not thw time for me to be making plans but not to be dissapointed as my time will come.
He also said my mum had probably died recently as the signal is weak which was not true and mentioned a woman who I now saw of as a mother figure when nobody like that exists.
Watching him giving readings for other people I could see a lot of generalities, lots of people had died of things in the chest area, he was pretty vague, no details such as names or dates (although he knew the layout of one womans living room)
I need to work out what was happening here, the whole thing had been playing on my mind especially as I only went along to support someone else and intended to stay detatched and skeptical.
1 Either he really is contacting the dead, and even I have a hard time thinking my mum would make contact via some man in a seedy church hall.
2 He is acting on some other subconcious level
3 He is a charlatan conning people and since they only asked for donations I cant see significant financial gain.
Throwing this out here because I'm sure you all will be able to give me more insight into what happened. How did this man know those details about me. Please dont be too harsh with me either, its easy to be detached when your own emotions arent running high. I can now easily see how someone more vunerable than me could get quickly sucked into something like this.
-------------------- I tried to get in touch with my inner child, but she isn't allowed to talk to strangers. Posts: 674 | From: Scotland | Registered: May 2004
| IP: Logged |
The trick is to drop lots of bait, see what gets a response, then continue along that line, all the time looking for response.
Somewhat like genetic algorithms in computing. Generate a bunch of random alternatives. See which works. Make variations of the ones that works. Choose the best. Make more variations, evaluate, make variations of the ones that work. Et cetera.
A skilled con artiskt can drag an enormous amount of info out of you in this way and you'll never notice since you only notice the bait that fits your story.
-------------------- /Troberg Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005
| IP: Logged |
It doesn't sound like he knew anything about you or anyone else. People have similar conversations. It's a fact of life. (In fact, I think I had that same conversation a few weeks ago. ) People have similar living room layouts.
A lot of people die of heart problems (no. 1 killer?) and many of them also become thin before they die. A lot of people go on caravan holiday. Those who don't forget this kind of miss quickly. (Although we can't tell from your account how many or what kind of info you may have forgotten or left out.) For those who have gone on caravan holidays this either seems like an interesting but irrelevant hit (as you seem to characterize it) or a relevant hit. In the latter case, the spiritualist would have convinced you of something even stronger. Instead, you seem to be willing to allow it as a hit, even though it wa completely irrelevant. A lot of people are "stressed and tired with running around trying to sort everything out" (me, again ).
Almost everything else seems to be a clear miss. So I can't see what makes you even allow the possibility that "He is acting on some other subconcious level..." when there is no evidence that his random thoughts (that would apply to a wide variety of people) were of any relevance to anything.
It's easy to start to think someone really understands your problems just by a few hints when you feel vulnerable. Some people are really sensitive to those vulnerabilities (of course, if you cry, that could be a big hint). Once they've latched on to your small hints and cues about when they're close to something they just hit it again or with more confidence and suddenly it feels like they're reading your mind. It's a pity because, instead of fooling people, some of these charletans might make good therapists. But I don't think it's good therapy to convince someone you possess information when you don't. (Sorry, slight digression.)
My humble advice is forget about the spiritualist and just work out your own problems by continuing to work through your own feelings and choices in these matters. I don't hear any evidence from you of anything particularly special except that he reminded you of some matters and people in your life. I'll bet you could get just as well or better just by talking about those matters and people with people who really do know them, your sister and daughter for example, and the people who shared your love for your mother.
Posts: 4922 | From: Kyoto, Japan | Registered: Sep 2005
| IP: Logged |
What these cold readers do is count on unwitting help from the person they're "reading" - a raised eyebrow, looks of surprise or recognition, etc. Also, when they guess wrong (which is more often than you realize, because what you remember later is the stuff they got right,) they are adroit at sidling around it. They actually tend to ask a lot more questions than people realize, then restate it a moment later as if they're getting the info from the "other side".
And the Amazing Randi talks here about cold readings.
Don't feel like you're gullible or a sucker - these guys are good at what they do, and they count on you remembering their "correct" guesses, as that's what stands out. Their misses just aren't as remarkable. So you come out with the eerie feeling that they've been in touch with a dearly departed relative, when in fact, they've been watching your face and listening to you.
And while you may not be able to spot how they can make a buck from this "skill", trust me, there's money out there for this. That may in fact be where their real skill is, not in talking to the dead but in being able to spot someone willing to part with their money.
Personally, I feel that taking advantage of a grieving relative ought to be illegal, but that's just me.
Ali "knock three times" Baba
Posts: 3068 | From: Kensington, MD | Registered: Feb 2000
| IP: Logged |
I had a long reply going in my head, but everyone said it so much better. Don't feel embarrassed because you had a few moments of wondering what if he really could do as he claimed. Your emotions took over. It happens. One of my friends used to watch this stuff on TV, and she believed it and would get angry with me for trying to debunk it. Just be glad you aren't to that point!
-------------------- "This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman "Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005
| IP: Logged |
It's also possible that M planned on bringing you along, mentioned it, and the guy probed M for information so skillfully M never knew it, just enough to generate the more impressive seeming hints.
Posts: 457 | From: Sacramento, CA | Registered: Jan 2006
| IP: Logged |