A pet psychic, or animal communicator is a person who claims to communicate psychically with animals. Some pet psychics claim to communicate with long-dead animals, while others can be characterized as animal communicators or animal psychologists. The term psychic refers to an alleged ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through what is described as extrasensory perception.
Pet psychics rely on different techniques when doing an animal reading. These psychics allegedly communicate with animals and connect with an animal's soul. Some claim the readings are done by communicating with their "electromagnetic energy" similar to reiki and/or therapeutic touch healing. Others claim the animal does not need to be alive or physically close to the psychic as noted with phone readings. Tarot cards recently have been designed specifically for pet readings by their owners. Skeptics attribute such putative powers to intentional trickery or self-delusion.
In the early twentieth century, the Association for Research and Enlightenment began researching paranormal and psychic abilities in humans. The first animal communicators claimed they could communicate telepathically with animals living or dead.
The number of businesses offering pet psychic services has steadily increased, but the industry remains unregulated and scientifically unverified. The services offered include advice and counsel to clients.
Criticism of pet psychics
In 2008, a study using neuroimaging provides the strongest evidence yet obtained against the existence of paranormal mental phenomena. Using the assumption that psychic ability originates in the brain, the authors used fMRI scanning of participants' brains during the use of psi and non psi stimuli. Participants were either emotionally or biologically related to one another. The experiment was designed to create positive results if psi phenomena occurred. While the participants' reactions to non psi stimuli were as expected from previous studies, the psi inducing stimuli showed indistinguishable difference to non psi stimuli.
In 1991, an opinion survey amongst scientists in the NAS regarding ESP, psi, and parapsychological research indicated that 96% of scientist polled described themselves as "skeptical" of the existence of ESP with 2% believing in psi and 10% thinking that parapsychology research should be encouraged.
Joe Nickell believes that cold reading can explain why so many pet psychics appear to communicate with animals. Pet psychics like Gerri Leigh and Animal Planet's Sonya Fitzpatrick work in front of audiences with the pets and owners present at the same time. Although appearing to be impressive, the conclusions and pronouncements are "validated" by the pet owners and not the pets themselves. Furthermore, linguistic professor Karen Stollznow tested a pet psychic with a cat named Jed. Not only was the psychic "completely inaccurate in her reading of Jed's age, place of birth, background, behavior, health, and my health..." she was unable to tell that Jed was not her cat. Stollznow concluded that "language is human-species specific. We don't and can't 'know' what animals think."
In the media
The Pet Psychic with Sonya Fitzpatrick was the most well known television show that portrays this topic. She now has a radio program called Animal Intuition on the Sirius Satellite Radio service. The hosts of the Oh No, Ross and Carrie! podcast investigated the efficacy of pet psychics. Hilary Renaissance is Pet Psychic who specializes in helping people locate their missing and stolen pets. Her telepathic abilities were put to the test by skeptical television News Reporter John Sharify of ABC TV's Seattle KOMO 4 Evening News in a news segment titled "Meet the Amazing Pet Psychic" Could Pet Psychic Hilary Renaissance really locate lost pets? The news report features a testimonial from a Mississippi police chief about how information provided by Hilary led to the recovery of a stolen dog. A lady in Redmond, Washington testified that she found her missing cat with Hilary's assistance.' In another television news report, WRCB TV investigative reporter Jonquil Newland credits Pet Psychic Hilary Renaissance for helping a Tennessee family reunite with their missing dog.
- "Eliza" Thornberry from the cartoon The Wild Thornberries
- Horse whisperer
- Mr. Ed
- Nature worship
- Psychic detective
- Psychic Pets by John Sutton (Bloomsbury)
- Psychic reading* The Pet Psychic
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