Psychic reading

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Psychic reader booth at a fair.

A psychic reading is a specific attempt to discern information through the use of heightened perceptive abilities; or natural extensions of the basic human senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and instinct. These natural extensions are claimed to be clairvoyance (vision), clairsentience (feeling), claircognisance (factual knowing) and clairaudience (hearing) and the resulting statements made during such an attempt.[1] The term is commonly associated with paranormal-based consultation given for a fee in such settings as over the phone, in a home, or at psychic fairs.[2] Though psychic readings are controversial and a focus of skeptical inquiry,[3][4] a popular interest in them persists.[5] Extensive experimentation to replicate psychic results in laboratory conditions have failed to find any precognitive phenomena in humans.[6] A cold reading technique allows psychics to produce seemingly specific information about an individual from social cues and broad statements.[7]


There are many types of psychic readings practiced. Although psychic readings might not incorporate the use of any tools, a professional psychic may have one or more specialized areas of expertise. Some of the more common readings include Tarot reading, email psychic reading, palm reading, psychometry, aura readings, or astrological readings.


Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial objects as a means for divining information about human affairs and terrestrial events.[8][9][10] The position of the stars, planets, sun and moon when one is born are believed to affect one's personality, shape how relationships work in one's life and predict future events such as one's economic success.

Aura reading[edit]

Aura readings involve the observation and interpretation of auras.[11] The aura is purported to be a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person.[12] Psychics have offered aura readings for many years.[13] They claim to have a unique ability to see or sense individual's auras, however no evidence has ever been provided to substantiate this claim.[citation needed]

Cartomancy or playing card reading[edit]

Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards.[14] See also Tarot reading below.


Cleromantic readings usually involve casting small objects and reading them by their position, orientation, and mutual proximity. There are numerous variants used throughout the world.[citation needed]

Distant readings[edit]

A distant reading, "traveling clairvoyance", or "remote perception" can be conducted without the reader ever meeting the client.[15] This includes letters, telephone, text messaging, email, chat, and webcam readings.

Correspondence readings are usually done via letters, later emails and filling in special forms on psychic websites.[16]

Telephone readings are live readings where both psychic and client hear each other by connecting via premium rate telephone line. In the last years, with restrictions on premium rate numbers, more common are pre-paid callbacks, in which case client leaves his/her credit card details over the phone to an operator, after which gets a call on a specified phone number. Telephone readings became most popular with the growth of live advice TV shows as main means of advertising, and is commonly used by companies rather than individual psychics, due to high setup costs.[citation needed]

SMS and chat readings is a quick question-and-answer format of reading allowing exchange of basic information between psychic and client.

Webcams and online video communication may also be used for this type of reading.[citation needed]

Lithomancy and crystallomancy[edit]

Lithomancy readings usually involve especially suitable gems or stones that are immersed in water, or tossed as a set and read by mutual proximity.[17] Its origins are unknown, and there are numerous different methodologies used by various cultures throughout the world. A recently more common variant is crystallomancy also known as crystal gazing.[18] Using quartz as a crystal ball[19] it is stereotypically depicted as Romani fortune telling.


Numerology is defined as the study of the occult meanings of numbers and their influence on human life. It is essentially a reading of an individual based specifically upon numerical values such as their date of birth, letters in their names, etc. Numerology can be used in psychic readings.

Palm reading[edit]

Palmistry is another popular method of psychic readings, involving characterization and foretelling of one's future through the study of the lines, shapes, wrinkles and curves on the palm. Palmistry does not require psychic ability, as it generally uses cold reading abilities and previous knowledge of the subject.


Psychometry is a form of psychic reading in which the reader claims to obtain details about another through physical contact with their possessions.[20] Psychometry readers often ask the subject for their favorite and most meaningful objects, such as wedding rings, glasses, car keys, etc., for the reading. The belief is that objects which are in close proximity to a person for extended periods of time hold some of that person's 'energy'. This method has been used in attempts to locate missing persons.[21]

Rune reading[edit]

Runes are the letters of a set of related alphabets used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet. There is evidence to suggest that they also had magical or divinatory uses. In modern settings, stones or tablets with runes inscribed on them are cast on a mat or cloth to discern future events or path a problem or issue will take.[22] Runes are also used by some witches and other practitioners of divination.[22]

Tarot reading[edit]

Tarot cards have been greatly popularized, but can be often regarded solely as entertainment. Traditional decks are available in chain bookstores. New decks also frequently appear in New Age bookstores. Though not requiring psychic abilities, Tarot cards can be used as a psychic or cold reading tool and Tarot readings are common at psychic fairs.[5][23]


Skeptics have challenged the veracity of the claims of psychic readings, largely through disclosure of the methods. Psychologist Richard Wiseman's 2011 book Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There noted the tricks of the trade, and Wiseman noted in a podcast appearance that the disclosure generated negative feedback from the psychic community.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reading Archived 2010-08-24 at the Wayback Machine – Key Words Frequently Used in Parapsychology, Parapsychological Association (2010-04-14)
  2. ^ Nobel, Carmen (April 10, 2008). "Vision Quest". The Boston Globe.
  3. ^ Stollznow, Karen (2010-04-12). "A Psychometry Reading The Naked Skeptic". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  4. ^ "psychic". The Skeptic's Dictionary – Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  5. ^ a b Haskett, Wendy (August 15, 1987). "Psychic Fairs Aim for Aura of Fun in Mind Reading". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Ritchie, Stuart J.; Wiseman, Richard; French, Christopher C. (March 14, 2012). "Failing the Future: Three Unsuccessful Attempts to Replicate Bem's 'Retroactive Facilitation of Recall' Effect". PLOS ONE. 7 (3): e33423. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...733423R. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033423. PMC 3303812. PMID 22432019.
  7. ^ Dutton, Denis (1988). "The cold reading technique". Experientia. 44 (4): 326–332. doi:10.1007/BF01961271. PMID 3360083. S2CID 2382430. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  8. ^ "astrology". Oxford Dictionary of English. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  9. ^ "astrology". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  10. ^ Bunnin, Nicholas; Yu, Jiyuan (2008). The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 57. ISBN 978-0470997215.
  11. ^ Whitworth, Belinda (2003). New Age Encyclopedia: A Mind Body Spirit Reference Guide (Revised ed.). New Page Books. p. 34. ISBN 1-56414-640-5.
  12. ^ Jack, Alex (1990) [1976]. The New Age Dictionary Second Edition. Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, Inc. p. 14.
  13. ^ Grimaud, Emmanuel (2018). "La face obscure de la clairvoyance. Petite histoire des machines à mesurer l'aura". Cahiers d'anthropologie sociale (in French). Paris: l’Herne (2): 138–142. doi:10.3917/cas.017.0152. hal-02491295 – via HAL open science.
  14. ^ Huson, Paul (2004). Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage. Vermont: Destiny Books. ISBN 0-89281-190-0.
  15. ^ Beloff, John (1997) [1993]. Parapsychology: A Concise History (reprint ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-312-17376-0.
  16. ^ "Online Psychic Readings". Psychic World. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  17. ^ Besterman, Theodore (2005) [1924]. Crystal-Gazing. Cosimo Classics. p. 6. ISBN 1-59605-388-7.
  18. ^ Besterman, p. 3
  19. ^ Kole, Andre; Holley, Terry; Gomes, Alan W. (1998). Astrology and Psychic Phenomenon. Zondervan. p. 75. ISBN 0-310-48921-0.
  20. ^ Spence, Lewis Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Part 2, Kessinger Publishing, LLC (February 1, 2003), p. 754. ISBN 0-7661-2817-2
  21. ^ Kessler, Robert; Schachtman, Tom (1993). Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI. St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 270. ISBN 0-312-95044-6.
  22. ^ a b "Runes and their meanings". Paranormality. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  23. ^ Dullea, Georgia (October 31, 1993). "Tarot Goes 'Po Mo'". New York Times.
  24. ^ Skepticality (5 July 2011). "Paranormality". Retrieved 27 June 2015.

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