Social Question

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Do you believe in psychics?

Asked by nofurbelowsbatgirl (4661points) February 5th, 2013

Thru the years I’ve been drawn by this and to psychic’s like John Edwards. And I’ve also had some experiences which have led me to be unsure about this or could it all just be coincidence and trickery a play of mind or illusion of some sort.

When I was 12 I blurted out that my dad would die of cancer, my mother would die of old age and I would die of a heart attack. My parents just thought I was just being a kid.

But it never hit me until years later when my dad died from cancer and I ironically keep getting every sign known to man that can lead to heart problems, I have had sleep apnea—in remission yaa!-,irregular heartbeat, diabetes and other problems.

My mother on the other hand so far, age 68, is a picture of walking health.

When I was 16 I would learn my mother was adopted and her birth sister is a well known what gives is it actually true, might I have a gift that I haven’t actually tapped into? Or is just all coincidence?

I’ve had other significant experiences but I don’t want the post to be too long.

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66 Answers

tom_g's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl: “Or is just all coincidence?”

Coincidence. There has never been a confirmed case of any psychic ability. Ever. And they have been tested. Heck, James Randi offered one million dollars to anyone who could demonstrate this. Spoiler alert: nobody has been able to.

Additionally, the things you blurted out were likely to happen. My son (4 years old) has stated multiple times that when he gets “old”, he will get married. Sure, there’s a chance that he will die before he is “old”, and he may never marry. But this is not a declaration informed of some paranormal or psychic ability. It’s someone making a statement based on the info he has.
There are also intuitions that we have that we are not conscious of all of the time. My mother, for example, will claim that she had a dream of an old friend and receive a call 2 days later. While this might appear to her that she tapped into some kind of paranormal or psychic realm, it’s more likely that she had been missing her friend because it had been too long. The friend (who was a friend because they had things in common) likely felt the same feelings of missing my mother, and decided to pick up the phone and call.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t believe it for a second. I think it’s a clever scam; not much different from a card sharp who reads tells.

But it’s another example of the kind of thing that is essentially harmless. If people want to believe something, it’s not my place to tell them not to. No one is forced to go to a psychic and throw away their money – they do it voluntarily. So if it makes people happy in some way to be believe in psychics…. well, it’s their life.

Seek's avatar

Psychic power is based on vague statements and a general knowledge of human nature, and no small amount of suggestion mixed with a willingness to believe on the part of the customer. You’ll note that skeptics don’t often visit psychics, and so aren’t there to call them out on inaccuracies and parlour tricks. Most people who visit psychics already believe in psychic phenomena, and are ready to accept whatever the psychic says. “She said I’m shy! I never thought of myself as shy but there was that time that the guy at the bar smiled at me and I was too afraid to talk to him… maybe I am shy. That psychic is totally right! I’m the shyest person ever!”

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@tom_g you see that is where im confused. Making a declaration as a child about getting married is different, isnt it? Isnt my answer as a child a little more involved than if I were to say “im getting married when I get older”. Because you either or going to get married or not. Yes you are either going to die or not, but what makes a child so inclined to give out of all the ways to die a specific way to die. And such a specific way that those people that the chikd talked about actually end up dying from said diseases, because of course my father was going to die, but he could of died any other way and why is my mother healthy? The options are just too great for my specific answer thats the confusing part I guess.

tom_g's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl – So, how did you calculate the chance that your declaration would be correct? In other words, what was the chance that your father would die of cancer and your mother would die of old age? Do you have a way to calculate this? For fun, let’s say you had a 25% chance of being correct. So, you had a 1 in 4 chance that the statement would be correct. It was correct. So, where does the psychic stuff come in? I’m confused.

Coloma's avatar

I would say that it is possible but not probable most of the time.
I went to a party once that had a psychic for entertainment and she told me ” you suffer from allergies.” Really….did my stuffy nose and puffy eyes tell you that? ” lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

Let me just go ahead and guess as many random things as I can until I hit on something that triggers a reaction from someone somewhere and we’ll run with that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m not a believer in mediums or ghosts, as I’ve actively sought them in my life and have yet to be firmly convinced. Although the Medium show on tv, with the Jersey blond sometimes makes me wonder…lol

Seek's avatar

@uberbatman Oh. My. God. Are people that gullible? Really?

Uh, so I’m looking for someone who has cancer, or had cancer, or is a Cancer… anyone?

elbanditoroso's avatar

I predict…...

That someone will come and add a comment to this thread that:

a) psychics are real
b) that psychics have helped them
c) and they will give an example of the effectiveness

Now – am I a psychic for saying that? Or is that just logical as a result of my experience in human nature?

Coloma's avatar

I will say that, coincidentally, both my mother & grandmother died on Jan. 25th.
Whew…skated through another year. lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr yea…blows my mind. People it seems just want to believe so badly that it is real that they don’t even realize how much they’re being manipulated .

TheobromosHumper's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl You are psychic, girl. Do not doubt it. Everyone else is jealous. Now give us some more predictions, you know, just to make sure how good you are.

bkcunningham's avatar

@tom_g, Randi fascinates me but I’m not very educated on the whole topic. I just wonder what your opinion is in regards to Randi backing out of George Vithoulkas’ attempt to win the $1 million challenge?

tom_g's avatar

@bkcunningham – I haven’t followed any of it. But the site is filled with follow-up requests for this Vithoulkas to participate in the challenge. I don’t see any evidence of Randi “backing out” of any challenge. Note: This is about homeopathy, which is one of the more absurd of the pseudo-sciences.

Buttonstc's avatar

I would never waste my hard earned money on one because I think that about 98–99% of them are frauds and fakes and just out to fleece people.

However, I will allow for the possibility that there are a very few who do have a genuine gift.

The problem comes in trying to sort out the small amount of the (possibly) genuine ones from the majority :)

And I do qualify it with the word “possible”.

Seek's avatar

Randi has shut people down before from the challenge, but always because they want to find some way to skate the rules. If they can’t come up with a scientific test that removes cheating, they don’t get to play.

bkcunningham's avatar

Here is an article and here is Randi’s comments about the challenge, @tom_g. I also found this be pretty interesting. There are hundreds of articles about the challenge and Randi backing out.

Seek's avatar

^ How is that backing out? That’s inviting him to try again. There are rules, and the guy needs to follow them.

Also, your last link leads back to this question. ^_^

bkcunningham's avatar

He backed out of the original experiment.

EDIT: Thank you. Here’s the link.

Seek's avatar

/me is trying to find an article not written my OMGHomeopathyIsGodsGiftToHealth-dot-com

marinelife's avatar

Generally, psychics are frauds. There are people with psychic powers.

Seek's avatar

I still can’t find what exactly Randi is being accused of changing that caused the cessation of the study. According to the OMGHomeopathy sites and the link you offered, as well as Vithoulkas’ own site, it’s all Randi’s fault, but no one can seem to say why or what he did. I understand he was ill for some time. Heart problems, cancer… the whole gamut.

The only thing I can see is that the test was scheduled during a changing of politics in Greece (where the experiment was going to take place) and the new head-people weren’t interested in hosting the experiment. Because of that, Vithoulkas would have to find a new venue (his prerogative and his responsibility), and reapply. Randi had originally eased up on the rules and waived a preliminary test, but for the new application is going to require one. His prerogative. It is his test and his million, after all.

It’s odd, nothing about this uber-controversy is listed on either man’s Wikipedia page, or the Wiki for the challenge itself.

I will say this: The challenge’s rules were changed in 2011: it’s now super easy to qualify for application.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Given that heart disease and cancer are literary the top 2 causes of death, I’m willing to say that the example is a coincidence.

I’m pretty that I could look up the numbers and figure out the math. I’ll be back.

zenvelo's avatar

What isn’t mention is whether the “psychic” heard prior conversations in which the father’s family had a high incidence of cancer, and the mother noted that in her family people lived to a ripe old age.

And heart problems are a self fulfilling prophecy.

PhiNotPi's avatar

There is a handy-dandy chart towards the bottom of this page:

There is no such thing as dying of old age. Old age is a contributing factor to many things, but the actual cause of death would be a heart attack, or stroke, or something else. I’ll ignore your mom for now.

The chance of your dad dying from a cancer is listed as 1/7, and the chance of you dying from a heart attack is 1/5. It is worth noting that this is the second best prediction that you could have made. The most likely scenario was both of you dying from a heart attack.

From this data, it is possible to see that the chance of this prediction being correct is 1 out of 35. This is not a suitable number to claim psychic powers. Even looking back on the chart, you are more likely to get your prediction correct than you are to die from accidental injury, and a lot of people die form accidental injury (it is the #4 top killer).

zensky's avatar

I think Houdini did us all a great service at the time – the answer is – they’re still BS.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I believe that some people do possess some sort of ability to have premonitions or intuitions but I think the majority of people making money from such things are cons who are very good at reading peoples reactions. I have had dreams that have come true but I believe that something was triggered in my subconscious beforehand to cause the dream and so my brain had information that I am not aware of.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@PhiNotPi That makes sense, but as I did say in my question I’ve had some experiences, so its not just the one when I was 12, there have been many more. Maybe I am just really good at keeping note without really knowing it. But if I put all that logic into factor how does John Edwards do it. I am a skeptic, I just do not understand how it can be done.

@TheobromosHumper My prediction is is that you are sarcastic and new to fluther so WELCOME!!!

DominicX's avatar

There’s a difference between a psychic predicting the future and a psychic accessing special information. I tend not to be convinced by stories of predicting the future, especially when you can’t rule out coincidence. The most convincing psychic stories I’ve seen are stories of people who help solve murders with their psychic abilities. In other words, they’re not predicting the future, but they’re accessing information that only the victim or the murderer would know. They somehow know where the body is buried or somehow know the circumstances of someone’s death. I guess I’d have to witness it myself to believe it were truly real (I can’t just trust someone’s story or a TV show segment about it). But that is the most convincing form of psychic ability I’ve seen.

Rarebear's avatar

John Edwards has been scientifically proven to be the biggest douche in the universe

Oh, also see Penn and Teller Bullshit Season 1 episode 1.

Oh, and third edit.
Watch this.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Rarebear You can be the biggest douche and still have a gift…only those with a ”rare gift” require a good cleansing lol. Actually if John Edwards is on South Park then that means hes bigger than the biggest douche because Southpark has wasted their time on him.

Rarebear's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Seriously, though, he’s a fraud. He’s using a technique called cold reading. Watch that first Penn and Teller episode and they explain how it’s done.

wundayatta's avatar

I believe in love. But that’s probably cold reading, too. I mean, I know it is. Is nothing sacred any more?

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

But that begs the question @Rarebear how can he actually be a fraud when hes getting the information correct?

Is a great magician just a great liar or just an awesome illusionist?

Rarebear's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Again, it’s a standard magician technique called “cold reading”.

Watch this interview by Richard Dawkins with Derren Brown, who is a British magician and cold reader. Unlike John Edwards, though, he doesn’t claim to be psychic.

Also Derren Brown here interviews so-called psychics.

Rarebear's avatar

Here is an interview with Ian Rowland who is a cold reader who also tells how it’s done

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Rarebear You dont have to try to convince me. I already stated I am a skeptic. I just wanted opinions not a conversion party.

There was a great answer to my question by Phi. I never took into account that those types of things could influence a childs decision process.

I understand the process of cold readings but that still doesnt mean that these people are frauds, because some “psychics” are getting their information more often than not correct leaving their client with a feeling of fulfillment so how is that fraudulent? If I sell you a trans am and sell it to you under the consensus that it is the best car ever and you believe that and buy it without question without doing a test drive, does that make me a fraud?

Rarebear's avatar

Yes. It makes you a fraud if you tell the person that you’re actually talking to their dead loved one. That’s called “lying.”

Rarebear's avatar

Oh, and by the way I wasn’t trying to have a “conversion party” as you disdainfully wrote; I could actually care less whether you believe in it or not. I was merely answering the following question YOU asked

“But that begs the question @Rarebear how can he actually be a fraud when hes getting the information correct?”

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Sure its lying to you and I but as I stated if someome believes it regardless of the evidence then it really isnt a lie to them.

Rarebear's avatar

No, you’re wrong. It’s a lie. If you come to me as a patient and I know you have cancer, and I tell you you don’t have cancer and you believe it. Are you saying that I didn’t lie to you because you believe it?

ucme's avatar

I’m smelling horse shit, did your grandad know horses existed?

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

No. I dont think thats what im saying lol. Im think im trying to say that if you think you know I have cancer and are not a doctor of any sorts and I choose to believe you regardless of the actual medical evidence that I do not have cancer and if I have choosen to take your advice over my real world NON cancer issue & pay you for the treatments thats my problem. A lie is a lie. Its an error of judgment if someone believes the lie. We are accoutable for some actions are we not? I think thats what im saying.

If you were a doctor and told me I did not have cancer and I did then that would be medical malpractice.

Seek's avatar


Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

How is taking someone’s money and then dishonestly convincing them you’ve had a heart to heart with their dead realtives not fraud?

Luiveton's avatar

I believe in talent.
So if you have that talent then embrace it regardless of what people think.
There are about 8 billion people on this planet and each individual is meant to be unique. So expect to find the most amazing and diverse of talents throughout your life.

It might have been an epiphany, it might be a talent, gift, whatever it is, it happened, and it’s there.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Im sorry. I get it I really do :/

At the same time I’m also trying not to laugh at peoples expense because I just cant fathom that if it is fraud and we know since “psychics” have no real evidence to back them up not like a doctor would, so basically you are walking up to the casino and gambling.

Seek's avatar

It’s worse than that.

Professional psychics are charlatans who prey on the emotions of the weak-willed and the bereaved for their own financial gain. They are worse than snake oil salesmen. At least the brandy in the bottle can make you forget you’re sick for a minute or two.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t have a problem with people entertaining others with displays of cold reading. If people get comfort from it, who am I to tell them they can’t? I’m not going to get all judgmental and call them weak-willed.

Rarebear's avatar

@wundayatta Oh, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE good cold readers. But I know it’s a trick and the cold readers I like (like Derren Brown, Banachek, Penn Jillette, James Randi) all say that it’s a trick.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Its true.

@Rarebear you did raise a good point there are those types out there who willfully and knowingly decieve.

The machine at the casino beckons the gamblers and preys on their emotions just like illegal drugs prey on the emotions of the addicted. Evil is out there and evil preys on all emotions it is society that gives evil labels.

“Evil is in the eye of the beholder.”

So like the point @wundayatta raised who are we to label what helps someone, unless it becomes exsessive to a point that it is interfering with the way society runs.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Rarebear “Before we bust up this party, and… goddammit we’re gonna bust it up…” LMAO!

I believe that some people do have a gift, but most people claiming to be psychics are frauds.

Rarebear's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I agree with you except replace the word “most” with “all”.

wundayatta's avatar

I think I’d be a good cold reader. I think I do it a lot here and elsewhere. Well, sort of like cold reading. ‘Cept sometimes I get people pissed off at me when they don’t like me telling them I know what’s really going on inside them. They say that it doesn’t matter if you are wrong or right. You just tell people what is going on, and right or wrong, they’re supposed to love it. Hah!

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Wooo @wundayatta you’re such a fraud! I feel so weak around you, thanks.

BTW, how much do I owe you again :/

wundayatta's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl You’re not supposed to use cold reading in order to “get girls” but damn, baby! If you’re feeling weak around me… oh, wait. Must be low blood sugar. Can I get you a Gatorade?

bkcunningham's avatar

^^ I knew you were going to say that.

wundayatta's avatar

Ack! get out of my head, @bkcunningham! It’s like a never ending bandsaw in here!

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Oh now your going to “convince” me I have “diabetes”, I see how this goes…ok I’ll drink the kool-aid err gatorade. You had me at baby :p

I still cant see how people fall for it.

So whats next @wundayatta? Can you tell me anything my dead husband wants me to know?

wundayatta's avatar

Which dead husband? Hmmmm?

You see. You have no secrets from me!

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

o_O @nofurbelowsbatgirl falls over on her arse feels feint again. Looks confused @wundayatta and in a shaky weak voice makes out the sentence, ”Pass me another Kool-Aid please?

mattbrowne's avatar

I believe in the human brain’s capability to interpret body language, facial expressions and tone of voice unconsciously. With the right training this capability can even be improved.

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