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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Friday December 06, 2002
01:36 PM

Phone psychics

[ #9316 ]

I have a friend who shall remain very nameless (on the off chance that he wants work in the industry again) who was unemployed. When he saw the income potential of phone psychics, he decided to apply. He wasn't psychic and doesn't believe in psychic phenomena in the slightest, but such minor issues weren't to deter him. So what was he to do? He lied all over his application about the Great Psychic Masters that he studied under. Curiously, the psychics didn't perceive that he lied and he got the job.

Next problem: how does someone who's never done this before actually do it? He went out and bought a deck of Tarot cards but, try as he might, he just couldn't remember what all of them meant. He photocopied the instruction manual, cut out the description for each card and taped it to the card. When clients called, he would lay out the cards and read what they said (as an ex-radio DJ, he has a great phone voice). His clients loved him.

He discovered that many of the people who called these numbers were in serious need of help. Drug addicts, abused women, and just flat-out crazy people would call him and ask questions like "what am I doing that makes my husband beat me?" When he would field these calls, he would tell them that he had turned over a "mentor" card. This meant that they needed to seek out a personal mentor to help them with these issues and, by sheer coincidence, my friend just happened to keep a list of toll-free help numbers by his phone.

If you ever get a chance to meet anyone in this industry, see if they're familiar with any of the underground "psychic industry" books that are circulating. I've read through a couple of them dealing with psychometry and I'm astounded by the sophistication of them. One of them is entitled "T.H.E.S.C.A.M.". The letters stand for the seven areas that you need to try to touch on in any cold reading (qw/ travel health education sex ??? adventure money / -- I can't recall what 'c' stands for). They also discuss how to get the people to tell you stuff and how to make them think that you brought it up. Very informative.

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  • Have you ever seen the show Crossing Over? Now, some of what John Edwards does could be simply good con training - talking fast, getting people to volunteer information, etc. However, he often mentions some very specific information that I don't see how he could have gleaned, unless he heard them talking about it before the show or something.

    Any thoughts on John Edwards in particular?

    • Use the power of google. Here's an article from the New England Journal of Skeptism [theness.com]. Hint: its a TV show. The editor can make JE look like a psychic genius since they aren't obligated to show you everything he got wrong.
    • I'm not familiar with John Edwards (I don't watch TV), so I can't comment on him in particular, but here's how some of this works with psychometry -- and it works better with receptive people. First, you ask for their keys or some other personal object so you can "receive vibrations" from it. This object serves as a distraction for the person. It's important to be vague, but also provide the mark with different things to focus on so they have trouble seeing what's really going on.

      Then, ask their name.

    • I think I read somewhere that he sometimes screens the guest for information before they come on to the show. I think this is a technique used by faith healers and such if they can. Then again, if you can edit a show they way you want you can look like a genius, too. :-)
  • Do you have an ISBN or author name for that book?
    • Regrettably, no. From what I could tell, this was something that someone put together at home and distributed by self-publishing. In fact, my friend only received a photocopied (several generations of photocopies, by the looks of it) copy by promising the person that he received it from that he wasn't going to let people outside of the industry know about it. Since my friend was in the industry and proved his "street cred" by doing cold readings in bars (he found he had a talent for it), he managed to ho

    • I found a reference to it [reall.org]. Google likes to strip punctuation, but I found this through Altavista by quoting "T.H.E. S.C.A.M." The article has a bit more information about the "statistics" I was mentioning earlier.

      • Most people prefer gold jewelry to silver
      • Most red-haired people get hay fever in the summer
      • Most men prefer showers
      • Most women prefer baths
      • Most men enjoy reading books written by men
      • Most women enjoy reading books written by women
      • Most people have had at least one memorable su
  • South Park very recently had an episode slamming Crossing Over. Stan tries to show it is a hoax, and uses the same techniques Edwards uses to show people it is a hoax. But try as he might, everyone believes him, even as he is saying how he is doing it and that it is a trick. :-)
    • Well, I have different South Park episode idea. You see, I have another friend who used to work as a "Phone Actress". She would send out weekly summaries to her friends of her most hilarious calls, but I think you'll understand if I fail to explain "hilarious".

      /me has some weird friends

  • I think the C stands for Children.

    Best, Rich