General Discussion

Fortune Tellers and their craft...
maritalbliss at 12:32AM, July 9, 2007
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I came across this and thought it was funny as heck…

WCVB TV Boston: “Some Salem, Mass., fortune tellers have been faced with a rather disturbing find on their doorsteps. Someone has been leaving road kill, dead raccoons specifically, on the door steps of local fortune tellers.”

You'd think the fortune tellers would be able to shed some light on their situation.

I've moonlighted before as a gypsy and read people's tarot and palms. It was fun as the Dickins'. But, I was totally full of crap and I had people cry on me, tell me painfully personal secrets and give me ridiculous tips. I had a tarot reading done once in New Orleans, it was fun (even though I knew she was lyin', since I do have all the cards memorized. ) It was entertaining to watch her try and read me and tell me what she thought I wanted to hear…It was still a hoot!

I'm wonderin' how many of you guys have either been and were impressed or were freaked out or were disappointed??? Share your fortune tellin' stories.

(No Magic 8-Ball doesn't count.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:53PM
djcoffman at 4:11AM, July 9, 2007
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Believing in such things is entertaining. The human mind often wants it to be true, so you're more responsive to these things. But you should probably look up “mentalism” and “cold reading”. I've known people who had other people convinced that they had abilities of that sort, but it was all BS and cold reading. some people are REALLY good at it.

Did you know this? Houdini spent a good part of the end of his life debunking spiritualists, disguising himself and then abruptly breaking into the meeting to show exactly how they were doing things. He also uncovered the underground Spiritualist movement, they'd keep records of people and places in different towns who had lost loved ones or had tragic things happen. So when a traveling spiritualist would be in St. Louis, he might look up said person and say that a spirit guided him there, and each time they get more detailed info out of the person, they write it in their coded journals that they trade. Pretty slick.

Remember that John Edwards guy who could talk to spirits? His trick is, what you don't see on TV, he leaves the audience sit for long periods of time, and they have 8-10 employees as plants in the audience, “strangers”– so they strike up conversations with other guests telling them they hope they can contact so and so in their family, and usually the other people spill the beans as to why they are there, after that, it's all classic cold reading and manipulation. Just think, once John Edwards knows even the first name of the person that a loved one is there to see, he can pull his shtick of focusing in on the person and saying “I'm sensing a ”W“”– and then bam, he has them.

Preying on people's losses is probably one of the lowest form of human beings on the planet. There's definitly a line where it goes from entertainment, to just old fashioned con art.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
Phantom Penguin at 6:45AM, July 9, 2007
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I loved watching the History channel show about a group of people that went around debunking fortune tellers.

And I always hated that John Edwards guy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
usedbooks at 8:45AM, July 9, 2007
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My roommate has tarot cards and reads us now and then. It's fun. So are fortune cookies. (I read the fortune and feed the cookie to my rats. ;) )

She might be a little *too* into that sort of stuff, though. She has a few spellbooks and gets interesting herbs and things through online places (mostly Ebay). She's had to chastise our cat for digging through her boxes of “components.” I have yet to find a poisoned dragon's liver.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM
Rori at 10:57AM, July 9, 2007
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I have a few tarot decks. I love the artwork and the history and worldview intrigues me. Do I think they can tell the future? NO. But I think they can be a good tool for self-exploration, since the cards are meant to span the entirety of human experience. A few people have gotten me to do their cards, but that just ends badly, because I'm like, “well, what does it mean to you?” And in that situation, most people want to be told, not figure things out themselves.

To the news story: poor raccoons. I don't know why they would put specifically raccoons. They are “trickster spirits,” so maybe that?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
Hijuda at 12:17PM, July 9, 2007
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Phantom Penguin
And I always hated that John Edwards guy.

He's the biggest douchebag in the universe, no? :P
It's a comic!

LOLOL LAMFAO
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Disgruntledrm at 2:54PM, July 9, 2007
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Well, erm…I'd rather have a dead racoon on my doorstep than a horse head in my bed.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
marine at 3:06PM, July 9, 2007
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I've always had a knack for reading people and knowing what people want to hear or conversely, what they don't. Part of my “act” if you will, has been labeled performance art for such psuedo-scientific sociology studies on perception and its manipulation. Often because of my morbidity and “warped” nature, I always seem to piss people off. But yeah, all that stuff is bullshit. One thing I can confirm is that gypsies, mind reading, mentalists, and cold readers like John Edwards are just bullshitting you.

Hijuda
Phantom Penguin
And I always hated that John Edwards guy.

He's the biggest douchebag in the universe, no? :P

Thats true, according to an episode of the animated American comedy central show South Park.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
TheTopHat at 8:23PM, July 9, 2007
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What i've found with tuto is that most off the time the cards can be readed into anybodys life. Humans are very good at finding pattens in thing and so we find coriletions in the reading to our own life. However saying this dosn't mean that tuto reading are a bad thing there good at getting poeple thinking about what there promble areas are and such but you sill get that person who will milk it for all its worth or tack it too far.


last edited on July 14, 2011 4:28PM
Terminal at 10:29PM, July 9, 2007
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The person that could foretell five minutes into the future would be king.

None could.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:11PM
MagickLorelai at 2:56AM, July 11, 2007
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Well, sure. People who pretend to know the future or intimate details of people's lives, or are excellent at cold reading, they're fake, awful, and cheesy. They play off of people's mysticism with spiritual stuff or energywork. As I've encountered and been taught, reading tarot is not about predicting stuff, so much as it's a tool to divine things surrounding your life, and what you can do to make things go better(maybe).

I don't think the WHOLE is bunk just because a bunch of people are full of BS. I've actually been impressed with very accurate readings- I don't mean, “A tall man named John was in your life at some point, or will be”, I mean, “As you round through the next three years, a massive change will uproot you and plant you in a new life across the country. You're going to have a hard time of it for a while, particularly with career advances, but eventually someone will come into your life that provides just the encouragement and help you need- a woman, a new mother”. For the record, those things happened. Yes, it's still vague, but divination tools are just a part of the whole thing- they can't give more details, sadly, which give skeptics their “proof” that it doesn't work.

But, how is anyone supposed to know who is dropping dead animals on their doorstep? And besides that, why is it FUNNY that they're getting that treatment? Just because they're in an easily mockable position, or have a profession that people find funny? Yes, there ARE charlatans- there are hundreds, thousands of charlatans in Fortunetelling. That doesn't mean that it's funny when they're being harrassed.

And, OMG, INTERNETZ=SERIOUS BUSINESS!! …I know it's not. XD This just kinda touches on one of my peeves.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
StaceyMontgomery at 4:13AM, July 11, 2007
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Actually, the fortune tellers of Salem were jjust in a big legal dispute over Licenses for fortune tellers. Apparently, they were angry that “just anyone” could come into Salem and make money telling fortunes. The locals wanted to kick out the “out of towners” with a strict licensing scheme. One tends to suspect that the person harrassing them is someone angry about losing income this way. I'm guessing it's all just about money.

And yes, I find the idea of Licenses for fortune tellers to be kind of funny. Id do it like this “we've got ten licenses this year - I'm hiding them in 10 different places. Just find one and it's yours!”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
joe_vee at 9:04AM, July 11, 2007
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OMG I totally believe that stuff. I played around with Tarot cards in high school and I always browse through astrology books. Sometimes I can get addicted though, I really wanted to get my palm read when I went to the San Diego Fair a few weeks ago and my bf and sister literally had to drag me away from the booth because they didnt wnat me to waste ten bucks. >< Common it can't be all LIES right! Say it's not soooo! :-(
~ You Are What You Love, Not What Loves You ~
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
flyingwind66 at 10:02AM, July 11, 2007
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This stuff shouldn't be ‘played’ with… it can get dangerous. I'm a tarot reader and I don't ‘make stuff up’ but yes, thee are a lot of fakes out there who try to tell you what you want to know… which is cruddy because it gives ppl who DO know what they are doing a bad name. *shrugs* The more I read, the more accurate I become, it used to be hard to read for someone I didn't know personally and I still feel nervous when dealing with someone I don't know but meh *shrugs* One thing I'm really wary of is Ouija boards… see those have a possibility of going terribly, terribly south very fast… at best it just won't work.

I think if you've been ‘into’ this stuff for long enough or been around people who are into this stuff long enough, it's hard NOT to believe because of the sh*t you've seen and experienced and truly sometimes, ignorance is BLISS.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
bongotezz at 10:53AM, July 11, 2007
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if you guys like seeing con men debunked check out penn and teller's bullshit. it's one of the best shows i've seen in a long time. the stuff they dig up is just amazing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
MagickLorelai at 1:36PM, July 11, 2007
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StaceyMontgomery
And yes, I find the idea of Licenses for fortune tellers to be kind of funny. Id do it like this “we've got ten licenses this year - I'm hiding them in 10 different places. Just find one and it's yours!”

Cute. -.- Except that's really not what real fortunetellers do. They can't locate things in specific places. There actually is a studied skill to reading palms or tarot cards. To do it right, and not just fake your way through it, it takes years of study and practice. And like I said, it's NOT to find out specifics like the exact location of something, or the exact time when you'll meet your “special someone”.

So licensing is NOT a bad idea. It means that less people who just want to con others will be able to, and take another step in giving legitimate readers a better name.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
StaceyMontgomery at 3:28PM, July 11, 2007
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MagickLorelai

OK, if licensing is a good idea, then what criteria do we use to determine who should be licensed and who should not? I mean, my example of finding the hidden licenses was perhaps too much of a joke - but you obviously think that we can determine the legitimate fortune tellers from the con artists. That implies that there is some test or standard we can use to tell them apart. Can you make any suggestions for what that would be?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
MagickLorelai at 4:47PM, July 11, 2007
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To be honest? I don't know how. I think it would be a good idea to license Fortune Tellers, but the thing is, it's not a vocation that's easily definable as to who's a crock and who's not. I could tell you, “Someone who can explain each card, and show great intuition without cold reading” should be licensed, but if you(collective you) believe that the whole thing's full of BS, then that's not going to be believed.

Maybe if it were offered through a school to be taught Tarot/Palm reading/Astrology, that offered at least a certificate saying, “This person has studied Tarot/Palm reading/Astrology, and has demonstrated a legitimate ability”. Like I said, I don't KNOW. And I agree that there are a lot of crocks out there, and it's good to be skeptical. Anyone who charges an exorbitant amount and then insists more money must be paid to fix some sorta problem they “find”, that's typically a bad sign. Anyone who charges a reasonable amount for one reading, that's a GOOD sign.

I suppose I'm for finding a way to fairly license Fortune Tellers, but as it is, think that it's all just for entertainment for people who don't take it seriously anyway. Basically, I'm saying someone much more knowledgeable than me on the subject should determine the licensing process. xD

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
Rori at 5:57PM, July 11, 2007
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Not to be dismissive, but licensing fortune tellers seems a bit like licensing street performers. It seems like as far as you could go is: you have the right to do your thing _insert place here_, but that legitimacy really couldn't be determined.

I also think it's funny that they're pissed at the n00bs and want them tossed out of town. How could that even hold up legally?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
MagickLorelai at 7:37PM, July 11, 2007
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xD Rori, it's not that they're trying to toss out the n00bs, they're trying to get rid of the Charlatans, who are trying to con people out of money. Licensing would possibly be a way to do that, I think that's the logic behind it.

For public intents and purposes, yeah, it's a LOT like licensing a street performer, since Tarot readings/Palm reading/Astrology ends up being justified as Entertainment.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
Rori at 10:24PM, July 11, 2007
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Well, MagickLorelai, I'd suggest you read this article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,279035,00.html (yeah, it's FN, but whateva). It seems business is on their minds, which is fine, but it's not altruism when it's your own wallet you're most concerned about.

As for licensing getting rid of con artists: fraud is already illegal. It seems like the city likely licenses in an effort to keep the town from being glutted with fortune tellers.

An aside: I like how the one lady refers to the raccoon bs as “Satanic.”

Another aside: It's horrible that people result to killing animals and smashing property rather than go about things legally.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
MagickLorelai at 11:29PM, July 11, 2007
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Rori, well, I never said it wasn't about money or perfectly altruistic, did I? People who BS their way through it make a bad name overall for fortunetellers, which hurts business. Getting the people who are doing it to scam folks out of money out of the way, or at least, getting fewer of them IN the way, will help business. These people DO run a business, after all, and that's their livelihood that's being messed with.

At the same time, a lot of people would throw the baby out with the bathwater and get rid of the lot of 'em, BECAUSE of the negative reputation that fortunetellers have.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:50PM
Disgruntledrm at 2:54AM, July 12, 2007
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Some people have difficulty coping with reality, and find true emotional comfort in fortunetellers and the like. It's sort of psychological. And if seeing an old woman who tells you that John is in a better place and watching over you makes you cope a bit better, and even helps you move on…than I don't see the problem.

Technically people aren't being conned, they get a service (as questionable to some as it may be) from what they pay for.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
Rori at 11:48AM, July 12, 2007
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MagickLorelai
Rori, well, I never said it wasn't about money or perfectly altruistic, did I?
MagickLorelai
xD Rori, it's not that they're trying to toss out the n00bs, they're trying to get rid of the Charlatans, who are trying to con people out of money. Licensing would possibly be a way to do that, I think that's the logic behind it.

Since you asked, seems you did. Perhaps you just didn't make yourself clear. It's the internet, it happens.

MagickLorelai
People who BS their way through it make a bad name overall for fortunetellers, which hurts business. Getting the people who are doing it to scam folks out of money out of the way, or at least, getting fewer of them IN the way, will help business. These people DO run a business, after all, and that's their livelihood that's being messed with.

Once again, scamming is illegal, licensing doesn't need to regulate that (by barring newcomers), the police already do. If a person comes in and runs a better show than the others, well, that's the nature of the economy we live in. And once again, the city isn't regulating to protect these few fortune tellers (least I hope not), but to keep the town from being glutted, much the same as the rational for permits for public performances.

if it wasn't about money (which the psychics clearly stated it was) they'd be happy with background checks for the new psychics. I think the country has gone fear-crazy and needs to stop checking everyone all the time and use a little common sense, but that's my own paranoia.

HA!!!! This topic is on the first page of the Google search for “salem fortune teller raccoon”.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
Ryan McLelland at 1:28PM, July 12, 2007
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I always thought this was…wrong. Like government has NOTHING else better to do…like catch criminals and stuff…


THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING
A person who pretends for gain or lucre to tell fortunes or predict future events by cards, tokens, the inspection of the head or hands of any person.

That, according to a city law that has been on the books since 1971, is the definition of a psychic, and according to that law, being a psychic in Philadelphia is a 3rd degree misdemeaner. So for the past 30 some years, there haven't been any fortune tellers operating within the city limits.

Uhhmmm… not exactly…

City Hall has been issuing licenses to these folks whenever applied for, no questions asked, and the psychics set up shop, just like your dry cleaner would. As of Wednesday, the Bureau of Licenses and Inspections closed all the fortune tellers down. Why? Because it's against the law, since 1971.

The people issuing the licenses of course can be excused. After all, they're just city clerks who are supposed to know which businesses are legal and which are not. That's no reason to expect them to do their job.

The psychics? Well… if they are legit, they really should have seen it coming.

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:15PM
Aurora Moon at 2:55PM, July 12, 2007
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Ryan McLelland
The psychics? Well… if they are legit, they really should have seen it coming.

LOL!! I love how people automatically assume that an psychic has to be super-human and all-knowing.

Guess what? even those who are “gifted” is still only human, and doesn't always know EVERYTHING. They're not god after all. They can't always see everything in the future. Even for psychics, the world can still hold surprises.

Sometimes it's not con-artists and phonies that gives the people in the “supernatural” business a bad name, it's guys like you with your baseless assumptions that: psychic=All-knowing and superhuman.

I don't like to share this very much, but… I've had a few personal experiences where I would dream things that would actually come true. like one time I dreamed that one of my friends got into an horrible bike accident, coming out of that with an blood-drenched arm. this was like the night before my 16th birthday… and then on my birthday, there was some complications with the setup of my party and stuff.
So instead of waiting around for the party to start, my friends randomly dedices to go for a bike ride. At this time, I didn't really think of my dream as seeing I just dismissed it as an nightmare.
But guess what? Everything happened exactly as it did in my dream, which of course freaked me out.

So I had a psychic experience but it didn't make me all-knowing, because the dream didn't show me how exactly it would happen, just that there was an accident. So even if I could had prevented that accident, maybe it would had happened regardless in a way I couldn't had foreseen.

I believe in such things because I had personal experiences. However, I'll admit that there's plenty of disreputable people out there who would exploit those beliefs.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
ozoneocean at 4:08PM, July 12, 2007
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Yeah, people are probably a little psychic… I've had some dreams that have happened, Some times I know whose ringing me, what movie would come on TV the next week on a certain night (before it had appeared in the TV guides), and this one was pretty cool: I put four CDs in my CD player, set it to random and just “knew” which song would come up first; And it did!
That's happened a few times… Even randomising a few thousands MP3s on my computer.

But in my experience it's unreliable… not that you ever get it wrong, it's just that you can't count on being able to “know” all the time, in fact that feeling doesn't happen that much. When it does you're sure and you're right, but you can't “make” yourself right or do it when someone asks, it just happens sometimes.
And that's what studies bear out: Slightly better than chance. People take that to mean “sometimes they just guess right more than usual”, but what if most of it is just guessing (1 in 2 chance), but a small part of it are true events? That would jibe with my experience.

As for the sort of Psychics on TV or that read palms and stuff… Yeah it's a load of crap, that's obvious. But it's buyer beware. If people are willing to pay for it, let them! It's what they want. Jebus, we allow religions to encourage people to believe mad stuff and it's OK for people to squander their fortunes on stuff like Scientology! I think fortune tellers are much more harmless than groups like Scientology.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
Rori at 4:54PM, July 12, 2007
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ozoneocean
As for the sort of Psychics on TV or that read palms and stuff… Yeah it's a load of crap, that's obvious. But it's buyer beware. If people are willing to pay for it, let them! It's what they want. Jebus, we allow religions to encourage people to believe mad stuff and it's OK for people to squander their fortunes on stuff like Scientology! I think fortune tellers are much more harmless than groups like Scientology.

I'm glad you brought that up. I kept thinking about it. You obviously read my mind! ;)

I can't recall if you're in America or not, but Televangelists bilk people out of millions each year and it's notoriously hard to sue them even with evidence that your “donation” didn't go where it was supposed to.

An aside: http://www.modemac.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/Psychic_Predictions_for_2007
I think I'm addicted to reading these things now. Thanks a lot, stupid internet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:11PM
Aurora Moon at 5:27PM, July 12, 2007
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Yep! So this is exactly why people shouldn't dismiss all psychics as phonies and such.

After all, the future is not set in stone… it's made up of different outcomes that comes from choices and random quirks in time that occurred, such as some things randomly happening.

So it could be said that an psychic merely sees some of those possible futures, but it could easily change the minute that the psychic tells the person involved what's going to happen. Because then the person involved would start to change his/her typical path for the day/week whenever subconsciously or consciously, thus changing the future. And then when the said event didn't come, then the person would go “Hey, that psychic's a phony!!”
But if that said person had not been informed about his/her future, and continued things just as they were…. maybe it would had happened the way the psychic foresaw…then maybe that psychic isn't such a big phony after all.

Life itself and the future is made up of so many variables, that like Ozoneocean said, that it's not really wise to depend on looking into the future as an method constantly. So this is the sole reason why the “Psychic” business is intended to be only for entertainment, even though occasionally they might give you some important information about things that could happen very soon.

This the very reason why I say that psychics are only human and not “all-seeing” nor “all-knowing”. This is why it disgusts me when somebody completely ignorant of how it works, goes: “ROFL!! psychics should had seen it coming!! I guess they're phonies after all!”

After all, real psychics wouldn't claim that they can see EVERYTHING that goes on in your future… they would tell you that they would tell you about POSSIBLE things that are most likely going to happen in one of your many infinite futures.

Just think of it like Time-travelling…. you travel back in time from the future, but there's no Guarantee that if you stayed in the past to see how it would progress, that the events in the past would all lead to the same exact future that YOU came from. After all, the future you came from as an time traveler would be only merely one of the now possible futures.. so in a way, it would be like you came from an alternative time-line.

I hope I didn't confuse anybody…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
StaceyMontgomery at 5:28PM, July 12, 2007
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OK, I don't believe is Psychic phenomena. Maybe I'm just not psychic, so I've never had an experience that would show me otherwise.

But I have lots of friends who say they are psychic. But they all stress - as people here have - how unreliable their gifts are. If I challenge them and say “well, let's use your psi powers to do this or that” they say “It doesn't work this way.”

OK, let's assume that they are right - there really are psychic gifts and talents, but they don't make you superhuman, and you can't just use them when you want, to do whatever you want. They are flashes of power and insight that are “given” and out of your control.

Well, that *still* makes professional psychics sound like cheats to me. If I had a special talent that I could not control, then I don't see how I could charge money up front for a session where those talents might show up… but probably wouldn't.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM

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