Vision 2021: Are Psychic Powers Real?

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Peter Sloniewsky, Staff Writer

Recently, a Youtube channel called 2021 VISION has come into popularity for predicting the deaths of famous people from around the world, including, but not limited to, Chuck Schumer, Tekashi 6ix9ine, Billie Jean King, and Robert De Niro.  Ignoring the ethics of predicting the deaths of celebrities, this channel is highly unlikely to make any real predictions.  While videos to Youtube can be re-uploaded while maintaining the original upload date of the video, which I assume is the plan behind the mysterious channel, this leads to a larger conversation about how psychics just aren’t real, and their careers rely on a set of mind tricks that have long been exposed.

Psychics rely on a tactic known as “cold reading” to analyze their clients and to convince them that they can really see past what’s already there.  Firstly, they make broad claims that could apply to anyone, and ease you into giving up important information.  A psychic can make a general claim, and then play on your enthusiasm as a client to make a more specific claim that you believe is based on sight into the spirit world. 

Psychics also make statements about general things, such as a person who died of heart disease (the most common cause of death in the world), or usage of common names such as Bob or Ben.  They also speak slowly, because they watch for a client’s response.  Psychics wait for a specific reaction that gives them subtle clues, or check for details that you won’t realize are there, such as a wedding ring or even your speech patterns.

Named after showman P. T. Barnum, “Barnum statements” are another commonly utilized tool for a psychic.  For example, phrases such as, “You have a great need for other people to like and admire you,” or ”At “At times you are sociable, while other times you are reserved and wary,” could apply to almost everyone, but sentences such as those have been used against first-year psychology students for decades.  The gullibility of a client, combined with their eagerness to hear from the psychic, convinces them that the reading is legitimate and that the psychic can actually see what they claim to.  Psychics aren’t real —- they just use a system of strategies and observations to tell us what we want to hear.