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Cold Reading & How It Tricks You

What is cold reading?

Cold Reading is the very clever technique at the heart of the Gypsy woman’s so-called “psychic powers”. It’s actually a very old parlor trick that many magicians can demonstrate. Cold reading is also, unfortunately, the hook that gets you caught up in this entire mess to begin with. It wasn’t until I’d learned about cold reading that I finally saw what was being done to me all along.

Cold reading is basically pretending to be able to know things about someone that no one could otherwise possibly know unless they were psychic. It works by throwing out a very general statement, but with an air of confidence that you’re really telling your victim you know something about them. What you do is keep throwing out generalized statements until one of them seems to ring true with the victim, and the victim attaches that statement to a specific person/event in their life, at which point you’ve registered a “hit”. Part of the trick is the acting on the Gypsy’s part. If she makes her psychic reading with an unwavering air of authority in her voice (and Gypsy women are academy award-winning actresses when it comes to this), she’s going to get you emotionally involved in this conversation so that you’re too in to it to realize her psychic statement was actually so generalized that it could apply to 90% of people out there. Also, Gypsy women are so experienced at this con that they know the right generalized things to say so it usually doesn’t take very long to start registering hits, nor do they make too many erroneous statements before they get them. That’s how it starts, but as you can guess by now, it’s in your reaction to her statements that things get interesting.

This is where the victim unwittingly plays a big part helping this Gypsy con artist with her own scam. The person takes the generalized statement (which they’re treating as a psychic insight because of the setting they’re in — the fact that they’re in this Gypsy’s office for a supposed reading with the expectation of a genuine psychic experience) and they run it through their brain to try and find a match. And match they usually do since the statement was generalized. Only now, the victim has associated the statement with a real life event in their past that seems to match it. And they confuse the Gypsy fortune teller’s air of confidence as validation that she must be referring to “x” event in their life.

So, after she throws this statement out there, the Gypsy fortune teller carefully watches her victim’s reaction to see if she’s scored that “hit”. Again, the key to cold reading being effective is that you must throw something out there that the victim will then get emotionally involved with in the conversation. Once the victim feels emotional about the topic, they’re too involved in the conversation, too distracted, to see what’s really happening, especially if they’re not familiar with the scam.

For example, if you were a male and you’ve been out of college a couple of years already and I know at this point in our “reading” that you went to college, I could say to you, “You’re a good person, I can tell. And you always mean well to others. But other people don’t treat you as well. They don’t treat with you respect…You know that little blonde you liked in college? Well she actually really cares about you still. And she’s your soul mate.” I can say this because I know that since there are only 3 basic hair colors out there that you were bound to have fallen for a blonde at least once. I might throw out some more generalizations, each time watching your facial and physical reactions to see if I scored a hit (after generations of doing this, Gypsy women are masters at reading body language since they have so much practice).

The victim then brings up the real event/person in their life that they think the Gypsy woman must be referring to, in order to acknowledge what she’s “seen” with her “powers”. Now this Gypsy, who’s an excellent listener from years of doing this, will remember many of the numerous details you give her — details you may not even totally remember having given her earlier because you’re emotionally hooked now on what big revelation she’s going to say next that’s going to fix the big problem in your life. She’ll use this information as a spring board to direct her next generalized statements, which she asserts are psychic vibrations the “spirits” are telling her about you.

At this point, you’re marveling at her ability. “I mean, she must be psychic, right? How can she know this about me? How could she know about that girl/guy that broke my heart if she’s not psychic?” Well, two ways — one, because she got to this point with your own help only you didn’t know it and, two, she started with some generalized statements that could apply to anyone who’s lived on this earth and has had the basic life experiences of love and pain and being hurt by people.

The more you get into it and start believing, the more she knows you’re hooked. At this point now, she’s going to try to get as much information out of you as possible, and then decide based on how you present yourself and how much you’ve bought into her scam and how bad you perceive your own problem to be if you’re a candidate for the big ticket item for this Gypsy — the classic “you’ve been cursed” scam, which goes a little something like this: “You’ve been cursed, and because I do God’s work I need to use my powers to lift this curse off of you once and for all so that you can enjoy the life and love that God meant you to enjoy, the life that you was meant to have,” (Gypsy women are pretty bad at grammar, as I’m sure you know), “but that this darkness has kept from you. I’m going to reunite you with your love, this love that’s separated by this darkness. But I’m going to have to do some very special work and prayer on this in order to remove this darkness…”

And the scam begins.