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July 02, 2008


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What about the psychics who do not ask any questions? You are talking about only one type of so called psychic. I have seen some show in New Zealand with these guys who work with the police. They certainly dont fit into this Bingo theory. Just curious what peoples thoughts are on these people. I have watched these people describe a murder just by looking at a house. Theories?


Don't believe everything you see on TV.

There is no "Bingo Theory". Its a game that is used to show how tired and worn out certain claims are. For example I wrote a downloadable one for creationism/intelligent design (based partly off of Skeptico's ID bingo (soon there will be more subjects).

You are right in a way, The Psychic Bingo presented by Skeptico is mostly concerned with these TV types who claim they can see dead people, see the future, etc. They generally interact with the public, and this bingo card mostly deals with their tripe.

The only difference between these dorks and the ones who do 'work' for police and families is the audience is not public. Otherwise its exactly the same garbage.

If I were a cop, I would make a bingo game specifically for these so-called psychic's and bring it along with us as they bumble around.

They claim responsibility for a tiny amount of hits and ignore the vast amounts of misses. And the hits are explained other ways.

here is a good synopsis of it

They basically cold read the officers.

TV only shows the 'good parts' so you aren't going to see the plodding boring repetitive misses. You aren't going to see the cold reading in action, or even if no cold reading, then the bestowing of information to the psychic.

TV only shows the 'looking around and finding things' parts, not parts where they are told all the information that the cops have. They don't show the huge majority of misses. They don't show how the psychic basically find what the cops already know (strange how that is), and only what the cops already know.

Psychic are totally safe to make up whatever they want. When they include information that the cops don't already know, its something that they can't know and can't prove happened. So its safe to say it. For example, "the burglar cut himself shaving that day!". Cuts heal, how would anyone ever verify that statement?

A typical piece of nonsense is this guy in South Africa. he doesnt claim to be psychic, he claims he has a psychic machine. Its the same thing.

The fact that police actually bother to use these people, even as a last resort, should worry you, not amaze you.

Luckily, at least in the US, its a minority.

Watch out for the hedged bet. If done right you can reinterpret post facto that they were psychic, since the vague wording allows for multiple interpretations of plausible outcomes, and then can in hindsight say "see? he was correct." Unfortunately the hint was so vague as to be useless in predicting. Imagination supplies the rest.

Clever use of psychology, observation can also create the illusion of psychic abilities. If you're clever enough you can fox most people. Most likely a con-man.

Thanks for the responses. I have to agree that the big missing factor here is all the stuff you dont see. Australia is about to get some new series about psychics so im looking forward to viewing this with your comments in mind. Ta

Guys here is that show i mentioned. Thought you might be interested. Richard Saunders, vice-president of the Australian Skeptics is on the show.


Though Larry King keeps falling through, I managed to catch Van Praagh on -- ugh -- The View this morning. BINGO within the first reading.

Yes, Australia now has a show about self-proclaimed psychics. It is, of course, drivel. Loosely based on the "reality" TV "vote them off" format, it supposedly applies an open-minded approach in the search for Australia's most-gifted psychic. Any pretense of open-mindedness is blown right there - they aren't seeing IF the contestants are psychic, they already accept that they are and they're simply looking for the best of them. Pfffttt!

Richard Saunders looks completely out of place surrounded by a studio full of believers. But I did get to play a little Psychic Bingo so thanks Skeptico for that!

A couple of Australian blogs (like podblack.wordpress.com) have some video up so until Larry King comes good for you guys in the US, you can "entertain" yourselves with some Aussie nonsense.

This show has been the impetus for me to start my own skeptical blog so if you've nothing better to do (shameless plug coming) drop in and read my breakdown of "The One: The search for Australia's most gifted psychic".

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